“Transparent” (On Amazon Prime) Puts the Trans in Parent

The new Amazon Prime Video series Transparent will be available to (binge) watch on September 26th.

Erin Whitney, Huffington Post: “From creator Jill Soloway (‘United States of Tara,’ ‘Six Feet Under’), ‘Transparent’ is a half hour dramedy about a transgender parent. From the pilot alone, it’s clear that it has the potential to be the best show of 2014, to adopt a huge following similar to ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ and even change LGBT television in a bigger, bolder way than ‘Orange’ has.”

Willa Paskin, Slate: “…an honest to goodness great pilot that feels—and I mean this as a compliment—exactly like one of those HBO shows with a 1-to-1 ratio of viewers to think pieces.”

Jeffrey Tambor is dad Mort, Judith Light the mom. Their kids Sarah, Josh, and Ali are played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and Gaby Hoffmann.

Whitney (HuffPost) describes the pilot’s plot:

…(W)e’re introduced to an L.A. family of three grown kids called to their father Mort’s (Tambor) home for dinner for a seemingly urgent announcement. But when each of them reacts selfishly with no regard for Mort’s news, which is clearly a struggle for him to share, he decides to keep it to himself. It remains unknown for the remainder of the episode until he’s revealed sitting in a transgender support group dressed as a woman. Mort is making his transition to Moira, but isn’t ready to come out to his family yet, who are each dealing with their own issues of body image, past romance (which was a lesbian relationship), and love in the wake of success.

Watch the trailer below—and don’t miss Mort/Moira’s declaration to his daughter at the end:

What Lyons sees as the show’s main point is exemplified in a remark from Dad. “‘Boy, it is so hard when someone sees something you do not want them to see,’ Mort tells Ali in a moment of candor, and that’s the thesis of the show, that we hide some things and disclose other things but maybe not as well as we think we do.”

Director Soloway seems to agree. As she tells Hitfix, “The math of this show for me, the emotional math, is these five people are magnetized around a secret and in some ways…the mystery of their childhood is, ‘What did we do because we didn’t know?’ In some ways the secret was the boundary and now that that boundary is being lifted, how do these people find their new boundaries with each other? It’s really about family boundaries and anxiety around boundaries, how to love one another without becoming one another.”

Selected Reviews

Willa Paskin, Slate: “The show has authenticity and specificity. The family is immediately recognizable as a very true-to-life nominally Jewish, L.A.-bred, casually super-affluent clan…and the siblings have a fluid, familiar way of taking the piss out of each other…Transparent already has me addicted.”

Alison Willmore, IndieWire: “‘Transparent’ feels excitingly like an indie movie rather than being easily comparable to anything you’d see on television, and its characters are filled out in funny, biting scenes that don’t let them off the hook but also avoid making them monstrous.”

Daniel Fienberg, Hitfix: “Soloway…has layered the pilot with sometimes sensitive, sometimes trenchant (sometimes both at once) observations about gender identity, sexuality, family ties, religion and Los Angeles.”

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