A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The L Word: Generation Q is based on the series The L Word that ran from 2004 to 2009. Like the original, this series focuses on a group of mostly lesbian coworkers and friends in Los Angeles. Also like the original, it's sexually explicit: Women have sex with each other in all kinds of situations and places. There's committed sex, hook-up sex, sex on countertops and tables and showers. Breasts and buttocks are visible and there are sexual noises and suggestive movements; genitals are hidden, but the action is steamy. Language is also mature: "f--k," "s--t," "jackass," "hell," "bitch," and lots of talk about sex and romance. Scenes take place in bars with adults drinking, sometimes to excess; a 16-year-old girl vapes pot with her friend. The cast is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, age, religion, and sexual and gender identity, and there are warm and supportive relationships between friends and family members.
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What's the story?
Based on the series that ran from 2004 to 2009, THE L WORD: GENERATION Q picks up 10 years after the show went off the air with a group of friends shattered by a significant death. Bette (Jennifer Beals) is now a single mom raising rebellious teen Angie (Jordan Hull), and running for mayor of Los Angeles. Alice (Leisha Hailey) is a talk show host, and involved with Nat (Stephanie Allynne), a mom with two kids and a lot of complications. And Shane (Katherine Moennig) has just returned to town after her marriage flamed out, not sure what to do next. Connected to these three women in all kinds of complicated ways are Finley (Jacqueline Toboni), a recent transplant from the midwest, and her roommates Micah (Leo Sheng), a trans man and college professor, Alice's show's producer Sophie (Rosanny Zayas), and Sophie's finace Dani (Arienne Mandi).
Is it any good?
This revamp of the beloved 2000-era series scores by injecting some seriousness into the frothy soap-opera plotlines that characterized the original. The old-school trio of Shane, Bette, and Alice are all played by actors in their forties and fifties now, so it makes sense that instead of searching for romance and adventure they're now settled down into less playful pursuits: Bette's bid for mayor, Alice's parent problems, Shane's wreck of a personal life. Bette even has a hot flash in the show's first episode, mercy!
But just so things don't get too geriatric, The L Word: Generation Q introduces a fresh young quartet of queer folk, the nest of roommates who work in different ways for Bette (who hires Dani as her PR consult after Dani flees her family's morally-compromised investment firm), and Alice (who employs both Sophie and Finley). The show's trying to have it both ways: meet-cutes and hookups and heavy plotlines about comittment and family. It largely succeeds, thanks to appealing actors and good writing with a lived-in queer sensibility, with jokes about Roxanne Gay, #MeToo, and the time-honored association between lesbians and power tools. Though today's crop of LGBTQ viewers aren't quite as starved for lesbian-themed stories as they were in 2005, they still want to see themselves reflected onscreen, and Generation Q does a fine, honorable job of it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why The L Word: Generation Q has gotten a revamp. Why now? What type of viewers is this show hoping to attract? How is it like or different from other shows that have gotten a second life?
Typically, revamped TV shows will feature some of the actors from the original show, and some new ones. Why? What is the appeal of each? Is it hoped that people who watched the original will return, along with new viewers?
TV shows about LGBTQ people are more common than they were in 2004 when The L Word first aired. How many can you name? How else is the TV landscape different now than in 2004?
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