Watching The L Word in 2022 is quite the experience, and not just because of the questionable fashion choices.
Naturally, much about the original series hasn’t aged well – biphobia, transphobia, racism and characters of colour being stereotyped, etc. – and dismissing it as a different time doesn’t entirely make it better.
However, more than the show’s problematic elements, people think of infamous character Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner).
The L Word may not belong in the horror genre, but knowing a real-life Jenny Shechter would result in your life being a massacre.
When we’re first introduced to Jenny, she doesn’t identify as queer, let alone a lesbian.
She has a boyfriend named Tim (Eric Mabius). Their relationship is very heteronormative and mind-numbingly boring, and their sex scenes are uncomfortable to watch.
It’s not until she meets seductive café owner Marina (Karina Lombard) that she unravels.
From there she has an affair, falls for Marina, forces herself to marry Tim (only for them to divorce later), and ultimately realises she’s a lesbian.
Her gay awakening makes her character come alive, but the internal power she acquires results in her becoming a monster. Power sometimes corrupts, right?
Throughout the series, she messes with the lives of her friends by lying, deceiving, deliberately causing drama (including trying to break up relationships), and manipulating because she can.
Her lovers certainly aren’t in the clear from her shitstorms either, not even boring and problematic Tim.
Jenny serves as an example of how a queer villain should be written.
Writers lazily lean into homophobia when they make a person’s queerness into the bad thing.
In this case, Jenny’s queerness is the only good thing about her.
She goes from baby gay to a gay tornado who leaves destruction in her wake.
It’s not an exaggeration when people say she’s an awful character and unapologetically so, but with her traumatic past and upbringing, she almost doesn’t stand a chance – which allows people to feel some sympathy and then return to hating her moments later.
By the final season of The L Word, Jenny’s officially over the deep end. All her friendships and her relationship with Shane (Katherine Moennig) end up fractured.
In fact, she winds up dead in the swimming pool at Tina (Laurel Holloman) and Bette (Jennifer Beals)’s going away party.
The secrets that are uncovered prior to her untimely death are pretty startling. She was pulling a lot of strings without anyone realising.
While her actions make her a hated character, Jenny is still someone you can get wrapped up in.
This is potentially just because of Mia Kirshner’s acting, but nonetheless, Jenny is a queer character you won’t ever forget.
I certainly never will.