The Real L Word
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reality show based on racy drama is too sexed-up for teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Some of the show's content reflects pre-existing stereotypes. Potentially controversial issues are raised and discussed.
Positive Role Models
All of the women are successful professionals. Their personal lives can get complicated, but that reflects real life (rather than drama created for a fictional show).
Violence & Scariness
Arguments occasionally lead to screaming, yelling, and door slamming.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some nudity (bare breasts, buttocks) and lots of explicit discussions about past sexual experiences; sexual activity is both audible and visible. Sexual toys/devices are sometimes shown. Women are shown walking around in their underwear and dancing at bars in skimpy clothing.
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Frequent use of strong language, including everything from "douche bag," "crap," "ass," and "bitch" to stronger words like "p---y," "f--k," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Logos for Beverly Hills stores like MaxMara, Los Angeles eateries like Alcove, and West Hollywood clubs like Home. High-end brands like Gucci and Dolce & Gabana are discussed. Apple computers, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus cars are also visible. Mikey Hoffman's PR and marketing firm, The Gallery Los Angeles, is also prominently featured.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking is visible. Alcohol (beer, hard liquor, wine) is consumed with meals, at bars, and during parties.
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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.
Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
Sara and Whitney
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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)?
- Premiere date: June 20, 2010
- Cast: Nikki Weiss, Rose Garcia, Whitney Mixter
- Network: Showtime
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: May 19, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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