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‘Transparent’ Showrunner Jill Soloway Teases Strong Season 2: ‘Taking the Bubble Wrap Off’

TCA 2015: Amazon show creator talks ”pitfalls“ of having so few transgender people in entertainment industry

“Transparent” showrunner Jill Soloway is happy to be part of the solution to a societal problem, and proud that “our culture has sort of caught up to Trans 101,” she told reporters Monday during Amazon’s TCA panel — but clearly there is still a long way to go.

“The pitfalls is that there are so few trans people in the industry,” Soloway said in the Beverly Hilton ballroom. “Trans people need to be telling their own stories, writing their own stories. Just like women want to write women’s stories and not have their stories told by men.”

She’s walking the walk there too. Soloway hired a trans writer for Season 2, and she believes the stories are better this time around as a result. Soloway noted that the new writer was particularly helpful in one scene that carried an arc in which Alexandra Billings’ character goes through a process of re-gendering old pictures via Photoshop.

The moment where Billings’ male-to-female transgender character sees actual old photos of herself as a little girl instead of a boy brought “a sense of great peace” to her personally, she told reporters.

“Every time I looked in the mirror, that’s what I saw,” Billings said of her youth.

As has become the custom for hit series, the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour panel was mostly hush-hish on upcoming plot details. Still, Soloway teased a strong Season 2 for Amazon’s critical darling “Transparent,” telling TV critics on Monday: “We’re taking the gloves off, taking the bubble wrap off.”

She offered little beyond that, but said Bradley Whitford’s character will again exist in flashbacks, adding with “no high heels involved.” This time around, those old memories go back “much further” than cross-dressing camp, Soloway said, to Maura’s (Tambor) family story and their immigration to the United States. Soloway also offered that generally speaking, her show does less educating this year.

Tambor himself offered that Maura is not as key to Season 2 as she was Season 1. “Maura is not the central figure, but the gateway figure,” he said, serving as the inspiration for other character’s stories. Other little nuggets of Maura’s Season 2: the character grows her real hair out, replacing a wig, and possibly gets her ears pierced, which made Tambor’s perk up on Monday.

In terms of supporting cast, Amy Landecker said that in the next episode dump, her Sarah suffers some consequences that she wasn’t aware of last season. Meanwhile, Jay Duplass’s Josh goes to a dark place this season, the actor said, calling his character “a whipping boy” with “a long way to go.”

Season 2 of “Transparent” premieres Dec. 4 on Amazon.

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