The L Word Season 5 Finale: The Coach’s Perspective

Hard to believe another season of The L Word has come and gone. I can still remember the Season 1 Finale when friends and I made these crazy season ending game boards where we created a chart look alike with possible plot lines. We even had a game piece spinner type thing my partner made with all the characters glued on it — we were spinning it and wondering who might die in the finale (too many soap operas as a child I guess). Anyway it was fun times, and this year while much quieter viewing for us at home, was no less exciting. Having ensured our Easter guests would have an early exodus, we were poised and ready. Perhaps the only thing sadder than this finale will be next year’s series finale where any cliff hangers will literally leave you hanging for good.

We knew Jodi’s artist in residence piece was coming, but who knew it would be so bad in so many ways? She’s an amazing sculptor, so why in goodness name did she do a massive digital video piece? It was clearly more of a vindictive display than anything else, at least from the small snippet we saw on the show. Not to mention, last I looked when I was in photography school, any public displays of someone’s likeness requires a written model release. My guess is there certainly wasn’t one here! While the piece certainly had an impact, I was disappointed. Jodi is such a better artist and bigger person than that. While she is a fiery and angry woman who is willing to break all the rules in the name of artistic expression, I thought she could have done something a bit more inspiring to express her deep anguish and anger at the end of this relationship and Bette’s infidelity.

That being said, the coaching moment for me came after the unveiling. In the tender scene by the pool where Tina consoles Bette, she advises her to just let it go. That is fine advice because that is all Bette can do (unless of course she wants to sue Jodi for the piece which quite frankly will bring her no more resolution or peace). The lesson here is that people always act in their own interest and from their own perspective. Another person’s reaction to or towards us usually has very little to do with us. It has to do with them. While it often gives us insight into something we can learn personally; it is their stuff. In this case, the “core values” art piece is just that – Jodi’s expression of her emotional “stuff”. I’m not saying that this guiding principle of people acting in their own interest abdicates us of personal responsibility and responding to what life brings our way. What I am saying is that beating ourselves up and carrying the pain of someone else’s actions around in our life doesn’t serve us very well. Letting go and forgiveness is the only way through to a place of resolution and peace. That doesn’t mean you condone someone else’s behavior, it just means you heal, let go, and move on. No matter how much we all love Jodi, as far as Bette is concerned, forgiveness, letting go, and moving forward with Tina is the only way.

There were a few other great coaching moments in this finale. In fact it was ripe with them. I want to talk about two others that I believe will have a big impact in Season 6.

At the wrap party, Alice and Shane have a little sit down chat. Clearly Alice has the desire to stray from Tasha after meeting Clea. Once again, Shane gives some of the wisest advice around. She has a habit of being able to take situations, see through it all and right to the person in front of her. Throughout all 5 seasons she has given some of the best one on one observations of anyone. It’s too bad she can’t help herself, but more on that in a minute. Alice talks about how she should work it out with Tasha and that people need to work on relationships rather than give up at the first sign of friction. Shane agrees but notices that Alice has been working at it with Tasha since day one and perhaps now she’s realized she wants something more. Shane says “You have a right to be happy”. In this brief conversation, Shane hits on a number of important points – the importance of working on relationships, knowing when it is time to let go, realizing that someone else’s trials have nothing to do with you (as in Tasha’s military trial), and that you deserve to be happy (and you can’t do that when you are “should-ing” on yourself).

What a wise series of insights from Shane. I could coach on each of these for some time. Part of it goes back to what I shared about Bette — someone else’s emotional baggage is someone else’s stuff When we are so caught up in what we “should” do rather than what we really want or need to do, we live a half-lived life according to someone else’s rules (whoever’s voice we hear in our head along with the “should” – our parents, societies, friends, the media, etc.). That is not a recipe for living authentically or for happiness. Shane said “It is your human right to be happy.” In a funny way I must say I couldn’t agree with her more. Integrity first and once you have that handled happiness often flows.

Therein lays the million dollar problem with Shane. She is amazing with others and a total insecure, feeling “not good enough” woman somewhere deep inside when it comes to her own life. Why else would she self-sabotage at every turn? When Phyllis says “you are not worthy of my daughter” Shane could have either shrugged it off (I mean really, there are how many parents out there that feel that way?) and used it to deepen her relationship with Molly or she could have done what she did – internalize it, use it to make herself feel “right” about her negative feelings about herself, and make a mess of several relationships that really matter to her. As if being a total jerk to another woman she loves isn’t enough, she engages in the ultimate act of betrayal at the end of the show. Shane and Jenny have been closest friends and confidantes since the beginning. They have each understood each other in all their strangeness and challenging circumstances. They have met as equals and without judgment no matter what. Shane tosses it all away with yet another bad move as Jenny discovers her making out with Nikki. Now of all the women in West Hollywood that Shane could (and probably already has) slept with – she chooses Jenny’s love at the very wrap party Jenny has made an appearance and moving speech at in what are some of the most difficult circumstances one would have to face. The pattern continues – of Shane self-sabotaging and hurting those she loves most because she is unwilling to deal with her own feelings. All I can say is — Ilene Chaiken when you’re wrapping up everyone’s story lines next year, please, please, please DO something with Shane so she finally realizes the glimpses of the character development we’ve seen over time? If you need a life coach for women to handle her, dial me up! 🙂

So there you have it — hard to believe it has been 5 seasons already and even harder to believe that #6 will be our last. But until the final curtain falls, I’ll be here watching and sharing the coach’s perspective on it all for you.

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