All great comedies must have a disastrous wedding, which may then proceed to end up with a happy ending. But this is a comedy drama, part funny, part melancholy, this has no obligation to end happily.
A few months back, I started a 30 day free trial on Amazon to watch the then raved about ‘Transparent’, and with such a short running time and only 10 episodes, I polished it off pretty quickly.
Since then, there’s been many wonderful TV shows that have gone by and instantly into my favourites of the year, but without a refresher of what I loved so much about the show back in March, can it recapture the magic of what I enjoyed back then?
As it turns out, yes. With only 30 minutes, it’s not as easy to get back into the groove of the show, yet within a few minutes you remember the characters, you remember the situations they find themselves in, and then it clicks
The opening episode of Season 2 reaffirms the shows biggest positive, it focuses on the lives of the Pfefferman clan as they love and hate in equal measure, their hideous issues overshadow even the smallest of gestures. Though the show began as the story of Maura Pfefferman, and how her gender transition affected the lives of her family, it slowly evolved over the course of 10 episodes, to be a wider story of the entire family, and all their dysfunctions.
What makes the show ultimately so satisfying is the constant yoyoing of your liking or disliking of the characters. One episode you may root for them, and think they’re becoming better people, but the next you can’t stand them. It’s the knack of doing this that makes the show so engaging, and relatable. These people are just like a real family, they love each other, but they argue more.
That’s why Sarah and Tammys wedding ends without a happy ending. Sarah has a panic attack and tells Tammy she doesn’t want to be married anymore. Josh and Raquel have an argument about the revelation of their new baby to the whole wedding, and Maura struggles with her horrible Trans-phobic sister Bryna.
This isn’t a family you will always love, but it is a family you will want to continue watching, even if they tear each other apart.
Sarah realising her distaste for Tammy, that the relationship was a wild mistake, is a great scene, injected with nice humour as her siblings gather around her in the bathroom, and Maura’s confrontation with her sister is played bitterly, as Bryna forbids Maura from going to see their ailing mother.
At the end, we get a lovely tracking shot across the balconies of the hotel and the family struggling inside each room. Josh and Raquel argue, Sarah tells Tammy the state of their relationship, Shelly comforts Maura and Gabby, perpetually struggling with her own identity, stares out from the room.
It’s a poignant and melancholy ending, telling us that just because it’s funny, it doesn’t make it a comedy, so don’t expect to have a happy ending.
With just a small part of the series done, it’s down to the next episode to point us in the direction of where the series is going to go, though Maura’s mother feels like an arrow and a story pointing into the future.
I look forward to seeing where season 2 will take us.
Rating: B+ 8/10