Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now

I’m going to admit something embarrassing. It took me much longer than it should have to get the not-so hidden wordplay within the “Transparent” title. (p.s. It’s “Trans” and “Parent,” in case you’re dense like me. But you’re not. So feel free to laugh.) And now I’m going to admit something else, after watching the “Transparent” trailer about a month ago it took until this last weekend to watch the (totally free) pilot episode on Amazon Instant. Yes, I know. I already said I was dense.

Now that I’ve owned up to my own stupidity, let’s talk about this really smart show. Sure, I’ve only just seen the one episode. But already you can tell this is a sharp, funny and simply lovely new series. I’m pretty sure this is one of my favorite new show of the season, if not several seasons. And, again, I’ve only seen just the one episode.

The series (which is on Amazon which, I know, weird) comes from Jill Soloway whose past work includes “Six Feet Under” and “United States of Tara.” And while Jill isn’t gay, she has a lesbian sister and has featured nuanced lesbian and bisexual storylines in a lot of her work. She shows an effortless understanding of the fluidity inherent in the gender spectrum as well as an innate understanding of the discomfort that can cause to those accustomed to strictly this or that.

What “Transparent” does expertly is invite us into the life of Maura (formerly Mort) as she comes out to her adult children and make us feel like we’ve been casually watching them for ages. They don’t seem like strangers, but people we’ve met and perhaps had brunch with over the years. We understand them instantly in a distant way that recognizes there are edges and dark corners they’ve hidden from you all along. As a pre-transition Mort tells his youngest daughter, “Boy, it is so hard when someone sees something you do not want them to see.”

We could talk at length about the very talented cast: Jeffrey Tambor as transitioning Mort/Maura, Amy Landecker (who is a dead ringer for Amy Brenneman) as rich stay-at-home mom Sarah, Gaby Hoffmann (who is on a streak after being so great in “Girl”) as unfocused youngest daughter Ally and Jay Duplass as music industry hipster Josh (who like to date his clientele, the younger the better). They’re all excellent. And if you haven’t already, make sure you have a mirror ready when you realize butch uber dyke Tammy is Jan from “The Office” actress Melora Hardin. The mirror is to see how far your jaw drops, by the way.

Amazon will release the entire first season on Friday. And already I can’t wait to spend my weekend with these people. Sure, they’re messy and imperfect, selfish and at times unable to see what is so clearly in front of them. But then, aren’t we all.


Rachelle said...

Sweet :D You saw it!
Looking forward to your comments ;)

Rachelle said...

P.S. You should see Féminin/Féminin and talk about it...if you haven't seen it already. It's a treat.

P.S.S. You're not alone, I totally missed the title as well.

Carmen SanDiego said...

Dammit I'm gonna have to cave in and get amazon prime

Helena said...

Thank you for the heads up on this , watch the trailer now and hope we will get it here in South Africa soon. Join the club - also totally missed the title :)