21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
i am exasperated by the character--and that is the point,
This review is from: Enlightened: Season 1 (DVD)
Lead character Amy Jellicoe is played by Laura Dern, a 40-year-old career woman who finds herself enlightened after a month's stay at a holistic treatment facility. This means she has become the ultimate self help person who verges on the evangelical as she wants to improve the world while still being employed in corporate America. This leads to positively cringe worthy scenes which Laura Dern does beautifully. My favorite one was a baby shower she attended for a coworker. When it became time for her to toast the baby shower mother to be, Amy launches into a plea for them all to join together for a Mexican mother on the news who is being deported back to Mexico while her children are left behind in California. The other women look like deer frozen in the headlights as they listen to her. She is absolutely clueless as to how out inappropriate this speech was for someone else's joyous occasion.
This would be an easy character to hate except that Dern gives her many layers. She now has been forced to work with the nerd division down in the basement of her company. There she makes her first friend post treatment and he is someone she would have never even spoken to before this. This is also the co-creator of the show, Mike White.
I have known enlightened people like Amy and they make me as uneasy as this show. This is a good thing. It is amazing that this show made it onto tv as it is very thought provoking.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 22, 2012 10:59:52 AM PST
I agree with you, but I got more out of the baby shower scene. It perfectly captures how fake and cloying the other women are, how easily they become "mean girls" and mock her. Yes, she's clueless, but she's also harmless and sweet and I think in real life (as in this show), other women tend to view women like her as easy targets.
I'd agree, Amy is a little too clueless, too ignorant of corporate protocol, to be believable. Supposedly this woman had worked for the company for 15 years and reached some level of seniority (after all, she had an assistant)? Yet her blunders and outpourings are those of a 22 year old (they actually remind me so much of a first job I had that I was brought to tears in one scene!) not a 40 year old. She's just not real enough in this regard.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 11:16:52 AM PST
i definitely like them even less than i like her. although i don't think a baby shower composed of all women from this corporation ever had a chance to be anything but awful.
i was brought up catholic but stopped practicing from college forward. i think there is a lot of truth to some people keep trying, like our heroine, to replace these institutions of our childhood with the trendier substitutions of today. i almost stopped watching this show because i didn't like anyone but i kept watching because i've known so many other former catholics, or former somethings, who keep looking for that magic replacement. i find that concept fascinating and this show does an excellent job of simply showing me that.
i was cringing during the entire shower which tells me it succeeded at what it was trying to achieve.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 6:23:16 PM PST
Hahah, agreed, baby showers are dreadful. Period.
I have a different take on the character's spirituality. I think that, like so many of us, she's looking for answers on how to live her life. She wants to know how to be a good, happy person. Religion used to be the de facto place one looked for answer, but now there are more options. I'm not sure if it's magic she wants as much as meaning.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 6:39:35 PM PST
well, working for this corporation, living in LA, being forced by huge medical bills to move in with her mother, having the two men in her life be her ex husband and her married boss, having as her only friends the women at that same corporation---i'd say her odds of being happy are pretty low as long as those remain her variables.
i am not crazy about the idea of people going to far flung, exotic places for rehab or mental health help. my thinking is that you have to adapt your mental health or substanceless status to your everyday world so you may as well get your treatment in that world. i spent a week in mental hospital and ten years in psychotherapy right in my home city. i needed mental health treatment for unipolar depression, not an exotic getaway which also was uncovered by medical insurance.
BTW, i'm not really sure that she couldn't have pursued her company for some monetary damages. i think the days are over when companies dare stand behind some jackass employee who is plundering staff for extramarital adventures. it is just too close to sexual harrassment charges for a company to risk these days, if i had been the higher up to those two, i would have fired him very quickly. he is just not worth the risk. these cases are just awful for these companies and i don't think the tolerance is there anymore. of course, if you are much higher up, different rules apply. but he isn't very far up or very talented,
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 10:56:28 PM PST
Definitely. The first dude she slept with would have been removed from his position; and all she'd have to do is pick up her iPhone, take a short video of her grotesque new boss on one of his tirades and forward them to her pal in HR and she'd get her old job back (or even better...a good lawsuit and she wouldn't have to work for those shmucks anymore!)
What I find frustrating about the character is her "I'm a wet dog in the rain" bit. She's 40, lives with her mom and still acts like a child. (Her mom won't lend her a car--boo hoo!) For those of us who don't have parents to run home to, this smacks as a little self-centered and naive. Similarly, she can't really be a ditzy as she looks, blathering incoherently about corporate accountability - was her head totally in the sand before?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012 5:12:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2012 5:13:46 AM PST
these issues are where this show really gets interesting. i am assuming that its creator and writer (who plays the nerd next to her in the basement) had a lot in mind when he put in the elements you mention.
first, the geeks and nerds in the basement with the horror boss.
corporate america had the hugest joke played on it by the arrival of the digital age. suddenly it found that it had to play nice with people it had laughed at and ignored. all these cos. were stuck with their own cadres of geeks and freaks because no company could function without them any longer. and if they fire them, they simply are forced to go out and hire people who are just like them. and it can't put a regular person in charge of them. that will never work. so it just picks one of them to be in charge, shoves them down in the basement and hopes for the best. meanwhile, the freaks and geeks are penetrating everyone's deepest secrets so that they can never be dislodged. if our heroine wants to wreak havoc on people in this company, she is in the right place.
second, she has never moved forward emotionally since her father's suicide, just like her mother never did. she diverts herself with these other issues because she needs to keep her mind off that. she lives in a city where the highest prized ability is to be able to create fantasy selves, becoming other people on a regular basis. the better able you are to play pretend in Hollywoodland, the better off you are. or so everyone would like you to believe. there is no other place in the world where having an amorphous personality of your own is a prized asset. such personalities can become many other personalities. this is her most recent personality. she is so rudderless that this is the best she can do in making herself a life. however, people like her are drawn there like a magnet so she is hardly alone.
the freaks and geeks in the basement are the most authentic personalities she has ever met. they cannot become anyone else. if they had that ability, they wouldn't be there.
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