A Few Thoughts about TRANSPARENT

Hey, we understand that Amazon’s TRANSPARENT is a big deal show. Critics love it. It makes us feel. But when all is said, is TRANSPARENT really a sitcom? Is it – wait for it – funny?

transparent headerby Ken Levine

Emmy voting has begun.

TRANSPARENT is a wonderful show. It is filled with rich characters, novel situations, tremendous heart, superb performances, inspired writing, and it courageously tackles a delicate subject with compassion and conviction. It’s far and away the best new show of the current season.

But I’m not voting for it.


Because it was submitted as a “Best Comedy” candidate.

I’m sorry, but TRANSPARENT is not a comedy. There are humorous touches, but it is a deeply affecting drama. It’s like a rightfielder winning the Cy Young Award for Best Pitcher because he’s got a good arm and throws accurately from rightfield. He’s not PITCHING. Or a girl from Italy comes to the U.S. on a work visa and wins Miss America.

If TRANSPARENT was vying for “Best Drama” I would vote for it in a second. I would cheerfully vote for it over MAD MEN. And sorry Jon Hamm, but I would vote for Jeffrey Tambor. I’d also vote for Amy Landecker, but not if I have to judge on the basis of comic chops.

Just because TRANSPARENT is a half-hour doesn’t make it a comedy.

The objective of a comedy should be to make people LAUGH. And yet, that goal is viewed as being almost unimportant. Comedy again gets no respect. It’s lightweight, frivolous. Anybody can do comedy. So to gain respect, comedies must now be dramas disguised as comedies.

Here’s the dirty little secret: Anybody CAN’T do comedy. Writing comedy is HARD….

Read it all at Ken Levine’s blog