Continuing the Conversation on Transparent

By Lydia Geisel

I’m excited to announce that my latest addiction is a product of COM 241. For as unusual and absurd as the Pfefferman clan is, they’re slowly starting to feel like family.  

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(Still from Episode 1, Season 2 of Transparent. The Pfefferman family attempting to take a photo at Sarah’s soon-to-be-destroyed wedding)

As I make my way through season season 3 (yes, SEASON THREE) of Jill Soloway’s Transparent, I can’t help but share my affection for this series. I’ve realized as I’ve continued to watch the show obsessively that it’s as much about gender as it is about family dynamics. But, what I think I enjoy the most is that the show doesn’t attempt to comfort you. Whether you personally relate to them or not, there are so many real moments that are radically honest and completely striking. From Sarah’s regretful lesbian wedding to Josh and rabbi Raquel’s unexpected miscarriage to Maura’s longing for romance, the producers do a stunning job of tying everyone’s narratives together in a way that is fresh, enlightening, and familiar.

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(Still from Season 2, Episode 10)

In each season, the show proposes worthwhile questions, such as, what do you do when your own happiness hurts others? How do you decide between your career and the one you love? Should it matter what others think of us, or if they even accept us? For me, this series capitalizes on reality. The sometimes-comedy, sometime-drama, sometimes-X-rated show breaks all boundaries of genre.

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(Still from Season 2, Episode 6. Josh and his girlfriend Raquel learn of her miscarriage)

Judith Light, who plays Maura Pfefferman’s ex-wife on the show told that the show’s creator, Jill, “wanted to dynamically change the way the culture used the transgender community and subsequently anyone who was considered ‘the other’.” In my opinion, Jill accomplished her goal by presenting a variety of intertwining stories that all deal with othering and/or queerness. Yet, for as “queer” as the Pfefferman family may be, they’re also delightful, surprising, hopeful, and relatable. I would credit this transparency (no pun intended) to the dialogue. The writer’s do an amazing job at crafting little, seemingly meaningless, moments between the characters that are based in subtle back-and-forth that almost seems improvisational.  


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2 Responses to Continuing the Conversation on Transparent

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I’m so glad you love this show! Last semester, I watched the first season obsessively after we were required to watch it for another film class. It’s incredibly touching, and I love its authenticity. Even though I didn’t think I’d connect with any of the characters, you quickly realize that the plot is a reflection of modern issues concerning everyone, regardless of your gender. I definitely need to watch more of Transparent this summer. -Caitlin Herlihy

  2. mediaphiles says:

    This show is so good! I remember getting introduced to it in Culture and the Sitcom and I just couldn’t stop binge watching it right after that. It is just so interesting and the narrative is very profound. I hope to catch up with the series soon!

    -Shelby Halliman

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