April 23, 2021

Transparent on Amazon

Amazon has added another original show to the streaming mix and “Transparent” is for you if you have grown tired of police procedurals, pawnbrokers and chefs.

Jeffrey Tambor is Maura/Mort Pfefferman, a man who decides to finally come out to his children about his exploration of his feminine side. His ex-wife, excellently played by Judith Light (of Who’s the Boss fame) is the mother of his three very mixed up adult children. Amy Landecker plays his married with children eldest daughter who is having an affair with a former lesbian lover; actor Jay Duplass is his recording producer son Josh who is embroiled with a female rabbi, a young female singer with his label and his old babysitter who seduced him as a teenager; Maura/Mort’s youngest daughter played by Gaby Hoffmann leads a life filled with drugs, rough sex and unemployment as a career. The show is indeed about Maura’s transition from a male entity to a female one, but it is also how her life has impacted everyone around her. We get to know this little group of people who are connected by blood, love and common interests in the present day and in evocative flashbacks.

Two of my favorite characters thus far are Maura’s male/female friends. Chicago’s own Alexandra Billings plays Maura’s transgender confidante and neighbor, and is it ever good to finally see her in the national spotlight. Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) has a small but important role as Maura’s first transvestite friend. They meet in an alternative bookstore and form a bond as married men who dress as woman on the sly. Whitford and Tambor are a heartbreaking hoot as they try to balance their emotional urges with society’s expectations.

The series has very frank sex talk and graphic sex scenes so this show is not for the
easily shocked, but the script has heart, the acting rings absolutely true and there is a freshness to the whole non-big-network production. Many have reported watching the pilot and then inadvertently devouring the ten episodes in one sitting for a grand total of five hours of viewing. Have food and beverages on hand before you dive in.

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