“The L Word” Season 2 Review

The season two cast of The L Word

Warning: moderate spoilers

Those eagerly awaiting the second season debut of Showtime’s The L Word this Sunday, February 20th, will not be disappointed: the show is just as sexy and engaging this time around, but with new characters, new drama, and new romantic entanglements to complicate the lives of our favorite group of L.A. lesbians.

There are also a few new disappointments, starting with the new title sequence. Perhaps responding to complaints they received last year about the lack of one, the L Word editors have introduced a kitschy, fun collage of the L Word cast in various poses to open the episodes. The sequence is entertaining; unfortunately, the theme song by Betty that goes along with it is, well, cheesy and cringe-inducing (both the lyrics and the music). It actually makes you long for last season’s electronic dots.

Fortunately Betty’s other songs in the series (they perform on stage in one episode) are actually pretty good, as are most of the other artists chosen to provide the backdrop to the drama served up this season (you can check out many of them when Showtime releases the Season Two soundtrack next week).

Although some of the episodes are funnier or more dramatic than others, there are few “stand out” ones this season–not because they’re all poor, but because they’re almost all equally good. Unlike last season, where the episode tone and quality tended to be very uneven, this season seems to flow together well, as if the writers have finally found their groove.

The L Word has also lined up several interesting guest stars this season, and unlike shows like Will and Grace, The L Word uses its guest stars to support the primary storylines, not hijack them. Jane Lynch plays Tina’s smarmy lawyer to perfection, Camryn Manheim is an excellent bitchy movie studio exec, and Sandra Bernhard does a good job as Jenny’s caustic new writing teacher (Arianna Huffington’s role in the first episode, however, seems a little forced).

Most of this season’s L Word primary storylines pick up where they left off at the end of last season: Shane (Katherine Moennig) is still trying to get over being dumped by married socialite Sherry (Rosanna Arquette); Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Dana (Erin Daniels) are grappling with the aftermath of their kiss; Jenny (Mia Kirshner) is still writing bad fiction and trying to make sense of her relationships, including the dissolution of her relationship with ex-fiance Tim (Eric Mabius); Kit (Pam Grier) and Ivan (Kelly Lynch) are growing closer; and Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) are trying to pick up the pieces after Bette’s affair with Candace (Ion Overman).

The only obvious disconnect from last season is the departure of Marina (Karina Lombard), who was not made a part of the second season cast. Marina’s absence is addressed in the first episode when the remaining characters learn that Marina has been taken back to Italy by her family after trying to commit suicide.