TOBIN: It's time for our last surprise.
KATHY: And, how would you describe this surprise?
TOBIN: Um, do you remember when people used to give, like, DVD sets, when people watched DVDs?
KATHY: Oh, yeah. And then Blu-rays.
TOBIN: Exactly. This is like if you gave someone the complete box set of their favorite show, ‘cause you know them that well.
KATHY: Aww! Okay, alright. I’ll go with that. [TOBIN CHUCKLES] So today, we're going to start off with an important revisit of a fan-favorite episode — the one in which I watch The L Word for the very first time and made you, Tobin, listen to me talk about it.
TOBIN: Yeah. The only thing I really remember is that you’re a fan of a character named Jenny, and that pisses people off.
KATHY: Yes, I am a Jenny fan, I stand by it, and you never fail to tell everyone about it, do you?
TOBIN: I like to rile people up! [HURRIED, AS IF WHISPERING] Um, by the way, her favorite Buffy character is Faith. [KATHY LAUGHS] Her favorite character is Faith.
KATHY: Oh my god. You cannot let that one go!
TOBIN: Anyway! Enjoy the episode, and stay tuned, because at the end, Kathy takes care of some unfinished business in her never-ending quest to cover all things L Word.
[NANCY WHISTLE PLAYS]
KATHY: This episode of Nancy contains spoilers.
TOBIN: Okay, but also, the show we're gonna talk about has been off the air forever. It's available everywhere. Come on people, get on board!
VOX 1: From WNYC Studios, this is Nancy.
VOX 2: With your hosts, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu.
[THEME MUSIC ENDS]
TOBIN: Yes, Kathy?
KATHY: I’ve told you before about how I sometimes feel like I’m bad at being a queer lady.
TOBIN: Yes. Yes, you have talked about this.
KATHY: So, like, when I came out in college, I for some reason did not do a deep dive into lesbian media. Like I didn’t listen to Ani DiFranco…
TOBIN: Oh but she's a classic!
KATHY: … I didn't listen to Melissa Etheridge, and I only very recently watched But I’m a Cheerleader.
TOBIN: Also a classic.
KATHY: Yeah, I know. So now I just kind of feel like I’m always behind the lesbian learning curve. For example, and I hear about this all the time, I’ve never seen The L Word.
[THE L WORD THEME MUSIC PLAYS: “Girls in tight dresses who drag in mustaches …”]
CASSIE: I am shocked. I’m appalled. I’m outraged. And you call yourself a lesbian?
KATHY: This is my friend Cassie, who I met at A-Camp.
TOBIN: For the past couple weeks, every sentence starts with "My friend from A-Camp, this one friend from A Camp..."
KATHY: But Tobin it was so much fun! An adult camp for queer women!
TOBIN: Anyway, Cassie had some feelings about The L Word.
CASSIE: You mention The L Word, you drop a casual Bette or Tina into a sentence, and you’ve got hours and hours worth of chat. You need to just be part of that community and hate it. You need to love it and hate it.
THE L WORD THEME SONG: Talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, crying, drinking, writing, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking, dreaming.
[THE L WORD THEME MUSIC ENDS]
TOBIN: But isn’t The L Word an old show?
KATHY: Um, kind of, it premiered in 2004 and aired for six seasons on Showtime.
TOBIN: Okay, so, like, old-ish.
KATHY: Old-ish, yeah. So I posted on Twitter that I was considering watching the show, and instantly I heard from all these people. They were like, “We’ll be following along while you slowly descend into madness and self-loathing.” And “I’m sorry for what’s about to happen to you.” And on and on and on, and I was like, “How much can you talk about The L Word?”
CAMERON: How long can people talk about The L Word? I don’t know. How much air is there to breathe and expel out of my lungs while making noise?
KATHY: This is Cameron Esposito. She’s a comedian and producer and actor and huge L Word fan. She told me that even though this show is basically a soap opera, and not even a great soap opera, it's the only show we've got.
CAMERON: So when this show came out, it was the first time that that there could be multiple lesbians [BOTH LAUGH] in any scenario. So like even the idea that one could be an Alice versus a Bette versus a Tina, that is bonkers. Like, in any moment when there’s a collection of lesbians ...
CAMERON: … that’s just a breathtaking moment. It just hasn’t happened very much.
KATHY: Okay so, I hear Cassie. I hear Cameron. I am ready to feel what Twitter feels about this show. So I’m gonna do it. I’m going to watch all of The L Word. All six seasons. All 63 hours.
[ROCK MUSIC ENDS]
[FIRST EPISODE SONG]
KATHY: So, at the beginning of season one, you meet this group of beautiful lesbian friends living in LA.
CASSIE: You’ve got Alice, who is the token bisexual.
[CLIP] ALICE: Some of us have it worse, Dana you know, some of us are dating lesbian men. [CLIP ENDS]
CASSIE: Bette, the power lesbian.
[CLIP STARTS] BETTE: Why is it so important for you to believe that everyone is sleeping with everyone else? [CLIP ENDS]
CASSIE: Her partner Tina.
[CLIP] TINA: So gay. [CLIP ENDS]
CASSIE: Dana, the awkward but closeted athletic lesbian.
[CLIP] DANA: Slander against cats, write that down. [CLIP ENDS]
CASSIE: Shane, the lesbian heartbreaker.
[CLIP] SHANE: Damn it! I hate being in the shit house. [CLIP ENDS]
CASSIE: And then you’ve got Jenny, who is my personal favorite.
[CLIP] JENNY: I think she's psychotic. What do I do? [CLIP ENDS]
KATHY: People have described it as Sex and the City if Carrie and Samantha slept together and then cheated on each other and then slept with either Miranda or whoever the last one is. And my first impression of the show? There is so much sex!
SARAH: When I got the show, I thought “L” stood for Love. I didn’t know what “L” meant. And my first day of filming, the AD was like “Okay, Sarah, this is Kate. Kate, this is Sarah. And in this scene, Kate’s going to be going down on you.” [KATHY LAUGHS] And I was like, “Holy shit,” like, what? What did I sign up for?! [KATHY LAUGHS MORE]
KATHY: This is Sarah Shahi. She played Carmen, who arrived in Season 2. By then, there had already been so much sex on this show, the writers had to get … creative.
SARAH: Mia and I had the scene where we're supposed to be like making out on a toilet, post-showering. And either she pees on me or I piss on her. [KATHY LAUGHS] And our piss is such, it's so powerful, it's such like a hard streamlined piss that it’s supposed to give the other one like an orgasm. It's supposed to, like, hit our clits and give us an orgasm.
KATHY: Oh, that's what was supposed to happen.
SARAH: Yeah that's what that was, exactly. [BOTH LAUGH OUTRAGIOUSLY] Oh yeah. Oh those are good times. The good old years.
KATHY: And part of what made it good was that the actors felt like they had input.
SARAH: We would rewrite our scenes if we felt like they should go in another direction. We were changing up the lines. We would say, “No I’m not gonna say that, let’s say this instead," like, if we felt uncomfortable about a certain love scene. I got very spoiled on that show and I thought every show was gonna be like that. Sure enough, the next show I got was the opposite of that. You were not allowed to go outside the box and it’s kind of — it’s been like that on a couple projects since. So, like I said, The L Word was truly special.
KATHY: And the sexiest person on the show was Shane. Beautiful, hypnotic Shane. I mean, I didn’t really feel this way, but basically everyone else did.
[CLIP STARTS WITH MORE L WORD MUSIC]
SHANE: I like a girl with ambition.
CARMEN: Oh, fuck you. [LAUGHS]
SHANE: Okay, if you want.
BACKGROUND VOCALS: The way that we live …
KATHY: Cameron is a big fan of Shane.
CAMERON: That character was, like, on the prowl, and has realistic-looking sex, with, like, actual choreography that one would do. Because the alternative is, uh, what I call “skydiving,” which is when two women are on screen and their hands are totally in the air, but they’re still having sex with each other. [BOTH LAUGH]
But what Shane is doing is like real moves [LAUGHS] and just the idea that there could be an aggressor and that could be wanted.
[THE L WORD THEME MUSIC]
KATHY: Season 2 also begins the coupledom of my two favorite characters: Alice Piezecki and Dana Fairbanks. They’re best friends and lovers and they just have so much fun together.
[CLIP STARTS WITH HORN FANFARE MUSIC]
ALICE: Oh god, is that a periscope in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? [MOANS] Oh captain, my captain!
PERSON: [KNOCKS ON DOOR, MUSIC STOPS ABRUPTLY] Guys, it's time for dinner!
KATHY: But at the start of season 3, Dana and Alice are no longer together. Dana gets back with her ex, which is just so uncalled for. And Alice starts obsessing over Dana and kind of, like, stalks her a little bit, which I can kind of understand.
[CLIP STARTS WITH MORE ROCK-Y MUSIC]
ALICE: Yeah, I mean, I think you guys would be obsessing too. ‘Cause our sex [LAUGHS] was mind-blowingly, un-fuckingly, unbelievable. And it just, kind of, makes you realize that this person could be the one great true love of your life.
KATHY: And just when you can’t believe things can get any worse …
DANA: Ductal carcinoma. Are you — are you sure?
KATHY: Dana is diagnosed with breast cancer! So she pushes her girlfriend away, and Alice steps up to take care of her.
TOBIN: Okay, so you’re, like, really into this show at this point.
[DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: [DRAMATIC MUSIC] Tobin, I know people say this show is bad, but, like, I am so in it right now. I don’t care how bad it is. I love Alice and Dana so much, I can't believe this is happening. Dana can’t die.
TOBIN: Well, so, does she?
KATHY: You'll find out ... after the break.
TOBIN: Oh! Damn it!
[PARK AMBIANCE FADES IN]
KATHY: What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say The L Word?
[THEME MUSIC COMES IN]
PERSON 1: Love.
PERSON 2: Log.
TOBIN: Have you ever watched the show, The L Word?
PERSON 3: It felt very, like, Hollywood and very, like, soap opera, but not bad. It wasn't bad.
PERSON 4: Lesbian.
TOBIN: Very good, you passed. [LAUGHTER]
[THEME MUSIC ENDS]
VOX: Nancy will be back in a minute.
TOBIN: And we’re back. Where are we?
KATHY: We’re at the part where the writers of The L Word decide to stab me in the heart [TOBIN LAUGHS] because [WITH EMPHASIS] Dana … is … dead.
[THEME MUSIC ENDS]
ERIN: [WHISPERING] I'm still here. I'll always be in your heart, Kathy. [KATHY LAUGHS] I’m Erin Daniels. I played Dana on The L Word.
KATHY: Were you heartbroken when Ilene Chaiken, who created the show, decided to kill off your character? I mean, I just watched this. And this is, like, fresh wounds right now.
ERIN: You know, yeah. Of course, I was devastated, for a number of reasons. I was sad for Dana, of course, but I was also frankly really sad for myself for a number of reasons. I’d grown really attached to the character but I’d also grown really attached to the cast, and I didn’t understand why. But this was a story that Ilene wanted to tell, and she chose to — she has said to me many times since, “You know, if I have one regret, it was probably killing Dana.” And I was like, “I might agree, I might second that.”
KATHY: Did that make you feel better?
ERIN: You know, [MUMBLING] a little better. [BOTH LAUGH] ] I can’t lie. I mean, it's like, “Oh! Okay, thanks.” But I guess because there was so many questions, like, “Why would you do that? Why would you kill off this character? Erin must be such a bitch.” [KATHY LAUGHS] “She must be such a diva. Or what did she ask for?” And it’s like no, it had nothing to do with that.
KATHY: If Dana never died, what do you think she would be doing now?
ERIN: I think that she would use her celebrity and she would be a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness. I think she probably would have been just as much of a disaster in her personal life. [KATHY LAUGHS HEARTILY] I do think she and Alice would have ended up together though.
KATHY: Aww! That's what I wanted to hear!
ERIN: I do. I really, really do. ‘Cause ultimately isn't that what you want out of a partner, is a best friend?
[THE L WORD THEME PLAYS, THEN FADES UNDER]
KATHY: Season 4. This is when Jenny Schecter starts to go off the rails, and she becomes the most divisive character on the show. So Jenny is a writer, and one of her short stories is picked up by a magazine. It’s called “Lez Girls.” But, get this, “Lez Girls” is actually a shameless expose of all of her friends, with the names barely changed. So, Jenny is basically the show’s hero and villain in one.
[MUSIC PLAYS UP FOR A SECOND, THEN OUT]
CAMERON: She’s like the Piper of this show.
KATHY: This is Cameron, again.
CAMERON: She’s the Trojan horse that gets us into this community. The stuff that she had to carry, the stuff [LAUGHING] that character had to carry, it gets like, surreal. [LAUGHS AGAIN] My point is, Jenny was given a lot to carry, like it was too much.
KATHY: Okay! Okay.
CAMERON: So, yeah, I don’t think I’m Team Jenny.
KATHY: At this point in the series, I am not Team Jenny either. Let me tell you why.
[LIGHT PERCUSSIVE MUSIC BEGINS]
KATHY: Jenny’s story that I was talking about earlier, becomes a book and then gets a bad review by a critic named Stacy Merkin.
JENNY: Fuck you, Stacy Merkin, fuck you!
KATHY: And to get revenge, Jenny tries to get close to Stacy’s girlfriend, who is a veterinarian. So Jenny adopts a dog from the shelter and brings the dog to the vet, so that she would put the dog down!
VET: This is the right thing to do.
JENNY: Are you sure? Are you sure he has to die?
VET: It's her time to go.
[PERCUSSIVE MUSIC ENDS]
KATHY: Poor Sounder! But to be fair, Sounder was a very old dog.
MIA: It's very easy to dislike Jenny because of course her actions are often reprehensible, especially — is there a dog in where you're at?
KATHY: Yes. The dog just went down.
MIA: Right. Okay.
KATHY: This is Jenny herself, the actor Mia Kirshner.
MIA: I mean, for me, I am, like, a passionate animal lover. And that was just very, like, you know, I'm obsessed with my dog. And for me this was something very difficult to do. But I think ultimately, as a — not to bring this down, but she's mentally ill. And that's that's a very real, very serious thing.
[THE L WORD THEME STARTS AGAIN]
KATHY: By season 5, the show has become sort of a parody of itself. The plot twists are even more ridiculous, everybody is cheating on each other, and there are problems showing through the cracks. Like, in five seasons, the spectrum of lesbians is still very narrow. And in terms of racial diversity …
[THE L WORD THEME ENDS]
CAMERON: Where is this version of West Hollywood where there are so many white people? [LAUGHS]
KATHY: Once again, Cameron Esposito. And she says that's not all.
CAMERON: Pretty much every character on The L Word responded to a certain character with a degree of butchphobia and transphobia.
KATHY: Cameron’s talking about Max, who’s sort of the token trans character. The other characters alienate him, he’s constantly being misgendered, and he gets terrible storylines. It's just really, really disappointing.
[DRAMATIC MUSIC STARTS]
KATHY: And finally, at the end of season six, someone kills Jenny! And the whole show transforms into this ridiculous lesbian murder mystery, and everyone is a suspect. I’ll just say it — it’s not a very satisfying ending.
[DRAMATIC MUSIC ENDS]
CAMERON: You know, I said to you, when we were, like, chatting about this, I said to you, like, “It’s a soap, so you just have to watch it like a soap.” And the reason I said that is ‘cause, like, it was the first and it was so important and, you know, I think there was a lot of pressure for it to be reality-based. But it’s a soap opera. It’s not, like, historical nonfiction. [LAUGHS]
[LIGHTER PERCUSSIVE MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: And the show really did matter to a lot of people. Even though it had super dramatic storylines and ludicrous situations, the show also had a lot of heart. You could connect to the characters. Like, for my friend Cassie from A-Camp, it was Jenny. Way back on the first season of the show, Jenny was struggling with her feelings for a woman, and Cassie really related to that. So I asked her to call into my interview with Mia Kirshner.
CASSIE: I actually really love Jenny as a character.
MIA: You are one of the few. [ALL LAUGH]
KATHY: It’s so true!
MIA: It’s okay. I'm aware. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. I think it’s funny.
CASSIE: No! I'm proudly Team Jenny.
MIA: Thank you.
CASSIE: Season one Jenny mirrored my coming out experiences and made me feel less isolated —
CASSIE: — almost down to a T.
MIA: Oh, that's incredible.
CASSIE: It really was. It was confronting to watch as a 16-17 year old, you know to see that mirrored there. But I think that's one of the best things to have come off the show, that it's telling these real stories that are connecting people.
MIA: Mhm! I think that was, to me, the best part of the show was the discussion about things that, I — when the show started, you know, of course there are communities that were out, but it was the first show of its kind to show relationships among women. And that's so important. I mean, that's — that’s what art is supposed to be. It's supposed to make you feel less alone.
KATHY: The show wrapped in 2009 after 6 seasons of love, loss, cheating, all the sex, and a dead dog. The diehard fans were sad to see it go, but I think they also accepted that it was probably for the best. Since then, queer women on TV shows have mainly been in supporting roles — the best friend or the comic relief. If people thought The L Word was the beginning of a new era of queer TV, they were wrong.
[MORE UPBEAT MUSIC]
KATHY: But, Showtime just announced that it is bringing The L Word back! It’s rebooting the series. So I had to ask Mia ...
KATHY: Would you want to take part in some sort of flashback Jenny situation?
MIA: Well, I don’t even know if she’s dead.
MIA: I don’t know if she’s dead. I mean, is she dead? Look at what the character is capable of doing. You — I don’t know. I — I genuinely — I’m not being provocative. I don’t know if she’s dead.
MIA: I don’t think you’ve scratched the surface about what happened.
TOBIN: So Kath, you've completed your mission, you've watched all of the show. Are you a better queer woman now? How do you feel?
[UPBEAT MUSIC SLOWLY FADES OUT]
KATHY: I think we can all agree that The L Word was important when it was on. What surprised me was how important it is now. I mean, if you think about it, The L Word eventually inspired the creation of the Autostraddle website, which then created A-Camp, which then brought Cassie and me together as friends.
TOBIN: Oh, so it’s like [SINGS] the lesbian circle of life. [KATHY LAUGHS]
[UPBEAT MUSIC COMES BACK UP]
KATHY: I don't think that's how the song goes, but sure. And with all the good the show has done, can it really be a bad show?
TOBIN: Well ...
KATHY: Also, I am Team Jenny, I've decided.
TOBIN: I could've guessed that. Of course you are.
[MUSIC PLAYS, THEN GOES OUT]
[SILENCE FOR A BEAT]
KATHY: Alright. So, that was my experience watching the original L Word.
TOBIN: Oh my god, Kath. What a delightful romp!
KATHY: It was fun, wasn’t it?
KATHY: But you know what? Even though I watched the whole series and got to talk to all these people from the show —
KATHY: — I felt like I didn’t truly cover all of my bases.
TOBIN: What does that mean? Like, you left something out?
KATHY: Yeah! Because I didn’t get the chance to interview two of my favorite people from the original cast. The first is Leisha Hailey, who played the quirky, lovable Alice — and, now you know, she had to watch her ex-girlfriend and best friend, Dana, die from cancer. And it was tragic.
TOBIN: Oh, right. That — yes. That storyline broke your heart.
KATHY: It really did. And also, I didn’t get to talk to Kate Moennig, who played the legendary Shane, the woman who set the lesbian world ablaze as the one people both wanted to be and the person they also wanted to be with.
TOBIN: Gotcha. Okay. So that is a bummer, you didn’t get to talk to Leisha and Kate!
KATHY: Yeah! But you know what, Tobin?
KATHY: I thought this was going to be a rumor forever, but [PAUSE] it turns out, Showtime decided to revive The L Word!
TOBIN: Right! I maybe be familiar that this happened because queer Twitter literally exploded.
KATHY: It really did!
KATHY: It did.
TOBIN: Yeah. [LAUGHS]
KATHY: People were very excited. They were excited about a new generation of queer people, y’know, doing queer things together, on the queer show.
TOBIN: Right. Well, okay. So what is the deal with the new L Word?
KATHY: So it’s called The L Word: Generation Q. “Q” for queer, because they’re getting more inclusive now.
TOBIN: Okay. We like that. That’s good. We like inclusive.
KATHY: Always. And so in addition to a few of the original cast members coming back to reprise their characters, including Leisha and Kate, they’ve added four new characters to love, most of them queer people of color — and also, from what I can see, there’s much better treatment of trans characters. I mean, who knows? Like, who knows how the rest of the season will turn out, but from what I’ve seen, I’m gonna say I’m optimistic about it.
TOBIN: [TREPIDATIOUSLY] Okay. Optimism is good. Please, more optimism. [KATHY LAUGHS] Put optimism in a sandwich so I can eat it, and get it into my bones. [KATHY AND TOBIN LAUGH]
KATHY: Okay, so all that is good news. But the especially good news —
KATHY: — is that all this renewed L Word excitement provided the perfect excuse to talk to two of the OGs who have returned, Leisha and Kate!
LEISHA: Here’s Kathy!
LEISHA AND KATE: Hi, Kathy!
[BOUNCY MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: Oh my god, I’m so nervous right now. I was pacing earlier.
KATE: Why? Why?
KATHY: Because it’s you two! It’s …
LEISHA: We’re not scary, though.
KATE: Yeah. We’re very, very harmless. [LEISHA LAUGHS]
TOBIN: Wow! Wow, wow. Super [CHUCKLING] professional. [KATHY LAUGHS] Just, like, start the interview being like, “I love you, I’m super nervous.”
KATHY: Alright, okay. You know what? [TOBIN SNICKERS] Whatever! Because I was able to get this little tidbit that maybe the super-fans know about, but I did not, and that is the original L Word almost looked profoundly different …
[MUSIC FADES OUT]
LEISHA AND KATE: We met, uh, when we both were auditioning for Shane.
KATE: And that’s where the magic started —
LEISHA: We — not just auditioning, testing — we were the last —
KATE: Oh, yeah.
LEISHA: — the last two up for the part. And …
KATE: And I was told — I — I was flown in from New York to test for this, and Leisha lived here already, and I was told, “Before you go out to LA, just so you know, they’re reading one more girl. We don’t know who she is. You might know her when you see her.” And I was like, “Alright. Alright.” And lo and behold, there she was! [LEISHA AND KATHY LAUGH] We — I get to Vancouver …
LEISHA: Except my comb — my comb threatened you.
KATE: Yeah, Leisha brought a prop, and I was very upset.
LEISHA: I was really proud of this idea — and I think it might’ve been what got me all the way to the network —
LEISHA: It’s [LAUGHS] that I was gonna have Shane carry a comb in my back pocket —
KATHY: Oh! [LAUGHS]
LEISHA: — like the Fonz did. And so, whoever needed a haircut [LAUGHS], wherever they …
KATE: It’s always ready to go!
LEISHA: I’d be like, I got it! [ALL LAUGH LIGHTLY]
KATHY: Uh, Leisha, what was your — what was your Shane like?
LEISHA: I mean, look, I can’t do anything with my voice. So she would’ve [ALL LAUGH] definitely not sounded the same —
KATE: No, I liked your take on it! It was … No, your — your take was cute!
LEISHA: I did — I can, like, you know, I can butch out a little! Like, you know, people in my real life know that …
KATE: I — I — Can I … Do you remember what you were wearing? ‘Cause I remember what you were wearing.
KATE: You were wearing … I remember, ‘cause I thought, “Oh, this girl’s —“ like, “she’s got,” like — granted, let’s bear in mind this is 2003 —
LEISHA: Okay. Right.
KATE: — so maybe the fashion we wouldn’t agree now, but at the time I was like, “Oh, this girl, like — she’s got it going on.”
LEISHA: What was it?
KATE: You had a pair of, um, old Levi’s with patches all over them.
LEISHA: Right? I know those ones.
KATE: Right? And being from New York, I didn’t — I never saw that. And I thought, “Those are sick. I like those.” And then you had a red —
LEISHA: A red — and they had a tiger embroidered on them.
KATE: Yes. And then you had a — and then you had a red corduroy jacket. And you had, y’know, some version of a cowboy boot. And I thought, “Oh, okay, she’s styling.”
KATHY: So Alice, in patchy jeans and cowboy boots and a comb … looked at Shane —
KATE: I had on a pair of Henry Duarte jeans — that’s — I’m gonna date myself with this —
LEISHA: Oh, yeah, I remember those.
KATE: — with motorcycle boots, and, like a — I think, like, a tank top or something. And then I had a denim jacket that I always used to wear.
LEISHA: And then when Kate walked in, I was like, “Well, I’m never gonna get this fuckin’ part.” [BOTH LAUGH] Like … Yeah, but my Shane was — like, me, but maybe with a little more swag in my — in my walk. [KATHY AND LEISHA LAUGH] Right?
KATE: I think it would be cute!
LEISHA: [AFTER A LONG PAUSE] Thanks. [ALL LAUGH]
KATE: I think we should do it, like, an episode where there’s an alternate universe —
KATE: — where we’re each playing one another’s roles. I think that would be fun.
LEISHA: Oh my god. I wanna watch that.
KATE: Me, too.
KATHY: So, obviously Kate got the part of Shane, but the producers loved Leisha so much that they wrote the role of Alice just for her. And I think one of my favorite things about The L Word is just how much the cast became such good friends with each other. Like, even now, you can see them hanging out together on their Instagram.
KATHY: Did you feel like the rest of the cast, like, rounded out your friend group for [PAUSE] the filming of the original show?
KATE: I’ll never forget this, because it was so palpable. But when we were all — we were — we went to Vancouver to shoot the pilots, where we shot the series. We were all staying in this hotel. We had not met — everyone had not met each other yet.
KATE: And I remember the first night there, the producers were taking us all out to dinner, and we were all gonna meet in the lobby. And I remember from, like, the moment of “Hello,” it was just — it was on. And the synergy was palpable.
KATE: And it was lighting in a bottle.
LEISHA: We clicked, like, instantly.
LEISHA: Like all —
KATE: And we’re all very different from one another —
KATE: — but we all just filled this puzzle beautifully.
KATE: And when Leish and I were supposed to have scenes together, and if they were supposed to be serious —
KATE: — well, that was gonna be deadly, because we couldn’t get a serious scene, um, done between us to save our lives, [KATHY LAUGHS] ‘cause it would be — it would be, just, instant laughter.
LEISHA: Nothing. We just — we just had one the other day where … [ALL LAUGH]
KATE: Oh my god, that’s right.
LEISHA: — where Shane gets a phone all, and she’s like, [DEEP VOICE] “Hello?” [BOTH CHUCKLE]
KATE: And Leisha is — and Alice …
LEISHA: And my line was, “Who is it?” And then we were dying laughing, because, I’m like, who ever [KATHY CHUCKLES] gets a phone call, and then someone goes, “Who is it?”. It never happens.
KATE: [KATHY LAUGHS] Nosy Nancy just really had to know who it was on the phone.
LEISHA: And so every time I had to be, like, “Who is it?”, like, Kate had to, like, pick the phone up and turn away from me, just to [PAUSE] not see me ask her who it — ‘cause we couldn’t get through it.
KATE: But the — but the problem also is that you also —
LEISHA: “Who is it?” [BOTH CRACK UP]
KATE: Oh my god, I’m dying laughing now. And the problem is you kept coming in sooner and sooner with that line [ALL STILL STIFLING LAUGHTER] which sounded more and more absurd.
LEISHA: Like, ring and —
KATE: Ring — [KATHY LAUGHS]
LEISHA: And it was — it was a serious phone call you were getting!
KATE: Here, let’s do it — let’s reenact it. Ready? Hold on.
LEISHA: Okay. [LAUGHS]
KATE: [MIMICKING PHONE SOUND] Brrring. Hello?
LEISHA: Who is it? [KATHY LAUGHS] Wait, I like — let’s do it again.
KATE: That was terrible.
LEISHA: I know! ‘Cause I’m not — I’m not on set right now.
KATE: Focus. Okay, ready? We’re gonna reenact this scene. Take two.
KATE: Ready? One-two-three. Ring! Hello?
LEISHA: Who is it? [BOTH LAUGH] Wait, do it again.
KATE: Alright. Brring. Hello?
LEISHA: [ALMOST CUTTING KATE OFF, ABRUPTLY] Who is it? [BOTH BURST INTO LAUGHTER]
KATE: It was that bad! We were like, “Who does this?” The codependent friendship.
LEISHA: That’s after, like, 17 hours on set.
KATHY: Well, speaking of Gen Q, it’s been ten years since the show ended. Uh, where are Alice and Shane now?
KATE: It was hard with Shane, to figure out where she would be, because she’s that character who could truly be anywhere.
KATE: And it’s a matter of, “What’s an interesting take that wouldn’t be obvious?”
KATE: But she’s getting back into town from — she’s been out of LA and she’s finally coming back into town.
KATE: And this seemed like an — un-obvious choice, and I think it’s — and although people — some might find it a bit outlandish, I think it — at least it gives her a fresh start, instead of starting from the same place she began years ago.
KATE: And then there’s room to figure out what happens as the series goes on —
KATE: — for many, many years.
LEISHA: For me, coming back, when we met all the potential showrunners or whatever, uh, I wanted to definitely have a talk show. I was like, “Alice would have her own show at that point.” Um, and then we came up with this story that she had a podcast called The Chart. And that was, um, what the network ended up buying to do a TV version of.
LEISHA: So that’s what happened of my ten years, and Jennifer wanted Bette to be running for office.
KATHY: Something that a lot of people wanna know about is whether or not other characters from the original show will make appearances.
KATE: Whether they were or weren’t, you think we’d ever give that away? [KATHY SIGHS EXASPERATEDLY, LEISHA LAUGHS] You know how much trouble we’d get into?
[LIGHTLY UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: Wow, look at you with hard-hitting [LAUGHING] journalism! You tried.
KATHY: I really tried to get any details, and they were not having it!
TOBIN: Okay, but what about Dana? Isn’t she your favorite? Did you ask?
KATHY: Erin Daniels as Dana was my favorite part of The L Word, but sadly she is deceased. I mean, Dana’s deceased. Erin Daniels is fine. She’s living her best life. And might we see Dana possibly in the new L Word? Possibly? Maybe? As a flashback?
KATE: We would love to see Erin Daniels in that flashback!
LEISHA: Yes! [KATHY LAUGHS]
KATE: Nothing would make us happier —
KATE: — than to spend another day or period of time at work with Ms. Erin Daniels.
LEISHA: Yeah. Nothing would make us happier.
KATE: She — she fills out our trifecta.
LEISHA: I think we would write a very different version of a lot of things.
LEISHA: And we would probably go along the lines of ignoring the final season, having Jenny alive —
KATE: Oh yeah.
LEISHA: — Daniel would haunt us.
KATE: Yeah. [KATHY LAUGHS]
LEISHA: You know, we’d do all these fun things, because that’s the show we would make.
KATHY: That’s a supernatural show!
LEISHA: Yeah, exactly.
KATHY: I love it! I love it.
[SOFT REMINISCIENT MUSIC PLAYS]
LEISHA: It’s like Scooby Doo, but — [ALL LAUGH]
KATE: With Six Feet — with — with Six Feet Under.
KATHY: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat!
LEISHA: Thank you!
KATHY: Uh, this was so much fun, and you made a dream come true.
KATE: Thanks for giving us that.
LEISHA: Thanks for having us, and that was really fun.
KATE: Yeah, thanks for talking to us, thanks for taking the time.
TOBIN: So, okay. If I were to make a huge leap in logic, [KATHY LAUGHS] maybe read between the lines too much —
KATHY: Okay … ?
TOBIN: — to me, you basically got them to say that Dana is coming back. I mean, basically.
KATHY: Yeah, right? I mean, that’s how you read it, too?
KATHY: Dana’s coming back!
KATHY: I cannot wait to see Erin Daniels.
TOBIN: Oh my god. Cannot wait to see her! Cannot wait to hear from Showtime’s lawyers who are suing us for starting this rumor.
KATHY: [LAUGHS] You can’t be sued for a rumor! Can you? Like, I don’t think that’s a thing.
TOBIN: [SING-SONG-Y] We’re about to find out! [LAUGHS]
KATHY: But, you know what? That’s how we get Dana back. Maybe.
TOBIN: Yeah. Start the hashtag now — #BringDanaBack.
KATHY: Alright, folks. That is it for our surprises. But fear not — we’ll be back in your ears soon. Watch this space.
[NANCY CREDITS MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: Alright, that’s our show! We’re on all the social media places, search for “Nancy Podcast” and you’ll find us there for sure.
KATHY: Our producer —
TOBIN: Matt Collette!
KATHY: Sound design —
TOBIN: Jeremy Bloom!
KATHY: Intern —
TOBIN: Caleb Codding!
KATHY: Editor —
TOBIN: Jenny Lawton!
KATHY: Executive producer —
TOBIN: Paula Szuchman!
KATHY: I’m Kathy Tu!
TOBIN: I’m Tobin Low.
KATHY: And Nancy is a production of WNYC Studios.
[MUSIC PLAYS OUT]
CASSIE: Do you have any [PAUSE] particular thoughts on the theme song?
ERIN: That song was not my favorite, dammit! [KATHY LAUGHS] Dammit! I did not like that song! [KATHY LAUGHS MORE] I fast-forwarded through it the entire time. Alright? Let’s, like — let’s do better.