The L Word: In Defense of Max

June 11, 2012 — 2 Comments

Part of the YAM Magazine 2012 LGBT Blogathon~

It’s been years… YEARS… since I last saw a full episode of The L Word. It ended when it ended, and I’ve never had the intention to revisit it. However, I do revisit shippy fan videos because they tend to be the best of what was [1][2][3] — then there are not so shippy vids, but character vids [1].

Since I was trying to reconnect with fandom, I was browsing some threads on the battlefield cyber-ground that is the IMDb boards, where I found a thread talking about Max/Moira and how he was the “weakest and least likable” character on the whole show — COME ON, it’s a show with Jenny Schecter, and Max is the least likable? The user went onto describe Max as socially inept, filthy (for shooting illegal hormones), and having “gross love scenes” with Alan Cumming.

Now, I’m pretty sure we can agree that The L Word shat on Max’s transition storyline (pretty much just how Alice put him down many-a-times), and he was probably one of the weakest “starring roles” the show had… even if the show was populated by a number of poorly-written characters. However, I’m here to defend Max and what some people say was “gross” or “not nice” about him.

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with Daniela Sea to the eyes, and she did fairly well with whatever was thrown at her… but that can be said with pretty much anyone in the cast. LOL

Before Max was Max, he was small-town Moira. Socially inept- maybe. If we’re talking small-town gal to bustling big city. In any case, what’s wrong with being socially inept? Especially when you consider Moira’s character background? Are we born with the inherent ability to socialize with anyone from different backgrounds than us?

I would feel pretty uncomfortable if it’s the first time I’m moving away from my small hometown, and my first experience with the city is at a fancy restaurant that I can’t really afford filled with people I don’t know. I’m sorry, I’m blaming that one on Jenny.

When Moira first becomes roommates with Shane and Carmen (and Jenny), her and Jenny have… yes, a cleaningness problem. So yes, when she arrives from her hometown, Moira is filthy… but so is Jenny. They have horrible roommates habits, but Carmen also overreacts by exploding, considering she could’ve given more friend warnings before doing so.

But no, people are not referring to Max/Moira as filthy because of her roommate habits, they are referring to her as filthy because of her shooting up illegal hormones. As if… people in real life didn’t do that. Are we into this story because they show us characters, or are we watching The L Word because “it’s nice.“? Man, I know the show was more style over substance, but no wonder the world is where it is now.

Moira using illegal hormones was true to the character background. She didn’t have much, if any, money to spend on her transition and insurance coverage is not possible. Any medical treatment in America is mad expensive, so imagine having to change your sex, all the emotional struggle. Alan Cumming’s character was just that, a means to introduce Moira into the world and create some chaos.

Was the sex scene between him and Moira supposed to be sexy? No. Is it wrong that it grossed you out? No. But the sex appeal qualities of their storyline has nothing to do with Max’s pros and cons as a character. It doesn’t make it a better or worse written character. They’re not here to get you off.

Max went through his transition, he went on dates while we had to go through him having to tell his date who he really was, we had to see him being discriminated by people in his workplace, sometimes mocked by his so-called friends. We saw Max becoming not so socially-inept in the last run of her story… he suffered a lot when he got pregnant — admittedly in a pretty dumb accidental pregnancy — and had to go through being dumped by the baby’s father, while being mocked by Jenny.

If anything, Max is a victim. He’s a victim of The L Word (LOL), and a victim of Jenny. Max is definitely not “gross” (if you can describe a character like that), and Max is definitely not “the least likable character” on the show.

I’m giving that title to Jenny ;P

2 responses to The L Word: In Defense of Max

  1. Max’s storyline was complicated, but tried to stay true to his character’s journey. The backlash he received from viewers always defied my logic. Even within the LGBT community, transgender people are often looked down upon, and I long for one day when that prejudice is changed.

    • I agree, though, instead of getting him pregnant accidentally – to me that was tragic… and having Jenny around thinking it was fine to throw a baby shower, it was irking me.

      I always though Max should’ve had a happy ending… that he was such a capable programmer and that some big shot company gives him his dream job mirroring his failed work experience with the company in… season 3?

      Sometimes the LGBT community baffles me when I see them fighting amongst gay, lesbian, bi and trans.

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