Lesbians get real on TV's "Real L Word"

Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:34pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jill is a "nice Jewish girl" who is planning her wedding. Rose is a long-haired Latina who has a problem with commitment, and tattooed Mikey is a domineering fashion show producer with a heart of gold.

They also are lesbians and are among the stars of the first lesbian-themed TV reality show on a mainstream U.S. cable channel.

Making its highly-anticipated debut on Sunday, "The Real L Word" is a spin-off of the groundbreaking 2004-2009 Showtime drama series "The L Word" that portrayed the love lives of a group of lesbians in an explicit manner never before seen on U.S. television.

But that was fiction -- albeit rooted in the experiences of "L Word" creator Ilene Chaikin -- and the six Los Angeles women featured in the new show, also on Showtime, are real.

"One of the things I was asked constantly (about 'The L Word') was 'is that true? Are there really lesbians like that?'," Chaikin told Reuters.

"To some extent this show answers that question in the affirmative...Just like all women, lesbians come in many different packages and these women may tell you something that you wouldn't have thought before about who a lesbian is."

Promoted as a show sizzling with sex and lovely ladies, "The Real L Word" arrives at a time when lesbians have been making headlines but are still more under-represented in U.S. pop culture even than gay men.

In the past two months, country singer Chely Wright and Christian singer Jennifer Knapp came out after years of hiding their sexuality in careers seen as hostile to gay culture.   Continued...