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Series synopsis: The L Word follows the lives and loves of a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles. Regular characters include Bette the uber-professional art curator; Bette's on-again, off-again partner Tina; Alice the freelance writer/ journalist and token bisexual; Dana the professional tennis player; Shane the (not very) butch hairdresser and the 'player' of the group; Kit, Bette’s sister and token straight girl; Helena the spoilt yet big-hearted heiress; Carmen the Latina DJ and the woman trying to pin Shane down; and Jenny the author and neighbourhood psycho.

Episode synopsis: The show tends to follow threads for each character. In these three episodes, one of the threads is the fallout from Helena’s flirtation and eventual affair, with talented documentary maker, Dylan Moreland. Helena family trust, the Peabody Foundation, grants funding to independent film-makers, which is how Helena meets Dylan. Dylan is straight and has a boyfriend, Danny, played by none other than our boy Callum. Helena doesn’t let straightness or boyfriendness get in her way and she flirts outrageously with Dylan who, it seems, returns her attentions. However, during a little dominant/ submissive play between Helena and Dylan, we find out that Danny and Dylan intend to claim Dylan was coerced into a sexual relationship with Helena and sue her for sexual harassment. Helena is mortified. She thought her relationship with Dylan was real (possibly Dylan thinks so too - it's hard to tell). It all erupts into a boardroom battle where it's revealed that Danny has an axe to grind because he applied for funding from the Peabody foundation fives times and was knocked back (rather condemningly) each time. SO it turns out, not only is Callum playing an asshole, but a loser as well.

The IMDB page: Lifesize (2006), Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way (2006), Losing the Light (2006)

The L Word was created by Michele Abbott, Ilene Chaiken and Kathy Greenberg who share the writing credits on these episodes along with Elizabeth Hunter. The show is generally regarded as being the brain child of Ilene Chaiken who previously worked on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and wrote the screenplay for Barb Wire.

Callum's episodes were directed by Tricia Brock, Moises Kaufman and Rose Troche respectively. Rose Troche has been involved with other lesbian favourites including South of Nowhere and Go Fish.

The cast is quite recogniseable especially Jennifer “Flashdance” Beals as Bette and Pam “Foxy Brown” Grier as Kit. Sarah Shahi recently starred in the (sadly) cancelled series Life as Dani Reese and also guest starred in the pilot of Supernatural. Eric Mabius is Daniel Meade in Ugly Betty, Holland Taylor who plays Helena’s mother, Peggy Peabody, is Evelyn Harper in Two and a Half Men, Lauren Lee Smith was in Normal with Callum and, more recently, CSI. She was also a regular on Mutant X. Laurel Hollowman was Justine Cooper in Angel, Mia Kirshner was in various episodes of 24 and Dracula the Series, and Rachel Shelley was in a season 6 episode of Highlander. Alan Cumming was in X-Men 2 and a whole BUNCH of other stuff, Ryan Robbins of Stargate Atlantis and Sanctuary has a bit part in “Losing the Light” as one of the people yelling at the bus-stop, Michael Hogan, Tigh in Battlestar Galactica, shows up briefly as Dana’s dad. Ellie Harvey, Dr Novak in Stargate Atlantis, has a brief part in “Lifesize,” and you’ll also recognise the bands Sleater Kinney and the B-52s. And then there’s Methos aka Peter Wingfield who has also been in Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary, 24 and, of course, Highlander.

If you were into 90s alternative rock you might remember Leisha Hailey from the band the Murmurs and their song, “You Suck.” You might also remember Leisha was dating KD Lang at the time. Leisha is now in a band called Uh Huh Her and I can’t recommend them enough. Lastly, out actress Alexandra Hedrison, who plays Dylan, was probably best known prior to The L Word as Ellen De Generes’s girlfriend BP (“Before Portia”).

Cast / Characters:

Jennifer Beals
Erin Daniels
Leisha Hailey
Laurel Hollowman
Mia Kirshner
Katherine Moennig
Daniela Sea
Sarah Shahi
Rachel Shelley
Pam Grier


Danny Wilson

Bette Porter
Dana Fairbanks
Alice Pieszecki
Tina Kennard
Jenny Schecter
Shane McCutcheon
Max/ Moira Sweeney
Carmen de la Pica Morales
Helena Peabody
Kit Porter

Callum Keith Rennie

Year: 2006

Runtime: 51 mins, 55 mins, 49 mins (respectively)

Country: Canada/ USA

IMDB rating: 7.1 (26 votes), 7.2 (33 votes), 7.8 (61 votes)(respectively)

Genre: Drama/ Romance

Keywords: Lesbian, writing, tennis, dating, lesbianism, real time, hospital, lesbian sex, death

Emmy Awards
2005, Nominated, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, Ossie Davis (Melvin Porter) (Posthumously)

GLAAD Media Awards
2009, Won, Special Recognition
2009, Nominated, Outstanding Drama Series
2008, Nominated, Drama Series
2007, Nominated, Outstanding Drama Series
2006, Won, Outstanding Drama Series
2005, Nominated, Outstanding Drama Series

Image Awards
2008, Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Jennifer Beals
2008, Nominated, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Pam Grier
2007, Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Jennifer Beals
2006, Nominated, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Pam Grier
2005, Nominated, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Pam Grier

Leo Awards
2009, Nominated, Best Overall Sound in a Dramatic Series, Roger Morris, Greg Stewart, Ken Biehl, Shane Connelly, For episode "Long Night's Journey Into Day".
2009, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series, Lisa Binkley, For episode "Lay Down the Law".
2009, Best Sound Editing in a Dramatic Series, Roger Morris, Don Mann, Chris McLaren, Maureen Murphy, Bonnie Lambie, For episode "Long Night's Journey Into Day".
2008, Nominated, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series, Lisa Binkley, For episode "Literary License to Kill".
2008, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series, Lisa Robison, For episode "Little Boy Blue".
2008, Best Sound Editing in a Dramatic Series, Roger Morris, Don Mann, Rick Senechal, Don Harrison, Ian Mackie, For episode "Lady of the Lake".
2007, Won, Best Overall Sound in a Dramatic Series, Roger Morris, Mark Hensley, Ken Biehl, hane Connelly, For episode "Losing the Light".
2007, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series, Lisa Robison, For episode "Legend in the Making"
2007. Nominated, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series, Lisa Binkley, For episode "Life Line".
2005, Nominated, Dramatic Series: Best Overall Sound, Tony Gort, Greg Stewart, Michael Thomas, Roger Morris
For episode "Limb from Limb".
2005, Dramatic Series: Best Picture Editing, Lisa Robison, For episode "Limb from Limb".
2005, Dramatic Series: Best Sound Editing, Roger Morris, Tony Gort, For episode "Limb from Limb".

NAMIC Vision Awards
2007, Nominated, Best Actress - Drama, Jennifer Beals

Satellite Awards
2005, Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Series, Drama, Jennifer Beals
2005, Outstanding DVD Release of a Television Show, (Complete Second Season).
2005, Won, Best Actress in a Series, Drama, Laurel Holloman
2005, Nominated, Best Television Series, Drama

100 User comments

One example:

"This is the way we live and love…" … or not.

Regardless of whether or not the show is an accurate depiction of your life, there's no denying that 'The L Word' is an entertaining, groundbreaking show. It's brought visibility to a community that has largely been overlooked, especially in the media. Originally referred to as 'Queer as Folk' meets 'Sex and the City', 'The L Word' is clearly a show that can stand on its own.

'The L Word' follows a group of lesbian and bisexual women living in Los Angeles. Although they're a motley crew of friends, their interaction is more often than not that of a large family. Together, they tackle the common challenges of life and love.

Each character makes a profound impression as they are introduced. From the first moment they appear on screen in the pilot, the audience knows who's who. Powerhouse Bette Porter, played by Jennifer Beals, takes control whenever possible. Her partner, Tina Kennard (Laurel Holloman), comes across as notably stable, loyal, and exceptionally kind. Bette's sister, a recovering alcoholic named Kit (Pam Grier of Blacksploitation fame) delivers a delightful dose of attitude.

Indelible impressions are further made by the younger characters, particularly Jenny, Dana, Shane, and Alice. Mia Kirshner takes the stage as Jenny Schecter, the wide-eyed Midwestern author who moves to L.A. to be with her boyfriend and quickly finds herself drawn to the calmly seductive Marina (Karina Lombard). Dana Fairbanks is a comically goofy, closeted up-and-coming tennis star played by Erin Daniels. Katherine Moennig has no trouble bringing life to the effortlessly cool, highly sexualized Shane McCutcheon, hairdresser and womanizer extraordinaire. The group's gossip queen, Alice Piezecki (lesiban fan favorite Leisha Hailey), often steals the scene with an unforgettable quirkiness.

Later additions to the show include Rachel Shelley, Sarah Shahi, Daniela Sea, and Rose Rollins as Helena Peabody, Carmen de la Pica Morales, Max Sweeney, and Tasha Williams, respectively.

Among the other appealing traits of the show are memorable one-liners and attention to details such as background noise (the sounds of the outside world invading a private moment in a bedroom, for instance). There's also the presence of controversial story lines, which is to be expected of any show that intends to break new ground. One character, for instance, makes the choice to transition from female to male and struggles with harsh criticism, fear of being "outed" at work, and obtaining testosterone without a prescription. Another character tackles the U.S. military's heavily criticized "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy- a subplot that earned the show much positive feedback. Much attention is also given the discussion of parenting rights and homophobia.

And there is, of course, a potentially unhealthy dose of drama. The show is essentially a Sapphic soap opera- although this doesn't seem to cause too much damage.

What does seem to cause damage is the jerky flow from season to season. The blame for this lies largely in what viewers note as inconsistencies in character behavior, as well as the occasional unexplained disappearance and subsequent "forgetting" of characters (not-so-fondly known as "being sucked into the vortex").

Another major subject of criticism is the lack of diversity and inappropriate casting. Almost all of the permanent characters are white, the exception being the Porter sisters. When casting Carmen, a young Mexican-American DJ with attitude, Sarah Shahi was chosen, even though Shahi is Iranian-American and had to learn some Spanish for the part. There is also the issue that all of the characters seem to enjoy rather expensive lifestyles. Indeed, viewers often point out how odd it is that relatively poor characters like Shane and Jenny can afford to go out to fancy dinners and clubs with their more affluent friends. In the show's five-season run, income disparities are notably mentioned only twice.

Nevertheless, the show has managed to draw a fairly impressive, devoted, and vocal audience from the very beginning. The first two seasons shine as the show's best. The third was shaky and the fourth felt notably shallow. Luckily, it seems that they pulled out all the stops for the fifth season and, despite a few detracting points, it's the season most like the first. The fifth season brings a return to the focus on large, family-like group interactions. The acting, although hardly ever questionable, is also vastly improved (the actors, much like the writers, must have decided to go all out). Daniela Sea further fleshes out transgendered Max in spite of limited screen time, for instance, and Moennig and Kirshner play up the more comedic moments with an effect that borders on campiness. Indeed, the cast's infamous habit of ad-libbing takes on whole new dimensions (especially with Kirshner's outrageous contributions).

At the time of the writing of this review, the fifth season has drawn in such strong ratings that Showtime has renewed it for one final season. When the sixth season airs, 'The L Word' will officially be one of the network's longest-running series and will be the longest-running LGBTQ-focused show on television. That, if nothing else, should prove that 'The L Word' is a force to be reckoned with.

You can find all the comments here.

Callum Quotient: 5%



(From "Losing the Light." Callum's scenes from the other episodes were very short)
  • Peggy Peabody: (after viewing Helena and Dylan's make-out video) Can I ask why - why is it we were made to see this?
    Mr Shepherd (Dylan and Danny's lawyer): Because it shows your daughter for what she is - a predator.
    Peggy Peabody: Have you seduced many women in your life, Mr Shepherd?
    Mr Sheperd: That has no relevance to what is going on here.
    Peggy Peabody: Maybe. But if you want my opinion, I don't think you have much knowledge of the ways of seduction. What I saw was a rather moist sexual game. In the worst taste, to be sure, but certainly not harassment.

  • Danny: It was blatant coercion.
    Peggy Peabody: And you say that because you know Dylan very well?
    Danny: Uh, yeah, I do.
    Peggy Peabody: And you know she would never fall in love with a woman?

  • Whit Strobel: We are not going to settle, Mr Shepherd. Not under these terms.
    Mr Shepherd: I can't guarantee my clients will continue to be reasonable if we --
    Peggy Peabody: Continue to be reasonable? Continue to be reasonable... reasonable... 3 million dollars PNA, 250 screens to start and 2000 in the fourth week? This is a documentary. Not Finding fucking Nemo.

  • In the beginning of “Lifesize,” young Bette Porter is wearing an off the shoulder sweater in the style of Jennifer Beals’ character in Flashdance. A small homage to the movie.

  • "Losing the Light" is a 'real time' episode. That is, the events that take place in the episode take place over a period of 45 mins. A clock periodically appears in the corner of the screen to indicate this.

  • A much beloved character dies of breast cancer in "Losing the Light." Afterwards, Showtime aired an 8 minute special featuring cast and crew talking about how important it was to show a breast cancer storyline in the show. Fans remain unconvinced.

Interesting scenes:

  • In "Lifesize" Danny seems genuinely pleased to have secured full editorial rights for Dylan's film. He gives her a reassuing pat on the knee. It's actually rather sweet.

  • In "Losing the Light" we see Peter Wingfield and Callum Keith Rennie in the same scene. Slash worlds collide!

Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?
Poll #1449703 L Word

Overall rating

Profound, insigthful. The definitive guide to lesbian sexuality.
A damn good show with rollicking good storylines.
I enjoyed it - mostly because I was drunk and watching with my gal pals.
Meh. I fast-forwarded to teh hot sexin more often than not.
Why, Callum, why?


Bunnies and kitties were hugged.
Some Dallas style slapping going on.
Does the assault on my TV sensibilities count?
Three words: TURKISH OIL WRESTLING!!!!! (uh - that's season 5, but well worth waiting for).
Next season: Alice gets revenge. Run for your life, Ilene!!


The alternative title: Wacky Lesbians Go Wild in Hollywood!
I laughed - but I'm not sure it was supposed to be funny.
Occasional giggles. Usually when someone calls Shane "butch."
Pretty girls make me smile.
I am constantly reduced to tears by how unfunny this show is.

Sexual content

Some sexy good times.
Occasional nudity and none of it Jennifer Beals (sadly).
Disney has more sex.
Sesame Street has more sex.

Sexual violence

Alternative title: Killer Lesbians Go Wild in Hollywood!
Hey! I watched this one episode because of Callum and there was some women demanding sex from her partner and threatening her. What is this?
Some sexy fun, but all in good taste.
You call that coercion?
Kisses and handholding and bunnies and puppies.

Danny Wilson
Poll #1449704 Danny Wilson


How sweet is it that he's looking out for his (clearly not into him) girlfriend?
He made a possible error of judgment. One mistake and you judge him?
A little misguided maybe.
He's a asshole.
He's a loser AND an asshole. He's an asstastic loser even.

How many people does he kill?

Even his career comes out unscathed.
Just his dignity.
And possibly his agent.
Along with his manager.
He takes Whit Strobel's head after the meeting and becomes a super immortal and then.. oh, wait, wrong show.


Next season he publishes a book called, "So Your Girlfriend is Gay?" and he becomes a paragon of reason and inspiration to other men who lose their girlfriends to really pretty lesbians.
A guy who deals by maybe getting drunk but otherwise coping.
He can't be too together if he can't see that his obviously gay girlfriend is really into the pretty lesbian with the big eyes.
That whole getting your girlfriend to make out with a lesbian so you can film it and then use it as evidence in a sexual harassment case? Oh yeah, there's a stable individual!
Of course he's crazy. What other explanation is there for taking this role?


But he's just so pretty!
Still rocking that smile, Callum.
Kind of cute looking when he's not being an ass (which is not often).
Asstastic losers are just not hot.


Girlfriend. Hello?
The girlfriend is clearly not into him. How do you think that started?
I mean, EVERYONE in this show is gay after all.
Was he making eyes at Whit Strobel?

Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? Well, then. (highlight to read)



It's such a short part that it's no surprise that it's not mentioned in any of Callum's interviews or any articles about season 3 of The L Word. However, I've included the following dvd review for an overview of season 3.

The L Word: Season Three

Many television series hit a sophomore slump, a second season that falls short of reaching the level set by the first season. With Showtime’s series, ‘The L Word’, in season two they seemed to try too hard to show a group of lesbians with problems common to people of any sexual orientation. In season three they moved back to the original premise of problems that are unique to the gay community and how those tribulations interact with the more general human issues. In season three the L Word has a recurring theme, the fluidity of human sexuality. This provided a means to expand both the story line potentials and the cast. Instead of having the characters locked into one sexual orientation the possibility of them changing their views of love and success are allowed to roam free.

Season three picks up a few months after the conclusion of the previous season. Tina (Laurel Holloman) has given birth to a daughter, Angelica (Olivia Windbiel). Not wanting to be a single parent Tina and Bette (Jennifer Beals) and the two try to repair their damaged relationship. Bette has lost her job adding stress to an already overwrought domestic situation. The normally driven Bette opts to find herself instead of a new job forcing Tina to become the primary source of the family income. For most of their time together Tina has relied on Bette for strength and support. Now the roles are reversing and both women must adjust to a new family dynamic. When things get really tough Bette decides to go on a spiritual retreat instead of helping Tina. Tina revokes family privileges from Bette excluding her from the home. Far from Los Angles in Skokie, Illinois, Jenny (Mia Kirshner) is recuperating from her nervous breakdown. Living with her mother, Sandy (Margot Kidder), is not exactly conducive to Jenny’s recovery. She hits the road back to LA with her new girlfriend, Moira Sweeney (Daniela Sea), in tow. Jenny learns two things that will greatly impact her life. First, her book is about to be published and Moira is saving money for a sex change procedure. The publishing deal has given Jenny financial freedom for the first time in her life making her the responsible one of the pair. Back in the house that Jenny once lived with her husband, Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Carmen (Sarah Shahi) are trying their best to make their committed relationship work. Both women find this is not an easy task. For Shane it means an end to her perchance of purely physical sex. Carmen comes from an Hispanic family whose values are very traditional. When Carmen brings Shane to meet her family they initially think she is just her friend and roommate even going so far as to try to fix her up with a nice man. When Carmen comes out to her family her sister is more accepting than her old fashion mother. Back with Tina things are really influx. She has to reexamine her own sexual orientation when she falls for a single father, Henry (Steven Eckholdt). Also facing a sexual change is Moira who has started black market hormone therapy and is now living with Jenny as Max. The situation is also in turmoil for Alice (Leisha Hailey). Her best friend and one great love Dana (Erin Daniels) is back. Now a highly successful professional tennis player, Dana is back with her first lesbian love, Lara (Lauren Lee Smith). The romantic triangle hardly gets a chance to start when Dana is diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Tina remains with her through chemo and radiation therapy through a radical mastectomy and is unfortunately on a coffee run when Dana succumbs to the disease.

Premium cable networks such as Showtime had a definite advantage of the broadcast networks since they are able to explore more adult material. Rather than using this freedom for puerile shock value they work towards bringing serious entertainment to a more mature audience. The overall theme presented in this season is transition. Just about every major character in the series undergoes major alterations in their lives and how they view relationships. This is physically explored with Moira/Max. As he becomes physically more male he tends towards some of the dark attributes of masculinity. He becomes possessive of Jenny almost to the point of abuse. While Jenny fell in love with a masculine woman she finds herself once again in a relationship with a male figure. Tina had been straight before hooking up with Bette. Once Bette is out of her life she reverts back to a stable, more socially acceptable relationship with a man. Helena Peabody (Rachel Shelley) tries to get a filmmaker into a homosexual relationship. She discovers that it the filmmaker and her boyfriend were setting her up for a sexual harassment suit. This is another case of how sexuality is perceived as being fluid. Helena was so sure the filmmaker would want to explore a relationship with another woman she is blind to the more nefarious plot that is being hatched. The interconnected nature of relationships is nicely shown with Alice’s famous chart. Beginning with season one Alice has been maintaining a chart of lesbian encounters allowing her to interconnect herself to just about everyone. At the start of each episode one connection is shown. As the season goes on it becomes obvious that the relationships show are all leading up to the modern day characters and how many of them met.

This remains one of the best ensemble casts anywhere on television. Each of the main actresses gives excellent performances that help to make this a gripping drama. Laurel Holloman plays Tina as a woman who is uncertain about just about everything but finally has a chance to realize her potential. As her life begins to pull together she is at last successful at her job and not dependant on Bette. She finds her new role as a working mother trying but rewarding. Jennifer Beals has Bette become more and more self adsorbed. Running away to a religious retreat is a façade, she is unwilling to give in to the required vow of silence, unwilling to give up her cell phone and contact to the outside world. Mia Kirshner has the most compelling character with Jenny. Instead of being a victim she transitions to a strong willed and determined young woman. A similar character is portrayed by Katherine Moennig. Shane wants to make things work with Carmen and commit to her but when she meets her philandering father Gabriel (Eric Roberts), self doubts take over to sabotage her relationship.

Paramount Home Entertainment has taken over the DVD release of the series from Showtime. Fortunately, the have maintained the high standards set with the previous two season box sets. The anamorphic 1.78:1 video is exceptional. The color balance and contrast are near reference quality. The mastering is free of any edge enhancement defects or flaws. The Dolby 5.1 audio gives a natural feel to the sound field. As expected the sub woofer is not given a lot to do but the front speakers do give a great channel separation. There are also a good set of extras provided for the fans of the series. The most touching one is the featurette ‘A Goodbye To Dana’ giving a fitting farewell to great character. The music of the series is highlighted in ‘Starbands Charity Auction’ and there is a fun featurette called ‘Betty Live At Gay Games VII’. This series is back on track. If you are interested in gripping human drama try it out.

From here.

  • Afterellen.com faithfully recapped all 6 seasons of The L Word including recaps for Callum's episodes, Lifesize, Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way and Losing the Light

    The recaps don't say much about Callum or even his character but I thought the following was amusing and is illustrative of the love/ hate relationship many fans had with the show:

    And then it all comes out: it seems Danny has applied for five Peabody grants and was turned down every time. His stuff was considered "rambling, trite, and exploitative." Wait, did he send in an L Word episode, passing it off as his own?

  • The L Word Online also recapped some of the episodes including the Callum episodes Lifesize and Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way.

    The following is an amusing excerpt from "Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way":

    DANNY comes out of the room across the hall - HE'S BEEN THERE ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!!!


    I knew it! Damn me and my suspicions being right! (The guy plays a Cylon in Battlestar Galactica - he's got 'don't trust me' written allll over him IMHO

  • The Showtime homepage for The L Word is here. Contains links to other L Word fan related sites.

  • Lesbogeek lists all the Battlestar Galactica - L Word crossover actors and their roles here which includes Callum. And there's a lot of them. Of interest to fans of both shows.

  • There's an L Word fanfiction site here. Given that it's a such a large archive, I had hoped to at least find a Dylan/ Helena story (they were a very popular pairing, known as "Dylena") that featured Danny, but it's a hard site to search. I'm not sure it would be all that flattering a portrayal of Callum's character if I could find it.

    Clearly, there should be Whit Strobel/ Danny Wilson fic out there. Someone should write it.


The entire series is available from Showtime (link above) or at Amazon's L Word store.

Final thoughts

Re-watching the 80s Prom Night scenes in “Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way,” reminded me that The L Word was sometimes seriously good fun. The cast was pretty, the outifts were gorgeous, and sometimes they had pretty solid character moments. It was also pretty damned smoking. If you watch "Losing the Light" you'll see Carmen and Shane making out in a pretty hot and heavy manner and the taped seduction scene between Helena and Dylan was contrived but still pretty hot. And be sure to ask an L Word fan about the time Carmen did a sexy dance in her black lacy underwear for Shane and notice how she (or he) isn’t able to form coherent speech for the next 15 minutes.

However, for the devout, The L Word was the best and worst of times. On the one hand, it was lesbian centric with a lot of topical lesbian issues making their way onto the screen and into our living rooms. On the other hand, it suffered terribly from clunky writing, contrived storylines and inconsistent characters, and it was really hard to get past that sledgehammer dialogue. Fans weren't so much divided amongst each other, as divided within themselves.

And it might all have been easier to stomach if the show's creator and showrunner, Ilene Chaiken, hadn't been prone to taking herself, and the show, a little too seriously (see the 8 minute special that aired after "Losing the Light," for example). And why they kept the awful theme song for five seasons (it debuted in the 2nd season) despite unanimous protest, I'll never know.

The Callum storyline is no deviation from the show's usual plot contrivances. Helena Peabody, who appeared in the 2nd season as a spoiled and self-centred heiress, is, by the 3rd season, a philantropic, heart-on-sleeve pushover who falls prey to the dastardly scheming of Danny Wilson. Danny Wilson is one-dimensional, morally bereft, and completely forgettable. He's there to motivate the Dylan/ Helena storyline in a way that is a little difficult to swallow (he got his girlfriend to seduce Helena on tape?) and mostly annoying.

Callum has one line in "Lifesize," and a couple more in "Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way." He has his most screentime in "Losing the Light" but it's still a tiny part with very little depth. I remain mostly baffled as to why he did it. My reasoning is that either the part was intended to be larger (it happens) or a part, however small, on a Showtime series pays well.

But all credit to Callum, he takes the part of an asstastic loser and makes sure he's the biggest asstastic loser he can be. You have to give him points for being completely believable.

Also, when he plays against Alexandra Hedison he plays Danny like he really likes and cares about her and he does so in a few scenes with a somewhat non-responsive partner. As popular as Alexandra Hedison was amongst fans of the show, I found her very wooden. I think Callum did well to make the couple seem couple-like under the circumstances.

In the end, I would not recommend watching these episodes for Callum. He's in them way too briefly and for his bigger scene, he's playing a one-dimensional asshole. Sure, it was kind of fun to see Peter Wingfield and Callum in the same scene (and to let my imagination run wild!) but you can do that in your own head. How about a Methos/ Ray K crossover, hmmm?

If you think you might be interested in the show, well, it was up and down and up and down and up and hard to recommend for that reason. Fans generally agreed that it hit its stride in season 5, but in season 6 the writers, fans and characters completley lost the plot (the actresses remained forever gorgeous and professional). The most common reaction to the finale was WTF?

I reccommend watching with your mates and a lot of alcohol. That's how I watched seasons 5 and 6 and I think of it as good times.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the context! I've seen just the clips that Callum was in, but just came away with "he said/she said." Not knowing the characters, I didn't know what the big picture actually was. Callum's character = asshole--ah, well, not the first time. :-(

Slash worlds collide!

Totally! Hee! :D

(Tiny niggle: Peter was in Stargate SG-1, not Atlantis.)
Aug. 27th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
Callum's character = asshole--ah, well, not the first time.

I know! It's dreadful, isn't it? And in this one he's a forgettable arsehole. When I saw the L Word on his IMDB page, I couldn't remember him at all. And I saw those eps recently.

Peter was in Stargate SG-1, not Atlantis

OMG! *Slaps forehead* I suck!

Okay, fixed now. *g* Thanks for pointing that out.
Aug. 27th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Awesome post. Much better than the series. Or, well, than the three episodes I have actually seen. Ahem. I guess if I would actually watch the series it would be for the pretty? It's a valid reason, no?

As usual, I am baffled by the IMDB keywords: Lesbian, lesbianism, AND lesbian sex? Really, IMDB? Also, is 'Lesbianism' actually a word?
(Although my favorite is still 'Clogs' for CN:TC. Who goes, like, tonight I want to see a movie that has CLOGS in it. Or maybe it's 'Vampire driving car' from Forever Knight. Kind of like 'bear riding a bike' I guess?)

Quotes... From "Losing the Light."
Ha! Awesome. That's the episode with the most Callum screen time, and there is STILL just two (lame) lines in three quotes. Oh, Callum. *shakes head*

The recaps are pretty funny. Mostly, uhm, better than the real thing. Less pretty though!

Callum has one line in "Lifesize," and a couple more in "Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way." He has his most screentime in "Losing the Light" but it's still a tiny part with very little depth. I remain mostly baffled as to why he did it.
You're not the only one. Maybe he just gets bored easily and just need to work, no matter what? Small work is better than no work? Maybe it's in the contract for all BSG actors?

But all credit to Callum, he takes the part of an asstastic loser and makes sure he's the biggest asstastic loser he can be. You have to give him points for being completely believable.
Ha! Yes. And that in the two minutes screentime he has in the three episodes.

ANYway, I just needed to tell you again that I love your final thoughts a lot. And the whole post. It's perfect. ♥
Aug. 28th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
I guess if I would actually watch the series it would be for the pretty? It's a valid reason, no?

Oh, yeah. I watched it for 6 seasons for that reason. Oh, occasionally it was a good show - and it was fun - but god it could be woeful at times.

That's the episode with the most Callum screen time, and there is STILL just two (lame) lines in three quotes. Oh, Callum.

I wanted to quote him more, but he had such LAME dialogue. Peggy Peabody had all the good lines - so I just used hers.

Maybe it's in the contract for all BSG actors?

Ah ha ha! You mean like, "if you take this part, you all have to take a part in The L Word?" How hilarious. Actually - that would explain a lot...

I just needed to tell you again that I love your final thoughts a lot. And the whole post. It's perfect.

You're very sweet. Thanks. Again, it was fun. Will have to do another one when I get back from overseas.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 28th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
and will read it four or ten times since it saves me the effort of FFing the DVD.

I think it's the kind of show you watch with your friends - and lots of alcohol. Definitely not worthy bothering with for the Callum stuff. He's in it too little and too lame-ly.

Seen the L Word once, thank you, it's just too much WTFery [says this 2nd wave politicalesbian].)

Exactly. I mean, I like to see girls making out - I mean I watch it faithfully for 6 seasons after all - but at times I just had to put face-palm. Oh god, why? And you know, I would have comfortably thought of it as a sort of OTT melodrama if Chaiken hadn't been constantly trying to tell me how "groundbreaking" it was. Bleh.

Aug. 27th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. I like to imagine that this paid a month or two of his rent/mortgage for a tiny amount of work. OTOH, I loathed watching this.

The Peter Wingfield/slash worlds collide comments cracked me up because I have this seekrit funny quirk in that I had already slashed the two of them. I never watched Highlander, but I know who PW is, and so when I rented the disc of Bliss that has the CKR ep on it, it turns out that the next ep on the disc has PW in it as this very controlling, polished, seductive sort of guy, luring a businesswoman into a liason. Somewhere along the line of seeing Bliss a couple of times, and that next ep, I sort of erased the woman, and wrote in a young CKR businessman character. My silly brain. :) Sometimes I forget nobody knows my peculiar personal canon.

Edited at 2009-08-28 12:16 am (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
CKR and Peter Wingfield occupy a similar space in my brain. They're both men I find curiously compelling which - as a lesbian - is kind of strange. They're also both in cult fandom shows, and are VERY slashy, having a somewhat homoerotic vibe to them that is instantly visible.

Together they would be *extremely* hot.

sort of erased the woman, and wrote in a young CKR businessman character.

Oh, yeah! Too hot.

PW did two episodes of Bliss, I believe. In the other one he plays a married man who pays a mistress to tie him down and spank him. I've only seen clips - but WOW!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 28th, 2009 08:58 am (UTC)
Apparently, the answers were: 1. who cares? and 2. not really.

Ha! Upon re-watching, I actually found it hard to follow - and some of the storylines just seem so inane. I mean, wtf with Bette and that Buddhist retreat?

Great post, mandysbitch. You are a brave soul to have tackled this show.

Oh, it wasn't too bad. And I have the entire series on dvd so who better? I *am* a fan on the show - but I recognise that it's flawed - very flawed...

Case in point the L Word's huge WTFry of a finale.

Oh! I watched it with about 8 other women and we all just looked at each other with this WTF? expression afterwards. It was hilarious in a lot of ways.

our Callum. He's a trouper!

He really is. He does such a good job. *Too* good a job. That's why people keep getting him back to play the same roles.

Aug. 28th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the head's up about Leisha Hailey's new band! I love the Murmurs! :-)

(Whereas The L Word, I never made it through the pilot. Sorry, Callum! Not even for you...)
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the head's up about Leisha Hailey's new band! I love the Murmurs!

Oh yeah, the Murmurs were awesome. Just a word of warning though, Uh Huh Her are very different to the Murmurs. Must more 80s/90s electro. They described themselves as being very influenced by the Cure and, yeah, I can really here that in the music. They're still great though. Definitely worth checking out.

Sorry, Callum! Not even for you

You really didn't miss anything. *g*
Aug. 28th, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for a great write-up! I'm kinda happy now that I cheated and only watched clips with his scenes on YT.
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
I was thinking I would link to the clips on Youtube if I could find them, but they appear to have been taken down. But that's totally all you need to do to get an appreciation of Callum's role.
Aug. 29th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
ClipsOfCuties had them up at YT. But now it says her account is suspended. :(
Aug. 28th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Great review! I agree with just about everything you have to say about the L-word, it's a really frustrating show but strangely addictive at the same time, I’ve still to watch the 6th season though. Word on the inconsistent characterisation, it was like the writers suffered some kind of collective amnesia at the beginning of each season.

I couldn't remember anything about CKR:s character except that I REALLY HATED HIM, but I guess it was effective from an acting standpoint?
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
it's a really frustrating show but strangely addictive at the same time

True. I mean, I still had to watch it despite the cringe-worthy storylines.

I’ve still to watch the 6th season though.

Oh boy. You know, if I knew what I knew now, maybe I would have stopped at season 5. I don't know... maybe you need to see it for closure?

I couldn't remember anything about CKR:s character except that I REALLY HATED HIM, but I guess it was effective from an acting standpoint?

Oh yeah. I mean, he just screams CREEP.

I'm fairly new to CKR so when I checked his IMDB page and saw he wsa on The L Word I was all, 'wtf? What part did he play?' And even when I worked out that he played Dylan's bf I still couldn't remember him. Such a forgettable role.

Edited at 2009-08-29 02:36 am (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
"I remain mostly baffled as to why he did it. My reasoning is that either the part was intended to be larger (it happens) or a part, however small, on a Showtime series pays well."

Is it just me or does the fact that Rennie has to work for a living, and thereby take the occasional craptastic role, make him even hotter? Or am I in need of being committed?
Aug. 28th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Nah, i get what you mean.
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Ha ha! You know, I kind of see your point. He's no diva, that's for sure.
Aug. 29th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Very comprehensive post, which for me also sure brings a welcome context, since I didn't bother to watch other episodes than the ones with Callum in them. Lots of information and easy to read, the combination of both not being so easy. Thanks and congrats!

She thought her relationship with Dylan was real (possibly Dylan thinks so too - it's hard to tell).
I think they intended to mean that Dylan fell in love with Helena in spite of their plan (and that it was more Danny's plan than hers), but I agree with you it doesn't come out clearly. Maybe bad direction or the actress's wooden acting as you rightly say, dunno.

In "Lifesize" Danny seems genuinely pleased to have secured full editorial rights for Dylan's film.
That's Callum for you. He masters portraying assholes. He also masters portraying cute guys. And again assholes pretending to be cute. It's a shame that most directors focus on his talent at portraying assholes only...

My reasoning is that either the part was intended to be larger (it happens) or a part, however small, on a Showtime series pays well.
I'd personally go for the second hypothesis - a larger part would have been nice, but I doubt it'd been better.

On the whole, I found it lame and rather artificial. I couldn't be moved by the scenes with the girl with breast cancer, which says a lot. But, no. On a positive side, I rather liked Shane, and the scene at her girlfriend's family. Also the one at the bus stop with the girl just out from her spiritual retreat. And once more, thanks to Callum, I've greatly expanded my range in TV shows and movies!

Aug. 31st, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
Thanks and congrats!

Thank you!

I think they intended to mean that Dylan fell in love with Helena in spite of their plan

Dylan comes back in season 6 and she totally *is* in love with Helena - but they still have issues. And her acting hasn't improved.

He masters portraying assholes. He also masters portraying cute guys.

It's true! Chris Carter said he played a bad guy with a lot of warmth - and sadly for us, he *really* does.

I rather liked Shane, and the scene at her girlfriend's family.

Oh, Shane... *swoon* If someone said to me that the only reason I watched for six seasons was Shane, I doubt I would disagree with them.

I've greatly expanded my range in TV shows and movies!

Oh, me too! And some of them are real gems - just not all of them.

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