'L Word' cast: 'Generation Q' takes ownership of Season 2
The cast members who joined The L Word: Generation Q in its first season said they feel the revival series belongs more to them in Season 2. Rosanny Zayas, Arienne Mandi and Leo Sheng said the new season, which premiered Friday, gives their characters more focus.
"I think we get to see more of the newer generation of folks really come into their own more," said 25-year-old Sheng, who plays Micah, a trans man struggling to get his mother's acceptance.
The L Word followed the relationship and career dramas of a group of gay and bisexual women in Los Angeles. Generation Q premiered in December 2019, 10 years after the original series ended.
Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moennig returned as their characters -- Bette, Alice and Shane. The original trio of stars said it was important to highlight a new generation of LGBTQ characters. Moennig, 43, said adding the new cast members will appeal to a wider audience.
"The new cast has a whole host of new personalities that [audiences] can either completely identify with or not," Moennig said. "That's what provokes a conversation."
Hailey, 50, said she understood that fans of The L Word's six seasons would want to see their characters. Hailey said Generation Q will continue to appeal to those viewers, and show how their characters interact with younger ones.
"It's not just about us," Hailey said. "It's about the way we connect with one another as humans, as friends, as coworkers, as family members. Everyone can relate to that in some way."
Mandi, 34, plays Dani, a woman who worked on Bette (Beals)'s mayoral campaign and whose father was Bette's opponent. Mandi said she spent most of Season 1 adjusting to the whirlwind of joining The L Word, but Season 2 allows her more freedom.
"I really allowed myself to play a lot more this time around, to take chances and to have a little bit more fun," Mandi said.
In the season finale, Bette lost the election. Mandi said Dani and Bette remain friends in Season 2, but both consider different career options.
"The whole professional relationship is a bit unknown," Mandi said. "If anything, she had gained a friend and someone that she looks up to and trusts. That's a rarity for Dani."
Meanwhile, Alice (Hailey) hosts a talk show at which she employs Sophie (Zayas) and Finley (Jacqueline Toboni). The season finale showed Sophie running to the airport, where both her fiance Dani and lover Finely were taking separate flights.
Season 2 will reveal to which one Sophie ran. No matter who Sophie chose, however, drama will exist between the three women.
Bette, Shane and Alice share stories of the relationship drama they experienced in the original series. Zayas said the perspective of the original characters is valuable to Generation Q.
"It's like, 'Are you going to learn from history or are you going to learn from my mistakes?'" Zayas, 31, said. "Not just my mistakes, but my successes and failures and all of it."
However, Beals, Moennig and Hailey said they didn't feel their characters could impart any wisdom upon Generation Q. The 57-year-old Beals said the characters are too independent to be influenced by anyone else.
"I think Bette would like to think that she can help Dani, but I think Dani's on her own trajectory," Beals said.
Hailey said Alice is in no position to advise others.
"I think Alice finds that she makes the same mistakes that she was when she was 20 so she really can't tell them anything," Hailey said.
Micah, however, is caught between the three lovers. Sheng said Micah is friends with Finley, Sophie and Dani, so he's torn between friends no matter how the cliffhanger resolves.
"It's not about taking sides," Sheng said. "It's about wanting everyone to be honest, be happy and find a healthy way to communicate."
"That fantasy is not going to happen, she thinks," Beals said. "So she's got to move on if she wants to be happy in her personal life."
Shane is exploring a new business and a new relationship simultaneously. Alice is still dealing with the fallout of her experiment with polyamory.
Season 1 introduced the idea of a "throuple" between Alice, Nat (Stephanie Allynne) and Gigi (Sepideh Moafi). Even though Nat committed to Alice monogamously in the season finale, Hailey said Season 2 still gets complicated for Nat and Alice.
"We all love a perfect bow on something, but bows can unravel, as we all know," Hailey said.
Hailey said addressing topics like polyamory was one of the reasons they wanted to bring The L Word back after 10 years. As part of the new generation, Zayas said she appreciated the show expanding its portrayals of LGBTQ lifestyles.
"There really isn't one way to be queer," Zayas said.
Sheng said he agreed that queerness encompasses a broad spectrum of lifestyles. Sheng said it was important for The L Word: Generation Q to portray as wide a spectrum as possible.
"It's important to, for lack of a better word, normalize different relationship dynamics and different relationship types," Sheng said.
Mandi said representation remains a priority for The L Word: Generation Q.
"Nonbinary characters, trans folks, younger, older generation, I think we have a little bit of everything," Mandi said. "There's a place for everyone on our show and a way for anyone from kids to adults to everyone in the community to feel seen."
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