The character ‘Shane,’ played by Kate Moennig, from original 2004 show, “The L Word” impacted queer representation in almost an immeasurable way. There had never been a lesbian portrayed on mainstream television the way Moennig took on the androgynous character of Shane McCutcheon. Moennig sat down with Heavy to talk “L Word”, working with Jamie Clayton, and what fans can expect from the upcoming season.
“We always felt like the show ended prematurely in 2009. And after a couple years, we got to talking, and thought what would it look like if it did come back? And we spoke to Ilene , and she also agreed and had the same feeling. We spent a number of years just imagining how that would look. Reboots didn’t exist until a couple years ago. And as luck would have it, they had a moment and we were part of that.” says Moennig. “I’m really lucky that I have this opportunity to celebrate the community and tell these stories when they didn’t exist before on screen. To be in such an incredible, supportive environment was just- we are the luckiest people in the world.”
Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” highly anticipated second season premiered on August 6 2021. After the first season, viewers had to wait an extraordinarily long time to find out how the cliff-hanger ending of season one would end, due to delays from COVID-19 that effected much of the film and TV industry in March 2020, according to Deadline and Variety. Though “The L Word: Generation Q” was one of the first shows to tackle intimate scenes amid the pandemic, according to The New York Times.
“It’s a communal show,” says Moennig, “It’s there for you to laugh at and poke fun of, and relate to, and get angry at. Thats what a soap opera does! They used to have with parties back on the original but there wasn’t social media then, it was more word of mouth. I think its great that communal experience that exists. Because that was kind of a question if that was going to happen because of how people watch tv now, and people still find that communal way of experiencing it and that’s incredible.”
Kate Moennig on Working with Jamie Clayton
“Jamie Clayton is a dream boat. She’s a dear friend. We were picking up what the other was putting down from day one. I couldn’t ask for a better scene partner, and I’m crazy about her. We had a blast. Having this very slow evolution between our two characters was very fun to play because we were getting impatient for things to unfold as if we were audience members. But that’s what made it fun because it never felt like we were jumping the gun too soon. On “The L Word” where relationships have their beginning, middle, and end all happen in 3 episodes, I had to exercise my patience and really enjoy the slow roll out. There’s not a lot to grab onto at the beginning, just little sprinkles of things that will eventually go somewhere.” says Moennig with a laugh.
“I was so enthusiastic and adamant that these two don’t get together so insanely quickly. And any problems or miscommunications they have we have to really play that. And where they end up? I cant tell you that. But I wanted that exploration. You know, Shane is 40, and after the whole thing in the first episode with Lena Waithe’s character where she got black listed from the poker game for sleeping with her wife. I thought to myself, ‘All right thats it, we’re done. Now she has to grow the fuck up and take a beat and re-access and approach things differently.’ You’ve got to grow up sometime.”
How have you grown with you character Shane?
“Oh, I love Shane. I have a very strong affinity to her. I’ve known this person for so many years. Even though she was not in my immediate view for a number of years, she’s always there. I think at a certain point- while you don’t mesh together, there are extreme characteristics that are unlike your own.” says Moennig, “How I approach work is there has always got to be some of me in there. And then I embellish on it, and the years have gone on and I’ve gotten to understand her more. Initially I didn’t understand her but she makes far more sense to me now. I can try to maybe feel a little but more at ease at letting the two fuse together.”
“Just, maintain some patience, and there’s going to be a moment this season… don’t get mad at Shane, she didn’t do anything wrong, and I stand by that.” says Moennig.
Follow Kate Moennig on Instagram to keep up to date with all of her latest projects, and catch her Sunday nights on Showtime as Shane in “The L Word: Generation Q.”