The L Word TV Poster Image

The L Word



Relationships get complicated in entertaining, sexy drama.

What parents need to know

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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:January 18, 2004
Cast:Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The L Word was written by

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What parents and kids say

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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 kids watch whatever they want, God.
Teen, 16 years old Written by32flavors April 9, 2008

Gets a bad rap

Yes, this show is inappropriate for kids under 14. And yes, there is sex, cursing, and occasional alcohol and drug use. However, this show often carries a positive message that gets overlooked. Not only does it teach tolerance and acceptance, most of the characters on the show are essentially good people, and if they are not, there are negative consequences. One thing that I could really get behind is the underlying message of loyalty and friendship. The "L" girls are friends first, and they support and help each other in times of need. There is a very touching storyline in season 3 about former best friends who are also former lovers - who put their differences and pasts aside when one of them is diagnosed with agressive breast cancer. Overall, although this show is raunchy, I don't think it quite deserves the bad rap it gets.
Teen, 15 years old Written bydeliaX713 December 31, 2010

Good Show To Show That Not Everyone Is The Same

This TV show is good for mature teens and adults. Yes, there is lesbian sex, yes there is bad language, infidelity and drinking and drugs but this show has good messages for older teens to understand. It shows that it is okay to be gay, and that people are people. The characters are diverse in age, race and sexuality (butch/femme lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals etc). It shows that not everyone is the same and once you get passed the sometimes eplicit sex scenes it is a good show. It is over dramatized and doesn't completely portray lesbian life accurately but compared to other shows out there, this is as good as it gets.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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