The L Word Annotated Bibliography

Abelman, Robert. Reaching a Critical Mass A Critical Analysis of Television Entertainment (Lea Communication Series). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc Inc, 1997. Print.

Abelman explores the significance of studying television as an academic text and work, by deconstructing the production and consumption process of television.  The book explores the television industry in terms of its production components, but in a theoretical and interesting way because it conceives of the production process in terms of master narratives and aesthetic values reproduced by the television medium.  Within the book he also explores closely the work of meta-television as to how the TV genre engages with the television viewer in a way that speaks to their intelligence and knowledge of television conventions.  In the context of my paper the insights derived from the work can give more support to the arguments of what the relationship between the show and the genre signifies.  While also paying close attention to how the relationship is altered or influenced by meta television components in The L Word.

Bolonik, Kera. The L Word Welcome to Our Planet. New York: Fireside, 2006. Print.

The book contains interviews and insight from producer Ilene Chaiken into how the show is produced and written on an episodic basis, but also as to how it was originally conceived.  I think the book is an important component of the overall concept of the show because it is evidence of this intertextuality as the show spills over into other mediums for consumption – books.  In terms of my paper it gives me a little more backing and information as to some of the intentions and influences that Ilene Chaiken had in making of her show, as well as that it can provide some sort of common thread to look for throughout the seasons, while constructing my own meaning of the work that the show is doing in the season that I am exploring.

Fiske, John, and John Hartley. “Television Realism.” Reading television. London: Routledge, 2003. Print.

Hartley and Fiske breakdown this concept of “television realism” into its critical components that explains the way in which the audience perceives the signs being put out in television shows – in relation to the lives that the audience leads outside of the television reality.  While exploring aspects of television realism it also deconstructs the notions of realism that television, as a medium, has transformed.  In understanding this television realism Hartley and Fiske point out that television has the capability to conceal certain meanings and motivations of the text that the producers have put into the show.  This chapter is critical in understanding how the work put out by producers is perceived by its audience and within the context of The L Word; how do we consider the meaning as being concealed within this realism, when what is being represented is a representation of its own self within television.  What are the layers of this reality and how does this help us understand meta-television – or create a definition of meta-television realism?

Gehring, Wes D. Parody as film genre “never give a saga an even break” Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 1999. Print.

Gehring explores parodies as “critical approaches, offering insights through laughter;” so as the medium is masked in this veil of unimportance and humor it provides thoughtful critiques.  While the content of parody is quite important, so is the form in which it is delivered; Gehring identifies the artistic and aesthetic nature of parody as well.  In understanding parody as a film genre, television genres can be examined too; which it can illuminate in the motivations behind Chiaken’s decision to create the season in a way that parodies itself.  Reading The L Word in these different ways puts the show within the greater context of media studies as well as gives meanings to the specific decisions made in the production of the show. Also, it is interesting to examine the significance of putting a form of parody within a show that is not a comedy but defined as a drama.

Griggers, Cathy. “Lesbian Bodies in the Age of (Post)Mechanical Reproduction.” Literary and Cultural Theory Carnegie Mellon University (1992). Print.

The article identifies the lesbian body as being broadcasted through popular culture and becoming a part of the mainstream as result of these technologies.  While doing this, the article also considers the different significances the lesbian body carries throughout modern representations of women.  Positioning the lesbian body and identity in contrast to certain notions of feminine identity, opens up many more complexities of the lesbian body and image in the age of constant cultural production.  This is one of the more theoretical works that I think is important to understand when writing my paper on lesbian bodies and their portrayal and issues in The L Word.

“The (in)visible lesbian: Anxieties of representation in the L word.” Reading The L word outing contemporary television. London: I.B. Tauris, In the United States and in Canada distributed by Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.

The author deconstructs the representational and concerns that emerge from constructing this community of lesbian women on the television screen.  Closely examining examples from the show in the context of gender performativity being a crucial component of the shows perception by critics.  The authors look closely at the anxiety and concern that emerges from these representations of lesbian identity as being prevalent in multiple aspects of the shows creation as well as in its content to create this meta-narrative of anxiety within the show as well.  Exploring the feelings of the characters about their representation within the television reality and society in a way that reflects the outside critiques of this representation brings in another concern that I choose to look into for this paper.  Considering that if it seems that the characters in the show are aware of their presence within this television show, how do they feel about their own representation?

Lipstick Leviathans: Demonologies of the Lesbian Body. Reading The L word outing contemporary television. London: I.B. Tauris, In the United States and in Canada distributed by Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.

The article explores how The L Word represents its lesbian characters as demonic characters as a means of providing an alternative perspective to the representations of queer women on television.  The article argues that by consistently attempting to portray lesbians on merely the positive and affirming position on The L Word it falls into the trap that it is often accused of – misrepresenting the lesbian community.  By portraying the women in this counter-narrative The L Word reclaims the demonized representations of them that are too often put out the dominant narratives.  This article will work in my paper to provide insight as to how to understand the work of representations of these women that doesn’t align with the typical form of minority representations on television – it functions as a way of queering their narrative. Also, in another way it gives insight into the work that Ilene Chaiken the producer does as well as Jenny the character when directing these characters.

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