Jill Holloway’s Transparent is filled to the gills with wit, humour, and unfiltered emotion. The trenchantly delivered hilarious desperation featured on this program will at one moment have you laughing at a joke about the potential an exclamation point has to rape, and in the next moment have you clutching your gut as you witness complex and vigorous heart break.
The intersectionality of class, race, sex, gender, and religion has been an undulating theme in the previous two seasons of Transparent; the subject matter alone demands it. In season three these nuanced notes come bursting forth with an unmistakable roar; specifically, the unflinching and ruthless look at white privilege is unfettered by apologies and explanations, but rather a look at the lived reality of the charming, intelligent, monstrous, and undeniably compelling Pfeffermans.
Like the very first episode, recently transitioned Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) travels to Compton after a call she receives at the LGBT distress line. Needless to say, she finds herself a little out of her element. Angelica Houston joins the cast as Maura’s love interest Vicki, and we watch as she tackles and dances with Maura’s new found concentration on the presentation of Maura’s femininity. Maura’s ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light) also finds herself in the grips of recalculation as the two women sort out the role of Mom with the capital M to their children.
The baby of the family Ali, portrayed by the stupidly talented feminist icon Gaby Hoffmann, is beginning her studies in post grad, but not without her tendencies to buckle under the pressure of her own impish desires—and those of others for that matter. One steadfastly remains hot for teacher when said teacher is played by the one and only Cherry Jones.
Josh (Jay Duplass) is still woefully entrenched in the hip LA scene. Willfully defiant and ignorantly positively skating over her love addictive ways. Despite the cloudiness that falls over his relationship with Rabbi Raquel (played by the resplendent Kathryn Hayn) she still graces us with her presence with a particularly pointed speech about Passover.
It looks like Raquel is warming up to Sarah (Amy Landecker), the eldest child of the Pfefferman Three. Still into getting spanked, we have the pleasure of watching her whittle her way around reason to try to get exactly what she wants without hurting anyone or herself (and when does that ever really happen?)
Watching Transparent is like flipping through the emotional memories of a fertile family history, all the while experiencing the late bloomers of said family reach out far beyond the limits of conventional boundaries. The rapidly changing perspectives and narratives the show takes can have a delightful dizzying effect. The best comparison I can think of is like being on a rollercoaster, but you know, for emotions, questioning identity, and fucking hysterically intelligent insight.
The writing is transcendent, the performances are inspiring and heart palpitatingly real, the music is a manic pixie dream girl’s wet dream, and the quilted questions and storylines that flitter between space and time will have you wanting more and wanting it to stop simultaneously. It’s kind of like being tickled.
Transparent season three premieres September 24th 2016 on Shomi.