Four seasons in, “Transparent” feels more like itself than ever before.
The show about the search for identity has resisted all easy genre labels and found the flexibility to be free in its storytelling. Season 4, premiering Friday on Amazon, is both the busiest and most engrossing season of Jill Soloway’s show.
“Transparent” started as the story of Mort’s transition into Maura (Jeffrey Tambor). This season, her family’s journey includes a vacation to Israel, where the one constant is their bickering.
“I feel like we’re in Venice Beach,” says Josh (Jay Duplass) as they walk through a bazaar near the Western Wall. Sure enough, Season 4 has as much sex and emotional bombshells as they left behind in Southern California.
Shelly (Judith Light) is embracing her newfound liberation by trying out characters in Improv comedy classes, Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) is trying to feel comfortable in her own body, Josh is hallucinating his first love Rita, who killed herself last season, and Sarah (Amy Landecker) is carrying on an unhealthy three-way affair between her husband Len (Rob Heubel) and a young woman (Alia Shawkat) she meets at a sex-addict support group.
At times “Transparent” feels as lived-in as a Robert Altman movie. It’s conversational, intimate and thoughtful, but it’s also charming and funny. It even finds creative freedom in its visual style, especially in one dizzying sequence that takes us inside Ali’s headspace as she strains to tolerate her family.
“Transparent” feels comfortable in its own skin.
Season 4 premieres on Amazon this Friday.