The “To L and Back” Podcast Premiere Is Here: Episode 101 (L’Pilot Part One)

Hello lesbians, bisexuals, queers and others interested in the mediocre media of our people! It’s time for the very first episode of the sure-to-be-a-hit podcast “To L and Back,” in which I recap every single episode of the show that ruined my life, The L Word. For Season One of this epic adventure, my co-host will be my dear friend and yours, Kristin Russo, who also co-hosts an episode-by-episode recap podcast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The podcast will be mostly spoiler free. We’re gonna do our best not to do any spoilers at all, or reveal anything significant that wasn’t already known at the time. In other words — information and imagery that was released to the public and the press prior to the show’s airing could come up (e.g., pre-season episode stills, info about new characters and their purpose on the show) as well as small tidbits that are too small or vague to impact your viewing experience.




Episode Music:

As I discuss in the intro, due to music licensing deals being negotiated prior to the existence of streaming and digital downloads, The L Word is one of many shows and movies that have had their soundtrack totally destroyed in the streaming version. So, if you want the authentic, original music that was intended to be on the show, the only way you can do that is to buy the DVDs. Season One is currently $11 on Amazon Prime.

In my Autostraddle posts for each podcast episode I’ll let you know which songs were swapped out. The first hour of the pilot only had one song prominently featured. It was:

Opening shots of L.A. / Tim & Jenny / Bette & Tina

Original: “The Pleasure Song” by Marianne Faithful
Streaming: A really bad song that seemingly does not exist outside of Netflix (the lyrics are like “oooh you’ve got so much left to learn” and the track sounds like stock music?)

Episode Index:

+ Erin’s Autostraddle roundtable about lesbian hands: Our Hands, Ourselves: A Deeply Unscientific Investigation of Identity
+ Ann Carson, The Autobiography of Red
+ Amy Bloom, Come To Me
+ Fredrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra


  • Kristin was right and I was wrong, the cups were from The Planet!
  • I was also wrong about never finding out which book Marina and Jenny whispered into Alice’s ear.
  • I can’t wait to keep being wrong about stuff!!!!!
Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


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 3211 articles for us.


  1. I have never ever ever listened to a podcast before in my life and yet as I type this I’m already five minutes into the first episode. I’d legit do anything for Autostraddle. Even listening to a podcast. For the very first fucking time in my life.

      • HONESTLY SAME!!!
        I’ve never gotten past the first season of The L Word (oops) and you’ve inspired me to try to at least get through season 2??
        Also, I’m loving the podcast so far! I’m looking for adjectives to describe it but can’t come up with anything better than “great and funny and interesting”, so I hope you’re okay with that :)

  2. I have something to admit…

    I’ve never seen past the pilot episode of the L Word. 😬

    So excited to experience it for the first time with Riese and Kristin in my ear. I’m already cackling at the entire conversation about ovulating.

  3. I love this and I can’t wait till the next episode! I have very vivid memories of watching the first season of The L Word late at night in a “but AM I QUEER THO?” experimental way (as many of us have done) and I think the podcast will give me interesting new perspectives on that experience and my subsequent rewatchings.

    • it is really weird to watch it again closely after you’ve been solidly certain that you actually ARE queer! i’m excited

  4. this was soooo funny. it really helped me not think Randy Dean wants to have a baby with Flashdance.

  5. loved rewatching it after 15 years + listening to your podcast.

    he’s using paint so much more freely!

  6. I’ve never listened to a podcast that follows a tv show like this before! What’s the protocol here? Do I watch the episode and then listen to the podcast? I never made it past season 2 last time I tried to watch, so I’m super stoked to get to follow along with you guys!

    • i THINK the best way to listen is probably to watch one episode a week and then listen to the podcast? almost as if it is actually on tv and we are limited to watching one episode a week and then processing it, like in the good old days.

      but also i think you can re-watch or not re-watch or never watch it and still enjoy the podcast!

  7. I want to listen but I do not have the time/energy to commit to rewatching The L Word – is it like potterless, a recap where you react + discuss episodes that i can understand without a recent viewing of them?

    • yes you should be able to! now that we know this is what a lot of people are doing also we’ll keep it in mind. but i used to listen to buffering (the only other tv show related podcast i’ve heard besides The Planet podcast in 2006-2008) and i haven’t watched buffy since 2013, and also only ever saw it once. so i don’t think it would get in the way!

  8. Just subscribed! Very excited to listen to this and upgrade my somewhat-basic knowledge of the L-Word (I never watched the last season, only watched the other seasons one time each).

  9. OMG! My work headphones broke a few weeks ago and I have been meaning to replace them but did I? I did not. Until today when I saw this go up and had to immediately go buy the cheapest and most convenient option available to me just to listen to this. Thank you, you’re doing the lords work, truly

  10. The L Word Made Me Gay podcast did a great job on their recap of the L Word…I’ll check this one out…

  11. re: riese’s comment about shingles, it’s not as old-timey as it sounds! anyone who has ever had chickenpox can get it and the likelihood of getting it increases as you age. my boss got it in her early 30s from exposure to a patient (we work in pharmacy) who had it. there’s a new 2-dose vaccine (Shingrix) that came out last year but the demand is so high there’s a national shortage (only one manufacturer is making it) and we personally have a wait list of ~150+ people who want the vaccine

    i didn’t expect my first comment about this podcast to be about shingles but there you go

      • you have to be 50+ to get it in a pharmacy (maybe it varies by state?), physicians can give it off-label to people younger than that but most don’t have it in stock either and you’d probably need to pay out of pocket because insurance won’t cover it under 50. worth talking to your PCP about, tho

    • i was honestly a little disappointed that NOBODY had bothered to @ me about shingles so thank you for providing us with this important information! i will pass this information onto the ppl the next time we record (we already recorded pilot part 2, but the ep after that!)

  12. As a big fan of Buffering, I’m definitely excited to listen to this podcast! I recently started rewatching the L Word on my own, but got frustrated, so I’m glad to have this podcast to guide me along. I was surprised, though, that no one mentioned being uncomfortable with Marina attacking Jenny in the bathroom—as I watched it last night, with my 2019 eyes, it looked a whole lot like sexual assault. Is that just me?

    • well, they were definitely flirting before and maintaining eye contact for 3 seconds with another woman in 2004 was international code for let’s go and make out in the bathroom

  13. haha, thank you for this trip down memory lane!

    I remember being 15 and finding out an episode of the Lword was randomly playing on an “arts” channel at 3.00am. I secretly taped it, Kept it hidden and would watch it on repeat when no one was around.

    Also never had any nipple comparison convos, lol never get over that.

    Looking forward to more podcasts, Our Chart anyone. ;)

    Thanks again, Riese and Kristin.

  14. Another great addition to my 25min bike commute <3 I've re-watched the l word a couple times in the past when i was craving some queer content but nothing good/better was available.
    Thank god for the future

  15. I love all this related content on the website to accompany the podcast.

    I am just in the middle of the podcast episode, but I wanted to let you know how right on you are about public hair in 2004!!
    When the show was first airing, a straight guys at work watched it and that was the first and **very** most important things he noticed— Shane’s full bush.

    So, as much as this episode feels tailored to the male gaze, for that one guy, the public hair IN AND OF ITSELF was a deal breaker.

    Good riddance. Right!?!

    Please tell me you’ll have guest stars from the AS team, because I love all of you. And like you say in the tagline, I hate to love the L-Word.

  16. Wait, we do find out which book Jenny and Marina whisper? What is it?! Someone whisper it in my ear.

  17. I loved this so much, thank you! I cringe-watched the first episode remembering how exciting it was back in the day, and then it felt like getting to relive with friends during the podcast. Thank you. I look forward to future episodes.

  18. I loved this! Can’t wait for next week!
    The official name for “wife beater” shirt is the A-Shirt. For real, Google it. ;)

  19. Late to the party, never listened to a podcast but binged the L word as a baby-gay years ago. Love the podcast!! Cannot wait to listen to the rest of them.

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