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I really hate Jenny Schecter

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 25 May 2011 12:11

The L Word's 6 seasons can be neatly divided into two halves. The first three seasons are must see TV. The first season introduces us to some really great characters, which form the core of the cast for all six seasons. There's the ambitious and driven art gallery boss Bette, her blonde bombshell partner Tina, the ditzy and funny journalist Alice, the commitment-phobe hair dresser Shane, tennis pro Dana who is still in the closet and rounded off by Bette's sister ex-alcoholic Kit. Into this close-knit group, we drop in Jenny Schecter, who moves to LA from the mid-west to try her hand at writing (and doesn't know she's a lesbian yet).

The writers tackle some very interesting issues related to gender, sexuality, relationships, family and friendship. Jenny's first lesbian romance with Karina and the disastrous end of her engagement and short-lived marriage to Tim form the cornerstone of the first season. Bette and Tina's attempts to start a family and their bumpy relationship, which is covered in detail all through the series. Then there's Kit's struggles to rebuild a life (who is the the only straight main character), Alice and Dana's doomed love affair and the Shane/Jenny/Carmen romantic triangle, all really compelling story-lines.

Then in season 4, everything just starts going downhill. The character of Jenny was always somewhat self-centered, bordering on narcissistic, but she was never overly malicious, duplicitous and cruel, till now anyway. The writers strip her of any semblance of ethics or empathy or any of the better instincts she displayed in the first three seasons. Unfortunately, she also becomes the primary focus of the show in the last three seasons. Till about the fourth season, I could forgive most, if not all of the shit Jenny pulled on a regular basis. She's a very damaged person and unfortunately doesn't have the self-awareness to know it. As Kit puts it, "her life has just been one big ass-whooping", which makes it easy to sympathise, if not condone her actions. In the last two seasons, her actions are so despicable that it became impossible to tolerate her, let alone sympathise.

The last three seasons then largely devolve into a soap opera with Jenny as the evil protagonist. The fifth season, whose main storyline is the shooting of a movie based on the life of the main characters, is almost self-parody. the writers have lost all imagination and churn out one mindlessly unimaginative storyline after another. There's some bright sparks in there and the humour of the first season makes a welcome comeback too, but overall the magic is gone. The writers finally kill off Jenny in the last season, but her character has already destroyed the show by then.

It's the first time I've seen a show be totally ruined by a single character. It's like the writers became as obsessed with Jenny's character as much as she is self-obsessed. I really wish they hadn't done that, I wish they had the talent and imagination to see through the show to a successful conclusion. I wish Jenny Shecter had died much sooner. I really hate Jenny Schecter.


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