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 this reality series -- which, like its fictional counterpart, The L Word, follows the lives of a group of lesbians in Los Angeles -- has lots of mature content, from frequent uncensored swearing ("s--t," "f--k") to sexually explicit scenes that might make the Tudors blush. There's also plenty of smoking and drinking, and brand logos like Apple, MaxMara, and Lexus are visible. Most of the show's storylines focus on the women's personal relationships, but the series also highlights prominent issues in the lesbian/gay community, including same-sex marriage and single-sex parenting.
What's the story?
THE REAL L WORD showcases the life and lifestyle of a group of lesbians living in Los Angeles. The featured women include tough-talking fashion marketer Mikey Hoffman, streetwise special effects artist Whitney Mixter, real-estate agent Rose Garcia (who has a definite wild streak), and film/TV executive Tracy Ryerson. Cameras also follow entertainment industry manager Nikki Weiss and her fiancée, Jill Goldstein, who live their lives outside of the downtown lesbian "scene." From coping with parents struggling to understand their sexuality to complicated dating relationships, the series highlights the day-to-day drama that comes with working and playing in the city of angels.
Is it any good?
The series, which is produced by The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, is the first gay-themed reality show on mainstream television. It introduces viewers to some of the lingo and social rituals associated with the lesbian community and highlights some of the challenges that members of the LGBTQ community face due to their sexuality. But the show's primary focus is on the featured women's romantic and sexual relationships, which range from casual dating to marriage.
Like most reality series, TRLW includes lots of over-the-top, hedonistic behavior designed to create voyeuristically dramatic moments. And some of the featured relationships are so complicated that they seem contrived. You can't help feeling sometimes that the series is playing up some of the cast members' sexual antics to appeal to existing stereotypes. Ultimately, what makes this an adult-oriented show isn't the fact that these women are lesbians, but rather some of the over-the-top behavior they engage in while the cameras are rolling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this show reinforces or undermines stereotypes. What do you think its goal is? Who is the intended audience?
How does this show compare to the drama that inspired it? Can you think of any other fictional shows that have become reality shows (or vice versa)?
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