Nicholas Fonseca
March 26, 2007 AT 06:55 PM EDT

To honor last night’s rather downbeat fourth-year finale of The L Word, I thought I’d try something a little different for my final PopWatch entry of the season. A number of you have asked, time and again, why my recap of each week’s episode doesn’t appear in’s TV section. That’s because my editors asked me to jot down my thoughts, much like the brilliant Annie Barrett did with the late O.C., in a few succinct paragraphs. But I don’t take direction well, and when I began trying to write about a TV show that can feature anywhere from 9 to 1,206 different characters each week… well, I failed miserably.

So, last night! Rather than one of my too-long recaps, I’m going to take a cue from one of the episode’s biggest plot points — Bette, Shane, and Alice’s Three Fugitives-y theft of a gigantic old sign as a gift for Jodi Lerner (uh, wha?) — and share with y’all the 17 reasons why — even when it’s angering the bejesus out of me — I can’t stop watching The L Word:

  1. Season in and season out, the spectacularly talented Leisha Hailey (pictured) demonstrates that she is capable of playing scenes both deeply emotional and ridiculously silly, and that her adorably zany Alice is the true heart and soul of this very scattered show. Plus, I love the way she screams.
  2. This series gives some of the best, most undervalued directorial and writing talent in Hollywood (Moises Kaufman, Rose Troche, John Stockwell, Burr Steers, Guinevere Turner, A.M. Homes, Adam Rapp… ) the opportunity to share its brilliance with the average TV viewer. How cool is that?
  3. It has provided Pam Grier with a passable — if unchallenging — job until the next Quentin Tarantino comes along and writes a role that really lets her show the kids how it’s done. (Why is this so hard for you, people of Hollywood?!!)
  4. These ladies’ houses look like the spawn of every West Elm, Design Within Reach, Crate and Barrel/CB2, Pottery Barn, and Room and Board catalog I’ve ever received in the mail. I could ogle them for days.

addCredit(“The L Word: Paul Michaud”)

  1. Clearly, Ilene Chaiken knows how much every single person whowatches this show hates that godforsaken theme song by thespectacularly unharmonic Betty — and, as such, continues to piss us alloff by refusing to change it.
  2. Jenny Schecter might be the most maddening character in the historyof television, as my colleague Dalton Ross points out in this week’sissue of EW. And because her fearless portrayer, Mia Kirshner, has nointerest in making her even a wee bit tolerable. She taunts people withnames like “Vagina Wig”; strips, cuts out paper dolls, and slices openher wrists to deal with her problems; dates trannies-to-be for the hellof it; throws wine bottles at people’s windows when she’s angry; andbarges into movie production meetings with small dogs that aren’tpotty-trained, for crying out loud. How can I not watch? (One morequestion: Is she a goner after last night’s Kate Chopin moment?)
  3. Somebody conned Karina Lombard (the late, great Marina!) intoappearing twice this season in scenes that were such watchably awfultrain wrecks (really, that fedora?) that I hope they led to herclueless agent’s dismissal.
  4. It made me a Marlee Matlin fan. And I honestly never thought I’d betyping those words unless a.) a terrorist was holding a gun to my headand making me do it, or b.) this disgustingly hot specimen of man told me he’d sleep with me if I did.
  5. After last year’s painfully drawn-out Dana-has-breast-cancer arc,it actually handled Tasha’s return to Iraq with sensitivity and grace,two adjectives that I have, at times, struggled to attach to this oftenwince-worthy show.
  6. You don’t have to be a straight man or a gay woman to recognizethat the girl-on-girl love scenes are among the most artful and justplain hot sexcapades you’ll see anywhere this side of [insert dirtywebsite of your choice here].
  7. It actually makes living in L.A. — and West Hollywood in particular — look enjoyable.
  8. For all of that writing talent I talked about earlier, there’sstill at least one howler of a line uttered in each episode. Lastnight’s gem? I think I’ll go with this one from Paige: “I love beingwith you in cars and at work, but I would really like to f— you inbed.” Classy.
  9. It wears its artsy-fartsy pretensions on its puffy designersleeves, and has surely led more than a few viewers to seek out theworks of artists and authors name-dropped by Bette and the girls.
  10. It exists in a strange, completely imaginary utopia where women inevery income bracket — from movie studio executive to small-time localradio host — can afford what are clearly some kick-ass gym/yoga studiomemberships, along with the kind of high-end clothing and makeup thatmakes them look like they walked right off the cover of a nationalfashion magazine. Can I live there, too? I need some La Mer and a pairof Dolce briefs before the summer share season gets underway.
  11. The writers had the good sense to basically ignore the fact thatBette and Tina have an infant daughter since, let’s get real, whoreally wanted to see a small child running amok amid all of this heavybreathing in the first place?
  12. The only other lesbian drama in my life involves my best friend,her too-tiny apartment on the Lower East Side, and one very whiny cat.
  13. Even at its worst, it still remains a thousand times more watchable than [shudder] the American version of Queer as Folk.

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