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David T. Cole

Enlightened

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Nitpicking but didn't we see Amy's mother smile while reading the expose story and Amy's role in it? I think their relationship sort of ended on a positive note.

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I wish there was enough buzz for this show to be picked up by Netflix or one of the other similar services. I still have a couple of episodes on my DVR and  can't bear to delete them.

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The series should have been given another season because I think, like myself, many people just never saw it when it was on television. I didn't know it existed until I watched both seasons on Amazon Prime recently.

I would have liked to see where Amy's relationship with her mother would explore. And I really would have liked to see what Mike White had in mind by introducing Amy's sister on the show and how that would have fleshed out.

I don't think season 2 ended with the possibility of Amy and Levi getting back together, I think their relationship would likely have remained the same. Part of me really wanted to see the two of them get back together, but when there was evidence at the end that Levi went back to drinking I realized that it would be a longer haul for him, like so many alcoholics and drug addicts who often need several attempts to get sober and clean. Still, it would have made a cool storyline to see him get sober and possibly get drawn into a healthy relationship with another woman and have there still be this pull toward Amy.

And they would have had to find a way for Abbadon to stay afloat so we could keep all the supporting cast members on and continue with more storylines -- a treasure trove of possibilities existed there.

Anyway, so bummed Enlightened was cancelled... :(

Edited by msblossom

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She was a beautiful mess. I liked her for the better for her cringe-worthy moments as much as for the beautiful ones. It made her character far more appealing with all her layers of cringe.

Edited by msblossom
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True -- Abbadon would have featured prominently due to the lawsuit. I would have liked for MW to find a way to incorporate some of the basement geeks into season 3. Tyler and Dougie would have to stay on as they were co-conspirators in bringing Abbadon down.

I thought the entire supporting cast was phenomenal; even the actors who were featured minimally were fantastic!

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This show is like no other.  It is one of a kind and to hear White tell it came from a horrible time in his life.  I mean this is groundbreaking stuff, I think it's horrible that it was cancelled.

 

If you watch no other episode watch "The Weekend"  episode 4, season 1.  It is a true work of art.

Edited by CheersEnthusiast
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I agree with msblossom the "cringe" is a vital part of the character and she wouldn't be nearly as interesting without it.  What makes her interesting is that the character does something we think is incredibly embarassing/crazy and just keeps pushing on, often without giving it a second thought.  That's Moxy.  

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Hello All!

 

Meet your new lead moderator for the Enlightened forum. 

 

I have never seen this show, but have always wanted to because I love anything that Laura Dern has done.  I don't have HBO and I don't have control over my cable, so I have to wait until this stuff comes out on Amazon Prime to watch it.

 

I saw a rewatch being talked about in the Previously TV Rewatch Projects and I said, hey, perfect!  I wanna be a part of this. 

 

So those that are interested, let's start talking about it here, how you want to set it up, how often, if you just want to do with season threads, or would you rather it be an every episode thread?  I will do whatever!

 

Looking forward to this!

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I'm in!  How often - not more than one episode a day. Seasons or thread - I did not know there was more than one season, but I do prefer a single thread to talk about a show. 

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One a day wont work for me :(

 

How about 2 or 3 a week?  Would that work?

 

Wikipedia says 2 seasons, 10 episodes the first season, 8 the second.

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I think there should be a thread per episode, but that the pace should be maybe three per week for those who can't binge watch the way the others can. It's an easy show to get through, and it always left me wanting more. A truly great series, and a wonderful showcase for Laura Dern, Mike White, Luke Wilson and Diane Ladd's talents. 

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Since there is only 18 episodes, a per episode thread is great and doable.  So all that is left would be starting when?  We can start today and make it a Wednesday to Wednesday thing?  3 episodes a week is good!  I can carve out 3 hours.  I will create the threads and stick all three to the top for each week we are doing this.

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A corporate employee starts a new life after suffering an on-the-job meltdown and receiving therapy at a holistic treatment center.

 

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Disgusted with her new surroundings at Abaddonn, Amy gets excited about the prospect of making a difference with a job at a homeless shelter, but an unexpected bill from her hiatus at the treatment center makes her think again.

 

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 She was a beautiful mess.

Perfect description. I loved her even when I was peeking between my fingers and saying "NOOOOO" at the TV. She's bumbling through life just like the rest of us. GOD KNOWS I'd hate to have some of my 20s transcribed. I still have memories that make me wince.

Love her or hate her she's a complex character and she surprised me in a lot of ways. Yay for this rewatch!

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^ Agreed!!! His writing on this show cut down to the bone. It was powerful and so real. I loved it. And his Tyler portrayal was amazing. Just his body language, it was like he was full body flinching through the first episodes of season one. Watching him grow as a character was fantastic.

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Sorry, I didn't mean I wanted to do one a day, just that I could maybe do one a day tops and no more than that.  Three a week is great. 

 

Got it!  No worries!  I am getting excited.  I have been wanting to watch this for awhile.

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I loved Amy right from the start in this episode. She kind of reminds me of my Ciocia (Aunt) Stef, who is one of those do-gooders, yet is unknowingly selfish at times, and can be very cringeworthy. She sounds just like her, and I love her to death. She's one of those "give you the shirt off of her back" kind of people. I loved so much when she went back to Abbadon, they told her they didn't have the position for her anymore, and she laid down the law that she had contacted a lawyer and that it would be illegal to fire her because of her "preexisting condition." That was a bit of a fist-bump moment for me. And her time in Hawaii really did her some favors, because Laura Dern has never looked more beautiful, and I've been a fan of hers from back in her David Lynch movie days. Can't wait to discuss this series with all of you guys!

Edited by Mindy McIndy
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So we finally meet Tyler, Dougie and the rest of the Island of Misfit Toys down in Cogentiva. Tyler has such a sadness in him from the very beginning. As much as I love Amy, he really is my favorite character on the show. Mike White writes and plays him absolutely beautifully. It still amazes me that this is the same guy from "Chuck and Buck." And even with all of the misfits down in Cogentiva, Amy still does not fit in, and instead just sort of latches onto Tyler. I can totally understand why Amy was pissed at Krista. It wasn't just that she trained her and taught her everything she knew, and that Krista now has her job and office, but that she's playing the cliquish office games and lying to Amy about something as stupid as lunch and treating her like a pariah. Yes, Amy can be exhausting, but you sure as hell liked and put up with her when she as helping you go places.

 

I really appreciated that this show was doing something different than the typical "woman leading a secret life" or "woman on the edge" series that Showtime is so fond of. Amy is neither a hero nor anti-hero. She's just an idealist woman with a dose of narcissism that is trying to get her life back on track. I appreciate that.

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I felt for Amy in this one. The homeless shelter would have been perfect, but it just wan't enough pay for her when she is so deeply in debt. (And hello, Scott Wilson! Nice to see you with your head back on.) I loved all of Tyler's excuses for her to get out for the interview. Tell him your old babysitter died and you have to go to the funeral. Tell him your cat has been having seizures and that you have to go put it down. Oh, Tyler, how I love you. I love the fighting that Connie and Omar were having over the flu. This show gets by so well and such little funny moments. I can't wait until the heavy stuff starts to take hold.

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I love Mike White so much, and love everything I've seen him in. Do you know what kind of personal troubles he was having while writing this series? It would probably explain the melancholia of his character.

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Ok, first of all, did not know that this show was only a half hour!  Most everything else HBO does is like an hour long!  Second, I don't know where I have been over the last however many decades, but Dianne Ladd is Laura Derns MOM???  I see it now! 

 

One of my very favorite cameos was Laura Dern doing The West Wing as the Poet Laureate.  She plays carefree hippy so on spot it's not even funny.  She reminded me a lot of that character with this pilot.

 

Gosh, I don't want to go into how I can relate to going away to rehab and coming back and wanting to change the world, no, not me.  But people very close to me.  I have been on both sides of that whole thing.  I felt her attempt at reacquaintance to real life in my most inner soul.  It's so easy to be everything you should when the outside influence is paradise, but when brought back into the real world, when that paradise isn't surrounding you anymore, OMG, life can be complicated. 

 

Only my first episode, but I am intrigued enough to watch another!

 

Oh yeah, and swoon Luke Wilson. 

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I love Mike White so much, and love everything I've seen him in. Do you know what kind of personal troubles he was having while writing this series? It would probably explain the melancholia of his character.

 

In a March 4, 2013, interview, Mike White told NPR:

"The original pitch to HBO was that it would get to that whistle-blower place in the first season," White tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "but as I started writing there were kind of nooks and crannies of [Amy's] life I wanted to explore, and I got more interested in the digressions than the overall meta-plot ... and so it became a season two arc instead of season one."

 

In writing the whistle-blowing plot line, White drew in part from personal experience. His father, who once wrote speeches for right-wing religious figures like Jerry Falwell, became a whistle-blower himself when he came out as gay.

Edited by editorgrrl
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In January 2013, Laura Dern told Salon:

I think when we first started talking about it, we imagined three seasons, to be honest, all having a very different moral compass and theme, it kind of being a trilogy of falling apart and then getting it back together, and then when you get it together and you are seemingly lauded for it, how well do you handle that? Which would be the next season.

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That's fascinating. I always knew about his dad, his dad's coming out and becoming a bastion of the Christian Gay Rights movement. It takes a lot of guts to live a life that's the polar opposite from what you were doing. Even as an atheist, he is a hero to me.

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I loved so much when she went back to Abbadon, they told her they didn't have the position for her anymore, and she laid down the law that she had contacted a lawyer and that it would be illegal to fire her because of her "preexisting condition."

That was what sold me on watching this show. In a million years it would not have occurred to me to do what she did. I would have just slunk away and hoped I never saw these people again.

 

 

I felt her attempt at reacquaintance to real life in my most inner soul.  It's so easy to be everything you should when the outside influence is paradise, but when brought back into the real world, when that paradise isn't surrounding you anymore, OMG, life can be complicated.

I could relate too because I have started over from scratch several times in my life - the kind of start-over where you begin by digging yourself out of the rubble. I didn't have the tropical paradise interlude part of it, but maybe that was just as well - I'm the kind of person who's more motivated by a kick in the ass than a sea turtle.

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Any show that highlights Jim Rockford gets an automatic thumbs up from me.

 

The very last scene, where Amy was imagining being on the beach with all her friends, when they landed on Luke Wilson (still not familiar with all the names, Levi?), that is when I remembered how much I adore him.  I don't think I have really watched him in something that I didn't like.  I know this guy has some issues, but shoot, don't we all?  I hope I am supposed to like him as time goes on cause I would really hate to break that streak.

 

Geesh, I so know the inner turmoil of trying to do the right thing and getting pissed off that no one else cares.  Reading self help books, trying to make yourself a better person, and yet the world is not cooperating.  Wherever you go, there you are.  It was so me throwing the book into the trash.  I would eventually go get it, but it's a symbol of rebellion, I totally related to that.

 

So far, I like Tyler.  I don't really know Mike White, so this is a new experience for me.  He played the part well. 

 

And for the record, I would have smacked the boss of the misfits.  ::giggle::

 

Not sure I like Krista much.  Time will tell.

 

So far, two episodes down and I am interested still!

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The very last scene, where Amy was imagining being on the beach with all her friends, when they landed on Luke Wilson (still not familiar with all the names, Levi?), that is when I remembered how much I adore him.  I don't think I have really watched him in something that I didn't like.  I know this guy has some issues, but shoot, don't we all?  I hope I am supposed to like him as time goes on cause I would really hate to break that streak.

 

His brother Owen has some issues, but Luke Wilson seems like an okay guy. Back in October 2011, when Enlightened premiered, Luke had this to say about why he took the role of Levi:

"I was a big fan of Mike's from Chuck and Buck. That really blew me away," said Wilson. "And then, the idea that somebody who could do that, could also do School of Rock. It just made me wonder—which has never really happened—‘Who is this guy?’" For Wilson, the role of Levi also offers a distinct career departure, "You can get pigeonholed in Hollywood and people think of you in a certain way. I spent so many years with people saying, `Hey, you're like America's boyfriend!' I feel like Mike and Laura gave me a really good chance to play a cool part."
Edited by editorgrrl
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Geesh, I so know the inner turmoil of trying to do the right thing and getting pissed off that no one else cares.  Reading self help books, trying to make yourself a better person, and yet the world is not cooperating.  Wherever you go, there you are.  It was so me throwing the book into the trash.  I would eventually go get it, but it's a symbol of rebellion, I totally related to that.

This will sound a little nutty (because it is) but, at some point in this episode, it struck me that Amy is like the living personification of tumblr if it could walk around in the world amongst sites like 4chan. (It is entirely possible that I spend way too much time online.) She can't believe that anyone could look at the oily pelican and not want to change the world, and I get that. But I also get the world-weary boss who asked her to stop giving her this stuff. In the real world you are not going to get a corporation all excited about lowering their profit margin to save a bird. That's not how things work. You will have to find other ways of doing good - there's no shortcut where you just tell the offenders to cut it out, and they do.

And as an aside, in all the time I've spent in employee bathrooms I have never once heard anything interesting while I was peeing, and I have never once been caught saying anything insulting while someone else was peeing. Am I unusual or is this just a trope?

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She can't believe that anyone could look at the oily pelican and not want to change the world, and I get that. But I also get the world-weary boss who asked her to stop giving her this stuff.

So agree and your analogy works for me!! Maybe I spend too much time online too! The tumblr comparison especially. You know there are good people outraged by unfair/horrible things but they just "reblog" and expect it will get better. It's the slog in the trenches that changes things not the photo op with the oily bird. 

 

I have also never heard things in an employee bathroom but I have overheard stuff in a restaurant bathroom that caused a big friend rift. So yes it's a trope but it's probably happened. :)

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It's good to know that if it's a trope there's some basis for it! I don't mind exaggerations of life, but I get annoyed when it's nothing that would ever really happen to people. Like asking "speak now or forever hold your peace" at a wedding. Nobody does that. (But apparently people really are stupid enough to say things in a space where you can't see everyone who's in hearing range.)

Edited by random chance
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I like that she has lousy social filters because that means that she's sincere when she says she wants to do good. She would be much less interesting if she were just a phony "look at me being a good person" kind of poser. I cringe a lot watching her babble on without the slightest idea that she's being insulting, but then she'll do something completely astonishing like

actually hug the filthy homeless person (which I would not do, I freely admit) or invite Tyler to lunch,

and she wins me over again.

It's always been odd to me how much we value lying as a society. I'm not saying it's a bad thing - a world where everyone was honest at all times would probably end in a nuclear ball of fire - but it's still weird that we can value truth and lies at the same time, and almost equally.

Edited by random chance
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Afraid of falling into a rut on her first weekend home after treatment, Amy convinces Levi to revisit one of their favorite spots for a kayaking trip in a remote canyon, but she's disappointed to learn that he can't leave his old lifestyle behind.

 

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A news story about a Mexican-born mother's deportation stirs Amy to rally behind the family, but she has trouble finding similar motivation for human-rights causes among her coworkers or at Krista's baby shower.

 

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Amy is delighted to get a visit from Sandy (Robin Wright), whom she met at the Hawaiian retreat, but their friendship begins to deteriorate when Helen rolls up the welcome mat, and Amy has to turn to Levi for a lodging option. Their relationship is strained even more after Sandy misses a yoga session at Abaddonn.

 

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Ohh this one is a good good one for me. It really shows the divide between before and after for Amy. And how brittle she is at everyone not being on her train of goodness. It's where I really started looking at her behavior and seeing how wanting someone to be their best self is not MY JOB. And sometimes people are just fine being their shitty self and maybe that IS their best self. 

I have a mantra that I repeat a lot : Everyone is doing the best they can today, sometimes other people's best is just really shitty.

It goes along with my It's not all about me mantra. Two mantras that maybe Amy needs to adopt. 

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This is one of my favorite episodes of the series. It had moments of comedy, but was mostly sad and tragic. Amy's first weekend out was just so sad, and her dumping Levi's drugs into the river seemed to come from a place of passive-aggressive do-gooderness. Levi actually does need that stuff to function. He's an addict, as she well knows, and getting rid of his stash isn't going to make him less of one. It's only going to piss him off and ruin what was a nice time together. Going back to that awful motel so he could use, and then his coked out "wanna fuck?" was just heartbreaking. Amy and Levi still have a connection, they still love each other in some way, but this was just not good for them. Amy and Levi are both lost, but in completely different ways. 

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When Amy fixates on something, she really fixates on something. Yes, her concern for the undocumented immigrant and her two citizen children was understandable and noble, but the way that she went about trying to get the women's group started- including making a spectacle of herself at Krista's baby shower, was so cringeworthy and self-centered. Still, she made up for it a little bit when she arrived with the toys for those children, giving them a little bit of support and showing them that someone else out there cares about them. Her dinner with the HR woman was hilarious, thinking she would be interested in the women's group because she's a lesbian and OF COURSE lesbians care about women's issues more than anyone! (I'm a lesbian, and me and my wife do care greatly about women's issues, but I can't speak for the whole lot of us.)

 

Her mother continues to be cold. Denying Amy the car she barely seems to use when hers won't work, or not even offering to drive her to work, instead making her wait in the pouring rain at the bus stop, was pretty bitchy. She really doesn't seem to like Amy very much. I think she wants her the hell out of her house.

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I really couldn't stand Sandy. If you think Amy's a flake, Sandy was a million times worse, and way more intrusive. From the way Levi and Helen told it, she was asking way too many personal questions and details about their lives and wanting them to make huge changes, and she had just freaking met these people. No wonder Helen wanted her out of the house right away. Plus, with Amy thinking of her as her best friend, it's funny that we learned that Sandy had barely contacted her since they had left. She probably just called for the free lodging for her yoga convention. Plus, dropping out of Amy's little yoga demonstration at Cogentiva, which she had promised to do, at the very last second was a really bitch move. No Amy, this woman is not your friend.

 

I liked that Helen mentioned to Amy how she would get into these all consuming friendships that she would end up destroying, be miserable, then get involved in yet another one. It was a good piece of information about Amy, and it makes sense. No wonder she's still hung up on Krista and won't give up on Levi. And now she's even starting one with Tyler. There was a little room for growth here, as there was with the last episode, because Amy was able to realize that sometimes the people you think are your closest comrades really aren't. That's an important lesson for anyone to learn, and probably really hard for someone like Amy to. Especially post-Open Air Amy.

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Going back to that awful motel so he could use, and then his coked out "wanna fuck?" was just heartbreaking.

That actually made me cry. So sad. And can I say A number 1 acting from Luke Wilson. He's extremely underrated. 

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That actually made me cry. So sad. And can I say A number 1 acting from Luke Wilson. He's extremely underrated. 

It made me well up too when I first saw it. Levi is such a sad mess of a character, and Luke Wilson plays him brilliantly. I've been a fan of his ever since I saw him in "Bottle Rocket." Next week will have the episode "Consider Helen" as part of the three, and that will be another tearjerker, but for different reasons. And it has a wonderful Levi scene. 

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It's where I really started looking at her behavior and seeing how wanting someone to be their best self is not MY JOB.

I marveled that he just went along with everything - right up until she threw away his drugs anyway, that was where he drew the line. Maybe he was used to her being the fixer and he learned that it was easier to roll with it?

 

 

This is one of my favorite episodes of the series. It had moments of comedy, but was mostly sad and tragic. Amy's first weekend out was just so sad, and her dumping Levi's drugs into the river seemed to come from a place of passive-aggressive do-gooderness.

Yes, I thought so too - nobody with any sense would believe that would end in any other way than, he'd be pissed and seek out more drugs.

At the point in this episode where she was saying "we don't have to be our stories," I thought to myself hey, that's patently untrue, what's this show trying to pull? And then the about face with the drugs and hotel and I have to admit I was relieved that the show wasn't trying to teach me some goofy misguided New Age lesson about dealing with the past.

Edited by random chance
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I liked that Helen mentioned to Amy how she would get into these all consuming friendships that she would end up destroying, be miserable, then get involved in yet another one. It was a good piece of information about Amy, and it makes sense. No wonder she's still hung up on Krista and won't give up on Levi. And now she's even starting one with Tyler.

I wonder what the early days of Levi and Amy's relationship were like—and why the hell he can't quit her.

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