Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



TV'The L-Word' follow-up aims for sex, laughs, drama and diversity
by Lawrence Ferber

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

During 2004-09, Showtime's The L-Word offered a Sapphic-centric L.A.-set successor to Queer As Folk.

While groundbreaking, audacious and sexy—with more than 110 sex scenes during its run—creator Ilene Chaiken and her creative teams were responsible for both one of the most loathed main characters on cable TV: Jenny Schecter ( Mia Kirschner ), whose unsolved murder served as a framework and point of contention during the show's final season, and a well-meaning but unflattering, inaccurate, cringeworthy trans representation in Max ( Danielle Sea ).

On Sunday Dec. 8, Showtime will premiere a follow-up, The L-Word: Generation Q, with Marja-Lewis Ryan as showrunner. The new series attempts to acknowledge and make up for the sins of the past, with ethnic diversity both in front of and behind the camera, including Latinx screenwriters Tatiana Suarez-Pico ( Parenthood ) and Nancy Mejia ( Vida ); authentic trans representation; and socially aware storylines involving both the original's characters and a fresh batch of new "Gen Q" faces.

Today, Bette Porter ( Jennifer Beals ) is running for mayor while raising teenage daughter Angie ( Jordan Hull ), who may be nursing an adolescent queer crush on a bad influence bestie, Jordi ( trans actress Sophie Giannamore ). Alice ( Leisha Hailey ) has a new, Ellen-ish TV talk show, and is dating Gigi ( Sepideh Moafi ), a realtor with kids and a meddlesome ex-wife. And wealthy lesbian lothario hairstylist Shane ( Katherine Moennig ) has just returned to L.A.

As for the show's Gen Q components, Sophie ( Rosanny Zayas ) is a producer on Alice's show and lives with girlfriend Dani ( Arienne Mandi ), a PR executive working for her father's lucrative yet opioid-related business. The couple's transgender roommate, Micah ( Leo Sheng ), is an adjunct professor with the hots for a new gay neighbor, Jose ( Freddy Miyares ), while Sarah ( Jacqueline Toboni ), an Olympic swimmer turned assistant on Alice's show, parties hard while cozying up to her wishlist mentor, Shane. Other openly LGBTQ actors popping up in this 8-episode season include Olivia Thirlby, Fortune Feimster and Jamie Clayton ( Sense8 ).

Windy City Times spoke with Zayas and Mandi, both of whom are single and identify as pansexual. ( "I'm open to falling in love with someone's personality and how we connect as people," Zayas specified. )

Windy City Times: Dani is described as "complicated." Can you elaborate, and hint at what's in store for her?

Arienne Mandi: Dani is born into a family that she worked very hard for, and is really bound to her father. It's just been them against the world. During the course of the season, she's experiencing the feeling that maybe everything she assumed and thought would be her world isn't what she wants. I can relate to being told something your whole life, and having your thoughts change about the world and people, and what drives you and what you're passionate about—making your own opinions and really honoring what you want and who you are as a person.

WCT: How about Sophie?

Rosanny Zayas: I believe Sophie's a hard worker and always had big dreams and goals. One of them is to help Alice create a show that's relatable, queer, open, and honest, about how Alice lives her life today, which is really cool.

When The L-Word first came out, you saw Alice finding herself. Now Alice has her own show and she's killing it, and Sophie [is] helping her step into her voice even more.

WCT: And what is Sophie and Dani's dynamic like as a couple?

RZ: I think you'll see the ups and downs, and Dani's character is a very strong person, forward in what she wants. You see Sophie as the heart of the relationship, and a lot of times [is] having to take on the emotional life and confronting things Dani doesn't want to talk about. You'll see how much they love each other, and how much they will be there for each other, just like any other relationship.

AM: Sophie is Dani's anchor throughout the course of the season, and we experience changes together.

WCT: Do you relate personally to your respective characters and their relationship?

AM: Yeah. I pulled a lot from my own life, and some things from my mother. I grew up in L.A. My mother is Chilean and my father is Iranian, and Dani [has a] mixed ethnicity, too. The cultural upbringing is very much me. And I think I'm a lot like Dani. She keeps a lot of things very close to her, and I'm the same way. I'm not quick to divulge. It was really visceral to go through some of the things she does.

RZ: Well, I'm a Dominican from New York, and Sophie is too, and I think that Sophie's heart is my heart. The writing has been so amazing.

WCT: Is there a correlation between the Gen Q newbies and original's characters? Like is one the new Shane, the new Alice, etc.?

AM: I think what's great about the new Gen Q is we're so diverse, but if I had to relate Dani to somebody else, it would be Bette. We're very different in our backgrounds, but we struggle with family issues and we're both powerful and calculating in the same way. But all the new characters sort of speak for themselves and are very original and fresh.

RZ:I think Sophie's a new creation. There were Hispanic characters on the show before, but I don't think they've been as specific as being Dominican from New York. Even when it comes to the ethnic food she eats, that's something that wasn't specifically in the show before, but you get to see now."

WCT: How did the new and original casts go about getting to know each other? Was there a lot of bonding?

AM: We call them "the OGs." Kate, Leisha and Jennifer really extended themselves to us and actually organized a dinner the first week of shooting. We sat at dinner for hours and talked. We make it a point to hang out outside of work, and they really opened their doors to us and made sure we felt super comfortable, but also experience things on their own like they did. It felt like a family."

RZ: As just a fan of the show, you don't get to see how the OGs are in real life, but it's been so awesome to see how well they connect. They actually do love and take care of each other, and fight for each other during the process of making the show. It's been a learning experience for me, and I've been admiring them every day, wanting to be more and more like them.

WCT: Would you ever bring up Jenny and how she died, or is it like Candyman, Beetlejuice and Bloody Mary and nobody dares intone that name for dread of summoning her?

AM: Oh my God. She wasn't my favorite character—that's for sure. I do like the actress, Mia Kirshner, but Jenny's character was definitely not my favorite! I feel like there are online forums for just bashing poor Jenny. She definitely pumped up the drama.

RZ: All of us are fans of the show, so there are always questions about Jenny and what happened. I think I'll leave that up to the writers.

WCT: Will we see Pam Grier's Kit Porter again?

AM: I don't know. I can't answer! There will definitely be special guest appearances. I'm not saying from the past [series], but a lot of guest appearances, which is really exciting.

WCT: How accurate is the show's depiction of modern Los Angeles lesbian and queer life, and how would you describe it?

AM: Very edgy. Very competitive sometimes. Loving.

RZ: I feel it's changing every day, the way the world is. I can say that everyone is working as hard as they can to make sure it's as accurate as possible—the writers, creators, actors, costume design. We want to make sure this relays what we see today.

AM: Our set was incredibly queer—our directors, producers, our show runner. It's still a lesbian show, but it's branched out as so much more now. We had everyone on the spectrum. It's pretty wonderful.

WCT: Of course, I have to ask about the original show's infamous "The Chart," which mapped out the characters' sexual and emotional connections. Is there one hanging in the writer's room this time, too? Are there already too many lines to fit?

AM: Not so much, but I see so many Post-Its and arrows. They have the overview of the season and where things go. All these things are subject to change, but it follows each person's drama.

The L-Word: Generation Q premieres Sunday, Dec. 8 on Showtime.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast, features Julie Proudfoot interviewing Tracy Baim 2020-05-27 - On Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast #103, Julie Proudfoot interviews Tracy Baim, award-winning journalist and publisher, about her work in Chicago as an openly-gay ...

Gay News

Red Stars part of Challenge Cup, which starts June 27 2020-05-27 - The National Women's Soccer League announced May 27 that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, presented by P&G and Secret, will mark the return ...

Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL Is there a doctor... 2020-05-27 - It's that time again. I need to find a healthcare provider. I live in a rural community where there is a large turnover ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-05-27 - "Hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people started long before Trump and Pence took office. Defeating them will not solve the problem, but it ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Rufus Wainwright, LGBTQ films, Billy Porter, Janelle Monae 2020-05-27 - Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright unveiled the latest single from his eagerly anticipated new pop album, Unfollow the Rules, a press release noted. "Alone ...

Gay News

NATIONAL 'Drag Fest,' eating disorders, journalist attacked, NCLR event 2020-05-27 - Political activist/New York City drag staple Marti Gould Cummings and The Only Productions announced the largest digital drag festival during Pride 2020, a ...

Gay News

NCLR honors SF 49ers Offensive Assistant Coach Katie Sowers, comedian Gina Yashere 2020-05-23 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The National Center of Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) today announced that they will be honoring San Francisco 49ers ...

Gay News

Brave Space Alliance announces board of directors 2020-05-21 - Brave Space Alliance—a Black- and trans-led "LGBTQ center on the South Side of Chicago that is dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally ...

Gay News

Red Stars hosting virtual Pride party on May 28 2020-05-21 - The Chicago Red Stars will kick off pride month in Chicago by teaming with local businesses and talent for a virtual Pride Party ...

Gay News

Affinity to mark 25th anniversary virtually 2020-05-21 - Co-chairs and the Affinity Community Services board of directors recently announced that Affinity's 25th-anniversary event will be a virtual experience taking place the ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.