TRANSPARENT recap: "Wedge"
In this episode Maura discovered more about transgender people and how she might live and fit into broader society, while the rest of the Pfefferman family dealt with:
- a crisis, which only Ali took seriously;
- the issue of the house; and
- having a dad who was transgender.
One interesting sidelight to this episode was the subject of tits. Sarah revealed her big tits, which Tammy told us about in the last episode (Sarah was “like a hummingbird with big tits”); Maura thought her tits were growing; we were told Rita had big tits; and Josh whined about being fed formula, when his mom had perfectly good “tits right there” the whole time. Sounded like a family with a breast fetish.
It's estrogen, not heroin, girl
Maura was at Davina’s and about to discover hormones, the trans magic juice. Got to love hormones. They make things start to fade away that you do not like and make things begin to bloom that you do like. These things can be physical, psychological, and/or emotional. They can also be frustrating, disappointing and dangerous for your health. For most transgender people, it is a slow process. Did I say slow? How about agonizingly slow? The successes and failures are very individuated. The beginning of taking hormones usually brings a great feeling of relief because you have finally started despite any number of circumstances, and it can induce euphoria.
Maura gave Davina a hormone injection. Then Maura asked if she took a pill with that. Davina replied "No, but I used to" and pulled out a bottle of Premarin.
Maura: “Should I take one?”
Davina: “Nothing is going to happen to you. It’s estrogen, not heroin, girl."
After taking a Premarin, Maura dreamily said, “My breasts are getting bigger.” They then went to a yoga class at the LGBT Center. Maura explained to the instructor that she was having trouble and was “sorry, I feel floaty….I took some meds this morning.” Davina answered, “You're having a placebo effect.” One Premarin was nothing on the transgender journey.
Would I be queer if I sang at Trans Got Talent?
While leaving yoga, Maura saw a poster, “TRANS GOT TALENT.” Davina interjected that was “defined broadly.” Was the pun intended? Get it? (“broadly”)
Davina added that she would have lots of “needy queers” to look after at the show. Which prompted Maura to ask “if she sang would that mean that she was queer?” As a current refugee from the straight world, Maura was trying to figure out where she fit in.
On to lunch, Maura and Davina were joined by Shea. The talent show was still the subject. To the tune of “I left my heart in San Francisco,” Davina sang “I left my balls…Isn’t that a song?” Maura wanted to do a duet with Davina. Davina rejected the idea. Then they noticed a guy at the bar looking at them. Davina continued that weight gain was the worst thing about hormones, “I gained weight like a tick.” Maura responded, “Shit, I know that guy.”
Gary, a mature man, walked up to the table, and said “Bon jour.” Seriously? That was the best he had. He looked toward Shea and said she had fabulous eyes. A flirty Davina thanked him and then said “Oh, you meant her.” Gary having started with the youngest woman at the table, finally looked toward Maura, and said “Jesus Christ, Morty, what’s this?”
At first she replied, “We call this a necklace, and I guess we call this a wrap,” as she sought to deal with Gary and his look. Maura then answered by asking about Gary’s wife, Helen, and the family. In the past the Pfefferman’s had gone on a trip with them. Gary began to laugh, “Need to wrap my head around this.” As Gary left, he added, “No hard feelings?” Maura stared into space as she tried to wrap her head around what had just happened.
This is my house
Josh was in bed with Kristen, who we were later told was a realtor with Sotheby’s. Which explained why she said something to Josh about a “whisper listing." So, in five episodes, Josh had been with four different women, in case you were not counting. This straight guy was so into casual sex he and his brothers needed an app for that.
Tammy and Sarah were in bed at the family house. “Ahhhh…so good….get the dick!” moaned Sarah. Alas, Tammy’s phone rang and it was Barb. It was about Bianca, Tammy’s step-daughter from her first marriage. Bianca’s mom, who had apparently become a Scientologist, was happy for Bianca to leave her and move in with Tammy and Sarah’s house. Bianca arrived at the house. Sarah was charmed.
Bianca wanted to know where the pool was. Sarah would soon suggest that Bianca could live there and be “the summer girl.” She and her siblings had had one named Rita (Josh’s older love interest) to entertain and watch the children during the summer. Josh and Kristen met Bianca as they arrived to look at “this is my (Josh’s) house.” Poor Josh, such distress.
Bianca said she was living there as “the summer girl’ and Tammy said it needed upgrading. But, this was Joshie’s house. Do not touch it, said Josh, “Preservationists will pay a lot for it just the way it is.” Ali sent a text to both Sarah and Josh to inform them that Ed, Shelly’s husband, was missing. Sarah told Josh she was not going to “the Marina Triangle” without him.
The lady who misplaced her husband in the Marina Triangle
Ali had arrived at Shelly’s only to find out that Ed had wandered off, and Shelly had to go because she had waited three months for an appointment for something. Plus, the rabbi was coming over later. Her prime concern was that everyone at temple would be talking about “the lady who misplaced her husband.”
Meanwhile, as we soon discovered, Ali was the only one in the family that was really worried by the disappearance of Ed. She checked with the guard and was assured that Ed did this all the time. They got in a golf cart and did not find Ed in the places he “always goes.” They were met by another uniformed guard, a transman, in a golf cart coming from the other direction and he was full of cop lingo. “I got your APB,” in a sort of Joe Friday monotone.
(I interrupt this recap to ask if you know who Joe Friday was? He played a Los Angeles cop who was famous for saying in a monotone, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts” on a 1950’s TV show named Dragnet.)
Sarah and Josh joined the search, but neither of them could really be bothered. While looking at the marina, Sarah and Josh suspended the search and got Bloodies at The Warehouse. Ali sulkily joined them and complained about what a sad place The Warehouse was. I agreed, it looked like it survived the 60s and had not been touched since. With the three of them seated, and after prompting from Sarah, Ali told Josh the big news. “Dad is a woman.” Josh laughed and more Bloodies were ordered.
Shelly had returned to her condo and greeted the rabbi named Rachel. An attractive young woman immediately got the stereotypical Jewish mother response, “Are you married? My Joshie is not married.”
Does that mean "he" is gay?
The three kids were walking in the complex from The Warehouse. Josh inquired, “does that mean he’s gay?” Ali said no, he liked women. Sarah added her expertise, “though, technically she’s a lesbian.”
Notice that Sarah, the current lesbian, said “technically” a lesbian, which would mean that Maura might not really be a lesbian because of a technicality. What technicality? Was Maura not a “real” woman? If she had surgery would she then be a woman? Was it possible for Maura to ever be accepted by Sarah as a woman, and thus a lesbian? Was the LGB community more accepting of transgender people, than straights? Was the transgender community more accepting of LGB people, than straights?
At least one transgender person has tried to claim that LGB only applies to cisgender people, those who identify as the same gender as they were assigned at birth, and have nothing to do with transgender people, who identify as a gender other than that assigned at birth. Other transgender people identify as lesbian, gay or queer because that is the way they see themselves. Others who are attracted to the opposite gender from the one they identity with see themselves…
Better put the lid back on this can of worms.
Just be aware that, not surprisingly, for some transgender people these are hot button issues. Exactly how do they fit into the existing human society? There was a time when this was probably less of a problem because of the gate keepers (the original WPATH standard enforcers) for transgender people only let those through who they thought would disappear into straight society. Many times they were told to move to where no one knew them. But, as the medical community has become more aware, the rules have changed.
More and more transgender people have come out and, just as gays and lesbians did in past decades, are seeking to have a clear and unquestioned presence in society. That does not mean approval or acceptance, merely tolerance from most of society so that a decent and open life can be lived without constant fear of being outed and shunned. While average gays and lesbians have gone from Stonewall to marriage equality in the entire country, transgender people have gone from Stonewall to bathroom bounty legislation in some states. Cannot people just pee in peace?
Dad's a transvestite
Much to Shelly’s joy, her three children walked into her condo with Rachel still present after being told that if she did not marry she would become “an old rabbi with no children.” To the kids, Shelly said this was the rabbi and she was “single and gorgeous.” Josh blurted out, “Dad’s a transvestite.” Sarah corrected him, “that’s not the word.” Josh asked his mom if she knew. Shelly replied, “Oh, that. Of course, I know. It’s his thing. His little private thing. Do you think I’m a fool?” To the rabbi she said, “everybody has one, right?” as she sought affirmation.
With a puzzled look and a shrug, Rachel replied, “yes, everybody has one or two?” Josh added, “He’s doing it in public.” Even worse in Josh’s eyes, Ali and Sarah had gone “to the Beverly Center with him like that.” Shelly replied, “Oooh, nobody goes to the Beverly Center,” as usual worried about what others might think about a total superficiality. Josh added that that explained why dad was not around for him. “He was playing little Bo Peep,” but what about mom and her neglect of me? Was that the reason “you hired Rita with her big tits?”
In the midst of all this chaos, Ali had dutifully tried to use the phone to call the police to report a missing person because she was the only one who cared about Ed. Josh begged Rachel not to leave. “Please help us.” She agreed to help.
Ed walked into the condo with a mostly eaten multicolor cotton candy, a cartoon sketch of himself, and an enormous grin.
Shelly said, “Well, he’s back.”
TRANSPARENT recap: "Moppa" (season 1 episode 4)
TRANSPARENT recap: "Wedge" (season 1 episode 5)
TRANSPARENT recap: "Wilderness" (season 1 episode 6)