Reading the L Word: Outing Contemporary Television

Kim Akass, Editor, Janet McCabe, Editor, Sarah Warn, Introduction by I. B. Tauris & Company $21.95 (247p) ISBN 978-1-84511-179-3
Over 20 contributors share their thoughts on The L Word, widely seen as Showtime's lesbian answer to HBO's Sex and the City, and, as expected, opinions vary. Some, like Sarah Warn, appreciate the mere presence of the show for its representation of attractive lesbians living interesting lives in LA. ""Love it or hate it,"" she writes, ""this series represents the first-and so far, only-attempt to make lesbians the center of attention."" Others, like Samuel Chambers, bristle at its apparently ""heteronormative"" narrative. Rather than stacking it against, say, Desperate Housewives, he argues, the program should be examined through the prism of queer politics. Not all contributions are so academic, and complaints that the show appears to appeal to the male fantasy of lesbians are outweighed by the endorsement of those who see the show as part of a ""golden age of gay TV."" Kathy Belge explains why The L Word is sexy, and her unabashedly erotic praise illuminates the subtleties that will likely go over the heads of straight men watching the show for a thrill. Adding to the book's pop culture appeal is an insightful interview with Guinevere Turner, one of the show's writers, who helps fans understand the evolution of the characters and hints to their future trajectory. Fans of the series will appreciate this companion.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!