The team behind the hit Amazon series "Transparent" isn't just thrilled about the show's Golden Globe nominations for best comedy series and Jeffrey Tambor for best actor in a comedy series, it's out in space. Or at least in a building that looks like a spaceship, an apt metaphor for how creator Jill Soloway feels after all the recognition her show has gotten. Yvonne Villarreal spoke with Soloway and Tambor by phone.
I feel like Maura deserves a new dress or a piece of jewelry in celebration.
Jeffrey Tambor: We are very pleased. We are the proverbial little engine that could. So this is a wonderful day of being acknowledged. I'm so happy for the best show category. I love this cast. I love the Pfefferman family and beyond. I'm very pleased.
Jill Soloway: I'm hushing the writers room right now. We're working on season 2 and screaming our heads off. Last Thursday we had a weekend of writing and creating in Santa Barbara El Capitan [Canyon], and that was the morning that the WGA awards got announced. And as we get together to write this morning, now we have this big morning empower us — we just feel like we're on a spaceship. If you ask me how I feel, I feel like I'm flying on a spaceship.
As you head into season 2, do you feel like all eyes are on you to see if you can keep the momentum going?
JS: Actually, I like to think about a moment when I was first working on "Six Feet Under." I turned in my very first ever script and Alan Ball emails me and says, "... amazing job." In that moment I became a 100% better writer 'cause I had that much less self-judgment and that much more belief in myself. And so when we made the pilot and people liked it, we got better. And when we made the series and people liked it, it allowed us that much more confidence for going for what we love and making ourselves laugh and writing the material that is inspired. It gives us power underneath this whole spaceship. I wish you could see me right now! I am sitting in a spaceship.
JS: We're writing from a geodesic dome in Eagle Rock. It does look like I'm in a spaceship. I'm going to send you a picture.
How was it to see how wholeheartedly this show was received by critics?
JT: I'm having this experience on a very personal level. People are coming up to me and saying, "Thank you." It just happened in a restaurant last night. People come up and are just like, "Thank you." And they are very heartfelt. It's different. It's different than "Hey, now!" It seems to me that it happens in three levels. First, people say, "Oh, I must tell you, thank you. I didn't know what to expect." And typically I get that comment which I think is code for "I'm not quite comfortable with this subject matter yet." The second comment is usually "I liked it. I really, really liked it! I watched them all in one weekend!" Third is some personal story about their life or something akin to Maura's journey or something about some secret that has been revealed in their own family. So what Jill has created is really going in. It's really going in on a personal level. Those are the reviews that are really singing out to me.
JS: One of the first things that is so exciting about this is the way it's changing the world for trans people. I'm so excited that we have the support and the love of the trans community. And that we have so many people from the trans community involved in this show. But the conversations I have that really blow me away — I had a couple of people tell me last week that they went home for Thanksgiving and their parents now have a different attitude about their sons or daughters trans friends or the LGBT friends. In falling in love with Maura, they are brought to love and understanding and tolerance from a place of comedy, from a place of great drama, from a place of zeitgeist. You have to watch the show to be in on the conversation. Then once you do watch, you're laughing and crying and the byproduct of that is now you know Maura and a little bit more about the trans community.
JT: There's a big plus by the acknowledgement of the HFPA. It's that a story like Maura's is being celebrated and being acknowledged. It's very comforting, just in the world, to find out you’re not alone. There are people like you. And there are people who have traveled your journey. And have laughed as you have lauhged and cried as you have cried. I think that’s why today is also very important.
Speaking to how this show has helped in moving the conversation forward, I don't know if you saw, but ABC Family greenlit a reality series that follows a teenager whose parents are getting a divorce — and whose father is becoming a woman.
JS: I heard about it this morning. I think it's called "My Transparent Life." It's amazing. It's exciting. It's a great moment.
JT: This is a big moment. There is a big moment that is happening.
What can you tell us about where Maura is headed in season 2?
JS: I'm so excited we have a transwoman writer for the first time. Her name is Our Lady J. Season 1 we were really, in some ways, protecting Maura, because we were introducng her to the world and the conceit of the show was that Maura was the root-able, least-messed-up person and the kids were messed up. But I think now that we have a lot of love from the world, as well as a trans-feminine perspective in the writers room, we really get to send Maura on a real journey of her own that we are so incredibly excited about. It means looking for love, falling in love, it means defining herself as a woman. Maybe having sex or finding a job. She can really just now take off and fly and have her own real story. So we are super excited about that.
What would it be like if the Pfeffermans gather around that Golden Globe table?
JT: I know there would be barbecue, that I know.
JS: We've already been bantering in a private email chain. Amy Landecker referred to her own breast as the Golden Globes. Then Gaby Hoffman, who is nursing, sent a photograph of her nursing breasts and said, "How about these Golden Globes?" so I already know how the Pfeffermans would be at that table.
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