Laura Eppinger, Contributor
Jeffrey Tambor is officially not returning for season five of “Transparent” after allegations of harassment on set—and shame on him.
As faithful viewers, we know we need to let Tambor leave—bye, girl! And yet anxieties are high about what this will mean for plot, continuity and character dynamics on Season Five.
When you inevitably find yourself disappointed or disoriented by the ways Season Five must adapt to this change, refer to the list below to remind yourself it could be so much worse:
- The Mario Show. Even other characters find Shelly Pfefferman’s improv personality of hyper-masculine goombah “Mario” grating, but Judith Light is a national treasure! Let her solve problems with gruff charm and meatball subs as Mario for a full hour in each of the season’s 13 episodes.
- TurtleCam. Yes, Josh’s pet turtle Nacho was introduced as a metaphor for his lost innocence and the lingering secrets inside the Pfefferman family home. But now it’s time to strap a GoPro on that reptile and explore the wild! Nacho, so extreme!
- Shea comes back! Trace Lysette reprises her role as Shea. Shea looks great! She dates no Pfeffermans. We are happy for her. That’s the whole idea for one season.
- Syd is back! Carrie Brownstein returns as Syd. She dates no Pfeffermans. We are happy for her…for a whole season!
- That… thing! That thing where you had too many drinks but are too restless to sleep so you try to queue up “Modern Girl” to play on repeat on YouTube for a while. But YouTube auto-plays a bunch of other Sleater-Kinney songs and that is totally fine. And now it’s playing “Portlandia” clips and that is fine, too.
- Davina’s Pool Party. It’s a call-in show now, with Alexandra Billings dishing out advice on life and love as Davina. Or as Alexandra Billings. Cocktails recommended, and don’t forget the sunscreen. (THIS IS NOT A BAD IDEA ACTUALLY!)
- Tammy Flips Houses. Melora Hardin returns and takes the reins, as only Tammy can. Amazon sells the show to TLC, with 95% of each episode focused on the drama of Tammy’s kooky dating life. Sure, there’s a nod to her home redesign business here and there, but TLC viewers want meltdowns! Season 5 Episode 1 opens with Tammy explaining that the show was always heading in this direction, the houses she flips are “in transition,” the walls she knocks out become “transparent,” and everyone she has ever met has been jealous of her genius. (And somehow your TV or tablet ends up in the trash!)
- Ali’s Hair. 360-degree shots of Ali’s cool hair now. Whatever style it is, it always looks cool! Take a bunch of drugs and settle in for the night, just marveling at Ali’s cool hair and clothes and style and spirit, you know?
- Vicky on the Road. Anjelica Huston reprises her role as Vicky. Vicky lives at womyn’s music fests now. Every episode is a montage of Vicky enjoying sundresses, bare feet, freeflowing weed and womyn of a certain age. Her eyebrow arches are fierce and perfect and you are jealous.
- RABBI RAQUEL: Kathryn Hanh’s portrayal of the sincere and sympathetic Rabbi Raquel Fein has so far existed in contrast to the selfishness and dysfunction of the Pfefferman family. Let’s fulfill some fan wishes and give Rabbi Raquel a season where some, just, nice things happen for her. Like a “Truman Show” of endless spa days, I want to watch Raquel snuggle some kittens while writing her sermon, or getting praised for her leadership over a delicious cupcake banquet. No tension, no bad news, just 13 hours of Rabbi Raquel indulging and relaxing. No plot. Just a very snuggly blanket and a roaring fire.
See? THOSE would have been serious missteps. Unless Season Five really does deliver us “The Mario Show,” we will know “Transparent” has not scraped the bottom of the barrel.
Laura Eppinger is a Pushcart-nominated writer of fiction, poetry and essay. Her work has appeared at the Rumpus, the Toast, and elsewhere. She’s the blog editor at Newfound Journal. Visit her here: https://lauraeppinger.blog/