Transparent: Season 4 – a review and a requiem



All things come to an end, and it looks like the fourth season of Transparent will be the last I watch of the show. I haven’t read anything about it recently, so I can’t say whether the series will continue without Jeffrey Tambour, who quit the show after being accused of sexual harassment by a couple of transgender people who work on the show. I understand that the creators of the show were considering killing off his character, Maura, the transgender parent of the series title, or otherwise writing Maura off the show. The series may continue yet.

But, I won’t be watching.

This is in no way a political stance. Stop me if this sounds familiar to you, but I wholeheartedly support the Me Too Movement, and I resolutely believe that anyone who feels that they have been harassed or discriminated against should never feel afraid to speak out about it. I still believe in the rights of the accused, however, and in innocence until proven guilty. That no longer seems to be the case, at least in Hollywood. Once you’re accused, you’re guilty, it seems. The story is that Tambour left the show of his own free will, I know. If he hadn’t done so (if, indeed, that is the truth), is it a stretch to think that the show’s producers might have terminated him over the accusations? I don’t think so.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. Bottom line: Without Maura, there is no series. Even if she wasn’t my favorite part of it.

That’s not the entire reason that Season 4 will be my last season. This season, set mostly in Israel, no longer fully held my attention and seemed to be losing narrative steam. The individual motivations of the Pfefferman children, and of their mother and “moppa,” seemed to become weaker, more attenuated and too obviously artificially created in a writer’s room. The point has been made abundantly clear that all of the Pfeffermans have psychological problems. Now random hallucinations become an accepted event on the show, so that the dead or absent are never truly so. And, at the end of the season, nothing is truly resolved. There is no readily apparent story arc except the Pfeffermans go to Israel, spend some time with Maura’s long-thought-dead father touring the sites, and then they leave. That’s it. A fifth season would just be more of the same in a different location.

I’m not going to belabor my point here. I liked the first three seasons a lot, when everything was new and different. Now, goaded by a lackluster fourth season and the abrupt departure of the main actor on the show, I am also bailing on it.

My verdict: Watch Seasons 1 through 3; Skip Season 4 and anything that might follow.

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