There is something so magical and right about Transparent, a new series pilot created, written and directed by Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, Afternoon Delight, United States of Tara). The show stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as Mort, a flustered and somewhat exhausted father of oldest daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker) and younger twins Josh (Jay Duplass) and Ali (Gaby Hoffman).
Mort’s children are grown adults but like their father are somewhat lost, slightly selfish, wonderfully quirky and living in LA.
Sarah married very well and has two healthy children, a housekeeper and a reliable husband. Her high school friend Tammy is back in her life . . . and Tammy is one very hot lesbian.
Cute, bearded Josh works in the music industry and literally lives in a glass house. He is fucking a very young blonde musician from a musical trio named Glitterish. Sometimes in the evening he visits a mysterious woman.
Ali is the lost one in the family. She’s struggling emotionally and financially. In one great scene — and there are many — a family meal ends in a screaming fight with Josh leaving in a huff. Mort sits down at his desk to write out a cheque for cash-strapped Ali. He tells her that of all his children she is the one who understands him the most and then looks her straight in the eyes (in a very loving manner) and says, “We share the depressive gene.”
Hoffman (god bless her) gives him a look that says everything about her character’s despair. It’s an incredibly touching moment.
All the acting is top notch. For a pilot, these actors already feel like a very real family. There’s a natural, raw chemistry going on. But it really is Tambor’s show. He’s pitch perfect. His scenes are sly and mysterious, yet after you’ve watched the full episode you are blown away even more at what he does. His body language, his hands, his walk . . . so subtle, so right.
I know this review seems vague. But it has to be. I don’t want to ruin the richness of Transparent for you. I’ll just leave you with the following line from Mort that really nails what this episode is about:
“Boy, it’s so hard when someone sees something you do not want them to see.”