(and other lessons learned from THE L-WORD)
Okay, let me just start by saying, in that bad queer-girl way, that I don’t always know where I end and my beloved partner-in-crime beings. I mean, I know, I know:
Two separate people
Two separate bodies
and lovers shouldn’t merge, outside the obvious.
But honestly, when laying in bed in the dark, discussing a movie you’ve just seen, who’s to say who said what first?
So, some of my L-Word ramblings come from L*s mouth, and really she should be blogging them, but she’s not so I am. Standard boilerplate disclaimer (i.e. credit her with the stuff that’s correct and fault me for whatever’s just plain wrong)
We’re about one episode behind on the L-word, but the last couple we watched both featured interactions between Carmen, Shane, and Carmen’s grandmother.
First, may I just say it’s a pleasure to see Latinas on the little screen. In my head I’ve been going through the permutations necessary to introduce to have a Chicana/o actor--they have the Chicana played by the Persian, which would be followed by the Haitian played by an African American, then an East Coast African American played by a Nuyorican, then a Persian played by a Chican@.
But look! See all those Spanish surnames in the opening credits? Is it possible we’re going to the oldest lesbian bar in the LA area, in the heart of Pico Rivera?
No, of course not. That would imply that there’s a whole world of Latina Lesbians who neither know nor care about Helena Peabody.
No, those Spanish surnames mean we’re going to the house of Carmen’s mama, where EVERY DAY IS A FIESTA. Because yes, according to Hollywood, if you’re going to show Latinos, you’re going to show a big crowd of them with a lot of food. Because Latinidad is ALL ABOUT FAMILIA. and COMIDA.
I confess to a passionate crush on the cigar-smoking grandma who tells her daughter, “orale, Mercedes, you’re daughter’s a dyke. so cute, those marimachas.” (well, she would if *I* were writing the dialogue).
So there’s the scene where Carmen’s grandma admires Shane’s tattoo and says Carmen’s is just like it, and se aparecen como anillos de matrimonio. Or, to translate for the English-only viewer“
Carmen’s grandmother says SOMETHING IN SPANISH, that leads to significant looks from the mother, which precipitates a scene of confrontation and homofobia.
See, part of me was actually foolish enough to believe that the Spanish-speaking viewer was actually being interpellated into the ”familia knows“ subtext, but that foolish expectation was brought up short by the one-two punch ”Mama’s gonna fix Shane up with a man because LATINOS HATE QUEERS!“
Mejor puta que lesbiana
Of course, mouthy child that I am, the responses that run through my head are ”Are you sure Ma? ‘Cause you already got a bunch of putas I thought you might like a little variation“--since the skinny bitch sisters in the familia SO don’t have Carmen’s back.
Then I was thinking about how every season they have to have the straight white male viewer watching. (Jenny’s boyfriend, then the roommate video cam guy, and now--Dylan’s husband, although Kit’s manwich is fitting in really nicely)
Not that I think they think ”straight white guy“ but rather ”straight guy,“ since they have to work really hard to remember that people of color ARE Los Angeles.
Or, wait, how about their attention to class issues? Because suddenly hairdresser and dj are top-dollar jobs, and then the only overtly ”working class“ character is a big ol’ MOOCHER. Mooching off her/his girlfriend and expecting the rich bitches to pay for his surgery.
But they were all cute in their prom outfits, weren’t they?