So here it is. The end. The finale of the series that has alternately kept on the edge of our seats, swear in despair, rush to the nearest bar to get a drink at the end of 13 episodes only to wait for the next season to begin, cry, laugh and generally provide a good fodder for gossip and some good old-fashioned bitchfest.
The reason this season review is two weeks late, is because I had to consult a therapist for the acute and schizophrenic feelings of loss and relief. It is kinda like ending a very bad/abusive relationship that just gets worse by the day – you are so glad it has ended (and it certainly feels nice not to be beaten up all the time) but at the same time, you have been with the woman for 5 years and letting go is hard, and you miss being around her.
So, here’s a season review, as tough as it was to write.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
This season is quite possibly the worst season in the entire series. It is like Ilene Chaiken decided that this was the last season, they can throw everything out the window and write whatever crap they wanted, make it as bad as possible so that they can wean us off the show. It is a pity because it started off as a really good series, with witty, sharp, raw writing and likeable characters (of course it had its fair share of criticism, mostly to do with representation). Representation, however, became the least of its issues later as the writers got infected with the dreaded What Happened Yesterday Is Irrelevant (WHYII), characters were routinely transplanted with new personalities (hey, maybe that’s where Joss Whedon got the idea for Dollhouse), and in some cases, got abducted by aliens and were never spoken of again (anyone remember Mark? Papi? Yeah I didn’t think so).
Returning to what happened to this season – it was supposed to be the wrap-up season which was never in the original plan (season 6 was renewed last-minute, prompting a change in the season 5 ending). However, instead of really wrapping up, they added lots of complications and unnecessary twists.
They killed off Jenny in the first episode, but we still had to watch her for the rest of the season while they flashed back three months before she died. The writers spared no stops in making Jenny absolutely hateable, and every second with Jenny absolutely painful to watch. As it was, the Shane-Jenny relationship (otherwise known as Shenny) was incestuous and painful to watch. I can’t count the number of times I watched them kiss and I just went “ew, ew, ew, ew, ew”, just like Alice and Helena did.
Jenny, of course, got increasingly clingy over the course of the relationship, and at the end of it, every viewer really just wanted Jenny to die as soon as possible. To their credit, the writers did not make Shane be in love with Jenny, and was quite realistic about their relationship – ie, Shane was trapped by the Jenny and her antics, and refused to break up with her for the fear of losing her friendship. And after 8 episodes of various people professing their desire to kill Jenny, we never found who killed her, or whether anyone killed her at all. At that point, the only reason I was not sending hate mail to Ilene was because I was getting to watch Lucy Lawless on screen interrogate the gang of friends with a smirky swagger.
Alice and Tasha, the cutest couple on earth, were pretty much put through the wringer this season – but if the last shot is to be believed, do end up together. At first, it was Alice facing temptation in the form of Clea (like real), and them trying to figure out whether they had anything in common. And just when they establish some common ground, along comes Ms Third Wheel Crush aka Jamie, who, we are supposed to believe, makes Tasha fall for her (again… yeah right). We were told repeatedly how much they had in common and how alike they were, as if that was the reason for them to get together. Well kids… not really. When you are that alike, it is likely that you have no chemistry. Certainly, Jamie and Tasha had no discernible chemistry, except the chemistry forced upon them by the same writers who have been ruining this series for 6 seasons. It was certainly nothing compared to the effortless chemistry Alice and Tasha had.
You know who else has chemistry? That’s right, Bette and Tina. But we all knew that, from the very first time we saw them together. They are really the heart of the show and the group of friends that we have grown to know and love (and that’s why they get three photos in this review). Had Ilene really broken them up at the end of the season, I would really have pulled a Virginia Tech (albeit with a water pistol) and smashed all my L Word DVDs. But since the only thing that could break them up died with Jenny, they got to stay together and be the perfect lesbian family that most of us aspire to have one day. See Jenny? You are the most useful in your death.
Helena began this season as a cool, collected businesswoman in a joint venture with Kit, devoid of personal attachments and problems. Of course, something like that can’t last on TV, so of course, who comes back? Dylan, the scheister from Season 3. Remember her? Short hair, totally dykey but didn’t know she was a dyke until she had one in her mouth? Gold-digger chick who cheated Helen out of 3 million dollars? Yeah, her. She’s back with a new haircut and a new heart, which apparently is full of Helena. Now, I’ll admit that Helena and Dylan are totally hot together, but even I knew it was a bad idea for them to get back together. And of course, they broke up at the end of the season, due to lack of trust. (Pst, Helena… I’ll gladly be your trustee for no commission at all)
Kit, of course, doesn’t speak more than 10 full lines the entire season, that does not consist of “grrrrrllllll” and “baby grrllllllll” and consequently, probably only deserves a passing mention – for dating a straight male drag queen (the ugliest one in the world). Kit, come on… if drag queens/kings are your thing, why in the world did you go from
Granted, he’s a lot better looking as a man (read, I can look at him without cringing), but seriously?
The only thing that made me cringe more than Kit and Sunset was Max’s plotline. From the beginning, Max has been cast as an outsider, a freak, a pariah, roughly on the same order as a lesbian at a gay porn stars convention. I had no issue with them making Max into a FTM gay boy last season – that was actually kinda cool and gender-bending (and he was actually the nicest and cutest when he was with Tom). But this season, Ilene, in a very very obvious rip-off of the story about the FTM who chose to get pregnant, decided to get Max “accidentally” pregnant.
Seriously, what is UP with Max’s terrible facial hair?
Why in the world would Max and Tom have penile-vaginal sex? They identify as two gay men, and yes, Max is a biological female, but their identity politics, as I understand it, does not include what is essentially straight sex – not that anything is wrong with that, but it makes no sense from the POV of someone who is becoming a man, to allow himself to be made love to, like a woman. They really should have done is to let Max CHOOSE to be pregnant. The plotline would make a hell of a lot more sense, and be a lot more powerful. Instead, Max turned into a whiny bitchy annoying pregnant man who couldn’t get over that he was pregnant (or maybe that was just Daniela Sea who couldn’t get over the stupidity of the writers – you CANNOT get pregnant when on testosterone). Of course Tom left, not being able to deal with a pregnant boyfriend with boobs and morning sickness, all in a very obvious set-up so that Bette and Tina could have an option to adopt Max’s baby.
Overall, the season was a total letdown, and a terrible way to bow out of what was a groundbreaking series that was the sole representation for queer women for some time. It was infinitely annoying that we never got to know how Jenny died and if anyone was complicit. The ending scene where they all agreed to go to the police station for questioning was just terrible – that’s the scene you end a season finale of a continuing series with, or a season premiere, not the final episode of a entire series. The fate of the friends was left open-ended, and not in a good way.
Besides Jenny’s murder mystery, there were more loose threads than a ball of yarn which Edward Scissorhands was playing with, and more moments of frustration than watching senior executives in top companies pocket millions in bonuses which came from bailout money. For a wrap-up season, the only thing it wrapped up was my hope, which was neatly packaged and mailed to Never-never land without a return address.
Or maybe I am being presumptuous, and all this is a very very transparent set-up for the spin-off series with Alice. Which, now, of course, you are going to watch aren’t you?
The final final “scene” of the season was the cast walking with the wind in their hair, smiling at each other, which went on for 2 minutes before I figured out they were not really walking to the police station but just making an excuse for a prolonged slow-motion shot.
And I thank you, for listening to me snarkily and haphazardly review this show for the past 3 years. I don’t have a photo of me with wind in my hair, but if there is a fan uprising in demand of it, I will most certainly fly to Vancouver, shoot a green-screened picture of me and insert the Los Angeles skyline.