The L Word

TV review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The L Word TV Poster Image
Relationships get complicated in entertaining, sexy drama.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Lying, infidelity, theft -- like any other place, the world depicted here is riddled with human imperfection.


Road rage is about as violent as it gets with this drama, which relies more on emotional upheaval.


Constant innuendo, banter, and simulated sex. The show is intended to be very racy.


Conversations are peppered with talk of sex and the gamut of swear words ("damn," "s--t," "f--k").


The show is set in hip Los Angeles, so there's a high awareness of fashion and celebrity-driven trends.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol abounds in social situations, as do recreational drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature Showtime drama is a textured, complicated depiction of the lesbian scene in Los Angeles -- which makes for great grown-up TV, but not necessarily family-friendly fare. Sex, foul language, and questionable behavior abound ... but so do complicated, very human reactions and relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byÅsa B. February 21, 2018

The best!

It's very hard to set a age recommendation to this show because to my 13 year old girl, this was a life changing and important show for her to watch. She... Continue reading
Parent of a 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16-year-old Written byMonkeymuffin2098 June 2, 2010

Not for under double digets

My 12 year loves the show. I know she's fine with the "Adult Content" in it lol. It's ok for her to watch it. I wish people would let their... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bykalazy March 31, 2016

Hugely Important

Although the show has its flaws, and has been both heavily criticised and praised over the years, especially by the LGBT+ community, it is one of my favourite s... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byElena theFemme April 13, 2020

Really good, but not for kids

Really good, with positive messages and role models (despite what common sense media says). It has some sex scenes and there is some swearing and drinking/drugs... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE L WORD depicts lesbian relationships much like straight relationships: Messy, passionate, bewildering, challenging, and, if one should be so lucky to find a stable, solid one, ultimately fulfilling. The main characters include Shane (Katherine Moennig), a female lothario going through her list of conquests without an ounce of care; poet Jenny (Mia Kirshner), who is awakening to her lesbian tendencies Dana (Erin Daniels); and a female tennis player coming out of the closet in fantastically awkward ways. And there's the delicious/painful rollercoaster of Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman), who struggle to make their live-in relationship work.

Is it any good?

Prurient minds may think that this hour-long drama is nothing but a romp-fest of naked women. And, in many ways, it is. Women do have sex -- and lots of it -- but that's not what it's all about. It's exciting for lesbian relationships to have such a frank forum; for them to be characterized in living color, with all their complications; and for the "L" word not to be a forbidden word anymore.

Yet while the series is stylish and its ensemble cast is obviously quite talented, in many ways it panders to the stereotypes it tries so hard to smash. Shane is caricatured -- as if to say she's just acting like a "man" instead of like someone who's simply unwilling to commit. Predictably, Jenny is a poet, as if to say only "creative types" go through sexual confusion. Why can't she be an accountant? With its hip L.A. backdrop, the show presents an exciting and dazzling, even intoxicating, milieu. But it's not perfect, and it's definitely not for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a lesbian and how difficult it is to exist in a world that has problems accepting people's sexual preferences. How complicated must it be to love someone and have that not be accepted by everyone important to you? Families can also discuss how there are many similarities between heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

TV details

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