Have you heard about the new TV show called Transparent? The Hollywood crowd is abuzz with excitement. Here’s how the producers of the show describe it:
An L.A. family with serious boundary issues have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone to spill their secrets.
In the industry that’s called a “logline”, a one-sentence show description designed to hook the reader into wanting more. This one strikes me as pretty bland but the critics are raving about the show and the industry insiders are fawning and fussing over themselves for being so brilliantly progressive as to create this wall-shattering, breathtaking cinematic experience.
CarolAnn and I were curious so we watched three episodes last night. They’re only a half hour each. The show is labeled as comedy.
Transparent is about a 70-ish family patriarch cross dresser coming out of the closet to his adult children and admitting he is a long suffering woman trapped in a man’s body. (“Trans”-“parent”, get it?) It’s filled with nudity, including full frontal, and people running around having sex with people they’re not supposed to be having sex with, including two happily married soccer moms having a fling together at their long repressed lesbianism and a drug addled caucasian female who arranges a ménage à trois with two African American men and explains to them that when they are finished with her she wants to watch them “do” each other. That’s when they throw her out of the house.
They have their principles.
I’m not making this up. I honestly don’t believe I could if I tried and I’m kind of proud of that.
As you might imagine there is a lot of yelling and swearing and tears in all of this but, oddly, no comedy at all, not a single chuckle or even a smile and I honestly can’t see where any was intended.
My wife and I are old enough that none of this shocks us. We’re not particularly offended by language and we don’t even lament the loss of cultural dignity and decency as much as we used to because, frankly, that train left the station long ago. We’ve sort of gotten used to it. We’re just tired of TV shows with no likable characters, no reason to care and nothing to smile about.
And, we’re tired of being told that depravity is normal and there is no such thing as a lie when it serves our own selfish desperation.
This is what passes for comedy now. It’s what we celebrate.
Because it’s easier to lower our standards than to raise our expectations.