I Made All My Friends Reenact The Planet From “The L Word” for a Week and Now Everyone Hates Me

Last Thursday, I woke up like I usually do: annoyed. But it wasn’t for my usual reason, that my cat, President Bartlett, caught a case of the zoomies every hour the night before. It was that for some reason I woke up still plagued by the existence of the mid-2000s Showtime original series The L Word. I took it upon myself to do some Big Gay Soul Searching (LOGO this fall) and I realized one of the most annoyingly unrealistic things about the show was everyone’s constant morning presence at The Planet.

We’re talking every morning. Some of them worked in Santa Monica (Shane?) and only popped in for a minute, just long enough to get a shot of espresso and take a few joke-shots at Alice’s sexuality, then get back on the road. (Shane, why?)

To clarify, they willingly drove to The Planet modeled off Urth Caffe in WeHo, which is adjacent/close to actually nothing. So these adults, most of whom had real jobs, went out of their way early af in the morning to maybe see their friends for a second.

Obviously I had some questions. Most re: logistics. Did they all coordinate the night before who would be there? Was there a standing plan to be at The Planet every morning no matter what? Did Kit have a table constantly reserved just in case? Either way this kind of commitment from anyone in LA seemed genuinely insane.

I needed to know how they did it. I needed to see if the “way that we live,” was a way that I could live. So, I decided to force my friends to reenact The Planet as a fun, very normal friendship challenge.

Since The Planet doesn’t actually exist (Sad!), I picked a new LGBTQ coffee shop in Hollywood called Cuties that was equally difficult for the whole group to get to.

My first challenge was actually getting people to show up. I’ve lived in Hollywood long enough to know that the only way to get anyone, even your best friends, to do anything is to pretend it’s a job, so I drafted up a contract and forced my friends to sign!

The contract stated some v basic terms.

I informed the regulars that I would be “sending some informal texts to a handful of other lesbians this week who may appear at will” as guest stars to keep things exciting.

Saturday, September 9

The only email I got back from the group chain:

The guest stars were a bit more responsive, but I could tell everyone was equally excited to be my friend!

And my personal favorite,


Monday: It Begins, or Day 1 of WHY DID I DO THIS?

I actually woke up pretty excited to start testing the limits of my friendships. This was by far my most obnoxious bit since it involved: a) early mornings, and b) driving. BUT, I figured the promise of free coffee for my top three friends each day would be enough to keep people my friends/happy to see me.

Around 7am, the excitement started pouring in!

It’s safe to say day one was kicking off GREAT. However, The Way That We Live is not actually a good way at all, it turns out, until I buy the first three attendees coffee. Then, moods start to rise.

In true L Word fashion, we had a lot to catch up on: one of the girls had just broken up with her girlfriend and joined approx. 1000000 straight dating apps. I had been set up on a quasi-blind date more than a year ago that I had gone on the night before. Quasi-Blind Date also decided she may or may not be popping by Cuties for a surprise visit (attack?) during the week, so tensions were PRESENT. Also Emily started her period.

Original Moods: 2/10

Moods at Cuties: 10/10

Periods Started: 1/5

The excitement of the newness was enough to liven up the Monday morning. Plus, even though Emily’s uterine walls were joining the party, seeing a bunch of queer people first thing in the morning helped all of us deal with the overwhelming number of men in every public space.

Are we The L Word: Yes.


Tuesday: The First Guest

Everyone showed up within the 8-8:10 time frame I breezily insisted they agree to, and we were off to a great start! We were a little less exhausted, but we had a lot to catch up on from the last 24 hours. We all got our coffees and settled into our new routine, trying to assert our dominance by deciding which characters we were most similar to. One friend continued to insist she was the Shane, though on day one, I accidentally took the title, despite my truest desire to be an Alice/Lara hybrid. But genuinely none of this matters because then A NIGHTMARE IN A VEST WALKED IN and we all started screaming.

Julie appeared as full pilot Shane, including a wig she bought/cut terribly just for this.

She looked so much like Shane that our two token straight women (pictured) were actually giddy.

This helped soften the blow when one of them was #blessed with not one but two tickets from an overzealous parking enforcement officer who eyed up the car harder than Dana ogling literally any woman that walks into the Planet/her general vicinity.

Original Moods: 5/10

Moods at Cuties: 10/10

Periods Started: 2/5

Our first guest star really hyped up the energy even though people were exhausted. Also Julie starting her period made our count hit two for two, which felt pretty appropriate.

Are we The L Word: Shane.


Wednesday: Three Periods

Ok so day three we were FEELING IT. Emily was still reeling from her two ticket Tuesday and everyone was starting to get genuinely upset at me for having to wake up at 7am again.

My period came. At this point, we were all horrified to see what Thursday would bring, since every day was feeling like 127 hours. Wednesday also brought the first person to break the contract. It was Tara, who “had to get her cast off” because she’s “getting married soon” and wasn’t going to “ruin her wedding” for my “stupid bit.” But to her credit, she did FaceTime in, so.

Julie continued her bit of dressing as characters at their best and showed up as a post doubles practice Dana (sans Harrison).
Original Moods: 2/10

Moods at Cuties: 6/10

Periods Started: 3/5

People are starting to hate me but are still happy about the free coffee.

Are we The L Word: Yes, because despite two tickets, three periods, and one cast removal, we all pretty much showed up. And can you even ask anything else anymore?


Thursday: Help

Day four brought no more periods. Three came in so strong and then zero? Delirious from the lack of sleep and four days of mainlining caffeine through my veins, I started doing my own investigation. Could our alpha period have switched? Is Emily our alpha? Is Ilene?? I began my hunt with as much vigor as Lucy Lawless investigating Jenny’s murder: none.

After asking two people the barest minimum, I learned the series regulars (the people I forced to sign a contract) who hadn’t started their periods all have IUDs and don’t have periods. So. I’m choosing to believe that modern science was the only thing keeping all of our periods from syncing up.

Highlights of the day included: Julie appearing as Jenny after she fucks Marina in that shed(?) and Tim drags her to Vegas to get married in her dirty sex tights.

Original Moods: 1/10

Moods at Cuties: 6/10

Periods Started: 3/5

Moods were VERY low. A soft Bette in suspenders and Vegas (Tahoe) Jenny were big hits. Then, a special appearance by our friend Brittani Nichols solidified Thursday as the Day Not to Miss. Zero new periods but also Zero new tickets! However I got served whole milk in my latte and I had three sips and I’m still shook. RIP.

Are we The L Word: Yes.


Friday: Kill Me.

Friday morning my cat decided he was done with this. He gave me this look as I left and I considered bailing.

BUT, I didn’t! Honestly, by 8:10, we were so out of it. Especially because, just like on The L Word, most of us continued to hang out at night. We learned that seeing each other every morning and night gives you nothing to talk about six hours later when you see each other again. We all made idle small talk about something. Dreams? Dogs? Nothing? Genuinely only a miracle could save this day. And then it did.

So many guest stars showed up including a dog(!!!), Business Bette, a million months pregnant Tina, that crazy girl Lacey from the pilot (with flyers) and did I mention the dog? My day was made, despite the collective eight hours of sleep I’d gotten through the week.

Julie came in costume again, as another of my least favorites: Lacey. Videos of her 100% accurate portrayal available on request.

Others showed up in costume as well. Including our favorite characters like ‘generic lesbian background actor.’

But seriously so many queer women showed up, it felt like a fever dream.

Original Moods: 4/10 (mainly because people were so glad it was almost over)

Moods at Cuties: 30/10 (I now see why The L Word brought on so many guest stars through the years)

Periods Started: 80/5 (guessing, but probably correct)

Are we The L Word: Sadly, yes.


Thoughts a week later:

SO, after Friday’s meeting, I checked in with my contractual series regulars to get everyone’s takes on the week. How highly they’d rate it, how likely they’d be into doing it again, and how much they all hated me.

Here are their replies:

+ Honestly, I would def do again. 9/10, losing one point for the fact that you told me not to watch The L Word when I clearly should have watched The L Word.

+ I was thinking we needed to keep it up for AT LEAST one more week.

+ Love you more than ever and I would absolutely do it again.

+ I’d rate it a 9 because waking up never got much easier and I wouldn’t have been able to do it every morning had I not signed a contract. BUT it still gets a high rating because I got to spend every morning with my friends, except for you who I now hate. JK, JK, JK even you. I do not hate you. I think this was one of your best ideas and I’m going to miss doing this every day.

So everyone… didn’t hate me. OR SO I THOUGHT.

BECAUSE come Wednesday, guess what happened?

Two of us showed up! Proving that literally no one actually wants to be accountable for anything in LA. Unless there are Instagram stories, free coffee, signed contracts, etc.,

However, let it be known that two guest stars have sparked a spin-off series. They appear Fridays at Cuties. Be sure to tune in for special appearances by me and other accidental guests.

ALSO the final unexpected side effect of the week is:

LITERALLY ALL OF OUR EXES WATCHED EVERY INSTAGRAM STORY. Even if they don’t officially follow us.

I’m going to bed.

Yours in Very Normal Contractual Friendship Challenges,

steph

See you at Cuties! 😉


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Stephanie Ritter is a writer/comedian/Instagram dog-stalker who just started watching The 100 and is already highly regretting her choices. She co-hosts a podcast about the dogs she sees each week called Dogs We Saw This Week with her friend Anne. You can find her online on twitter.com or instagram.com (@stephanieritter), at work in her writers’ room, or at home in West Hollywood. Please don't do the last two.

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74 Comments

  1. Now i’m wondering what the L word reboot is going to look like.

    OBVIOUSLY everyone will hang on messenger/Whatsapp/snapchat groupchats instead. Oh god are they going to use the same cinematographic device as Sherlock, superimposing the text on the screen ?

    • I forgot to watch the last eps of Sherlock. Seriously, been busy, forgot. Thx for reminding me. I love your reënactment of Breakfast at the Planet, it’s like a sort of ritual evocation or something. As for the attempt to give L Word a do-over: it strikes me as a dubious proposition, but after what I’ve seen of that car wreck of a reboot which is Grace’n’Will, I say why not? (I didn’t watch the original, I may not understand the context, but either way).

      At least there will be more lesbians. I know, lesbians don’t exist on Grace and Will, I heard, itn their case it’s n+1 where n=number of lesbians where set members initially=0 and it never increments. But that’s why everyone *must* have breakfast together, every damn day. Like if they were some old guys with tractor hats in a small town in, e.g., Iowa — bear with me here for a second — who meet at The Diner on Main Street East for b’fast every single morning around 7:30 because that’s how that little town is. And they’re always there.

      Except that at The Planet they’re all unnaturally hot and toned and so forth, everyone is so California (others have prob. said this but it should be called “L.A. Dykes”, like “L.A. Law” only etc.), and the storylines are just so painfully silly, or painfully painful, your usual L Word plot varieties. Or maybe just our usual plot varieties but I bet it stayed that way. My sweetie and I gave up on it after season 2 or 3, whichever one where they “went” to Canada for a season ender, to a ski resort in B.C. There were pointless, painfully painful, plot “resolutions”/setups for the next season. Since we didn’t have Autostraddle, we couldn’t keep track of stuff without having to watch it.

      We decided that the LW writing staff had encountered what we call Third-Season Syndrome, first observed almost universally in Star Trek TOS in 1968: the writers, who may have changed a lot since s.1, are sort of out of ideas and the plot has backed them into certain places it’s hard to write your way out of.

      And so, you start to torture your characters. Soap operas work with this as their given, their premise, from day to day: all characters are vulnerable to pointless extreme tragedy with no notice. And we knew L Word was a soap going in. But we gave up after that season, believe it or not. Too much unnecessary awfulness. I just hate it when they make characters awful and then torture them.

  2. Seriously Cuties is just my favorite coffee shop. There events are just great, the owners are just soo awesome and nice, it’s the perfect spot. Plus, they’ve hosted a queer carnival, sponsored lbtq night at a gay leather bar. Vegan donuts, queers, and L Word re-enactments oh my!

  3. I watched part of the first episode of the L Word and had to bail because of the biphobia, but this is still so amazing. The dedication of showing up to the same coffee shop every day so early! Too bad AS staff live so far from one another because it would be fun to see them do this.
    Plz send President Bartlett my love he’s the cutest <3

  4. Hahaha, I cackled when I got to the first picture of Brittani Nichols. She better be in the new show.

    That Shane vest was perfect and I’m glad you included Lacey, The Woman With The Flyers. I know she’s a fictional character but I hope she got some therapy.

    You should make this an annual thing and invite Subaru to sponsor you. Pam Grier would hear about it and show up to surprise everyone.

  5. So I work at a school where about 2/3 of the staff are queer women, including 75% of my grade level team who I also happen to be friends with.

    We hang out and chat every morning from 8:00-8:10 while we make copies and drink coffee/tea.

    Currently thinking that we may need to rename our staff room The Planet.

    • I truly should’ve hijacked Cuties audio system or called in my own personal Kit to DJ.

      Also Julie is the queen of costumes and one time we did Friends trivia and were the ONLY two dressed up in the entire venue but we got first place so we felt a liiiittttle less ashamed. We made shirts and everything. 30/10.

  6. This is fantastic. Great content!

    Also how does everyone manage to be there from 8-9 and get to work at a reasonable hour? It takes me 1h to get to work, if I wanted to do this, our coffee times would have to start at 7. I don’t think I can convince anyone to wake up at 6 haha

  7. okay

    A of all, this was hilarious and my gf and i both LOLed many times as i read this out loud to her

    B of all, ROBIN AND CARLY

    but

    C of all…y’all, 7am is…not that early? i hate mornings, i get it, but…i was truly so confused by the whole premise that waking up at 7am to be somewhere at 8am was like, sooooo crazy? do cool queers in LA just not have morning jobs? someone plz explain, inquiring minds genuinely want to know.

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