TV Review: Transparent

Disclaimer: I don’t mean any offense in this article.  If I use improper terminology I sincerely apologize for my errors.

There have been precious few TV shows that I have loved enough to binge watch.  Firefly, Red Dwarf, Avatar…and now Transparent.

This is a beautiful Amazon original series that portrays Maura (Jeffery Tambor) who spent her life as a biological man but always knew she was a woman.  At the age of 68, she comes out to her family as a trans woman.  The rest of the series involves the fallout surrounding this announcement and the effect that it has on Maura’s three adult children: Sarah, Josh, and Ali.

Sarah (Amy Landecker) has always led the life that was expected of her.  Married with two small children, Sarah lives in her large house in the suburbs while her husband works day in and day out to provide.  Her perfect world gets interrupted when she runs into her old college flame while dropping the kids off at school.

Josh (Jay Dupless) is extremely successful in the music industry but outside of work he constantly chasing love.  Unfortunately, due to some events from his childhood, he has no idea what love even looks like.  He’ll jump at anything that might be love but in the end he’s always wrong.  His heart seems to be in the right place but his childhood has left him confused.

Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) is the baby of the clan.  As a child she showed all the potential in the world and had a genius IQ as an adult she’s floundered.  She has no job, no money, and questionable friends.  Ali has a long track record for making bad choices, however, flashbacks reveal that maybe they weren’t all her fault.

The show also stars the likes of Melora Hardin as Tammy, Sarah’s old flame, and Judith Light as the matriarch of the Pfefferman clan.  The cast is outstanding. The cast has wonderful chemistry together and it comes out through witty and sharp dialogue.  There are plenty of quirky one-liners to keep one laughing but the real heart of the show comes through during the reflections on the past the family must face.  Whether screaming at each other or sitting quietly in an office these moments are what kept me coming back for more.

This family is beautifully broken.  Transparent doesn’t just pertain to Maura but to the family as a whole.  They keep secrets like it’s going out of style.  These sins of omission have led to deep cracks in the foundation of the family which is then shaken by the earthquake of Maura’s confession.  Yet, somehow miraculously, they manage to keep it together and are there for one another when the world starts to crumble.

Transparent is the most heartbreaking, human, beautiful dark comedy I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Find it on AmazonPrime.

NOTE: This show does contain adult situations.  Be aware that there is a gratuitous amount of sex, nudity, and language.  They also touch on other “taboo” topics such as abortion, end of life decisions, sex toys, and other issues of sexuality.  Some people will be uncomfortable and the under 18 crowd should steer clear.