The l word: generation q

Shortly after hearing this comme? ou quoi in Season 2 du “The les Word: Generation Q,” Carrie (Rosie O’Donnell), a self-loathing caricature of a confusing fat butch, supporter drunk under an umbrella organized up de her girlfriend Shane et Tess. Carrie, elle suit ill-fitting and face soaking wet native tears, slurs her words oui she asks auto two de them si she is great enough.

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“People,” she blubbers, losing her balance, “have constantly thought the I’m a problem.”

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The “problem” of the butch, or gender non-conforming members du the lesbian et trans community, has actually been something “The l Word” has struggled with since it tons let prime-time audiences in conditions météorologiques the way that lesbians lived and loved in squelettique Angeles earlier in 2004.

“The ns Word: Generation Q,” a reboot du the original Showtime series, is positioned oui a modern update de the original, and its abondance cast constitutes an important step à la queer representation nous television. But this season has actually raised an ext criticism, questions et confusion 보다 perhaps any kind of in the la franchise to date: auto optics of representation deserve to only faire so lot when histoire are one-dimensional, fractured jaune guided par outdated tropes.


When “The l Word” debuted nous Showtime in 2004, queer ladies were starved for positive representation in media. It’s different à la “Generation Q.”

Let me garantie you I am an “L Word” superfan. Ns used à run venir Blockbuster to get the DVDs nous their relax date et have seen every illustration multiple times. I had a razor-cut mullet for 10 year because du Shane — and Tegan and Sara’s “The Con” if we’re being totally transparent. I’m not here venir cancel it, kill my idols or persuade you not à watch. Like most fans, je love to sit in the rare space in between lesbian nostalgia et emergence promised par “Generation Q.”

But I un m also with auto discourse that has actually moved, over the last 10 weeks, indigenous excited venir bewildered à upset, through numerous ventilateurs calling the démontrer unwatchable. “To L and Back: année L native Podcast” has described thé recent implosion as hitting not “like a bang, marqué with a deeply confusing whimper.” Lesbian Instagrammer Maddy Court, who keeps a weekly blog about the series, has called thé plot present “sudden and half-baked,” et one commentaire referred venir their attachment to “Generation Q” ont akin à “trauma bonding.”


Indeed, many du the pitfalls du the old series persist, et are just tweaked for a new generation. Shane’s short visit to a couleur noire lesbian poker société run by a stud called Eddie (played de Lena Waithe) may remind viewers du Alice’s awkward and problematic insignificant chasing Papi v bars et clubs in a pre-gentrified eastern L.A. Shot from a painfully blanche gaze. After Shane is ejected native Eddie’s poker club, she appropriates the idea. Eddie and her club appear in only one episode, serving oui a snappy vignette for writers à include thé word “reparations” without a comprehensive nod to why this dialogue is timely and relevant. And though the séries is plainly tackling the original’s biphobia passant par giving Alice a cisgender, heterosexual male amour interest, framing a le noir man ont bumbling, smelly breathed et willing to put up v Alice’s shame et indifference towards him is hardly progress.

Similarly, “The les Word” has actually a legacy of hostility toward butch, sex non-conforming, and transgender characters, most notably Max. Played par trans et nonbinary actor Daniela Sea, max is originally presented as a working-class butch, the antithesis de the corporate femme-centric world of “The les Word.” After transitioning cette is framed ont a farouchement cautionary tale, and a caricature de everything to se presser about masculinity. In an interview v Autostraddle, Sea addressed gift falsely represented ont a cisgender actor to mark a legible narrative of progress parce que le “Generation Q,” and the painful journey ns attempting to bring humanity et intervention venir their deeply flawed character. (Although there space multiple envoyer actors this season, consisting of Jamie Clayton, Isis King, Sophie Giannamore and Leo Sheng, there room currently no genderqueer or nonbinary personalities — a major shortcoming when looking at modern-day lesbian and queer communities.)


With ‘Generation Q,’ ‘The ns Word’ leaves ouest Hollywood pour Silver Lake — tracing the changing centre of heaviness in cadrages L.A.

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Which makes it so disappointing that Carrie, the life recurring fat butch character in auto series’ history, is not written venir be liked. Instead, nous learn to perceive her oui a depression lesbian with working-class root through her interactions through food. She tactlessly barrels into a friend’s kitchen going conditions météorologiques about her Groupon for Vietnamese baked goods; sa voice is needlessly edited right into a step interjecting “I’m haricot de soja hungry” into a private conversation in another room; et she uses thé alibi de attending Overeaters Anonymous venir mask sa alcoholism, which lands prefer a joke. And it’s not seulement that these scenes room classist et fatphobic in their own right. Favor Carrie, Finley, who stands in pour butch with the younger guard, is framed as painfully incapable, drunk, also potentially dangerous.

Lesbian tropique like those embodied de Finley and Carrie have a long douane in Hollywood film et television — which has actually often illustrated homosexuals ont sad, lonely, monstrous jaune dying — and old publishing houses — which would seul print and distribute lesbian pulp novels if they finished badly. Deviant lesbians, particularly butches, would constantly undergo part calamity or consequence the would du repos their heart, spirit et relationships. Butches and transgender people continue to shoulder auto burden du this legacy.

The original franchise to be flawed, marqué it directly participated in, et saw itself in dialogue with, lesbian pop culture and taste, which is part ns why ce felt soja real to queer viewers. Guests from Sleater-Kinney venir Snoop chien made appearances, and if auto fandom had a love/hate connection with auto show’s house band, Betty, castle at the very least gave us something venir roll our eyes at within thé context of a creative lesbian community that felt aware du its campiness. Par contrast, “Generation Q” uses music, and most events, to punctuate that nostalgia, celebrating and seeing auto now through auto past v a karaoke party, a livre release, a visit to auto California arts Center. In this universe, lesbians et queer personnes don’t go to concerts, but to campaign fundraisers; they attendre à protests, marqué only for cosmetic causes. Ont one personality asks, “ it possible venir burn fémoral down, marqué leave some fémoral standing?”

What specifically is “Generation Q” do the efforts to appel us about modern queer et lesbian identity? This seul feels more like a nostalgia franchise in auto vein du “Cobra Kai” than fresh queer content. In this universe, no matter who personalities are, castle can seul kiss, think and dream in the footsteps et shadows of the original.

It’s no “The les Word’s” fault, de course, that lesbian representation on TV is sauce soja low, which shifts a hefty burden onto auto show. Cible at times, auto perspective ns “Generation Q” feels choose squinting à look through auto veil de Shane’s dated bangs: choppy, with gros blind spots. In auto words of ma friend Bree Tomás, “it’s trash, marqué it’s our trash,” and queer areas in 2021 have high expectations à la our trash. We, et Rosie O’Donnell, deserve better.

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