Enlightened: Season 1 thoughts
Well, we FINALLY finished watching Enlightened Season 1. I'm sorry we have LIVES. And other great blog posts. You can find our initial thoughts here and here. After the first season, what did we think? We're not even sure if we like it!
SD: So..I kept waiting for the show to get AMAZING. Not that it wasn't bad- I just didn't understand the accolades critics were throwing at it. This is probably the first time the AV Club hype has failed me. I found the tone of the show restless and jarring, which was probably on purpose but still annoying. The best example of this is the ninth episode, "Consider Helen". While the episode, which is focused on Amy's mother Helen for one day, gives us wonderful context about their relationship, it was incohesive. The show works best when it forces Amy to confront large monolithic obstacles, and then chronicles her reactions to those barriers.
Also, this is something I've mentioned before, but the similarities between Amy Jellicoe and Hannah Horvath (from Girls) struck me again as I finished season 1. Both characters have this incredible lack of self-perception and seem completely unaware of how they come off to the people around them. In Amy's case, it's her ex-secretary/new "friend" Krista. (In Hannah's case, it was EVERYONE). Or are both characters hyper-aware of who they are, but choose to ignore it? Given of how intelligent Amy seems, this is the more likely scenario, but that makes her a sociopath. One major difference between the two women is that Amy is attempting, however misguidedly, to change not just herself, but the world at large.
MB: I agree with the disjointed nature of the show. Your sociopath angle is particularly apt. After her 'transformation' into a new more caring person, she still takes what she needs from others to fulfill her own needs. Whether it be manipulating Levi's feelings to help her feel less alone or using Tyler's knowledge of the email system (endangering his job) so she can 'bring the system down,' Amy doesn't live up to her own new standards or being a magnanimous and selfless person.
I felt that the Levi cry for help and trip to rehab didn't quite mesh with this other theme of selfish selflessness. What seems to put Levi over the edge into asking for help is the absence of Amy - he comes to the realization only after she writes him out of her life. Could this be a rubric for her other relationships? Would things smooth over with Damon and Krista if Amy removed herself from the situations? I think it might be a good start.
Amy, Helen and Levi's lives all seem to be sort of relatable to the viewer. Their lives haven't lived up to their expectations and they have to find different ways to cope and deal with that. Helen tries to convince herself that all she would ever need is her dog and her gardening, Levi is sure all he'll need are drugs to dull the pain, and Amy wants to solve all of the problems of the world while suppressing her own.
Do I like this show? I'm still not sure. The fact that I don't know after a season is probably not a good thing. Is it too much to ask for to have an episode resolve itself on a positive note? "I'm sorry, I'm not used to having things working out for me..." I know how you feel Amy, I know how you feel.
Verdict: WATCH. The second viewing makes you appreciate this weird show much better.