There’s a very little watched show on HBO called Enlightened, and not only is it the best new comedy of the season, but it’s turning out to be one of the best shows of the year. I’m already banking on its cancellation after this season, but HBO is known for supporting their shows. More specifically, higher ups at HBO have said they’ll try and support Enlightened as best as they could. That said, I can’t blame anyone for not tuning into a show that has a 50/50 shot of being cancelled at this point. But as soon as it gets that season two renewal, this show needs to be pressed upon and watched.
Enlightened is brilliant, and there has never been a more fitting title. Laura Dern plays Amy, who was fired from her job months previous, went a little crazy, and has spent an amount of time in some sort of rehab wellness facility. She’s back at her old place of work, only finds herself banished to the basement doing data processing, while all her old friends have basically given up on her and look down upon her.
I adore Amy so much. She’s one of the most endearing and realistic characters on television. She spends her days working in a sort of mindless job, but is always wishing there was something else for her. She applies for a position at a homeless shelter because she wants a job with meaning, but realizes she can’t live on the salary. She watches a woman on the news who is being deported because she’s an illegal immigrant, but has to leave her daughter and family behind. Naturally, Amy decides she wants to help out in some way and takes it upon herself to try and start a sort of outreach program at work. Needless to say, it doesn’t work out.
Amy reminds us of what we all could be when living a life we don’t necessarily want, and live in a world where we don’t always agree with the status quo. She’s uplifting, and we’re there with her every week.
Enlightened is so on point with the pulse of American culture right now. This show literally feels like it was plucked out of the heads of the working class and placed to screen. But it’s not preachy in any way, and is actually hilarious at times. It mixes her weekly enlightenments wonderfully with comedy. When she looks at the TV of the women being deported, she cant help but feel for her, and says something like, “But the mother is just a child too.” It’s heartbreaking, and super endearing. The show is a reflection, so I’m not surprised more people aren’t watching.
Amy is looked as the outcast. The people around her believe she’s angry. But the viewer knows her anger comes from somewhere else, and the real angry people are the ones who don’t seem to care. This woman refuses to be a zombie, but because of the world she lives in, she has to just succumb sometimes.
I can’t say enough good things about Enlightened. It’s one of those shows that works so well because of where we are as a culture. Most television shows are for strict entertainment, and that’s totally fine. Most people likely tune into cable programming to see something a bit more edgy. I highly doubt the same people who watched The Wire or The Sopranos are enjoying something like Enlightened. But every once and a while, a show captures a culture and a mind frame, and works as a time capsule for magnifying something so brilliantly and perfectly. This year, that show is Enlightened.