If living through a global pandemic has proven itself to be beneficial for one thing, it’s starting a new hobby. Maybe you cleaned your whole house — 12 times — or have finally dusted off that croquet set sitting idly in your garage. Perhaps you’ve even gone as far as to wonder what it would be like to create a podcast with your best friend, a feat easier said than done if your long-time bestie doesn’t quite match your level of ambition, or even worse, if your voice sounds too scratchy through your janky pair of earbuds. Don’t worry, though, you can still live vicariously through Kate Moennig and Leisha Hailey’s new podcast, “Pants”.
A “Pants-like” Friendship
Moennig and Hailey met each other while filming Showtime’s 2004 series “The L Word,” where they played main characters Shane McCutcheon and Alice Piecseki, respectively. “The L Word,” which aired for six seasons, followed the lives of a group of lesbians living in Los Angeles. In 2019, Showtime rebooted the show as “The L Word: Generation Q,” which portrays the lives of the original cast intersecting with those of a younger generation of queer characters.
While Moennig and Hailey played best friends on a TV series (and continue to do so in the reboot), they’ve also developed a close friendship in real life, the kind that lends itself to long-winded adventures and sappy Instagram posts. In the first episode of their podcast, released on June 17, Moennig and Hailey said they became so close while filming the series that co-star Mia Kirshner began to describe them as a pair of pants because “You can’t have one leg without the other.”
“Pants” the podcast came to fruition when Rachel Shelley (who edits and produces it) suggested Moennig and Hailey start one of their own after they appeared on PodDiva this past May. With not much else to do in a global pandemic, the two decided to give it a go.
A Gold Mine for Fans of “The L Word”
As one would expect for a quarantine podcast started by two best friends, “Pants” is fun and casual with moments of impromptu laughter occurring more often than not. In fact, before Moennig or Hailey even speak on the first episode, listeners catch an inkling of Hailey’s subtle giggle being played over the show’s theme song.
Just like a pair of superhero sidekicks (or a pair of pants), every podcast episode has Moennig and Hailey tackling a new adventure. Quite often the two revisit their time on “The L Word” by reconnecting with old co-stars and revealing behind-the-scenes stories that up until recently, remained unheard.
In an episode called “Ilene Chaiken: Our Fairy Gay Godmother,” Moennig and Hailey sit down with “The L Word” creator Ilene Chaiken to discuss how the show began. The conversation hits on the impact of the show’s collaborative nature, something Moennig said created a close bond between Chaiken and the cast.
“We have an intimacy — all of us — that no one else understands because of all the time we had together,” Moennig said to Chaiken. “We would just have these ideas and you said ‘Yeah, let’s hear what they are. I’ll tell you if they’re terrible.’”
Chaiken’s close relationship with Moennig and Hailey encouraged her to discuss topics she usually doesn’t with other people, like her lack of showrunning experience going into “The L Word.”
“I want to talk to you about things that I don’t talk to anyone else about because that’s just who we are to one another,” Chaiken said. “We just have a great relationship, collaboration, shorthand and a lot of stories and experience.”
For avid fans of the series, theses nuggets of information about “The L Word” make listening to “Pants” feel like digging through a gold mine. The original series, which broke barriers for its plot lines that helped normalize gay representation on screen, holds a special place in the heart of the lesbian community, where show references still get tossed around more than 10 years after its conclusion. While fans eagerly await for the release of the second season of “The L Word Generation: Q,” “Pants” gives them something to look forward to at a time when television across the board remains stagnant.
Actors at their Finest: Real and Unscripted
While “Pants” certainly appeals to enthusiasts of “The L Word,” you certainly don’t have to be a fan of the series to appreciate Moennig and Hailey’s close bond and the raw and unscripted nature of their podcast.
When not talking about “The L Word,” the novice podcasters will discuss basic topics like fashion, home projects and pets. Their inherently comedic relationship combined with the tangential nature of their conversations leads the two to banter and recount absurd stories, like the time they took a 20-hour road trip to buy a used canned ham trailer filled with asbestos.
Despite their podcast’s clear audio recording and sleek editing, it’s evident Moennig and Hailey have been figuring things out as they’ve gone along. In practically every new episode they comment on how shocked they are that they’ve made it as far as they have.
“I’m surprised that we haven’t had an episode where one of us forgot to push record and we realized at the end,” Hailey said at the beginning of the 11th episode of “Pants.”
While Moennig and Hailey may not be professionals in the podcasting industry, “Pants” serves as a goofy reminder that despite life’s cruelty, we still have our best friends, whether we start a podcast with them or not.