TRANSPARENT recap: "A New World Coming"

In this episode the Pfefferman family each continued their journeys to a new world as they each sought to grow and change.  Maura continued her exploration of the new to her world of transgender sex and also learned that in her past she had hurt people.  Under pressure from Rachel for a commitment, Josh made another small step toward what most would consider adulthood.  In his relationship with Colton, he was still trying to be more of a buddy than a father.  Sarah continued in her self-created life of self-pity.  Ali actually moved onto a new world of a relationship with Syd and her friends and graduate school.


Good Morning, Bitches!

Having survived the trip to the club that ended the last episode, Maura woke-up in the turret of a Victorian house where she had spent the night thanks to Davina.  In the kitchen coffee was in demand and Maura learned that the house was apparently owned by Sol, who was currently in prison “for white collar shit,” as Davina explained.  But, good news, he was due to be paroled in a few weeks.

Soon they were joined by Shea and Maura’s knowledge of transwomen jumped to a whole new level.  Shea entered the room and in perfect Queenspeak said,

            “Good Morning Bitches.”

            Maura replied, “last time I saw you you were with that Marine.

            Davina added, “he carried you out of there like a wounded soldier.”

            “My pussy’s a wounded soldier,” responded Shea.

            An amazed Maura whispered to Davina, “does she have pussy pussy?

            Davina snickeded.

            “I’m right here gurl, you can ask me,” stated Shea.

            Maura raised her hand and questioned, “do you have a pussy pussy?

            “A pussy pussy? Yeah.  15 g’s worth,” came Shea’s answer.

Davina then shifted the subject a bit, “don’t understand why she is still hanging around tranny chasers.”

“I prefer transamorous,” responded Shea.  “I like getting fucked.”

Maura raised her cup, “here’s to getting fucked.”

“Yaas queens,” replied Shea

Maura then repeatedly tired to move into queenspeak by trying to say “yaas queens.

Davina offered consolation, “she’ll get there.”

Maura’s sometimes unbelievable naivete and innocence was presented again.

This scene indicated that she was unaware of gender affirming surgery, as well as the issue of who might be sexual attracted to a transwoman.   Rather than moving on to date “regular” men after her surgery, Shea  had chosen to remain with the tranny chasers, men who are attracted to transwomen because they are trans, which to some appears to be more of a fetish, than anything else.  Even the use of the words “tranny chaser,” reveal the disdain some hold for these men because “tranny” has become the n—word of the transgender world.

Later in the episode, when Maura was attending a trans support group, the topic of sex as it can be uniquely apply to transwomen reappeared.

A member of the group was saying, “Do you date?  So how much do you charge?” as she described a conversation she had had with a man.  “Do I charge?  As a transwoman I appreciate your attracted.  I’m good with that.  It is the inappropriateness…..Are you fully functional?”

Another member of the group stated, “I think a lot of these guys are closet cases.  Internally homophobic or transphobic and this is how they express it.  Some can transition, some are stuck.”

Welcome to another can of worms in the world of transwomen.  First, there was the assumption that a transwoman was a hooker; then, there were intrusive questions about her anatomy.  Lastly, there was the issue of what motivated the tranny chaser beyond just a fetish.  Why would a supposedly heterosexual male especially seek out the company of transwomen?  Were they actually trans themselves and for whatever reason this was their expression of it?  Even better, the idea that the tranny chaser might not want a fully functional woman because they were looking for “a chick with a dick,” i.e. they were closeted gay men would could not admit it to themselves.


Rachel and Josh sitting in a tree

The process of moving Josh’s son, Colton, into the house continued as Josh brought him to the old Pfefferman house in Pacific Palisades and showed him his room with the assurance that it would be decorated.  Then they moved on to Josh’s old high school to get Colton enrolled.  On the way down the hall Josh told tales of his days there.  How he had had locker number 11 and various stuff he had done, such as how many girls they had slept with.  Soon they were in the principal’s office and dealt with the enrollment process.  Josh was asked if he was the legal guardian and proudly said no, but that he was the biological father and because he lived in the district Colton was in.  It was worth noting that in the reminisiences of Josh, “Mr. Iron Discipline Dude” was mentioned as the school enforcer who was no longer on the faculty.  That dude appeared later in the show.

Josh had returned home and he and Rachel were in the kitchen as Josh prepared a stir fry.  They were discussing Colton moving to the basement, as Rachel lamented that she had read that adopted kids really were always performing because they just wanted to be kept.  Josh brushed that concern aside as if Rachel did not have more serious things to be concerned with.  She replied that going to Temple every week and watching her belly grow and still no ring was getting to be too much.  “I got this,” retorted Josh.

Next Josh was at a recording session for Fussy Puss.  They sang, “New World Coming.”  During the session old recording executive said, “I got your diamond mand.”  Josh replied that was what he needed “a diamond Moel.”   After that everybody present was pressuring him to get the get the ring and propose.

When Josh returned home, Rachel was seen pacing and nervously awaiting his return.  Rachel was holding a small box and she began to kneel.  Josh paniced, “what is going on here?  No.  No…..You don’t trust me.  I had this.”  He immediately returned to the trust issue and that she was just waiting for him to screw up as he had played that card before.  Rachel closed the lbox and slumped to one side moaning, “Oh, my God.”  Finally a sympathetic Josh kneeled in front of her.  Rachel offered, that she was “so sorry, just wanted to get it over with.”  Josh responded, OK, OK, alright.”


I'm sorry if my boundary is your trigger

In a reminiscence of last season, Sarah was taking a kid to school.  Last year she ran into Tammy.  This year she ran into Barb, Tammy’s legal ex-wife.  There were tables spread around for various parent school committies.  Barb was seated at a table with the sign “Nitty Gritty Committee.”  What  was the job of the committee “to pick-up trash, do posters, whatever fell through the cracks. …Perfoect for the parents who appiear like they give a shit.” 

Sarah, “perfect for me.”

Barb, “no!  You’re not!  You are not going to be on my committee.”  Sarah wined that people were starting to know things.

Barb, “a lot of people know a lot of things… I’m sorry if my boundary is your trigger.”

Clearly after dumping Barb’s ex, Tammy, Sarah was not going to find any support from Barb and as would become clear not from anyone else either.

Sarah arrived at the house that she and Len had shared that was now the kids as they alternated their custody.  She let herself in without ringing a doorbell or knocking.  Shortly Len came in from the back yard were he was seen playing with the kids, “that scared the shit out of me.  Don’t do that.”  A child’s voice was heard saying, “Mom, it’s not your day,” as they walked outside where Barb and hers and Tammy’s kids were along with Sarah and Len’s.

Sarah walked over to Barb and opened fire.  “How did the itty bitty titty committee work out.”  No one laughed, “just kidding.”  This was a painful comment on a couple of levels.  Last season we learned that Tammy and Len loved Sarah’s bib boobies, which now I suppose was a point of lashing our for Sarah in her distress.  On a second level, the role of Barb was played by Tig Notaro, who in a TV comedy special removed her shirt and remained topless to reveal the removal of her breasts with no reconstruction due to cancer.  So, it also represented a state of courage and affirmation for Tig.

At this point Len strolled over and suggested that Barb and the kids stay to eat.  They were going to have Grouper and he could just tell Melanie, his current girlfriend, to get some more.  All of this chumminess seemed to make Sarah uncomfortable and she began to take her leave.  She went in the house and on her way through saw a small pink bag lying on a bedroom floor.  The bag had “Melanie” stiched on it.  Sarah opened the bag and toyed with some cosmetics that were in it.  These included a palette of cosmetic colors that she slammed shut and powder blew everywhere.  Colored dust littered the carpet.  Sarah grabbed a wet towel and smeared the colors around in a vain effort to clean it up.  Then as any mature adult would do, she slid the bag over the mess she had made and fled the scene.

Later alone in her dreary apartment Sarah fantizied about Pacific Palisades High School and Mr. Iron Discipline.  While slapping a paddle in his hand, Mr. Discipline appeared and began to chastise Sarah for not having a hall pass.  And the bad girl had to be punished.  The slaps of the paddle became louder as Sarah squirmed in her chair.  With the slaps Sarah began to moan—“oh, uh, aw, gasp: and the voice of Mr. Iron Discipline said “come for me.”  Had a new area for exploration opened for Sarah?


Lunch at the faculty club

Maura and Ali were entering the UCLA faculty club, as Maura explained she just wanted to use her connections, as  they entered the ring of the old boys network.  They joined an old colleague of Maura’s and chit chat began about how she had changed.

 At this point, Leslie Mackinaw walked up to join the table.  They quickly established that she was a famous feminist poet.  Ali was interested in women’s studies, which drew the pointed reply from Leslie that she would “have to go somewhere else. “  Because that department had just been renamed Gender Studies and that feminist was a dirty word.

A conversation quickly broke out between Maura and Leslie about the past, they had been at Cal-Berkeley at the same time.              

Leslie spoke to Maura, “you had a perspective on politics.”

“I did.  I did for several years.  Did we publish you?” was Maura’s answer.

“I applied for the editorial board and you blocked me.  I applied every year for ten years.  Me and my sisters-in-arms applied and applied….And you took only men.  And one chick who had those huge tits you couldn’t keep your eyes off of.”  The old wounds inflicted by “Mort’s” male chauvinism had not healed.

“Oh my God.  You were part of that group,” Maura rememberd outloud.

“Very nice of you to remember,” Leslie said half mockingly.  She then turned toward Ali and continued, “the Berkeley Seven, we were the scourage of the administration.”

Maura’s tone changed, “Leslie, I don’t stand behind what I did bac then and profoundly apologize.  I actually don’t remember much of it?”

“Why would you remember it?” and Leslie coldly closed out the exchange.


A flag I can pledge my allegiance to

After the trip with dad, Ali was with Syd and a number of other women at a bowling alley.  Ali was telling everyone about Leslie Mackinaw, with whom everyone was familiar.  She’s a lesbian; my girlfriend named  her cats after her and then all together now, “if we did not grow up in the patriarchy.”  Ali began to read one of Leslie’s poems,

“I always put my pussy in the middle of a tree, like a waterfall, like a flag I can pledge my allegiance to, like a doorway to God, like a flock of birds.  I always put my lover’s cunt on the crest of a wave like a flag I can pledge my allegiance to.  This is my country.  My lover’s pussy is a badge, a helmet, a waterfall, a river of blood….”

Syd motioned Ali over and they began to snuggle.

Later, Syd and Ali lay naked in bed as “There’s a New World Coming” was sung in the background.  They were discussing what and how they liked to be touched and what turned them on.

Over the period from the first season into the second season the creator of the series, Jill Soloway had left her husband, identified herself as a lesbian, and taken a girlfriend.  I rather suspect the personal aspect of her life was reflected in this episode, perhaps Ali was actually very much like Jill.



See also:

TRANSPARENT recap: "Flicky-Flicky, Thump-Thump" (season 2 episode 2)

TRANSPARENT recap: "A New World Coming" (season 2 episode 3)

TRANSPARENT recap: "Cherry Blossoms" (season 2 episode 4)




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