The Best and Worst Storylines of “L Word: Generation Q” Season One

There’s a lot to look back on when considering the full breadth of The L Word: Generation Q’s first season. A small child threw up in a crock pot instead of a trash can or toilet, Jeff Milner named his pony Harriet Tubman, everybody wore really cute jumpsuits, Finley left a fully functioning automobile in somebody else’s driveway, Robin Roemer wore a low ponytail, Shane got a basket of summer salami for her birthday, Micah had sex in a swimming pool, Megan Rapinoe and Alice wore blazers together, Finley fudged a priest, Bette Porter was not afraid to sleep with your wife and Felicity admitted once dating a man named Leonard.

All in all, we loved it, we can’t wait for Season Two. Today we’re taking a wide view at what we loved as well as what we thought could use some improvement. This is our third post-season wrap up roundtable: previously we discussed our favorite Sex Scenes and Ships, and Autostraddle’s QTPOC Speakeasy weighed in on how the reboot handled race and grappled with the franchise’s legacy of whiteness.


The Best L Word Generation Q Storylines

Kayla Kumari, TV Writer

Tina/Bette reunion

(L-R) Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter and Laurel Holloman as Tina Kennard in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lose It All”. Photo Credit: Hilary B Gayle/SHOWTIME.

I just think Laurel Holloman and Jennifer Beals have such rich chemistry, and this heightened reunion is of course just fun for fans, but it also taps into so many things that were true of their relationship, not necessarily providing any kind of closure but it does provide context, authentic emotion, and really strong stakes for the present as it reaches back into the past. It just feels like much more honest character work than some of Bette’s other personal life developments this season (I like Felicity in theory but she is so underdeveloped and their breakup is STILTED AF).

The Throuple

I genuinely thought this was where all of the show’s best relationship writing happened. The intersecting dynamics between Nat/Alice/Gigi are all thoroughly developed and feel real. This arc touches on parenting, divorce, betrayal, healing, and roles/needs within a relationship with depth and care. The acting is also great across the board, and this sector of the show has the strongest balance between humor and drama. All that said, I absolutely hate the way this arc ends in the finale and think it ignores a lot of the character work that has been done leading up to it.

Angie + Jordi

Young queer love! The stakes feel high and yet the show doesn’t add cheap dramatics to it for the sake of tension. We need more happy young gay love stories. We need more UNCLE SHANES!!!!!!


Riese Bernard, L Word: Gen Q Recapper + Autostraddle CEO

Sinley

(L-R) Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez and Jacqueline Toboni as Finley in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lose It All”. Photo Credit: Hilary B Gayle/SHOWTIME.

Obviously I’m gonna say Sinley! I think one of the most thrilling parts of watching television is when you THINK you’re picking up on some chemistry but you’re not sure if it’s intentional and then… suddenly, it is! Sophie and Finley were the only match-up we didn’t see coming (most others were teased or implied by previews and more obvious set-ups) and also turned out to be the one with the most genuine chemistry and intimacy behind it. I never would’ve imagined these two together from the first few episodes but retroactively it makes perfect sense, much like Alice and Dana did in the first season of the original series. These two are happiest and most themselves when they’re together and are incredibly adept at providing emotional support to each other in ways other partners have been unable to. Their growing attraction also inspired a serious reckoning for Finley, who spent the last two episodes sober, went to Rebecca for advice as a minster rather than as an ex and made the annoying but fair decision to take a break from L.A. to sort through all the baggage she left at home. Sinley is, unfortunately, also a cheating story. But I guess I expect that from television? Cheating stories have a certain urgency that stories about people who can have sex whenever they want to don’t always have! Although I agree that Dani and Sophie’s relationship was underdeveloped and we never got to see what bound them to each other, their precise level of incompatibility wasn’t always easy to see, and complicated storytelling came out of that tension and uncertainty.

Sophie Suarez

Rosanny Zayas brought so much spirit and humor and depth to Sophie, who truly lit up the screen. Alice and Finley were more squarely framed as the reliable comic relief, but Sophie’s very underrated in this regard. She’s really fucking funny!  Having her family local brought another dimension to her story and enriched our understanding of her world and how she understands love and intimacy. I found her and Finley to be the show’s most captivating characters — I was always alert and charmed when either was onscreen.

The Throuple

Worth it for the sex scene and the stuck-in-traffic scene alone, plus for sheer originality. Together these three were at their funniest and hottest. Also. Gigi. IS SO HOT.

The Messy Grown-Up Lives of Alice, Bette and Shane

Aside from having a grown daughter, there’s a LOT about Bette’s personal life this season that I identified with nearly point-by-point, especially her relationship history and where she’s landed now. But I liked how the three OG characters were shown to still be a little all over the place as adults, and grounded in their friendships to each other moreso than their relationships, which’s what we usually witness on shows about humans over 35. I also like how much of their stories were grounded in the workplace. All three are doing work that is grounded on some level in their tie to queer community and desire to invest in it, but each is approaching it from a different angle. The L Word has always interrogated how we balance our identities and personal convictions with our need to make a living, and how those work environments can be limiting or offer opportunity to “make an impact.”

Managing a Huge Cast in Eight Episodes

I’ve read a few pieces comparing the original series to this one w/r/t depth of character development and I often want to scream because TLW Season One got 14 hours to establish its world and Gen Q got 8. Considering that, I was impressed by how often we did see characters like Tess, Gigi and Angie, and how much story was covered in such a short period of time.


Valerie Anne, TV Writer

Angie

(L-R) Jordan Hull as Angie and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszeckie in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lapse In Judgement”. Photo Credit: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME.

After thinking about it, my own answer surprised me but… I think Angie is my favorite part of this show?? She’s so smart and kind and YOUNG and even though I feel like Baby Angelica made for some of the most cringe-worthy scenarios in the original, this time around she’s a tether for so many great storyline threads. Her crush on Jordi is so CUTE and feels so true, and watching Bette be a great mom is really great. I love Jennifer Beals’ soothing mom voice, and even though she’s such a disaster in so many other parts of her life, she’s such. a good. mom. Even when she’s not getting it exactly right. The part in the finale when Bette and Angie went to the top of the mountain to scream, and then Angelica teased her about being asked out on a date? That was all so cute and pure and filled my heart right up.


Drew Gregory, “To L and Back: Gen Q” Podcaster & TV Writer

The Throuple

(L-R) Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter, Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszeckie, Katherine Moennig as Shane McCutcheon, Sepideh Moafi as Gigi Ghorbani and Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “LA Times”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

Bless the Gods of television for the throuple. It was fun while it lasted. At the very beginning of the season it was obvious that Alice and Nat were not working and it quickly became clear that Gigi was going to participate somehow. But while we were wondering if she was going to hook up with her ex-wife or her ex-wife’s new girlfriend, our dreams came true instead. That sex scene was incredible and all the banter around the relationship afterwards was hilarious. I wish it had lasted longer than it did – and I’m suspicious of Alice and Nat continuing on as just a pair – but I’m grateful for what we got. Gigi better still be on the show next year though! Have her hook up with Tess! Or anybody! I don’t care. As long as Sepideh Moafi stays in our lives.

Finley and Rebecca’s Evolution

What started as the classic story of someone with their shit together falling for an immature mess became so much deeper as Finley and Rebecca’s relationship moved beyond romance. So few characters have boundaries on this show, which is frankly relatable, but I really liked having Rebecca as a contrast. She allows herself to follow her heart even when Finley is one big red flag from the start, but she has her limits and sticks to them. But she likes Finley! And by the end of the series she’s functioning less as a “maybe they’ll hook up again” ex and more as a priest – well, minister. Finley was the character I was most suspicious of going into the new series, but by the end she was one of my favorites. Jacqueline Toboni has done such a beautiful job fluctuating between being the comic relief and revealing what that humor is hiding.

Sinley

More Finley! But honestly what I love most about Sinley is what this pairing brings out in Sophie. She’s comfortable and vulnerable around Finley in a way she isn’t allowed to be at work or with Dani or even her family. Obviously, cheating isn’t the best move, it’s such a relief to watch her let go. The gradual development of this couple in the latter half of the season was so surprising and relatable and handled with a really lovely specificity. It doesn’t make sense on paper – and I’m not sure if they’re meant to be together for that long – but I think Sophie and Finley could learn a lot from a proper relationship with each other. And while she’s been great all season Rosanny Zayas was especially great in these moments. Whether in the moments of internal conflict or the moments of giving in, Zayas was so exciting to watch. She made Sophie an impossible character not to root for even as she makes mistakes. I think we all know who I’m hoping to see together at that airport come season two.


Carmen Phillips, Senior Editor

Angie

(L-R) Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter and Jordan Hull as Angie in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Loose Ends”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

One of the major reasons I was excited about a return for The L Word was that when it comes to singular focus on the lives of adult queer women, there’s very little like it. For much of the last ten years, so many beloved lesbian or bisexual storylines have been about teen girls (I’m looking at you Santana Lopez, Emily Fields, or in the backhalf of the decade, Cheryl Blossom and pretty much everyone on The CW). So imagine my surprise that in the world of adult lesbian and bisexual women who live complete lives and have hard choices to make (and plenty of hot sex to make up on! Oh The L Word I missed you) – it is teenage Angie Porter-Kennard who walked away with my heart most.

I loved Angie from the very first episode, with her rainbow Converse sneakers and school uniform, rapping Big Bank Take Little Bank and skipping school with her “bad girl” crush.” I loved her when she had her first big fight with Bette and cried about how hard it is to be the daughter of such an unyielding woman. I loved her when Bette, for the first time in the 15 years I’ve known her, choked out a sincere apology without provocation and they curled together in bed. I loved that she punched out the racist snot at her private school and that she worked crew for her high school theatre production and her gay aunts took flash pictures in the pitch dark, they were so proud – but all she cared about was Jordi. I loved that she called Tina. I loved that she blackmailed Aunt Alice to give her “the talk” by threatening to ask Shane, and that she knew that would work. I love that she wasn’t scared when she saw her mother curled up, lost to her depression. She knew how to help her find the light again.

Angie Porter-Kennard has proven to have an emotional intelligence well beyond her years and a smile that brightens any room. Jordan Hull has absolutely crushed this role. She’s a perfect little ball of a teenager and much like her Uncle Shane, I’m ready to protect her at all costs.

Sophie Suarez

I love Sophie Suarez. I loved her starting in episode two when she brushed the edges of her curly hair into place with a toothbrush (Afro-Latina realness if I’ve ever seen it) and all the way through how damn sexy she looked in that suit running through the airport in the finale’s final moments. As a queer black Latina, let’s be real here, it’s always going to be hard to find someone who emcompasses all of my identities on screen. The very first time Rosanny Zayas was cast, my heart leapt. I couldn’t believe it. But meeting Sophie in person? Beyond my wildest imagination. I also related to how family oriented Sophie is, both to the family she was born into and the queer family she chose on her own. So often queer characters are portrayed as being snarky loners and while that’s true for a lot of people, that’s never been my story. Sophie was an open heart, full of joy and quick to let out sorrow when necessary. She wept freely and smiled with just as much ease. That’s exactly what I’m looking for, and I didn’t know I needed it until it was there.


Natalie Duggins, TV Writer

Sophie and the Suarez Family

(L-R) Jillian Mercado as Maribel, Laura Patalano as Nana and Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Less is More”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

If I can stray a little off topic here: there’s a moment in the first season of Queen Sugar where a bunch of cater waiters arrive at the Bordelon farm to set up for the next day’s event. Charley, who’s spent years far away from the traditions of the South, ordered them, believing it’d be less work for the family on the day that they buried their father. Livid, her sister, Nova, rejects the offer and tells the servers to go back to New Orleans.

“We don’t honor our father by sitting friends and family outside at fancy tables. We don’t honor our father by having strangers serve those grieving. We serve comfort food to those who need comfort and we do it with our own hands!” Nova yells at her sister. It’s odd but that moment — that shared understanding of the value of family and food — cemented my kinship with the Bordelon family.

I thought about that moment again while watching Dani, Sophie and their respective families touring a potential wedding venue on Gen Q. Dani’s father is sizing the room up, wondering if it’ll be lavish enough to impress his colleague, while Sophie, her mom, her nana and sister wonder where the tables will go for the food that they’re bringing. And, as with the Bordelons, my love for Sophie and the Suarez family is cemented in that moment.

“I don’t want to feel uncomfortable at my own wedding,” Sophie tells Dani later. “I want to laugh. I want to yell. I want to eat the food that my family cooked.”

Whatever comes next for Sophie — whomever she runs to in the airport — I’ll cheer for her because I know that she and I are both grounded by the same things: food and family.

Angie

Before Jordan Hull even said a word, I knew she’d fit perfectly in the L Word-verse…though she’s not biologically related to Bette Porter, the fact that she looks like a younger version of her aunt feels serendipitous…like this was always meant to be. But then she shows up on Gen Q, in her rainbow-colored Converse, rapping along to some bop, and she’s everything I hoped she would be.

Angelica “Angie” Porter-Kennard is an amazingly normal teen…an amazingly normal queer teen…and we forget sometimes how rare that is to see. I love that she’s never asked to be wiser than a teenage girl should be and that we’re getting the opportunity to watch her grow up on this show. I love the way you can see parts of Tina and Bette’s personalities manifest in her. I love her relationship with Jordi and how cute and pure it is. But mostly, I love the way she grounds the adults around her.

Alice gets paid to be a talk show host and yet, when it’s time to talk to her earthdaughter about sex, she fumbles over herself as anyone else would. Shane’s the best version of herself around Angie…less withdrawn than she is with nearly everyone else. And, of course, even though her mother is running to lead the second largest city in the United States, Angie’s there to be the one person who doesn’t care about how where her poll numbers are or what she has to do for the campaign. Angie humbles Bette as only a child can.


Analyssa Lopez, “To L and Back: Gen Q” Podcaster

Addressing Class Issues Through Sophie’s Story

(L-R): Arienne Mandi as Dani Nunez, Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez and Jillian Mercado as Maribel in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Labels”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

There are a lot of storylines this season that I loved, that spanned several episodes or several characters, but something I think will stick with me for a lot longer than this season is Sophie’s relationship to money compared to Dani’s. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that conversation on TV before, and while Dani and Sophie’s relationship certainly didn’t need more fighting added to it (more on that later), I would have loved to see their conversation about money go even deeper. Learning that this is how Sophie moves through the world worked to deepen her character in a really thoughtful and interesting way, something that we didn’t get to experience with all of the new Gen Q characters this season. When Sophie and her family walked through the Biltmore, her mom in scrubs and all of them wondering where the food would go because OF COURSE this family would cook the food for their daughter’s wedding, I saw more of myself reflected than I ever had in the original six seasons of The L Word. When Sophie tells Dani that she felt like she couldn’t breathe in that ballroom, I felt it deep in my bones. Every person I’ve ever dated has come from more money than I do, and it is always hard, in ways that are obvious and ways that aren’t. It’s lonely, and Rosanny Zayas incredible portrayal of that loneliness was when I knew that I would always be team Sophie, always, no matter who she’s running to in that airport.




The Worst L Word Generation Q Storylines

Kayla Kumari, TV Writer

Sinley

(L-R) Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez and Jacqueline Toboni as Finley in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lose It All”. Photo Credit: Hilary B Gayle/SHOWTIME.

I do not understand the appeal of this storyline…at all. This isn’t even a matter of shipping; I just think it is very poorly written! It’s the execution that really bothers me. I find Sophie—outside of the context of her family stuff, which is great—to be an inconsistently written and occasionally perplexing character, especially when it comes to her relationship with Dani. But just because I think Sophie/Dani is a confusing relationship doesn’t mean I’m suddenly on board with Sophie’s exit plan. In fact, Sinley doesn’t feel like an organic or satisfying conclusion to either Finley or Sophie’s arcs this season. It seems to sacrifice character for the sake of conflict. The way that the show establishes Sophie’s history of cheating on her partners is so hamfisted (that Dani/Sophie bathtub scene, while hot, is just so weird/out of nowhere!). And I don’t love (or even really buy…) that Sophie’s reaction to Finley having a really bad day is to take her out and get wasted with her when alcohol fuels so many of Finley’s issues. It feels like the season tries to sell this as the big love story, but not only am I not feeling it, I am just truly not convinced by it. The way this show uses infidelity as a plot device without really engaging with it in a meaningful way that looks at the emotions at play for everyone involved is…a major flaw.

Jose’s secret husband

Literally—wHAT!!! The relationship writing around Micah/Jose is really lackluster and unspecific, and it sucks real bad that Micah’s only storyline in the whole season is this. Then to have it all culminate in this overtly soapy twist is just such a blah story choice. Like others have said, I would love if Micah were a more integrated member of the group and if his storylines had more detail and better writing to them.


Carmen Phillips, Senior Editor

Micah’s Isolation from the Core Group

(L-R) Freddy Miyares as Jose, Leo Sheng as Micah Lee and Shyaam Karra as Hassan in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “LA Times”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

I waffled on this a bit. To be honest I could have also picked the decision to have Kit die from an overdose, or all the ways that Bette’s mayor campaign was utterly unbelievable, or that Dani’s homophobic, shady businesman, drug money rich father leaned into the worst of Latinx sterotypes. And all of that would have been true.

I’ve really enjoyed Leo Sheng’s performance! This isn’t about him as an actor; he has developed a sweetness and sensitivity to Micah that I find endearing (I also think he’s a babe, which isn’t the point, but hey – still true!). I also find his relationship with Jose, once the show finally just let them be together without the strange and unnecessary back-and-forth, to be genuinely hot. I hate that it turned out Jose is married, but alás we’re watching a soap opera and “OMG He’s Married!” is the most classic of soap twists, just ask Season One Grey’s Anatomy Meredith Grey. However, having Micah date Jose instead of one of the queer women in the cast reinforced the belief that trans men don’t have a space in queer women’s communities. Furthermore, isolating Micah with Jose meant that we never got to watch him meld with the other core characters. Who’s Micah’s best friend? Eight episodes later, and I have no idea. What makes him laugh? Why does he live with Dani and Sophie when it feels like he barely, if ever, spends time with them? By the end of the first series it felt like even Tess was more central to the story being told, and while I hope they up Tess to a series regular in Season Two, it’s a problem that I learned more about her than a lead character who was promised to be a part of the core cast from the pilot episode.

It felt like the production behind Generation Q was busy patting themselves on the back by not writing an overtly offensive trans character for once, and sure that’s an improvement over the original, but it’s absolutely NOT ENOUGH! As cis people, we need higher standards for ourselves. There should be more to Micah than the fact that he’s trans, and so far that hasn’t happened. He should just be a full person, a member of the squad. There’s still time to fix this mistake, and I really hope that they do.

There are no trans lesbians on Generation Q

Jamie Clayton and Sophie Giannamore are trans actresses. One of the reasons I was so excited for the casting announcements was the expectation that this meant there would be trans queer women on Generation Q, and as we now know – that’s not the case. I 100% realize that I have a heavy dose of cis privilege here, and it’s not my intention to step over Jamie Clayton’s reported wishes to play a cis character. That’s far far from my place. But I also know that there still are a lot of cis lesbian, bisexual, and queer women who still don’t think of trans women as “real” women or as interlopers in our community. They are hateful and they are wrong. My biggest worry is that by not having trans lesbians on Generation Q, we are giving their hate a further platform when we should be choking out its oxygen. My queer community has trans masc folks, and trans lesbians and bisexuals, non-binary femmes and butches, and if there’s any television show that should be reflecting that reality back towards me, damnit it’s The L Word: Generation Q. (If you haven’t read Drew’s commentary on this specific issue, you absolutely should. She was far more nuanced and detailed than any of us have space to be in this current roundtable, and if there’s one thing that Generation Q fixes before the second season, it should absolutely be including queer trans women characters. I’ll even go as far as to say, otherwise what are even doing here?)


Riese Bernard, CEO

Bette’s Mayoral Campaign

Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Loose Ends”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

I know addiction is an important topic to address and that the opioid epidemic is a pressing crisis in this country. But Bette’s focus on this issue, and its centrality to her campaign, never really went as far as it needed to in order to resonate. Not was it a satisfying way to end Kit’s storyline. The show also just chose to avoid the fact that Kit’s death would’ve been national news and certainly news that anybody would’ve uncovered if they’d done a quick google on candidate Bette Porter. Certainly Dani would’ve known. I was surprised when Bette said Kit OD’ed, ‘cause I thought the only way her death would’ve been motivation for Bette to run is if it somehow linked to a specific Los Angeles problem, like her addiction made her homeless, or made her vulnerable to police violence. And then! The incident with Felicity’s husband just… blew my mind. He attacked her and her daughter, he’s clearly violent and a heavy drinker. If anything, I think that incident would’ve sparked feminist outrage that would’ve helped her campaign and maybe provided insight into why Felicity didn’t feel safe leaving him, instead of letting Jeff Milner’s FAMILY VALUES win out in Los Angeles of all places. I did however like that the campaign brought Bette and Dani into the same workplace.

Lack of Trans Lesbians

I know there is only so much time and space on a show to represent so many different groups of people! But, we had quite a few tertiary cis characters (Lena, Tess, Jordi, Gigi, Rebecca, Quiara, Felicity, Maya, Jose) who I think didn’t have to all be cis. It’s already a pretty large group of characters to cover adequately in a short season, and if additions are made it feels like they should be butches or non-binary people, which’s why I also support providing trans visibility with characters who already exists.


Natalie Duggins, TV Writer

The Pre-Existing Relationships

(L-R) Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lost Love”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

In Gen Q‘s final episode, Sophie’s running through the airport, forced to chose between an elopement in Hawaii with Dani and reuniting with Finley and figuring out what the future holds for them. Not a single person watching wants her to run to Dani. Not one.

And while we could chalk that reaction up to the fact that Sophie is cheating or the chemistry that radiates off Sinley, the real issue is that the show never offered its audience a reason to invest in Dani and Sophie as a couple. Whatever longstanding love drives them to engagement in the pilot isn’t reflected in the story that follows. Sophie’s confusion over how Dani processes her father’s interference makes absolutely no sense for a couple in a long term committed relationship. The ease that longtime couples have together — that Tina and Bette summon so readily, even though they’re not still together — is absent from Dani and Sophie’s interactions. The show never gives their relationship any depth, it never gives you a reason to root for them…so you don’t.

The same is true for Gen Q‘s other new couple, Alice and Nat. No one watched the couple reunite during the finale and thought, “yes, this is exactly what I want to see!” Again, the show hadn’t given the relationship enough depth to make it seem like a viable option. Everything Alice told Roxane Gay she wanted — the wife, the two kids, the picket fence — she had already with Nat and, for most of the season, Alice seemed annoyed by the entire prospect. Gigi was so appealing as an alternative, not just because she was so hot — but, let’s be clear, she absolutely is — but because the underlying relationship was so stale.

Gen Q has to invest in their relationships (see also: Tess and Lena) or they can’t be surprised when no one else does either.

Bette’s Mayoral Campaign

When news broke that Bette’s storyline in Gen Q would revolve around a mayoral campaign, I put aside my general disdain for campaign stories and got excited. The story arc itself felt like a keen insight not just into who Bette is, but also of the nexus between the funders of art and the funders of liberal politics, so I hoped that this time it’d be different. It was not; I had given the show credit for what turned out to be happenstance. It wasn’t just that Gen Q got the minutiae of campaigns wrong — though, they got a lot of that wrong — it was that they only ever saw the campaign as a vehicle to talk about opioid crisis.

The problem with that, though, is there was so much vested in this campaign: our understanding of how far Bette has evolved in the last 10 years and our window into who Dani Suarez really is and what drives her. It was our opportunity to get an alternate view of transmasculinity via Pierce. It was how we came to understand the fates of two beloved L Word characters, Jenny Schecter and Kit Porter. It was how we met Felicity and realized the scope of Bette’s grief. All these things were tied up into telling this story well but Gen Q just didn’t bother…and it did all those characters a tremendous disservice.


Valerie Anne

All of the Cheating

Mercedes Mason as Lena in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lost Love”. Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

Why was everyone cheating on everyone else? Why was that the only thing that was happening on this whole goddamned show? Listen I love a steamy forbidden sex scene as much as the next gay, but almost every single character on this show cheated or was a vessel someone used to cheat in this show that took place over just a few months and that just feels…statistically unlikely?? And also got boring after a while. One or two would have been fine but I’m counting three clear-cut cheating stories, two blurrier line situations but still not 100% above board, and one question mark that seems like it’s trending toward bad…that’s too many! Queer people have plenty else that causes us pain and drama and fighting, fucking, crying, drinking than being unfaithful to our partners.


Analyssa Lopez

Dani and Sophie’s relationship

(L-R) Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez and Arienne Mandi as Dani Nunez in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Let’s Do It Again”. Photo Credit: Jennifer Clasen/SHOWTIME.

Man I wanted to love this couple so much! Two Latinas, happy and in love and having period sex? It’s what I want to see in the world! But wow there was just nothing there to root for. Every fight this couple had was different, which feels like a real sign that perhaps they should not be together. That’s too many different fights to have with the person you’re spending the rest of your life with! And all that time spent fighting meant that we didn’t get to know Dani as well. Her defining characteristic seems to be fighting: with Sophie, with her dad, with her job. I wish we’d gotten to see a softer side to her, a human side, so that even if Dani and Sophie aren’t forever, at least we’ll still care about them both. This season felt like when there’s a couple in your friend group that everyone knows should break up, but they don’t know it and they keep coming over and ruining parties with their passive aggressive comments about each other. Please let them figure it out before the whole friend group is ruined! Please!

Tess’s Sobriety

“Worst” feels harsh, but I think I was most disappointed by Tess’s storyline this season. I wanted to see so much more of this character, and I wanted so much more FOR her than her girlfriend cheating on her, getting berated by Shane, and having one regrettable hookup with Finley. I wanted to see her working through her new run at sobriety, not telling Shane offhandedly that she was three days sober. Better yet, I wanted to see her not relapse. More than anything, Tess drinking again felt like a device for her to hook up with Finley, and maybe eventually be a wise elder guiding Finley through realizing that Finley’s own relationship to drinking was destructive. That would have been a little frustrating too, I think, but even that didn’t materialize. Tess seemed to pop in and out as needed for other characters, which felt a real waste of the character and of Jamie Clayton’s ability to make you fall in love with her in three seconds flat.


Drew Gregory

Quiara’s Miscarriage

(L-R) Lex Scott Davis as Quiara Thompson in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, “Lapse In Judgement”. Photo Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/SHOWTIME.

SIGH. I understand that Shane might’ve been the most difficult of the trio of returning cast members to write. A lot of her 20-something behavior just wouldn’t be as cute at 40. But without it who even is Shane? After a slow first few episodes, the show seemed to find an answer! I loved that they gave Shane a wife/ex-wife who understood who Shane was and accepted that – while still advocating for her own needs. I also really enjoyed watching Shane start to grow. I wanted this relationship to continue – and maybe it might – so we could establish their non-monogamy and see how that functioned for them. But instead the season ended with what felt like an unneccessarily dramatic choice – having Quiara miscarriage – followed by a fight that felt incongruent with how the characters had been established. I understand that part of the show is throwing bombs into every relationship, but for once this felt like the wrong move.

Dani and Sophie’s Relationship

Both of these characters are so much better when not together. Part of the problem is after one episode there’s immediate conflict. We’re just getting to know these people and what they’re like together and what we quickly see is they should be apart. Their fights were all over the place which was either inconsistent writing or just a sign that they wanted to pick fights with each other and didn’t know how to communicate. Either way it got tiresome. And that’s a shame because otherwise Sophie was my favorite new character and I really enjoyed Dani in the context of Bette’s campaign.

Micah’s Isolation from the Group

I second everything Carmen said and as a very tired trans person I will happily allow her to say it all for me!

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2840 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I am so glad to see all the love for Angie and Sophie. I was blown away by the talents & skills of Jordan Hull and Rosanny Zayas. Angie & Sophie were so easily two of my favorite characters in season 1. I also loved Rebecca and the rarity of seeing someone with good boundaries on a tv drama. I really did not like Finley at the beginning and loved her by the end.

    I was very disappointed by the writers’ lazy ending to the throuple and I hope they rectify that in season 2. It was great to have a little taste of polyamory on a big tv show like this, and there is so much more to be explored there.

    And yes strong agree there need to be trans lesbians on season 2!!!! Make Jordi & Tess trans!

  2. Maybe it is because of the cheating aspect, or because of the type of queer relationship I have with my bff, but I am not that into Sinley as a ship. I am also not sold on Dani either, but that could be just the writing. Which is a bit weird for me as I was sold on Jenny despite that whole mess of a storyline.

    • Ha! My friend was annoyed by Sinley at the first kiss just because lesbians can be just friends with other lesbians.

      Also the cheating. Sophie (who I like) had an opportunity between the kiss and the sex to break up with Dani and she should have. Honestly I hope that Sophie was running to Dani in the airport because it would be an absolute shitty thing to leave your fiancée waiting for your to join her on your wedding flight while you run off with someone else without even telling her. Dani does not deserve that, and I had thought Sophie was a better human than that.

      • I need cheating in my soaps, I can’t help it, but I want a longer story — a real, established relationship and then a real affair (Bette’s affair with Tina while with Jodi was soapy goodness in the original). (Obviously not condoning such garbage behavior in real life!) But that said, I agree that I very MUCH hoped Sophie was running to Dani in the finale. Not to run off and marry her, but to deal with her shit! Even if she did decide she really wants to be with Finley, she needs to deal with this other stuff first (and let Finley deal with hers).

  3. So random I know, but I just found out that Laurel Holloman got an AWARD for sitting on Jennifer Beals’ face in that elevator scene. Can’t stop LOLing.

    Anyways…

    My favorite storyline was Dani (HEAR ME OUT) growing in her career morally. Working with Bette brought out the best in her in every way. From a simple ‘please’ & ‘thank you’ to actually realizing that she CAN and wants to talk about her feelings to full on running a mayoral campaign. I think Dani realized all that towards the end including the unexplained/confusing feelings shes had for Bette and it freaked her out so she ran to cement her constant which is Sophie because shes scared to face the facts…

    My worst one was SHANE. Its like 10 years haven’t even passed…

  4. Hello from Spain, I had just seen the original series of L when they announced their return as LQ so I have practically seen them in a row, it is true that this season there are only 8 chapters, but in the original series I got caught from chapter 1, here alone In the end I had something of interest, I was very disappointed, if the scriptwriters are not able to create a story that catches like that of Bette and Tina (the only reason we swallow Jenny’s maximum toxicity hours), I don’t know to what extent I’m going to be interested next season, I think the original series could catch gays and heteros to see this you have to be gay and be like we are lacking something better, a lot of drama, some sense of humor (thanks Alice) and predictable characters and in my opinion unattractive, even if they are very good actors

  5. Yes to a lot of this!

    I’d like to throw my hat in for Angie, who is my sweet precious angel and absolutely my favorite character in Gen Q. I was in the middle of rewatching og TLW when the season 2 finale came on and Angie was born!!! I literally sobbed with happiness that the most amazing person joined us on Earth.

    I’m not totally getting the overwhelming Sinley love, a romance that to me came from nowhere, but to each their own. For example there was this take from Natalie: “In Gen Q‘s final episode, Sophie’s running through the airport, forced to choose between an elopement in Hawaii with Dani and reuniting with Finley and figuring out what the future holds for them. Not a single person watching wants her to run to Dani. Not one.”

    Hi! I’m that one person that wants Sophie to run to Dani…to break up with her. Using words. From her face.

    If my partner didn’t show up at the gate just before a romantically meaningful trip with no call, I’d think she DIED! Because Natalie’s right, the show writers didn’t give us a reason to root for their relationship. In fact, for the last two to three episodes I was begging for a break up scene. I think my issue stems from the fact that Sophie ironically craves communication above all else from her partner and cannot in even a basic way communicate with Dani about her relationship anxieties (in what is either bad writing or a very human way of not self-assessing well). Both Dani and Sophie relied on outside advice, but neither one came together in a way where they could share their concerns with each other. When communication is that bad, ending things is really the only solution. Sophie should take a cue from Chris in Work in Progress, who did a break up nearly perfectly, but I digress.

    Before she moves forward with Finley, if it even happens at all, Sophie *needs* to break up with Dani in the airport. Otherwise, my vote is for Sophie to get on a completely different plane from either Dani or Finley for a much-needed vacation from TLWGQ drama-filled LA only to return in time for season 2.

    PS I want to know what happened to Sophie’s grandmother! Grandmothers are so important. I just needed a throwaway line in the finale.

  6. I’m so confused, I seriously don’t know why ANYONE like Sophie’s characters. I was flabbergasted reading all the reviews.

    1. She cares so much about her own family, but doesn’t give a shit about her partners. Even when Dani’s dad tried to make an effort with booking an event (even if it wasn’t the best) all she could see was the negative. Constantly telling Dani that her father is a dick.

    2. She has no appreciation for her Dani’s job. I work a long and tough job and I do it because I truly care about my career and I would hope my partner could understand that.

    3. The cheating despite Dani finally confiding in Sophie and telling her the biggest fear she has is that she’d cheat. So what does Sophie do? Cheat, repeatedly. What a complete dick.

    – Why does anyone think this character is remotely likeable?

    The best thing in this season for me was the hotness of Bette and Dani, their chemistry is so hot and I could see them both supporting each others careers, being a pair of sexy alpha femmes and bringing out the best in each other (Dani forcing Bette to be more honest and fight for good, Bette bringing out the good in Dani and getting her to speak her emotions).

    Let’s hope this happens in s2!

  7. Agree that no one should just not show up to a flight with their fiancé. They should end the relationship face-to-face.

    I love Sophie and Finley as best friends who love each other. I’m not sure about them as couple.

    I agree the thruple ending was disappointing, it felt like them just saying thruples don’t work. I mean I get in theory you could argue they are just saying a thruple didn’t work for those particular women but as they were the only thruple and everyone else was monogamous/supposed to be monogamous but cheating it felt critical of agreed non-monogamy.

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