You Need Help: Past Is Prelude ’09

Q:

I’ve recently rewatched “The L Word” for the first time in several years and realized that Jenny was very clearly supposed to be with Shane — like, from the very beginning! — and I don’t know how to talk to my life partner about it.

I used to be “grossed out” by this pairing, but now that I’m older and wiser, I can see that it’s unmistakable and perfect. There’s an energy between them from the first time Shane sees her walking outside The Planet. Shane having sex with someone in Bette and Tina’s pool is Jenny’s introduction to queerness for crying out loud! Shane catches Jenny staring at her at Bette and Tina’s party and winks at her. When they go to Dinah Shore weekend in S1E11, Shane is the only person who makes sure Jenny is OK — she checks in on her at the White Party and then later on puts a bottle of water beside her while she sleeps!

Season 2, who saves Jenny’s life on the bathroom floor? That’s right. Shane.

Season 3, who runs into Shane’s open arms squealing with joy? Correct! Jenny!

Want some subtle clues? Season 4 opens with Shane mermaiding around in the ocean after leaving Carmen at the altar, and ends with Jenny floating off into the deep blue sea, leaving Shane to lead the search for her. I mean HELLO!

IT’S ALL RIGHT THERE!

Season 5 Shane is losing it at the sight of Jenny trying on outfits and very clearly wants to eat/fuck her right there. We end it with Jenny realizing she’s madly in love with someone and then that someone breaking her damn heart. 

Season 6! JENNY IS [SPOILER] ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. Thanks to some flashbacks, we see her let Shane back in the house and into her broken damn heart for the first time since Nikkigate.

“Shane you know that it was you, right? When I said that you broke my heart. I was talking about you.

You know, when I said it, I felt like my heart was breaking.”

“I tried to tell you all week how sorry I am. I’m not ever gonna hurt you like that again.”

“I also realized that I’m in love with you. Now I’m like all those stupid girls.”

 “Jenny…?”

And then they kiss and fuck all night, as was written in the stars. IN THE STARS.

Jenny is supposed to represent Ilene in this series, right? And Ilene very clearly sets the stage for Jenny and Shane to be friends with a spark — the lingering looks! the special efforts! the familiarity that we all recognize unless we’re lying to ourselves — who will eventually redeem each other as only they can. I mean, this is just the unmistakable truth and everyone [who is being honest with themselves] knows it. But instead of redeeming either of them, we watch Jenny [spoiler]

I’m just genuinely asking, who hurt Ilene Chaiken and why did she take it out on us? And how do I live the rest of my life knowing that I’m right about Shenny and that everyone else, including my life partner, is wrong?

A:

I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who hurt Ilene Chaiken. Maybe we hurt her? Maybe, in the end, it was us.

As for how you live your life now that you know the truth about Shane and Jenny, you will just do your best. I believe in you and you’re not alone. See this as a gift instead of a burden! When you’re called upon to share this truth with those who haven’t yet accepted it, including your life partner — and you will be called upon, trust me — you will do so with the kind of calm conviction that can only be held by knowing deep down to the marrow of your bones that you are right.

Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 909 articles for us.

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