Jill Soloway’s “Transparent” is a must-watch (with lesbians!)



Jill Soloway is a lesbian’s best friend. And sister. And writer. And mentor. (Seriously, she’s all these things to at least one lesbian-identified person.) The screenwriter, producer, director’s new pilot Transparent premiered on Amazon today for free, and you should watch it because, besides the fact it is incredibly well-written and acted, there is a major bisexual character, Sarah (Amy Landecker), who is being confronted with the fact that her ex-girlfriend, Tammy (Gillian Vigman), has moved back to town, and their kids go to school together. They have a weird interaction that cues us into the fact there will be more where that came from.


That night Sarah’s sister Ali (played by Gaby Hoffmann) and brother Josh (Jay Duplass) go to visit their dad (Jeffrey Tambor), assuming his big news is that he has cancer. But first Sarah tells them she ran into Tammy.


Ali: Jesus, Tammy Mother Fucking Cashman?
Sarah: I know.
Ali: God, does Len know the kids are at the same school?
Sarah: Why would Len Care?
Ali: Um, maybe because you spent your entire college years lezzing it up together?
Sarah: Please, who doesn’t experiment in college?
Ali: Are you kidding? That wasn’t experimenting, you were adopting a kid together.
Sarah: That didn’t happen.
Ali: I distinctly remember, you were going to have two Mexican boys.

Their father, Mort, tells them he has broken up with his girlfriend, retiring from his job and is moving out of the family house. (He wants Sarah and her husband and kids to have it.) But he doesn’t tell them what he had hoped to: He is transitioning.

That night Sarah asks her husband if he’s OK with her inviting Tammy and her daughter over for a playdate. “She’s the lesbian I went to Madison with,” she says, to which he replies, “I like lesbians.”


At school the next morning Sarah invites Tammy over to see the family house again, as apparently Tammy was in it for Thanksgiving one year. Tammy tries to say no but ends up sitting comfortably on Sarah’s father bed, reminiscing about the “pupusa lady” at the farmer’s market. “Say it again,” Tammy asks of Sarah. “It’s so dirty when you say it.” Awkward sexual tension over pupusa! Sarah complains about her husband, too, which means, well, you know.



What comes out in the pilot is that each of family members are complicated and complex with all kinds of issues they see differently than their family does. Toward the end of the pilot, Mort tells his transgender meeting group that he will come out to his children at the right time, but that they are “so selfish they can not see beyond themselves.”

There’s a great ending that I won’t spoil for you. If you love Transparent (as you should), review it, share it and watch it again.

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