In the latest installment of the Showtime revival, Bette broadens her romantic horizons, Rosie guest-stars, and the series increases the scope of its diversity.

Bette (Jennifer Beals) ended the first season of The L Word: Generation Q at a turning point in her life. After losing the mayoral race and finding out her ex-wife, Tina (Laurel Holloman), was getting engaged to Carrie (Rosie O'Donnell), she was forced to confront her uncertain future, and the upcoming second season of the series plans to bring a lot of new to the equation.

With a career opportunity at the illustrious Zakarian Gallery, Bette will be presented with a chance to transform the art world. "One of the things she wants to further is the presence of artists of color and how to do that within what has historically been a systematically racist industry," Beals tells EW. "How does she start to change things?"

Jennifer Beals as Bette and Jordan Hull as Angie in 'The L Word: Generation Q'
| Credit: Liz Morris/SHOWTIME

Bette will experience challenges on the home front, too. With actress Jordan Hull (who plays Bette and Tina's daughter, Angie) having an increased presence in season 2, the show will explore identity, the drive to learn from our immediate family, and the importance of chosen family. Bette will also delve into her past, allowing The L Word: Generation Q to examine the privilege that comes with having lighter-colored skin. "The space to look at those issues is really gratifying for me," says Beals, adding that an upcoming episode centering on family, colorism, and forgiveness was particularly special for her.

Tina's new romance means Bette will also focus more on her own love life. We saw her say she may "die alone" in the season 2 trailer, but Beals is eager to dive into what dating means for a woman in her 50s. We also know from that surprising kiss in the trailer that sparks will fly between Bette and Gigi (Sepideh Moafi). "What is interesting is you have two alphas together — what happens when you have two alphas in the same room?" Beals teases. 

As for Gigi, we can expect the show to step further into her world and tackle her Persian heritage. There's a substantial Persian population in L.A., so it was essential for showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan to address that in the new iteration of the series. Gigi will speak Farsi on screen with Dani (Arienne Mandi), who is half Persian, a slice of representation that Ryan is excited for viewers to see. "I hope we get a season 3, so we can see even more into her world and the rest of our characters," she says.

Another The L Word: Generation Q character getting more screen time? Fan favorite Maribel (Jillian Mercado), Sophie's sister. "We got so much feedback on Jillian, and I really wanted to give her a little more this season to let her really live more firmly in [our] world," says Ryan.

While COVID restricted the number of new actors the series could bring on board, we will be treated to a handful of guest stars, including an exciting turn from O'Donnell. As Carrie, she will impact the lives of Bette and Angie. "She rides the line of comedy and true heartbreak, and wears her heart on her sleeve in such a real way," says Ryan, who hopes audiences are able to see themselves in the show in the same way she saw herself in the actress and former talk-show host years ago. "[Rosie] changed my life and the lives of a lot of young queer people," Ryan says. "I saw her on television when I didn't know I was gay or that she was gay, but I knew I was just like her."

Adds Beals, "Rosie is so talented as an actor, so delicious as a human being, and an incredible artist. She's extremely generous." She says that she is such a fan of O'Donnell, it was sometimes challenging to butt heads with her in character.

Rosie O'Donnell as Carrie in 'The L Word: Generation Q'
| Credit: Liz Morris/SHOWTIME

Other guest stars include Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives alum Vanessa Williams and Scrubs star Donald Faison, who Ryan says enters Alice's (Leisha Hailey) orbit as a formidable sparring partner. "Having him in Alice's world is fun because they are both so funny," says Ryan. "Having two comedic talents like that play together is great to write and direct."

Ryan also hints at other pairings that will have viewers "screaming at the screen" from disbelief as the season unfolds. "I want that drawn-out, painful romance," she says.

After the six original L Word seasons and two seasons of the revival, Beals is still most thrilled to showcase and celebrate the power of friendship — specifically in LGBTQ circles. "You can't have a character that represents everybody on the show," she says, "but the characters we do have are trying to honor the community as deeply as we can."

The L Word: Generation Q season 2 is available to stream Aug. 6 before airing on Showtime Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. ET.

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