Prison Scene!

From Ilene Chaiken’s blog on

January 4, 2007

“We have something coming, something “The L Word” fans have been asking for since the end of our first season. Episode 113, Locked Up. In that way that word gets out and you all seem to know things that we have no idea how you could have known, you all knew that there was a whole lot of stuff we shot for that episode that never made it into our final cut.

Basically, what happened is, we (“The L Word” writers) wanted to do a Women in Prison spoof. It was in the context of a very real story we were telling (the legal controversy over Bette’s Provocations exhibit), but once our girls were arrested (a realistic scenario inspired by events surrounding a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in Cincinnati in 1990, about which I wrote a movie for Showtime), we couldn’t resist the temptation to riff on one of our lesbian favorite film genres. We analyzed our most beloved women behind bars movies (many of which starred our very own Pam Grier), and identified a handful of tried and true conventions:

The prison cell cat fight/brawl

The sadistic (usually lesbianic) prison matron

The botched prison break attempt

The prison food fight

The ultimate lesbian fantasy prison shower scene

We wrote it. We shot it. We loved it. But the network didn’t. It was the rare instance in which we had a creative disagreement. Our executives simply felt that it was too soon for us to be spoofing ourselves. They felt that it was something to be attempted in a third or a fourth season, but not at the end of the first season, when the audience was still bonding with these characters. We saw the wisdom in their point of view, and we set about recutting the show and extracting those scenes that veered too far from the gritty realism that defined our usual L Word style. The director’s cut of Locked Up was a blast. We laughed so hard when we watched it. It has all of those scenes mentioned above.”


The moment was all; the moment was enough -VW | #TheLWord #TheLWordGenerationQ

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