Amazon Prime has been busy expanding their offer. They’ve dived into series production and I must say, they’ve been doing a great job. I’ve seen two series so far, Goliath and Transparent. The two have very little to do with one another when it comes to genre. Goliath is a thriller about a lawyer who’s trying to uncover a government cover-up, where as Transparent is a story about a family in which the middle-aged father discovers that he’s a cross-dresser.
Transparent captivated me from the very beginning. When I saw that the Hollywood icon Jeffrey Tambor is playing the lead, I had to watch it, not only for his incredible talent but admittedly, to see what he’ll look like in women’s clothes.
We’re confronted with a middle-aged man, who’s the person personification of your average, whiskey drinking, football watching, manly but not handsome American family father who has just discovered that he’s a cross-dresser. He doesn’t know how to tell his family and naturally, he worries that his ex-wife, his girlfriend, and his three children will reject him.
Jeffrey Tambor is physically unfitting for the role of the cross-dressing family father, which is what makes Transparent tragic and hilarious. We watch Tambor become a middle-aged woman as he buys dresses, puts makeup on and nail polish on his little piggy toes, and the whole set-up is such a mismatch that everything fits perfectly together. Had the producers picked an actor who’s more feminine, and who actually looks good in a dress, the irony, the comedy and the realism would have been absent. It’s precisely the cast of Tambor that makes this show exciting. And it left me wondering: how will he come out to his family and how will they react?
The father transforms himself into Maura Pfefferman, the family mother who’s also the biological father. At first, he hides his secret, but then he reveals it to his three children. As it often is in the family, one child after another starts revealing their own secrets, changing forever the way the family members see one another. At moments, this shift from the known to the new unknown is harrowing. No character is portrayed as good or bad, yet each one of them does something heartbreaking. We see them as everyday people who take on their struggles with more or less bravery, who are eventually forced to confront their reflections in the mirror and accept the truth.
The mood of the show shifts from humorous to tragic within every episode. It left me thinking about my own life and about what my reaction might be if one of my parents came out as a cross-dresser. When a show gets you thinking about yourself while it entertains you, you know it’s a good show. Still, I had one problem with Transparent — I began getting bored after the first season. The second season starts with the wedding of one of the children and, as so often in American TV shows these days, there’s shouting and screaming and fast talking and arguing, and on top of all that, a handheld shaky camera that gave me a slight headache after half an hour of watching the first episode.
Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly recommend this show. It’s one of the most original TV shows currently out there, and you will get to hear one of the most beautiful solo piano versions of Gotye’s massive hit ‘Somebody I Used To Know.’ Even if you don’t end up watching all the seasons, it’s worth see the first and in it Jeffrey Tambor playing the role of his life.