You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Real L Word

Show doesn't just ape the original's cast but is awash in reality-TV cliches.

The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the original’s cast but is awash in reality-TV cliches. When the second hour opens with the participants being asked, “What kind of lesbian are you?” the most honest answer in TV terms would be, “Shamelessly derivative ones.”

Like “The L Word,” the show features women at various stages of their lives, set against a media-heavy L.A. background of shot-downing, hard-partying nightlife and high-stress jobs.

Nikki and Jill, for example, are well-to-do yuppies planning their wedding, while Mikey is a high-powered, order-barking fashionista preparing for L.A. Fashion Week. The pierced and tattooed Whitney, meanwhile, is a promiscuous sexual omnivore, while Rose is still something of a party gal, bringing conflict into her committed relationship.

“I don’t play games,” Whitney says during the direct-to-camera confessionals, the content of which — other than the same-sex orientation — could be culled from almost any network dating show.

And so it goes. While “The L Word” worked as a soap, the characters here could desperately use better writing than (again, from Whitney) observations like, “Lust is exciting. Love is scary.”

Mostly, the series seeks to fill a void the dramatic version vacated, albeit at what’s presumably a considerably lower cost. Granted, TV’s dearth of fleshed-out gay and lesbian characters — in drama or reality — is significant enough in the ad-supported space to ensure the show a niche audience. Yet as produced, the lone distinctive aspect of the series is that when a couple gets into a public spat, here they can go into the same restroom to argue.

While the “This season on … ” tease hints at nudity and on-camera trysts (this is, after all, Showtime), there’s relatively little of either to separate the show from Bravo fare in the first two episodes. Indeed, in one sequence, a sexual encounter is signaled by having someone blow out candles (yawn), and in another, two characters being followed independently meet and flirt in the same bar.

After enough moments like that, it’s pretty clear “The Real L Word” is just another reality show that’s only moderately real — the further adventures of “The L Word” with a non-SAG cast.

The Real L Word

Showtime, Sun. June 20, 10 p.m.

Production: Produced by Little Chicken and Magical Elves. Executive producers, Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Ilene Chaiken; co-executive producers, Jonathan Chinn, Alexandra Lipsitz, Gaylen Gawlowski, Casey Kriley; supervising producer, Cynthia Childes; line producer, Nicco Ardin; senior producers, Lance Nichols, Jaymee Johnson; story producers, Lisa Bellomo, Audrey George, Steven Matty;

Crew: Camera, Gretchen Warthen; casting, Nick Gilhool, Amy Hutchinson. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.

More TV

  • David Cassidy'Once In A Lifetime' concert

    Celebrities Remember David Cassidy: 'Love and Mercy to David'

    The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the […]

  • This Is Us Chrissy Metz

    ‘This Is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Breaks Down Kate’s Grieving Process

    The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the […]

  • David Cassidy Partridge Family

    David Cassidy, 'Partridge Family' Star, Dies at 67

    The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the […]

  • Jason Beghe

    'Chicago P.D.' Star Jason Beghe Investigated for 'Anger Issues'

    The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the […]

  • TV News Roundup: Fox Sets Premiere

    TV News Roundup: Fox Sets Midseason Premiere Dates for 'LA to Vegas,' 'The Resident'

    The title says it all: “The Real L Word” is a reality-TV clone of Showtime’s departed drama “The L Word,” with Ilene Chaiken joining the producing team behind sundry Bravo shows in cashing in on her past creation. Despite colorful language that needn’t be bleeped on pay TV, however, the show doesn’t just ape the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content