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October 7, 2015

Get to Know The Ladies of 'The Real L Word'

by Jo Garfein, posted Jun 18th 2010 5:30PM
The Real L Word 'The Real L Word,' from 'The L Word' executive producer Ilene Chaiken, is a sexy, spicy, sassy and sweet new reality series on Showtime. Produced by Magical Elves (Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, who also produce 'Project Runway', 'Top Chef' and 'Last Comic Standing'), 'The Real L Word' is an unflinching glimpse into the fascinating lives of six lesbians in Los Angeles.

As an out journalist living in the Bay Area and having spent a good deal of time in LA during college, I am approaching this series with an equal serving of enthusiasm and curiosity.

After watching the first two episodes, I can say without hesitation that this is not your mother's reality show. Be prepared for an eye-opening, envelope-pushing show that will have you alternating between picking your jaw up off of the floor at the raw sexuality and grabbing a tissue for the surprising sentimentality.

I had the opportunity to speak with series creator Ilene Chaiken, and asked if she cast specific types of women to represent the diverse lesbian community. "Not explicitly, in the sense that we didn't have to find a Shane, Bette, someone who does this or looks like that," she told me. "It was much more open and we cast a wide net. But like the scripted 'The L Word,' I was conscious of representing only a segment of one community of lesbians. We don't purport to represent the entire world of lesbians."

Chaiken did not have network restrictions with regard to the amount of sexuality and sex that was filmed and will air. "We weren't asked to portray sex and sexuality in a particular way, nor did we promise that we would go here or there...nor were we prohibited from it. The premise and understanding between me and Showtime has always been – we're telling stories, as frankly and intimately as we can. And wherever the stories go, that's where our cameras will go."

Before the show debuts on Sunday, get to know to the cast of 'The Real L Word.'

Jill and Nikki the Real L WordJill & Nikki: The Fashionable Femmes
Occupation: Writer and Talent Rep/Manager, respectively
Jill and Nikki are the only couple in the official cast of 'The Real L Word,' two nice and very stylish Jewish girls who are planning their dream wedding (tightly wound and slightly controlling, party of two). You might recognize Nikki from her appearance on 'The Oprah Show' a few years ago during a "Wives Confess They Are Gay" segment. Of course at the time, she declared her partner of five years to be the love of her life. Cut to 'The Real L Word,' where Nikki is now marrying a different partner only after dating for one year. Compared to the rest of the cast, however, Jill and Nikki appear to have the most stable relationship and least amount of baggage between them. And frankly, they share an ease and familiarity between them that my partner and I can relate to far more than with any other women on this show.

The Real L Word MikeyMikey: The Tattooed Trendsetter
Occupation: Founder/Producer, LA Fashion Weekend
At first glance, you might be tempted to label Mikey as stereotypically butch. Despite her extremely driven work ethic and rough exterior, Mikey is actually a sensitive soul with an excellent haircut. Her appearance, demeanor and attitude are visibly altered and relaxed when she isn't working. Mikey has a stunningly beautiful girlfriend, and although their jobs leave them very little time together, they just might be heading to the unofficial alter in the near future. If I had to pick a favorite among the cast thus far, Mikey would win. She is sarcastic and has a great spirit, and it doesn't hurt that she reminds me of my best friend.

Rose, The Real L WordRose: The Flirtatious Firecracker
Occupation: Real Estate Advisor
Don't be surprised if Rose reminds you of Papi on 'The L Word' -- because that character was based on Rose's life. When we first meet her, Rose is feeling the pressure to settle down, both from her current girlfriend and her tremendously supportive family. She is fiercely independent and loves the party scene, so it remains to be seen whether or not she is ready for a serious, monogamous relationship. Women like Rose are equally irresistible and dangerous, but there is much more than meets the eye with her.

Tracy The Real L WordTracy, The Lovely Late Bloomer
Occupation: Film/TV Development Executive
Tracy is the most recent member of the cast to have come out, and her sense of joy at that discovery, as well as a dose of healthy confidence, radiates on the screen. She is in a fairly new relationship with a woman who happens to have three young children, which is complicated - but they seem to be managing it rather well together. Tracy's largest obstacle right now is her mother, whom she is close with despite her mom's insistence that they don't talk about anything related to her being gay. I have a feeling that this show just might help her mother open that door just a crack, given the illuminating and educational view into Tracy's real life.

The Real L Word WhitneyWhitney, The Passionate Player
Occupation: Special Effects Artist

Among Whitney's many tattoos should be a warning sign with one simple word in bold black text: trouble. Despite the fact that many of the women she dates -- often simultaneously- seem to recognize her game from the get-go, they are charmed by and drawn to her nonetheless. Whitney claims to care for every single one of her conquests, and in typical lesbian fashion she seeks resolution and friendship with all of them, but something or someone is bound to change her modus operandi.

'The Real L Word' debuts Sunday at 10pm ET on Showtime. You can follow the series on Twitter (@SHO_realLword) and also download the free iPhone app.

Will you be tuning in on Sunday? Chaiken encourages you to watch "because they are wildly entertaining stories, and in some ways enlightening stories. The more people we get to know, the richer our lives are." And I agree wholeheartedly.

[Follow all of my television adventures on Twitter @JOpinionated]

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