Amazon’s new original series Transparent was released this weekend and it’s generally being hailed as this fall’s best new show. Why? Because that’s exactly what it is. So, Canadians aside (sorry, my northern friends, but you get poutine; that’s the trade), it’s time to borrow your mom’s Amazon Prime password and spend some time with Transparent. This is the show you need to be watching.
There are a lot of things to love about Transparent. Focusing on a group of maladjusted adult siblings and their parents is still an infrequently seen subject. It’s like a more f*cked up Parenthood, or a relatively lighter Six Feet Under. Also, the cast is incredible (there’s a Duplass, and this show is Peak Hoffmanaissance) with equally fantastic guest stars: Kathryn Hahn, Judith Light, Rob Huebel, Tig Notaro, Carrie Brownstein, Bradley Whitford, Jason Mantzoukas.
Plus, this is an important show. We’ve talked here about important it was to Jill Soloway to portray the trans community in a realistic, positive light, never making them the butt of a joke, while keeping the whole thing generally light. And yes, she has gotten some criticism, just like Dallas Buyers Club did with Jared Leto, for casting a cis man as the main trans character. But Soloway made sure to cast actual trans actors in the show as well, more than a dozen in speaking roles. And since this story is about a woman at, essentially, the beginning of her transition, it really does arguably make sense to have the role played by a man, as long as it’s done with care and respect, which it really is.
Those are all great reasons why you should be watching Transparent. But they are not the BEST reasons. No, the best reasons all have one thing in common: They are all Jeffrey Tambor. We may all have loved him as George Bluth (and Hank Kingsley, and any number of other roles), but it’s now clear that he has been criminally underused, acting-wise, his entire career. This is not only the best performance of this new fall season— it’s in the running for best television performance of all time. Here are the real reasons why you should be watching Transparent:
8. Because Jeffrey Tambor will break your goddamn heart.
7. For this face of pure elation.
6. Because self-discovery can be powerful.
5. And even fun (if expensive).
4. Even if change is hard.
3. And sometimes lonely.
2. Because Jeffrey Tambor is glamorous as f*ck.
1. I’ll say that one again. Glamorous. As. F*ck.
Vivian Kane loved this show so much she learned to make GIFs for it.