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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Amazon's smash hit

Amazon’s not just for buying 10-pound bags of diarrheal gummy bears anymore.

Its new show “Transparent,” starring Jeffrey Tambor of “Arrested Development” as Maura, a male-to-female transgender woman, proves that it’s finally a top contender in the realm of video ?streaming services. 

After a bout of unsuccessful original programming, including last year’s “Alphas,” “Beta House” and early 2014’s “Tumble Leaf,” not to mention an extensive list of undeveloped pilots, Amazon was doomed to never breach the wall that protected Netflix and Hulu Plus from lowly open access video uploading sites like YouTube and Vine.

It’s high time for the transgender community, as well as the GLBT community as a whole, to be on television. “Orange is the New Black” proved that a transgender person could exist on television without ruining the “family values” that this great nation allegedly stands for.

“Transparent” shows that family and transgenderism are not mutually exclusive.

It doesn’t get preachy. It never approaches that fine line between public service announcement and drama that screams Disney ?after-school special.

Instead, its narrative is situated in slick realism that gives one the impression this could indeed be one’s own family but never in a way that’s oversimplified, like the way, for example, “Modern Family” handles gay relationships.

The show follows Maura’s journey closely but highlights her incredibly selfish and narcissistic children just enough so it doesn’t turn into some dramatic coming-out tale, something that’s been all too common among GLBT-centric narratives in the past.

Considering the show follows Maura’s coming out as transgender, this must have proved very difficult for creator Jill Solloway.

But it paid off, as “Transparent” is a critical and ?audience success.

I think this speaks to a sort of almost-revolution in television: the desire for non-ordinary narrative.

By this I mean that audiences are getting tired of seeing the same white people on television leading the same white lives with the same white stories.

Audiences are realizing that the ordinary isn’t all that ordinary. We’re all different and we want our television to reflect that.

But this complexity shouldn’t be obligatory.

TV writers can’t just throw in a trans or a gay character just as an attempt to generalize. They have to have stories, too.

“Ordinary” characters and families have had stories on television since television was invented. It’s time for something ?extraordinary.

“Transparent” is just that. It’s unequivocally ?human.

It taps into the unordinary, the strange, the troubled — the things our society hinges upon.

It gives a, dare I say it, transparent look into the lives of characters who can be mistaken as people.

It bridges the gap between reality and television in ways that reality television has never been able to do.

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