That’s right boys and girls, no sooner has the series pseudo-ended then there is talk of a new spin-off called The Farm. The 20 minute pitch has already been filmed but has yet to be picked up. From what I’ve read, the series looks to be a take off on the British series Bad Girls which is at times campy, some times introspective, and mostly fluffy but intelligent fun. The Chaiken series will star Alice, who has been framed for Jenny’s murder, as the only confirmed L Word cast member to jump to the spin-off. If the show does well, obviously there is room for Tasha to visit (perhaps playing an already out Helen Stewart to Alice’s Nikki Wade), as well as for other characters to come by during visiting hours.
The L Word has flirted with the prison genre before, sending Bette over the edge with her carpenter lover in Season 1, the ridiculous Helena love affair in Season 5, and didn’t Alice go to jail at some point or did I just decide her stalker behavior in season 2 should have sent her there? These forays have never been as intelligent and introspective, or as delicious, as a single episode of Bad Girls. Worse they highlight the racial problems with show in that the prison sequences always have tons of people of color while even the crowd scenes outside of prison on the L Word are often visually homogeneous.
Given the rise in the number of female prisoners in the U.S., the overt criminalization of women of color, poor women, and immigrants of late, and the growing engendered prison-industrial-complex, I’m not sure the L Word, Let’s Go to Prison, lens is the one I want to watch aimed at the issue. Prison certainly isn’t where upper class lipstick lesbians go to get their freak on, even if L Word sequences would have you think otherwise. For a much more realistic and interesting version of lesbians and prison, you can see the movie by another one of our highlighted film directors, Cheryl Dunye, called Stranger Inside. For intelligent, true to life, and yet campy goodness, Bad Girls reigns hands down.
Honestly, I hope they do take a page from Bad Girls if this spin-off gets picked up. Recent interviews with network president Bob Greenblatt seem to imply they might. Well, not that he seems to know what Bad Girls is, instead comparing The Farm to “a less dark version of HBO’s Oz.” (Did I not mention how we lost QueerTime to ShowHBOknockoffTime in a different post?) However, Chaiken is sure to recognize the actual lesbian drama set in prison even if she is going for something brand new.
Perk up Logo. Now is your chance. Release the 5 or 6 seasons of Bad Girls on DVD already and give the current season more prominence on your channel. It won’t make me forgive you for tossing out Noah’s Arc but at least I might write something nice about you all again. (And given that everyone I have ever worked with at Logo has always gone above and beyond with me, I really want to write something nice.)
If we are lucky, both The Farm and Bad Girls will give us something to cheer about. And both will address the important side and the entertaining, snarky, sexually charged, delicious side of prison tv as well.
- Naomi Kettleman/sho.com