everything you need to know about the new season of 'transparent'
The Pfeffermans are back – emotional baggage and all.
This article was originally published by i-D UK.
This week the Pfeffermans are back for a fourth season of Transparent, the show's return like a warm hug from your old friend during hard times. Basically, we need the Pfeffermans — saddled with their insecurities, intimacy issues, sexual curiosity — and frankly, we need them now.
The new season of Jill Soloway's Emmy winner — which began filming roughly one month after Trump's inauguration — is set to be the most political yet. "It is a revolutionary act for a trans person to simply leave the house and walk down the street," the show's creators told People in the wake of Trump's trans military ban. And so Transparent's celebration of otherness couldn't be more urgent. in celebration of Transparent's return today, here are some things you need to know about the show.
The Pfeffermans are going to Israel.
In the trailer for the new season, Maura announces, "I'm going to Israel." Where one Pfefferman goes, the rest follows, and what you see is a strange kind of family holiday/pilgrimage. "It's like an Orthodox Jewish Disneyland," says Sarah. They ride camels, they talk multiple mothers, and they do what they do the best: heaps of soul-searching. "I'm here," Maura declares, as if she'd finally discovered a missing part of herself. But for anyone who appreciates the LA-ness of this uniquely LA show, fret not. You'll get your fill.
The new season — filmed before Trump's trans military ban — is "more urgent than ever".
"It isn't named but it is felt," says Gaby Hoffmann, referring to how the Trump presidency looms over Season four. "We have a president calling for a ban on trans people in the military," Jill Soloway adds, "it feels more urgent than ever to keep making art, and not only for ourselves but also to empower women, people of color, queer people, all people who get otherized by this administration and this patriarchal white way of centering whiteness and centering patriarchy." When Trump announced the ban, the show's creators told People: "We are outraged … It is reprehensible to deny an estimated 15,000 current trans service members, and 134,000 trans veterans, the dignity, respect, and safety that they deserve."
There will be more queer and trans history.
In the first three seasons, flashbacks to 1930s Berlin alluded to the underexplored trans history that shapes the characters and the wider trans community. The past talks to the present, the present to the past. That's something Soloway intends to develop in Season 4. "We tap into the incredible history of survival the trans community has achieved against all odds," she says, "knowing that our fight is noble and on the side of justice and human rights." Refereeing specifically to the Berlin flashbacks, to the city's gay subculture destroyed by the Nazis, she explains, "telling that story, about how hatred of trans people is used to incite particular nationalistic ideals and to be confronting that in our world right now with the trans ban, it feels less like we're doing something intentionally and more like we're the recipients of this legacy of amazing information that can really help us thrive as a society."
You'll learn more about Maura's sexual preferences.
The trailer shows Ali discovering for the first time something we already knew: that Maura is now attracted to men. "I'm dating," Maura tells Ali. "That's cool. What's her name?" A pause. Then Maura answers: "Donald." Whether Maura is solely interested in men now, we still don't know, but you can expect further family members' jaws to drop like Ali's, when they discover the fact. Josh, who's arguably struggled most to come to terms with Maura's transition, will be the last to find out, as always.
Liberation is a key theme of the season.
Obviously, liberation has always been a key theme of the show. But every single character is now experiencing it in some form. "I think [the theme of liberation] kind of sets the thesis for what everybody's path is in the Pfefferman family this season," says Kathryn Hahn. First, there's Ali. "Ali's relationship with Lesley is part of this larger exploration of Ali," Gaby Hoffmann explains. "Through her academic interests she's sort of finding herself stumbling into a more spiritually curious place." And Sarah? "Most of the cast and writers and crew were going through a very intense process this year," says Amy Landecker, "and I was like, Me and Rob are getting stoned and having sex all year."
Josh pursues a relationship with a trans woman
Speaking of liberation, Josh, still dealing with Maura's transition and the death of Rita, explores his own sexual awakening. "Josh pursues a relationship with a trans woman," Jay Duplass explains. "And she's not a prostitute, she's not fetishized, it's kind of a first-time experience." There's also the shadow of Rita, the babysitter that molested him. "Josh has a continuing relationship with the woman who is now deceased … [he] continues to have a relationship with this woman who he does not have closure with."
Rabbi Raquel and Josh's on-off thing will continue
Josh and Rabbi Raquel had some of the most explosive and sensitive scenes in the last season. They're no longer a couple. But there were always hints that the flame hadn't totally burnt out. "I can't quit the Pfefferman," Hahn says. "I feel like there is always unfinished business with this person." Then Landecker chimes in, "We can't quit Rabbi Raquel either," hinting at the chemistry between the two women. Siblings, rekindled relationships, fresh relationships — things could get messy here. And they will, knowing the Pfeffermans.