At Saturday’s Outfest panel of Amazon’s upcoming series “Transparent” — about an elderly father who grapples with telling his adult children the decision to transition into a woman — creator Jill Soloway (“Afternoon Delight”) joined her cast on stage to discuss the revamped pilot they screened, with new actors and characters, from the one that was posted online earlier this year. Here are the major takeaways about the show, which has been officially picked up and is set to premiere binge-style with all ten episodes on Amazon Prime in late September.
1. Jeffrey Tambor is totally in character
Not only did the “Arrested Development” alum show up wearing nail polish to channel his character Mort who’s preparing to transition into Moira, he also spoke passionately about how much this character means to him. “This is important. This is transformative,” he said about his responsibility playing a transgender character. He also explained the nail polish, saying he always wants to carry two things about Moira with him at all times; the second thing was a ring on his pinky finger. He continued later in the panel, discussing how the show is really about people finding their authentic selves. Soloway also revealed she had Tambor in mind for the part from the beginning.
2. A lot of bisexuality will be addressed, too
“There is so much bisexuality on this show,” Jill Soloway said. “Forget the forgotten T. Where’s the forgotten B?” She added how her show, both in trans and bi characters, questions the binary.
3. They don’t care about likeability
In the vain of plenty of shows’ characters out there now, from “Girls”‘ Hannah to even “Looking”‘s Patrick, Jill Soloway emphasized that the desire to have entirely likeable characters is pointless because “likeable actually means, does it make a white cisgender male feel better?” This discussion also prompted a very pregnant Gaby Hoffmann to point out how certain unlikable characters don’t get any flak for being exactly that, from “Mad Men”‘s Don Draper to “Breaking Bad”‘s Walter White. “Don Draper is the coldest, most repressed fucking asshole who cheats on his wife and treats his kids like shit, and everyone’s fawning over him. So we’re a little whiny. We have pussies and are a little whiny. America, can you handle it?”
4. Amazon Studios is apparently just as great as Netflix
Soloway and her cast couldn’t say enough about what a refreshing and open-minded experience it has been for them to make the show, which of course drew comparisons to working in the stifled world of network (and even cable) TV. Basically, internet is the new television, which we are only hearing more and more.
5. Kathryn Hahn is in it(!)
When you think of Jill Soloway, the next name that pops into your head is probably Kathryn Hahn, especially post-“Afternoon Delight.” So it was a little shocking that among the show’s cast that she was nowhere to be seen — until now. A sizzle reel for upcoming episodes revealed at least a cameo from the actress, so we all can breathe easy.
6. The show is going to create some heated conversations
Remember all those think pieces that came out after “Looking”‘s premiere? You can expect the same to happen after “Transparent”‘s release. Although most audience members during the Q&A were praising the show’s representation of trans characters and bringing them further into mainstream culture (much like “Orange Is the New Black”‘s Laverne Cox), one dissenting audience member exclaimed the show as a misrepresentation of the community. But, as with any show that focuses on a minority group, there is no possible way to represent everyone’s singular experiences in one vision, one show. As Soloway put it, “This is the show that is “Transparent.” There will be other shows, more shows, representation and authenticity, more beginnings and openings.”