Jennifer Beals Opens Up About The L Word's Highly Anticipated Reboot
I have a confession to make: Bette Porter of The L Word (and it suffices to say, Jennifer Beals) is a huge part of my queer origin story. When the original series first aired, I was still only dating men and streaming the show piecemeal on my shitty Macbook, letting the 50-minute episodes buffer for two hours or more and watching them at extremely low quality. When I divulged this to a friend recently, she said to me, “Your queer awakening was extremely lo-res, and a little illegal.” But who among us?
The original series was a beacon. When it aired, it stood alone — there was nothing else like it for lesbians, other queer-identified women, and the many nonbinary people who saw themselves represented in characters on the show, as well. That said, it wasn’t without its problems. Bisexual people were often treated as second-tier to lesbians, especially gold star” lesbians. All representation of sex workers seemed to indicate that the only reason someone would take that career path is if they had trauma in their past or desperately needed the money.And then...Max.
But taken in the context of the time (the show originally aired between 2004 and 2009) when representation was minimal and in mainstream LGBTQIA+ discourse, the words "marriage equality" were synonymous to equality itself, the show still took on a lot. Beals recognizes that while the show did a lot of good, some mistakes were made along the way. “You can’t get it 100 percent right, you just can’t" she admits in an interview with Allure. "But you can try your best. With the original, I’d tell Ilene [Chaiken], ‘I hope we just reach one girl, just one girl, maybe in the midwest, who feels alone,’ and she was like, ‘Let’s just make a good show.’”