Thursday, December 28, 2017

Just finished binge watching...

...all four seasons of "Transparent," the award-winning (8 Emmys, 2 Golden Globes, an AFI award, a British Academy Television award, a Directors Guild of America award, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Producers Guild of America award, 3 Critic's Choice awards, and a Peabody award) Amazon Prime original series. I'd been meaning to see this for a while and I am so glad I did.

If you don't know anything about this series, the story concerns itself with a family whose patriarch (played with stunning restraint and skill by Jeffrey Tambor) decides to live his truth of being transgendered, hence the title "Transparent." But the story arc over the four seasons concerns itself with much more than this single story line. As Shelley the mother (played exquisitely by Judith Light) wisely notes in season three, "When one person in a family transitions, everyone transitions." Billed as a comedy, there are certainly some very amusing and yes, funny moments in it, but taken altogether, it is absolutely a drama. And a sensitive, moving one at that.

In addition to the mother and father (mother and mother) there are three grown children in this family (Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass, and Amy Landecker) as well as their associated spouses, lovers, and friends. Over all four seasons, and via multiple story lines and flash backs that move through generations, we get a sweeping story arc that is quite literary at its core. It has fascinating things to say about sexuality, culture, religion, discrimination, psychology, genetic memory, and just generally what it means to be a human being.

The entire cast is beyond talented, and the story, as I just mentioned, is impressive. My only small quibble, and it is a small one, is that there were some things about the fourth season that felt rushed...some of the story lines were given quick answers. Now, I could be imagining this since, as I stop to think of it, the answers were a long time coming, and once an answer to a question arrives, there is an end to that question, that wonder, that probing. Like I said, it is a small quibble and one others may not have even noticed. In no way does it diminish the series or the story as a whole.

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