Monday, October 30, 2017

What I’m Watching: Transparent

Transparent: Season 4, Episode 6 “I Never Promised You a Promised Land” (B+)

This family has trouble getting along when it’s just the American branch in California, and when they’re in Israel with cousins and siblings they didn’t even know existed, it’s a wonder that everyone made it through unscathed. The bus ride was particularly compelling to watch, as the security guard challenged Ali’s use of what he claimed to be a made-up word – Palestinians – as she argued that one oppression didn’t justify another, Josh suggested they destroy all the buildings and start from scratch, and Sarah just wanted to have a dance party. Speaking of Sarah, she and Len had quite the Skype sex session with Lila, prompting Len to hilariously decry that wi-fi in Israel sucks. He also made the latest Israel-U.S. comparison by identifying their Jerusalem experience as like visiting Venice Beach, while Sarah compared the Western Well to an Orthodox Jewish Disneyland. Ali’s experience at the Western Wall was particularly fascinating, since she didn’t like the gender inequality she saw there, and her decision to put on a yarmulke and head over to the men’s side seemed to give her enormous fulfillment. No one noticed or said anything, and I think that the dual function of being able to defy norms and to feel what it’s like to live in a different skin of sorts made it a very valuable experience. As the family continues their Moshe-organized tour, including a sleepover at the Bedouin tents, Ali and everyone else are sure to have many more complicated feelings towards what it is that they’re seeing and experiencing.

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