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Producers Like Telling the Truth With Showtime's ‘The L Word'

21 Dec, 2004 By: Dan Bennett

When the producers of “The L Word” designed their much-discussed series for Showtime, they knew they would have a series that entertained, titillated and started discussions. But they also wanted a show that simply stated the truth.

“We look back on the first season with a lot of pride,” said Rose Lam, producer of “The L Word.” “We set out to do something that was original and also truthful to a community. We feel we did that, in spite of the fact it's difficult to accomplish everything you want in the first 14 episodes. We learned from our mistakes, and are taking the best of what we did and going from there.”

The L Word, The Complete First Season is now available from Showtime Home Video at $69.99 on DVD. The five-disc set offers every episode of the series and multiple extras, including a fashion segment, interviews, commentaries and a sneak peek at the second season, which airs on Showtime starting Feb. 20.

“The L Word” is the story of a group of friends and family in Los Angeles, many of whom are lesbians. The series emphasizes the intimacy between these friends and their sexuality, but also covers familiar, everyday issues not dealing with sexuality. Among the cast members during the first season were Jennifer Beals, Erin Daniels, Mia Kirshner, Karina Lombard and Pam Grier.

“Showtime has done an incredible job with the DVD by giving the viewer all the things they can't have when watching the show every week,” Lam said. “We're hoping that people who didn't see any or all of the episodes during the first season will become more familiar with the series and build our audience.”

“The L Word” earned a big media buzz during its debut season, as no television series had ever so completely delved into the lives and loves of an extended group of lesbians, their friends and family members. Though television had made inroads in recent years with gay-themed sitcoms such as the hit series “Will & Grace,” the arrival of “The L Word” signaled a more complete and complex study of those dynamics.

“It's a series that addresses mainstream culture more so than people realize,” Lam said. “We all know somebody in the family or a friend who is gay or lesbian. A few years ago, that fact was never discussed. But now with this show and some of the others, people who wouldn't normally go out of their way to find out more about gay or lesbian family members can have an inside glimpse. They see that they have the same issues we all have in raising a family and what it's like to maintain a relationship. Their sexual orientation is different, but their life goals, their professional anxiety, everything else is the same.”

That the show plays on cable has worked to its advantage, Lam said. “Showtime is very bold,” she said. “The network is so supportive, and we are grateful for that.”

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