Yes, Chaotic Queers Are Still Watching “The L Word: Generation Q” With Their Exes

A couple years ago, I set out on a very important mission to find and talk to people who were willingly, enthusiastically planning to watch The L Word: Generation Q with their exes. My DMs became an instant stew of queer mess, and I loved it. With the series back for its second season, I had to know: Is this still a Thing?

Friends, it very much is. Here are some of the conversations — lightly edited for clarity — I’ve had with folks about watching and not watching Generation Q season two with exes. The only thing better than gay drama on TV is gay drama irl.


Megan, watching with their ex Sarah (featured in the next section!)

What is your Generation Q viewing situation?

I am 100% watching season 2 with my ex. We also watched all of the original series together in a ~6 week period about a year and a half ago (and we were already exes then too), and to this day we share one box set of the DVDs.

What’s your relationship with your ex?

We were each other’s first girlfriends when we were a junior and senior respectively in high school in ~2015 and have been friends since then!

Do you have any specific memories about watching the original series together?

We went in together on the DVD box set off of eBay because we had heard about the music licensing thing where if you stream the show, you get different songs than the original show. We both do a lot of film/media studies & care a lot about lesbian media specifically so we decided to watch it specifically for the like lesbian cultural background. We ended up watching the entire 6th season all in one marathon sitting in my living room.

Yes! Music choice is so important!

The DVDs also came with really incredible bonus content, and when Sarah was watching it because she had the DVDs at the time, she facetimed me in the middle of the day so that she could point the camera at her computer screen and we could watch the L Word puppet show together.

[At this point, Megan shared a video of the “L Word puppet show” bonus content from the DVDs, which I somehow had never seen before, so thank you for that gem, Megan!!!!!]

Did y’all watch season one of Gen Q together in addition to the original series?

I don’t think so, or if we did it was accidental/incidental. We live in the same city but haven’t seen each other very often because of covid but are trying to start seeing each other again and season 2 just seemed like a well-timed reason to get together.


Sarah, watching with her ex Megan (featured above!)

Hi Sarah! Your ex Megan said you might be down to chat with me for this article!

Megan and I dated in high school and had an amicable, college-based breakup, so we’ve just stayed best friends and decided right as Gen Q was coming out that we should binge the whole original show together. It was honestly such a nice way to consume 70 hours of high highs and low lows. We’ve always watched movies and tv together, so it was nice to have someone to not only discuss the plot with but also how far we’ve come in media representation. I feel like even though we hadn’t seen the original show in full yet, it was such a cultural touchstone for all queer women at the time we were both coming out (~2013) so it was already part of our shared experience as a exes and now friends. And now we trade custody of the eBay boxset we went in on together lol.

How does the DVD joint custody work? Do you trade the full box set back and forth or will someone be like “hey I want season 4” for a few weeks?

Basically. If we ever want to watch clips we’ll usually just go on hulu, but if we’re rewatching chunks then we pass around whatever dvds we need. The best thing about it though is it has all the original special features which are truly unhinged. When I found them, I facetimed Megan to watch them together because I was like there’s no time for you to get here—it’s too important to put off. It’s definitely not the most efficient way to watch but it’s been very fun. We originally watched the series over her Christmas break, so we were both in San Francisco and could just meet up to watch which was nice and easy.

Are you looking forward to watching season two together?

Yeah for sure. I consume a lot of media with queer characters, and while it’s nice to have such a variety nowadays, there’s still something so enjoyable and special about a show that revolves entirely around queer women. To have writing that literally doesn’t care about pandering to straight people in any way. I was just with my family for a week and watching Gen Q reminds me of the difference between hanging out with them and my friend group of entirely queer people. Just less energy you need to expend.

Totally! And it sounds like both you and Megan are into talking about queerness in media in depth.

It’s definitely always been one of the biggest things we have in common. We’ve watched stuff together for years whether in person or over video chat. We have consumed a similar, really wide range of content, so she’s definitely my go-to to discuss queer media. We’ve known each other so long that we understand what the other likes and can recommend things to each other and talk about stuff without having to explain, you know, the general context that queer media exists in. Also Megan’s really fucking smart, so it makes for good conversation. She’s studied film in depth, and I’ve always been really interested in the history of queerness and representation so I always love putting those ideas together.

You both clearly have a lot of respect for each other. I was just trying to think if there are any pairs of exes from the show who seem as functional as y’all are, and I don’t think I can come up with anyone lol

Lmao there’s barely any general functioning pairs but definitely no exes.


Rebecca, planning to live-text with her ex while watching

Live-texting absolutely counts.

We are live-texting it while she watches with her wife on the other side of the country lol. The same wife she moved out of our house and left me for! Now we are best friends! CHAOS

It took a while for us to be able to talk about their relationship, but now that we are both moved on it’s good to hear that she found someone that can put up with her in ways that I couldn’t. We talk about our relationship and process how this one is more suited to her needs.

Did you watch season one with your ex?

We weren’t on good terms during season 1, but we recently rewatched all of season 1 together while I was coping from another breakup.

I love that your ex could be there for you through another breakup.

Yeah we reconnected during quarantine, and she literally drove down from Wisconsin to support me when I was going through it.

And then y’all watched all of season one.

Sure did. With lots of takeout and facemasks.

Did y’all have a favorite storyline or character?

Many arguments about Jenny (I am a fan of her insanity, she is not); love to make fun of Carmen’s Spanish, and obviously we never miss an opportunity to drag Tina. Oh wait, that’s the original—for the new one, we both cannot deal with Finley. Also love dragging her. And talking through the whole throuple situation given that we are both nonmonog.


Alex, watching with her ex…who she lives with

How long ago did you break up?

We broke up on Valentine’s Day in 2020 after 3.5 years together. Great timing just before lockdown too. 😅

Is the pandemic the main reason you still live together?

No, we moved to a new flat together last October because we genuinely get on really well still as pals. She met her new gf two weeks after we broke up so they’ve been all loved up since. I promise I am not making this all up hahah

So are you, your ex, and your ex’s new gf going to all watch season two together?

Hahah I’m sure we’ll all end up watching a few episodes together, yeah.

Do any characters on the show remind you of your ex?

Tina for sure (my ex agrees!)

LOL does that make you Bette?

I wish. I would say yes but my ex would probably disagree hahah

Even though y’all get along super well, do you think watching season two is going to feel a little different than watching season one together did?

If anything, it will probably be even better. We’re much better as friends! We even ordered all the original series DVDs off eBay to get a full rewatch in before it kicks off!!

I’m learning there are a lot of exes who share the DVDs!

Ahaha to be fair, are your DMs not chaos right now?

Sheer chaos.

Hahaha delivering the goods.

If your ex ever moves out, do you think you’ll find a way to still share the DVDs?

Omg yes the DVDs are split ownership.


Megan, watching with her ex Gabby (again!)

[I spoke to Megan and Gabby for the original article, and Megan was down to provide an update.]

First thing’s first: Did you end up watching season one with your ex?

I did indeed! I watched it with my ex Gabby, her girlfriend (now fiancée), and my girlfriend at the time (now an ex)! Gay and complicated enough for you? 😂

Do you have plans to watch season two with anyone from that group?

Yes! Gabby and her fiancée and I are planning to watch season two together again!

How was watching the first season together?

It was great! It brought back a lot of fun memories of watching the first series with Gabby in college when we were first dating. We also watched a couple episodes with another queer couple, and not everyone in the group had seen the original series so it was fun to hear their perspectives too, since they didn’t have the nostalgia factor. I think the excitement from the rest of us about it was a key factor, honestly, and it was interesting to hear what they thought of Gen Q as a standalone show without the backstory of the original. Like Shane opening Dana’s bar didn’t hit as hard as it did for the rest of us, for example. 😭

When we spoke last time, you said that while watching the original, you did think of Gabby as sort of a Shane haha but is there a different character (or storyline) that reminds you of Gabby in <em>Generation Q</em>?

Hmm. I’m not sure if there’s a particular Gen Q character that comes to mind, but I definitely feel like I strongly identified with Bette and Shane and Alice’s friendship. I loved that it felt so familiar after all these years and that they had clearly been there for each other through so much. I feel like Gabby and I have cultivated that kind of relationship, and I love it so much. Having that queer chosen family to come home to over and over again is so important, and Gabby is definitely a huge part of that for me.

I personally cannot relate, but I do know a lot of folks who consider their exes as family.

Oh for sure! Gabby is the only one of my exes I feel this way about, none of the rest haha. And it’s taken a lot of work to get here with her, I won’t lie. But I’m grateful. 😊 Now we just need a Planet Cafe or a Dana’s to meet up at for ridiculously long breakfasts to catch up on our gay lives, so we can truly be living the dream. 😂


Nikki, NOT watching with her ex (and in fact, not watching at all)

So you watched season one with your ex?

I watched the first season with my ex after we broke up! Bonus points because we decided to get matching tattoos the day we broke up! She came over to my parents house for Christmas after we broke up and watched season 1 lol.

But you won’t be watching season two together?

Correct! After being broken up since November 2019, we finally stopped talking because it was toxic, so unfortunately we will miss watching the second season together lol.

Can I ask what inspired the breakup tattoo? That sounds a bit like an L Word plotline.

We met in college, and I was visiting her in her hometown one time, and we went to her favorite book store and she bought me this book of poems and on the back were the words “stick tight.” So we decided to do that in terms of like sticking tight to each other and to love. Since we didn’t want to break up but it was obviously the best course of action for the two of us.

Do you think you’ll miss your ex at all while watching season two?

Well I won’t be watching it. Logistically, I can’t watch it because I used her logins for everything and if she hasn’t changed her password yet I would feel bad using it. But also because, as this was my first long term wlw relationship, it’s painful to see wlw relationships in media.

So are you avoiding queer TV in general at the moment?

Yes.


August, watching with their ex

[It’s worth noting that August asked their ex to watch season two with them SPECIFICALLY after seeing my tweet about this article. My impact.]

Does this mean you’re indeed going to watch together?

Yes. Ty for encouraging me to be on my worst behavior.

How long ago did you break up?

We broke up in early June. She moved out last Thursday, but then she spent the night that night??

Did you watch season one together?

Yes, that was our Sunday night appointment viewing.

So the tradition will likely continue for season two despite the breakup?

Yeah, I mean, I got the house and the Showtime login in the break-up. And it will probably be sexy and unhealthy for both of us.


Celina, NOT watching with her ex

[Celina wrote a very funny reply to one of my tweets about this piece, and even though she isn’t planning on watching with her ex, she agreed to talk to me about a different perspective. As she puts it: “always happy to support messiness in the arts.”]

Is there any part of you considering actually reaching out to your ex about watching the show together?

No. I would love to, but my pride won’t let me at this point. I don’t think it’s worth the effort anymore. When she ended things last year, I took some space away from her to heal even tho she wanted to be besties right away. When I finally reached out when I was ready (STRICTLY platonic—I have no attraction to her at all anymore, I literally just miss my best friend), she seemed happy to hear from me. But I realized I was the one initiating all the conversations so I backed off.

She also told me she has a new gf, who I assume is getting in the way of us being friends…which, isn’t the whole point that lesbians are notorious for being friends w their exes?? 🙄 lmaooo

Anyway, sorry to overshare, but perhaps this can shed some light on how truly complicated and annoying this show is both on-screen and in its off-screen implications! My ex was the one who introduced me to Gen Q because she was obsessed, and I LOVED binging it with her. So now I’m like…who tf am i gonna watch it with to that extent lmao.

I think a lot of people can probably relate.

I hope that didn’t come off as bitter tho! Nothing but love—I just really want a viewing buddy 😭

It totally doesn’t come off as bitter! I get it! I think it’s really hard when we associate a specific TV show with someone and then no longer have them to watch with. Bonding over a tv show can feel like a really intimate part of a relationship.

You’re absolutely right, thank you for understanding! I’m also realizing now how many intimate and important conversations we ended up having because of this show. That’s definitely hard to lose.

Do you remember any of those specific conversations you had because of the show?

A really big one was the way we both related to Dani. For my ex, she seemed to understand the way Dani processed her emotions. I empathized with Dani because of certain things her father said to her about her relationship with Sophie. It was similar to things I was told by loved ones when I first came out.

I’d also say our conversations about the whole Dani/Sophie/Finley issue shed a bit of light on our values and priorities in relationships—not in an inherently good or bad way, just an illuminating way.


Caty, watching with her very recent ex

Who are you watching season two with?

Me and my girlfriend broke up literally last night, and one of the terms of our breakup was that we’d still watch the new season of Gen Q together. Being a dyke is Exhausting.

What do you think it’s going to be like watching the show together given how recent the breakup was?

It’s probably going to be weird, because navigating our post-breakup friendship is so new. But honestly, there’s no better show than The L Word to make us feel better about our chaotic queer life choices.


Helen, watching with their ex’s ex… who is their girlfriend

Do either of you still stay in touch with your mutual ex?

Oh yeah, they’re best friends lmao. We all went dancing on Saturday!! Love 2 b a lil chaotic.

So technically there IS a chance y’all’s ex could end up watching the show with you, too.

Good god. I suppose.

As a Gemini, I love hearing about everyone’s chaos.

As a double Pisces/Scorpio rising, I love causing it.


Who are YOU watching season two of Generation Q with? I promise I won’t judge :)

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 299 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. Hahahaha had no idea this was a thing but I am indeed watching with two of my exes. Bonus points, they also dated each other (but we weren’t a throuple!). We watched all of last season together (with one of their amazing partners as well) and parts of the original series too. The only thing more difficult than rebuilding our friendships after the messiness of ending things was getting through the interrogation tapes.

  2. Sooooo when season 1 came out my extreme-long-distance crush/soulmate offered to share her hulu login with me so we could watch it together. I was super busy, and couldn’t immediately figure out the technology, so I declined, and now I’m starting to think I might have fucked up big time :'(

  3. I may have found it late, but I’m so glad this article exists. Not just because the premise is cleverly structured, but also because I’m currently exhausted by the str8s in my life not understanding lesbian ex friendships so it was fun bask in the messiness of this article. xoxo

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