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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Transparent (tv show)

    Has anyone else watched this?

    It's an Amazon download, although I've been watching it streaming on some web sites.

    I figured it would be interesting to watch and see how true-to-life it seems as well as the quality of the show. I have to say too that so far I know none of the actors except Jeffrey Tambor and Judith Light, but the acting by many people I do not recognize seems to be high-quality; they just all seem like normal, real people and a lot of the interplay seems very organic.

    I thought I would post my personal observations of each episode as I watch it, but anyone can comment on anything they'd like.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are necessarily some spoilers here in terms of plot, although the show itself isn't really a "spoiler-dependent" show like others, it's mainly a comedy/dramedy.

    Episode s1e1: "Pilot"

    - I've heard the show is more from the family's perspective than Maura's, and coming off the pilot, that definitely seems to be the case there. This episode primarily seemed to focus on the kids and spent its opening minutes setting up their characters culminating in an unexpected dinner invitation from "Dad."

    - "Dad" (Jeffrey Tambor) seems a bit different as soon as we see him. His greeting seems more motherly than paternal; he has his hair tied back; he seems to have softer facial features than expected. He also seems agitated about something and loses his temper abruptly at one point (when all the kids derail what he wanted to tell them and leave without learning of it).

    - The large assumption is that Dad has cancer. That's probably the best guess anyone unfamiliar with disclosures of this sort can come up with, situationally, due to the intensity and seriousness of the person trying to get the family together to talk about something.

    - Mom (Judith Light) seems to be a piece of work herself and seems somewhat domineering with the kids and her second husband, although he isn't well and does need additional care. She talks about how she and their father fell out of love when they were teens, leading to their divorce; she accuses her ex of being a liar who never tells the truth about anything. Hmmm. It's not clear how much she knows or cared to know about her ex's issues, but she seems to view him as the problem, versus her contributing. How much did she realize or know?

    - "Dad" keeps trying to date women and just can't seem to hold a relationship together. He and his most recent girlfriend have already broken up, adding another count to the pile. This can be typical, if one just can't feel happy within or adhere to the gender norms; here, he keeps trying to be "normal" and it just doesn't work long-term for him.

    - There are some nude shots in the show (full female bodies, male bodies excluding privates). In this type of show, the way the characters view and reflect their bodies is relevant to the plot, so the nudity does not seem superfluous. The subplot of the youngest daughter not being happy with her body image and wanting to improve it shows that dissatisfaction on some level can be a human issue. But it also could be a way of saying the body isn't necessarily a reflection of gender; Ali is very much a woman despite her feelings of her body being less than feminine and having only an average face, and in the same way her dad's gender is not dependent upon his body appearance so to speak.

    - Support group realism. It depends on the formality of the group leader, although it's certainly within the range of a potential group meeting depending on city and location. I'm not sure what the larger city meetings are like, with far more diversity of people who can attend. Transguys I've found at least in smaller venues don't tend to attend meetings as much; then again, they usually blend in far more quickly to regular society, whereas it seems to be a more "female" thing to want to get together in groups and talk. Dad (who I will now call Maura, since I think she is finally introduced to the camera as such in this scene) describes a cash register / credit card scene that I think is pretty common for anyone transitioning and can be quite terrifying since you don't know how it will resolve.

    - We find out Sarah (the eldest daughter) has had at least one serious lesbian relationship in the past, despite finally marrying a man and raising kids; and here she runs into her old flame and sparks fly, and she arranges for them to go together to see the family house (mostly as a pretense to get her alone and see what happens). So it seems that Maura might not be the only one in the family with secrets of this sort.

    - Maura, embarrassed over not being able to disclose at dinner to the kids, returns home dressed from her support meeting, sees the cars, and decides that it's now or never. So in that way she becomes an active director of her life, when she could have easily hid or left again. And it was smart, as her daughter actually has a friend present who can help her deal with what she's about to learn. (As it is, Sarah isn't in a position to flip out since she just got caught by Maura kissing her ex-girlfriend. So now they both have shared secrets.) It was a horribly potentially awkward moment, yet Maura doesn't seem nervous at all; you can tell she is making this decision to confront her daughter from a "centered place."

    - There's also a shot near the end of Maura at the support meeting, wondering why her kids are all so selfish since she didn't raise them to be that way. At the same time, the camera is very focused on Maura's face (with a blank cinder-block background) and just sits there motionless for quite awhile in order to force us to look at her and hear what she's saying. Was Maura selfish in the past? Is she being selfish now? What's the camera trying to say here? I don't know, but I hope they pursue that further since it's one of the common criticisms of transitioners -- that they are "being selfish and only focusing on themselves."
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Episode s1e2: "The Letting Go"

    - As Sarah is searching for words for Maura, Tammy (the lesbian paramour) addresses the elephant in the room, cutting in to say, "uh, you look awesome." As a lesbian in a very large city, she at least likely has some exposure to trans people, has known both people for a long time, and thus functions as a bridge between parent and child. There are some common experiences between LGB and trans (and family disclosure experiences is one set), so even if Tammy doesn't get it totally, she knows enough to help.

    - Sarah: "Are you saying that you're going to start dressing up like a lady all the time?" Maura says, "...No, honey, all my life...my whole life... I've been dressing up like a man. This is me." Beautifully acted.

    - Apparently Maura had the small ponytail as far back as 1989. It was sad to see him hiding in silence in his darkened office while getting out clothes he had bought, waiting for an unexpectedly knocking student to go away. In the end, he throws the clothes out as he leaves the building; the feelings of shame + the purge cycle are very very common.

    - Davina, a transitioned transwoman: "In five years, none of your family will be there." Maura: "That's so sad." She says it matter of fact, but you can tell she's wondering how much her life will reflect Davina's statement. It is true for too many. Things continue to improve in western culture, but one is still fortunate to preserve even half of one's relationships.

    - Sarah apparently isn't willing to things go, and she and Tammy sneak out to Makeout Lane in the middle of the night and have a go at each other. It seems that love has been lacking in both of their marriage [Tammy is in a lesbian marriage, Sarah is in a het marriage]. Whether this has been because of a loss of interest between partners, or the pressures of child-raising on a marriage, or whether because Sarah has been in denial about her own preferencesm, well it's all unclear at this time. But the end result is that it's leading her to do things that could invariably lead to the loss of her marriage. Maybe this is what happened between Maura and Shelley (Maura's ex-wife) in the sense that Maura just couldn't be the man Shelley wanted her to be even if Maura was wearing the clothes and trying to live the life.

    - Dear god this show is funny sometimes. Judith freaking Light as the Jewish mom? She makes me laugh out loud any time she's on screen. But it's not just that, I just find myself laughing a lot at some of the situations or silliness of the characters.

    - Sarah and her husband Len seem very real to me, especially in how they talk to each other as well as argue. Some of the things they say are so much like the stupid arguments that spouses can get into, especially if they have developed a growing (but unaddressed) irritation with each other.

    - When Sarah tells Len about her dad, len's first response is, "You know, he always seemed creepy to me." It's funny how one line can tell you everything about a relationship and what's going to happen. Len is noting essentially that Maura never came off as a "normal guy" (very likely); it insinuates some not very nice stuff about Maura as a person; Sarah's tone was one of wanting to talk about her feelings and/or wanting some support, and Len's response is to decry her dad, rather than being sensitive; it's pretty clear coupled with her recent lesbian fling that this marriage is in serious trouble and Maura's transition has now contributed to the growing rift between them.

    - Sarah's responses to Maura's revelation are interesting. She's being "big sister" in that she wants to protect her siblings. But she hasn't really processed Maura's decisions yet herself, and then ends up defending her dad to her husband. There's so much to work through and sometimes people aren't even sure how they feel in full until far later in the adjustment phase. So they will alternate their stance depending on situational context and who they are talking to and how that person responds.

    - There's an odd kind of half-life (or maybe better stated "in-between" life) that occurs during transition. Like when Maura comes home to her house but she sees herself as a younger man going into her then-wife and young children at the time. You live in multiple times at once. Gender dypshoria can automatically contribute to a sense of being "detached" from your body and self to begin with; and then when you're changed, it's recalling parts of someone else's life... because that person was not entirely you to begin with.

    - In a similar way, at the death of Maury, a resident of the Shanga-la apartments where Davina lives and who Maura is visiting, the scene captures how this entire community of LGBT people live in a subculture of normal society. it's not uncommon for LGBT folks (as well as other people with shared beliefs/values/experiences -- whether ethnic or religious) to build their own communities where they feel understood and safe. There are gay couples and transpeople and other similar residents watching the coroner wheel Maury out of his apartment in a body bag. (Davina refers to him as a "sweet old queen.") It's not clear whether his death was suicide or old age. But there's a familiarity connecting them all, though -- Davina takes Maura into the dead man's apartment after everyone leaves and says it's fine, that they always check on each other's mail, water their plants, etc. They are a community to themselves.

    Also, you start to see how during transition it's almost like stepping into another world. There is the "regular society" with all the old norms, and then there is this self-existing community with its support groups, social gatherings, etc. Usually the worlds are also pretty separate; there are few people who will be in BOTH of your worlds. And before you are full-time, it's like you spend half your life in one world and half your life in another -- you keep walking back and forth across the boundary that separates the two, like living in two different dimensions. Some people continue to do this all their lives, others will pick one world or the other to live in.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I have prime and i started watching it but i wasn't in the right mindset to understand what i was watching, like you know your mind is at sponge bob level but you're watching csi? it was like that. maybe next weekend i'll watch it.

    I am a fan of jeffrey tambor (via arrested development) and I grew up watching re runs of who's the boss
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    I have prime and i started watching it but i wasn't in the right mindset to understand what i was watching, like you know your mind is at sponge bob level but you're watching csi? it was like that. maybe next weekend i'll watch it.
    Yeah, you kinda have to get yourself in the right mood/frame of mind to parse everything.

    I am a fan of jeffrey tambor (via arrested development) and I grew up watching re runs of who's the boss
    After two episodes, I'll say that Tambor is excellent here. I find him entirely believable as a transitioner of that age group and I have known a number of people who look and act just like Maura.

    I think the show is far more organic and more true to life than a similar movie (HBO?) called "Normal" that came out some years back, which I think was a play that got made into a movie. Tom Wilkinson (a great actor in his own right) was the transitioner there, but they're all Boomer types transitioning after years of marriage as a male and having raised kids. I just think Transparent seems more natural and nuanced, mainly due to the approach and the scripting; Wilkinson and Lange were great in that movie, but the movie itself was about average to me.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Episode S1E3: Rollin'

    - Sarah might have jumped the gun here in making a big life decision. Maura took years to make her decision. But Sarah leaps in headfirst after a few days and really might have shot herself in both feet.

    - Maura abandons another attempt to disclose to Josh. Same-sex children can be harder to come out to sometimes. But I think a big issue also is that Maura is far more sensitive, Josh is far more Type A and a cliche male at least in regards to his drive. When he smells perfume on his dad, he projects on him the image of a Lothario and misses another possibility. Josh in fact imposes himself on other people regularly, this time with horrible results. If Josh had been more sensitive, Maura might have found it easier even with the weirdness of the experience.

    - Flashback of Maura (as a man) meeting another guy in a magazine corner, where they both inadvertently read each other. Typically you can be more quick to recognize others in similar situations because you both often have developed the same behaviors or tricks to hide your behavior. EDIT: CHARLESTON CHEWS!!! YES!

    - Two guys who are into a menage a trois doesn't necessarily mean they're into menaging with each other. (Should have stuck with the spit roast.)


    Anyway, it's interesting with Maura "waiting for the right time" to disclose. As long as that isn't a copout, it makes sense. And each of her kids is different. She saw an opportunity with sarah and took that. She's had opportunities with Josh, but none felt right. Ali is next.

    ----

    Episode S1E4: "Moppa"

    - Moppa: The name thing always causes problems. It's not always meant as a rejection of identity for a kid to call a parent by their old name (it can remain a sign of affection), but to do so in public can turn heads. Sometimes it takes awhile to find a name that works for everyone.

    - Bathrooms: The ugly scene here might be a bit more extreme than the norm, but not by much if you get the wrong mix of people in the bathroom... and Maura's response is very typical, as you don't want to cause trouble and also you're likely dealing with a history of shame, so an aggressive response cuts you to the core. Where things get interesting is when you have supportive friends or family to fight for you... leading to the smackdown on screen. It was heartbreaking to see what Maura ended up doing for a bathroom, but she wants to protect herself and not intrude on others. (And then of course we see this whole dilemma playing out legally, with bathroom use becoming contentious now in a few states trying to repeal protection laws.)

    - Makeup counters: Great places to get some people with skill to show you what you COULD look like with the right approach and products... but there is an expectation there that you'll buy something. So it's typically best to talk to them ahead of time so they fit you into a slower period and can focus their energies otherwise on buying customers.

    - The Party: Maura's voice doesn't carry anymore. It was interesting to see how ineffectual and unheard she felt in that situation. That can take some getting used to.

    - The Name: Her first choice was over the top -- "Daphne Sparkles." Her friend laughed and said it sounded like a pole dancer or something. The stuff Maura is doing is stuff I've observed a lot in the Baby Boomer transfolks when they start out, especially with picking hyperfeminine names and also dressing way too young or too much for the occasion. (The twenty somethings of course can dress that way and get away with it.)

    It sounds like the trans thing was never openly floated in Maura's ex-marriage; but it likely put up a huge wall between the two leading to "falling out of love."

    We also see her first encounter with the name Marci. Did she date women who were named Marci, after her first friend? Or (now I'm thinking) she claimed to be dating various women but they were actually all trans women she was spending a weekend with at a hotel, dressing up? And Marci was one of those?

    ... also all three of the kids seem pushy in their own way. Sarah is the responsible one who is currently having a crisis and making demands of Tammy; Josh makes demands on everyone (which is really interesting, as he's a middle kid?); and then Ali is just kind of self-absorbed.
    Last edited by Bellflower; 02-23-2015 at 01:08 PM.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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