Debra McCampbell ends her 2003 article in praise of Laurel Holloman and her hopes for the then soon- to- be-aired show, The L Word, with these two entries:
“I first learned about the show on the Kitten Board. Then, I read an article in a magazine at the bookstore. As is always the case, I find out the important stuff when I’m in public and can’t react the way I might in the privacy of my own home. I mean I could, but — no. When I read the list of the entire regular cast, I think I gasped. I was with a friend so luckily I had someone’s arm to grab. I do remember that my first reaction was, Laurel Holloman’s going to be kissing girls again.”
Laurel hasn’t disappointed us in the kissing department – although we would all like to think of Season 3 as a brief burp in that dream, and it was. She was back in full force kissing girls, and with gusto, as Tina in Season 5.
“The L Word has me very intrigued. The cast has enormous promise. Laurel will play Tina, better half to Jennifer Beals’ Bette. I hope she’s a full-fledged character and not just an appendage. I hope she’s smart and sassy and tough and tender and constantly surprising, like Randy Dean, all grown up. I want this to be better than anything we’ve seen so far. I want it to be great. Because if this show does what it could do, if it lives up to its potential, it could really mean something. To everyone. To all the talent involved. To us. Finally, to us. It’s about time.”
We can opine today, tomorrow and to infinity as to whether or not TLW lived up to our great expectations, but this is not the time or place for that. The part that caught our attention is McCampbell’s hope for Tina Kennard.
After five seasons, we as the viewing audience don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that Tina as a character, as conceived and written by Ilene Chaiken, has been a mixed bag. During the show’s first 3.5 seasons, Tina was mostly tied to Bette Porter’s storyline and only occasionally had a strong point of view or voice of her own. Ilene seemed incapable of writing with depth and conviction a character that was the love interest of Bette. That is, until TLW’s fifth season.
Although the jury is still out whether Ilene can write Bette and Tina as a couple and keep them both fully realized women, we live in hope that she will. We hope Ilene continues to write Tina in season six with as much vitality, nuance, and as strong a dramatic and comedic voice as she was given in season five.
In the next few sections of this tribute, we will be exploring the journey of Tina Kennard through the seasons in greater depth.