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January 15, 2008

Cable Boxing: The Great TV Debate: ‘L Word’ keeps soap on tight rope in S5

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Cable Boxing, LEO’s weekly rehash of some of our favorite shows. Associate Editor Sara Havens and Music Editor Mat Herron have, shall we say, different tastes in television programming. So instead of listening to them duke it out in the newsroom, we made them put their fists to the keyboard and pound out comical banter. In the first round, we threw out Showtime’s “The L Word” for debate. Ironically, both parties enjoy this show but come at it from different perspectives. In the future, we promise it won’t be as pleasant, as the likes of “One Tree Hill,” “30 Rock,” “The Wire” and “Big Brother” are tossed into the ring.The L WordSeason premiere: “LGB Tease”Showtime, Sundays, 9 p.m. Originally aired Jan. 6. Starring Jennifer Beals, Pam Grier, Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig and Cybill Shepherd. Directed by Angela Robinson. Written by Ilene Chaiken.Sara: Season 5 is off to a good start — really looking forward to this movie-inside-a-movie plotline. I hear we’re going to see familiar Season 1 scenes re-shot with true-to-life, behind-the-scenes catfights. Bring it on, ladies. Let the fur fly.Initial questions — Where was Papi (Janina Gavankar)? What are they doing to Jenny (Mia Kirshner)? She started out as the innocent-Midwestern-straight-girl-turned-lesbo. Now she’s a high-maintenance Hollywood madam?Mat: Oh, Jenny. So fine, yet so … bitchy. Her office tantrum at the sight of her poor, fashion-victimized Pomeranian ensures I will probably hate her for the rest of the season. “I don’t pay you to think”? What is this? Hollywood circa 1930? Isn’t every barb supposed to involve “like,” “as if” or “I’m de-friending you on MySpace”?Sara: You must give Mia props for pulling off such a major character turn. I mean, Jenny has always been weird, but now she’s becoming hard to take. Why doesn’t Shane (Moennig) just smack her back to reality? Funniest moment, though, was seeing the “Lez Girls” re-write through her eyes.Mat: In quiet moments, I often write about hot women staring at my ass. I’m just waiting for them to act on it. I laughed even harder when Phyllis (Shepherd) told Alice (Hailey), who’s responsible for the stuffy dean’s sexual awakening, that she’s vanilla when it comes to sex.Sara: No way Alice is vanilla. Double Chocolate Caramel Chunk, maybe, but not vanilla. Let’s remember that Phyllis got dumped. So it’s just her form of a subliminal pistol-whip to The Chart creator.Mat: I thought Alice would jump on the first plane to Baghdad. Turns out she didn’t have to, after all.Sara: Glad to see Tasha (Rose Rollins) back in L.A. — but I have a feeling we’re going to be dragged through don’t-ask-don’t-tell mud. Last scene was a nice send-off — The Heart Throbs’ “Kiss Me When I’m Starving” is steamy.Mat: Absolutely … the creators did promise us lots of sex in the runup to this season, and well, I speak for all straight men when I say, “More, more!” Don’t ask don’t tell is so 1992, especially now that our military’s all but admitted they need gay troops. I don’t see Helena’s (Rachel Shelley) jailbird plot stretching out for long. Knowing spoiled brats like her, she’ll rot for a few weeks until Mommy comes to the rescue. Her pals’ inability to reach the ’rental unit is pretty hysterical. “Honey, I’m sure you and cellmate will get along swimmingly.”Sara: Lesbians in prison — is this still a hot genre? Tina (Laurel Holloman) and Alice’s advice: “Don’t drop the soap.”Mat: I heard that one in high school. Tina and Bette (Beals) — together or no? I thought Flashdance was gonna flip when she saw Tina topless; then again, she did ask Tina if she was getting laid, so maybe she’s not so stuck up after all.Sara: Jody (Marlee Matlin) is a maniac, indeed. Busts Bette’s chops any chance she gets. The lady tractor-pulled an ugly sign out to you, no need to blind-fold. Contact the writers at leo@leoweekly.com