Real L Word To “Repackage” Itself As Doc About Lesbians In “Not So Easy” Areas, oh god

Well ladies, it looks like your second-favorite way to access Whitney Mixter‘s quadriceps, The Real L Word, probably isn’t coming back for a fourth season. Instead, it will evolve into a “documentary.”

At Showtime’s TCA situation today, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins called The L Word “an important franchise” and said that they’re looking into a way to exploit —I mean EXPLORE — “lesbian culture where it’s ‘not so easy.'” We should all thank our lucky stars that it’s taken nine years for the franchise to realize where the genuinely compelling story is and send Ilene Chaiken out there with her camera to capture it.

In full, David Nevins delivered the following news:

“I want to keep the franchise going and want to change up the show. It’s probably not going to continue in exactly the same form. I’ve been talking a lot with [executive producers] Dan [Cutforth], Jane [Lipsitz] and [creator] Ilene [Chaiken] about exploring L Word culture — lesbian culture in places not New York, L.A. — where the subculture is not so defined and it’s not so easy. I think we’re likely to make a documentary that will feel like a Real L Word documentary. We did the scripted show, we did the ensemble reality show and it’s probably going to become a documentary this year.”

This ambiguous situation has no definite form or structure, as Nevins noted it could possibly appear in one part or, alternately, two entire parts. Two parts! I assume each part would air on a different week, which could really spice things up. You’d have to wait an entire week between parts! So much could happen between those weeks. You could get a new car, or stub your toe, or hang cymbals from your earlobes. Furthermore, Nevins declared: “There’s a few different ways we could do it. They’re diving in doing research right now.”


The good news is, if there’s no Season Four of The Real L Word, I’ll be granted an additional 30 hours a week in June and July to devote to doing the kind of literary writing I actually care about! I’m sorry, much like the characters of The Real L Word, I can really only think about myself right now. AHAHAHAAHAH!!!!

[Yes, I’ll recap the motherf*cking documentary, Intern Grace couldn’t be more jazzed]

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


    • hello, inevitable ilene chaiken patting/caressing herself on the back for “sharing their stories”


      • hello making it all about their sex lives/relationships and not actually exploring class lines, intersectionality, race issues, cultural differences within queer communities, etc

        would prefer a dusty and romi biopic to the problematic shitshow we are about to witness

        • Am I the only one that read “dusty and romi biopic” and immediately thought that if IFC actually made this it would make a fantastic drinking game?

        • Isn’t this every reality show ever, though?

          I mean I understand the desire and need for well done representation of marginalized communities but there seems to be little to no framework within this type of ‘reality television’ to implement that. Shows that follow young people and their various sexual and romantic escapades, gay or straight, tend to look like TRLW regardless. Don’t get me wrong, a docu-series spanning several seasons that explores the complexities of queer life through an intersectional feminist lens would be great, but would have very little support from television executives or mainstream audiences. Of course, the problem queer women have with this series seems to be an anxiety that people will view ‘all lesbians’ like this. But TRLW is just fitting in with other similar reality shows.

  1. I sometimes wonder if she has any clue at all what life is like for lesbian and queer ladies outside of WeHo and whatever the trendy places are in New York. I haven’t seen any sign that she does from anything she’s made.

  2. Oh neat, a series that actually attempts to address the intersection between things like race, economic class, and sexual orientation.

    “Ilene Chaiken.”

    Never mind.

  3. oh my fuggin garsh! not so easy areas, so like, everywhere? god. how awful, who wants to see their own miserable existence replicated for a documentary. who is gonna watch that and frankly im a tad offended, as if they are saying, hey, we know your lives are difficult and unglamorous, and most lesbians are unpolished and unattractive….. i think this premise does more harm than good. kinda sounds like a pity party. shame on you ilene!

    • RIGHT. And, I mean, documentaries are supposed to be factual, truth revealing, honest – but this is, just, just no, nope, not even accurate.

  4. This makes it sound like the real lesbians live in NYC and LA and the rest of us are backward hicks that don’t have a sense of community or what it’s like to be queer. Although many of us grow frustrated with the way the lesbian community has been portrayed in the L Word and the Real L Word, the possibility of there being a documentary about places where being a lesbian is not so easy doesn’t sound that appealing either. I really want this show to be good and feature real life for queer women (and God forbid women of color), but the description alone makes me want to do a huge eye roll, let alone give it a chance.

    • “This makes it sound like the real lesbians live in NYC and LA and the rest of us are backward hicks that don’t have a sense of community or what it’s like to be queer.”

      Ilene Chaiken is going to go out on a safari to witness the raw lesbian in its natural habitat. “What is this? Flannel? And those boots…they’re so….masculine. Interesting.” It’ll be like shark week, but with more cliches and no understanding of the true nature of a thing being reached.

  5. I love the idea but of course know that it couldn’t possibly be well executed. Can we just make this ourselves? I have lived a very blessed life in terms of this: Grew up in the Bay Area, parents accepted my Gay brother and me, moved to New York and currently live in Chicago (home of the most active? straddler nation).

    I’m curious how they will make the transition from “reality” to a documentary. I hope they understabd the difference!

  6. This has “hot mess” written all over it.

    (I mean, I hope, it could also be “so exploitative it’s not even enjoyable in an ironic, mocking way” written all over it.)

  7. Ilene, if I can’t masturbate to this documentary I’m going to be very disappointed in you.

  8. OMG!!! Can they do the ‘Simple L Life’ where too celesbians, let’s say Romi and ‘what’s her name again, the blond chick from New York but not the one with pink hair’ will go to a small town and meet with some farmer’s lesbian daughters and teach them how to design feather earrings, or how to make it to the music industry, and die their hair. With a complete Romi make over for the farmer girls and at the end they would have learnt so many superficial stuffs and our celesbians won’t have learn a thing abt countryside life. I would watch that show.

  9. With ‘research’ they must surely mean calling Westboro to see if they’ll picket fence some small town lesbian wedding on camera.

  10. Typical. You finally have lesbian couples that have made it – marriage, babies, commitment, and you want to pull the plug. You know that group called ” it gets better” dont you think it would make more sense to explore the amazement, strength and beauty in couples that are successful to give others hope? Youre cutting the legs out from underneath all your fans.
    We KNOW the struggle! We know coming out is terrifying and finding the right girlfriend can be a never ending battle. Show us the beauty in the fight! Show us we can do this! Kiyomi is from my home down and no one here can believe what she has accomplished. Its giving the struggling people hope.
    You are killing the baby you created.
    Sincerely, angry lifer fan.

  11. A documentary? Oh pu-leez, I could hardly stand it as it was. The world is getting tough for a shallow lesbian like me. Not only do we have to endure the excessive pc attitude of the community but also not allowed all the guilty pleasures the unrepresented straight majority gets. Well, at least it being a doc and all, we’ll be aware of what to expect. Having traveled a lot, the only inclusive and realistic representation of every kind of straight person comes from The Discovery Channel. Not that it bothers them.

  12. SO many red flags, so many. there is no way this isn’t going to further alienate rural working class straight people from queer culture by being the most classist, condescending bullshit ever, while also insulting the queer women it focuses on by constructing a narrative about how provincial/unglamorous/abject their lives are. (right when a whole slew of queer historians and anthropologists have been producing fascinating work on how rich and interesting queer lives outside the urban gay mainstream have been in the past and continue to be, despite homophobia). Why is Chaiken in charge of the representation of queer women in mainstream american culture? why is it assumed that a woman who can make a compelling fictional tv program (because the L Word, while problematic in 1001 ways, was compelling) can also make good reality tv and, jesus christ this upsets me, a good DOCUMENTARY? And why is ryan murphy also so powerful? we have GOT to produce some better alternatives. autostraddle, please help!!

  13. My Fuck no meter has reach it’s full capacity and I can’t deal with this shit no more. IFC is trying so hard to be relevant and it’s just not going to happen.

  14. The only thing that would make this tolerable, and ironically funny, is if it was narrated by David Attenborough.

  15. Aside from the fact that it most likely won’t be done well, what is wrong with the abstract concept itself? Isn’t the fact that TRLW was filmed in the ‘party scene’ LA and NYC one of the main criticisms of the show?

  16. I’m find with it. It was getting repetitive in some form of fashion. I have to agree with someone on a different board that Romi Klinger killed the franchise. My two cents.

  17. i think it’s time for this horrifying spectacle to end. it is so clearly designed by and for the lesbian elite. i say we use this opportunity to overthrow the lesbian capitol.

  18. Good concept bad ending.. like the l word, great series but the ending is bad. the spin-off?? a lot of talk but was never made.. The Real L Word, kinda getting interesting, a lot of beginnings, but suddenly they want to stop it. I hope the documentary can be better.. (I hope so!)

  19. 1. A vote for a different type of project.
    I concur with the voices of wanting more representation of non-marginalized lives of lesbians. Our lives can be and are full and satisfying – in many ways (in my experience) *because* we are gay and in gay relationships. While I understand the call to produce more true depictions of gay women who are living with particular challenges and hardships because they are gay, I myself (and would believe there are many like me) am hungry for story lines – fictitious, real, or loosely based on real lives – that are positive, satisfying, victorious…

    2. “Lesbian in the gay marriage way, not in the porn way.” My biggest fear in this new project is that it will turn into some MTV-esque low-budget filming of gay women – who happen to be without any power or privilege – for the viewing pleasure of the proverbial ‘male gaze’: That rather than being an ernest (non-box-office-hit) ‘gay marriage’ type view of the lesbian experience, it will be a series of peeks into the bedrooms of these women. In addition to being degrading to the women participating in the project, it would be an enormous disservice to gay women in the US and globally. I truly hope the project yields something more substantive, respectful, and true (I add ‘true’ because although we have sex like the rest of the world, it is not the main driving factor or identifier for most gay women, I believe – just as when/how/how often one has sex is not a main identifier for most heterosexuals.)

    3. Action! To those who produce TV and film (fledglings to senior experts), if you fall into the anti-Chaiken pool, please do us all a good deed by joining the race to be the *next* (better, improved in whatever way you think necessary) Ilene Chaiken and start writing/filming/networking/pitching!!! In this Comments section alone, it sounds like there is quite a strong demand for a new Queen of lesbian film/TV content…

  20. Lol and I will watch this garbage because there are no other quality shows for Lesbians .__.

    • right me as well but really with poly wateva and all come on…even the lesbian comics loved it the show and I am super upset like I said she so could have done both…

  21. could they at least be a little more direct and honest with what they mean by “not so easy”? At least we all knew the The Real L Word was a joke and does a major diservice to the lesbian/queer/trans community (albeit a captivating and titillating show to watch). But not that they want to get serious with a documentary, things just got worse.

  22. My wife and I actually love this series but after reading all of the comments I didn’t realize the lesbian community was offended by it. I’m a guy so I guess I wouldn’t really understand. Good show in my opinion though.

  23. My wife and I have watched this show from the beginning, I always knew this shit was bogus. We raise 3 children and work 2 shit jobs in Northern Kentucky. We own a Honda accord and I’ve never, ever, seen one similarity in this show to our lives. I hated myself for watching. That show does not depict the normal everyday life of lesbian reality. My wife and I do not party, we do not sleep around with our friends,we are trying to take the love we’ve shared, a build a decent, respectful, fucking family. If people want or need to know what the struggle is like, show something REAL!!!!

  24. Who wants to watch normal boring lives of people just doing normal things?!
    TRLW was entertaining, it had some positive people in it and it was mainly Romi that was vile and fake.
    What wrong with a little escapism? And ya know the lesbians that do live in LA and NYC or wherever that do party all the time and make loads of money and act a bit slutty…are no less real than the ones that want a family and live in a suburb in the arse end of nowhere – they are just more entertaining!!!
    So for the love of all that is good Ileine….don’t pretend to be credible…. just continue making your slightly ridiculous shows about hot women who do silly things for my entertainment .

  25. If it is this important why not do both…MY GF AND I LOVED THE SHOW AND WE DON’T WATCH MUCH TOGETHER I am really upset Ilene love ya but did you poll us and really see what we care about?

  26. Honestly the show was my favorite of all times. I only came out six years ago and it has been a blessing. Sure some people might get huffy because of Romi, but taking that so seriously is crazy. I loved it as well as my current gf and she does not hardly watch tv. SO when is this shindig gonna happen? Secondly, Ilene what will it be called? I watched since season one…surely you have a back up plan because a doc is not nearly as great as those in all the seasons we have come to love..? And wow Kiyome and the band rocked and should have another show for those of us who cannot get to the live shows…

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