To judge by the critical enthusiasm with which the second season of Amazon Prime's Transparent (2014–) series has been embraced, Jill Soloway not only has a big trans-affirmative hit on her hands but has succeeded in stimulating a lively conversation about queerness, trans politics, and television representation within the broader society. If the first season of that imaginative lifeworld stressed Maura's transgender emergence through the manipulation of the gaze, the second season expands into queer territory in several ways. Real life, or life seemingly offscreen, has always bled into American television, whether through location shooting, topical references, stars' relationships, or just the indexical details of sound and image. Like cinema, that is, television has always been a documentary of what it records, even in the most minimal sense. What's new is that overtly queer people now make television, and they are seeking to blend details of their queer lifeworlds with the sounds and images of television and the cultural industries elaborated here. Understanding the nature of this blend helps to more accurately pinpoint the conceptions of religion, gender, and sexuality that Soloway brings to Transparent and wants to explore through its textures and detail.
Jewish, Queer-ish, Trans, and Completely Revolutionary: Jill Soloway's Transparent and the New Television
Amy Villarejo is Professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University and a member of the Film Quarterly Editorial Board. Her most recent book is Ethereal Queer (Duke University Press, 2014). She is currently completing another monograph for Duke University Press titled Lesbian Rule: Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire.
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Amy Villarejo; Jewish, Queer-ish, Trans, and Completely Revolutionary: Jill Soloway's Transparent and the New Television. Film Quarterly 1 June 2016; 69 (4): 10–22. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.69.4.10
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