Enlightened Season (Series?) Finale: 5 Reasons HBO Needs to Renew This Laura Dern Vehicle

True confession: I’ve never truly forgiven HBO for canceling The Comeback — Lisa Kudrow’s scathing examination of the Hollywood machine and unflinching/unsettling look at basic human insecurity — that lasted for one brief, dazzling, and painfully hilarious season back in 2005. (All together now: “Note to self: After a long day at work, I don’t wanna see that!”)

Flash forward to 2011 — and more specifically to Monday night’s season finale of the network’s equally brilliant/wince-inducing/honest/infuriating Enlightened — and here I am ready to rage against the network for not yet committing to a second season of this initially challenging but ultimately rewarding Laura Dern vehicle about a woman who returns from treatment for a nervous breakdown to try to navigate murky corporate and family waters. (The show, coincidentally, was created by Dern and her costar, Chuck & Buck‘s Mike White).

If you haven’t yet sampled Enlightened (or haven’t yet warmed to its copious attributes) here are five reasons I think the half-hour meditation — I dare not call it a sitcom — deserves a life beyond its initial 10-episode run.

* The most tantalizingly/unapologetically unlikable lead character in recent memory | “Sometimes you just want to slap her in the head,” my friend Mitch said to me midway through the season finale, and honestly, I can’t disagree. For a woman with a $24,000 therapy bill, Dern’s Amy Jellicoe spends a maddening amount of time on the mechanics of enlightenment — the journaling, the yoga, the rambling therapy-speak — rather than any true internal transformation. Case in point, when Amy’s drug-addicted ex (Luke Wilson) showed up at her door this week desperate, sweating, and finally admitting the need for detox, Amy grinned broadly and declared, “You have no idea how happy I am.” To which he replied, “Well I’m glad you’re happy, ’cause I wanna die.” Indeed, as much as we root for Amy to find a glimmer of self-awareness, score an occasional victory in her sad, treading-water life, the show refuses — even in a possible series-finale situation — to make Amy more palatable by conveniently curing her of her pathological self-absorption. As a result, Enlightened isn’t always the easiest show to watch, but it’s never less than fascinating.

* A stellar supporting cast | Amy’s Cogentiva coworkers rarely get more than a line or two of dialog, but they mine every last ounce of humor from Mike White’s scripts. (Think the Dunder Mifflin crew as viewed through a warped funhouse mirror.) In particular, The Comeback‘s Bayne Gibby — as religious and quietly judgmental colleague Connie — can be wickedly funny with as little as a goodnight nod. And Jason Mantzoukas (as bearded Omar) scored the finale’s biggest laugh with a simple hand gesture: Dramatically pointing Amy’s boss in the direction of the elevator banks to help him chase down his errant employee, as if she was a bank robber making off with a stash of cash.

* Darkly comic details | White (who also penned The School of Rock and The Good Girl) embellished the finale, as he does with every episode, with tiny moments of genius: Amy returning home from work and grappling with a front door left unhinged by the previous evening’s encounter with her unhinged ex; White’s mousy Tyler using the password “Julie_Bitch” (the name of the coworker he once cyberstalked) to help Amy gain access to corporate email accounts; Amy’s frenemy Krista (Sarah Burns) offering a look of silent yet seething disdain when Amy sits alongside her in a conference room; Amy’s mother (Diane Ladd) flubbing a moment of intimacy with her daughter by commenting on her split ends.

* The occasional blast of righteous indignation against soulless corporate life | As Tyler pointed out in a recent episode, Amy is an abyssmal employee, but that doesn’t mean parent company Abaddon — with its giant murals of bumble bees and onion slices feigning regard for natute, its cavernous elevator banks, and its employee-monitoring software — isn’t pretty awful, too. After Amy overhears her former lover Damon mocking her presentation on the company’s environmentally destructive ways — “Do I deliver a show, or do I deliver a show?” he jokes to his team — you can understand Amy’s sudden urge to turn whistleblower, to burn the whole place down, even if she’s motivated more by personal hurt and anger than altruistic reasons. Of course, Enlightened isn’t blind to the relative comfort of ambivalence, either. “We can blow this place wide open!” Amy excitedly tells Tyler, to which he responds, “Why would we want to do that?”

* An ending that finally puts Amy in a position to begin the transormation — or at least attempt the transformation — from unrepentant navel-gazer into a serious woman of action | Those closing moments of the finale — Amy furiously unearthing corporate wrongdoing while the Cogentiva computers blink green behind her — were thrilling. Amy may be as emotionally misguided as ever, but at least she’s directing her energies toward an interesting end goal. That change of direction sets Enlightened up for a second season that should challenge Amy in new and unexpected ways, and advance the action beyond her initial quest to make better connections at home and work. And that’s pretty much everything a sophomore season should do.

What did you think of Enlightened‘s initial season and its finale? Are you rooting for a renewal, or did the show lose you along the way? Sound off in the comments, and feel free to start the petition to renew The Comeback while you’re at it, too!

Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV

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  1. Lee says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  2. Carda says:

    I’m still struggeling around episode 3 or so.. and not so sure yet that I’m all that thrilled

    I really like the outset of the show, but the start is so hard to get over :/

    • Snapy says:

      I stopped watching after the third episode because this series is so damn depressing! I normally love Laura Dern, but good this show is not.

      • Ruth Renwick says:

        Gee Snappy, I disagree. I love love it and think there was nothing much else on tv..of course Im a mature woman who loves Downton Abbey. Finally, a story about real people in their real lives but a well acted drama, not one of the CSI shows that are so popular or the Survival, and Reality shows so prevalent ad nauseum. Thank you Mr White and Ms Dern. Hope you come back so I dont have to cancel TV entirely. I love the “moral imperative” hanging over the difficulties of her life..you call it “depressing” but I love the dark humour of some of it and the painful everyday suffering in our lives that we dont have to always “entertain” ourselves out of.

    • Barry says:

      It’s different alright, but I love the show and have always been a Laura Dern fan. I really like the show and hope for a second season……

  3. AJ says:

    This show is painfully dull.

  4. Tim says:

    i thought only the episode that highlighted her mother was depressing (still good though) the rest of the episodes have several laugh out moments–fingers crossed for a second season!

  5. Muriel Bruers says:

    I love Enlightened! Let’s hope both Bored to Death and Enlightened get renewed.

  6. treyc says:

    I don’t think they are going to renew this. It is just too deep for most people. Most American TV watchers are stupid and lazy. They don’t want to watch anything that makes you think or watch characters that make them realize things about themselves. Most Americans want to watch, what happened to Kim Kardashian’s marriage, that is the intelligence level now.

    • Patrick says:

      I really get what you’re saying here!!! But I still hope it does get renewed. Most Americans are too simple minded and lazy to find interest in such a wonderfully done show such as this one. It saddens me. People I’ve tried to introduce this show to have said it’s depressing, but what I find depressing is their inability to “get it” an understand it. They just go off saying the main character is a weird hippy stupid bitch. So, I am worry that it will not get renewed, but Mike White and Laura Dern are too good to just let this one go after a ten episode season…

    • Mr. Lex says:

      @ treyc
      i love the show and i am hoping for a 2nd season, but i have to agree with you in that most people are not ready for this. we are living in a different time. it is reflected within the most popular music and television shows that pollute the minds of the general public. Amy’s inner most thoughts resonate my own personal feelings and thoughts that i have when i am alone and just meditating upon life and love or lack thereof. but unfortunately, you are right in that most people don’t want a reflection of themselves or at least of what they should be in order for us all to live in a better state. As Lauryn Hill said, “fantasy is what we want, but reality is what we need.”

  7. joanne says:

    The first episode or two left me feeling unsure but I continued on and glad I did. Let’s be honest, we all have a little Amy in us and who hasn’t work with a Dougie, Krista, Damon or any one of those characters we met at Abaddon or Cogentiva. What makes people uncomfortable about this show is we are watching ourselves and how people interact with one another, and quite frankly how screwed up we all are. I applaud Dern for taking this on, let’s hope Enlightened is renewed and doesn’t share the fate of The Comeback.

  8. The Americans are stupid and lazy reply is old and not accurate says:

    Your examination of this last episode was spot on. The writing is what makes the show so perfect. White has written the most memorable lead TV character in the last several years. She is absolutely nuts, but White writes her so well and Dern plays the part so well that we actually root for her! Her monologues are always so uplifting. The characters are all in their own world. The supporting cast couldn’t be better.

    HBO should take a chance and give this show another year. It’s way better than Bored to Death and that one was given a second go.

  9. Justin says:

    I absolutely love this show. There is nobody like Amy on TV, and I admire their interesting spin on the workplace comedy. She’s so relatable in today’s world. I seriously hope HBO gives it another season. I think one of the main reasons it didn’t have such great ratings is simply because it didn’t start off with good ratings. People are afraid to tune into a show they think will be cancelled anyway. If given a season 2, I can see it doing better the second time around. It’s a brilliant show.

  10. TheFinalMan says:

    I have faith that HBO knows art when it sees it. This is the most untraditional and unique show on television and it is desperately needed. Mike White and Laura Dern are genius and this show is fantastic.

  11. Randy says:

    Wholeheartedly agree. The Comeback comparison is apt, but that show, however realistic, was simply too realistic to enjoy. I miss is, but it was really hard to watch! Enlightened, on the other hand, is compelling, funny and thought-provoking. Mike White always delivers great stories and characters, and the direction by Miguel Arteta, Nicole Holofcener and JOnathan Demme (among others) was spectacular. If this show was on a network, it wouldn’t stand a chance. Hopefully HBO–which supposedly represents quality and less of an adherence to ratings–renews the show and gives it a chance to develop even further. C’mon, HBO! If you can renew Bored to Death and (once upon a time) In Treatment, you can give Enlightened a second season!

  12. Caleb says:

    Every Monday night this has been my first watch show. It’s really the saddest comedy on tv, but also the most beautiful and poignant. I’m not sure how I can want to both strangle and give a hug to Amy, but the fact that I do week in and week out means the show is doing what it wants to do.

    • livelyn says:

      Absolutely agree. I keep asking myself: How long till Monday? I tide myself over during the week by watching reruns on HBO “On Demand.” Guess I’m crazy too!

  13. sara says:

    This is one of the few shows on T.V. that isn’t mindless entertainment. I love it and hope HBO keeps it going.

  14. ASH says:

    I think Mike White is a genius writer. I love, love LOVE this show. It makes me laugh and it makes me cry. That scene at the airport in the finale where Amy is seeing Levi off was incredible. Laura Dern deserves an Emmy nod (and throw in Dianne Ladd for supporting actress while we’re at it). Great, insightful, funny show!! And bring back “The Comeback.” (Can you imagine how great of a 1-2 punch that would be to watch??)

  15. Kaitlin says:

    Honest question to those who have kept up with the show- I watched the pilot of Enlightened and HATED it. Did it change a lot during the remainder of the season, or if I didn’t like the pilot will I likely equally dislike the rest of it? Not trying to start any drama, just honestly wondering if it’s worth my time to go back and catch up on it.

    (Note: While I thought The Comeback was cringeworthy as well, I loved it and thought it was brilliant. So that element of it doesn’t bother me.)

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Kaitlin,

      I totally understand what you mean, my boyfriend feels like this show is so awkward and that Amy misses moments to make real change. I think this is what I love about HBO, they take chances on characters that are not perfect or fully balanced. It’s up to you, but I think the season finale is worth getting to. I’m really curious to see what is going to happen with her ex, Levi, and I am also hoping she gains a couple allies either from her former Department or in the data entry “Hell”. I love the voice overs and I think Laura Dern is sensational. It is painful to watch sometimes, but yet there is something so raw and honest that feels much truer to life than other shows out there this Fall. All the best, Michelle

  16. Melissa says:

    I really hated Amy at first. During the first several episodes she made me cringe. I have worked with people like that and it’s not fun at all, but at about episode 6 I started to get her and like her a little more. It was a strugle to get through some of the initial episodes, but well worth it. At this point I’m not sure what her motivation is, is it truly altruistic or is she just pissed off at TPTB? How far will she go? Will she metaphorically burn Abbadon down? I definitely want to see what happens next, and hope it gets a second season.

  17. Laurel says:

    Watching Amy is like true transformation at times.
    1 step forward 2 steps back.
    It’s easy to seek enlightment in a sanctuary.
    It is not as easy in the real world where obstacles and hardships abound.

  18. josh says:

    This is the best show on TV right now. Laura Dern is terrific as is everything else about this brilliant program. HBO would be crazy not to renew it, despite the low ratings. Shows like this are what give them the reputation they strive for.

  19. Patrick says:

    They really should bring it back! I love it!

  20. Delon says:

    Would it be too much of a hyperbole if i say that THIS SHOW CHANGED MY LIFE? I was having the biggest pity party that the world has ever seen, but the show inspired me to get off anti-depressants, quit consuming insane amounts of weed, stop watching TV and movies for hours on end, go back to exercising again, eat healthy, and start realizing all those projects i’ve been procrastinating on for God knows how long.

    You know how sometimes artists say that they would be happy if the work they created touches even one person and makes a positive impact in their lives? Yea, this show definitely achieved that with me. The themes and both Laura Dern’s and Luke Wilson’s characters resonated deeply with me. Maybe it was simply time for me to look at myself in the mirror, but the show surely served as a catalyst.

    It is definitely no easy struggle to find your way out of depression, and i’m not saying my life is peach perfect, but this particular show at this particular time of my life affected me in a way to strive for a better way of being.

    An honest, unpretentious show, which doesn’t insult viewers’ intelligence and emotions, with stellar acting worthy of any accolades that is out there. A true work of art.

  21. postman49 says:

    I tried to like this show but it was to depressing. she needed to be on prozake or something she lived in her own world.

  22. Jeffrey Kay says:

    HBO’s worst series ever. Bored To Death, How to Make it in America and Boarwalk Empire deserve more seasons. Hung is finished. Enlightened is terrible. Not funny. Sure it’s cringe-inducing. But so is The Office, abd it’s funny. I’d love Amy to get hit with a car. Or better, have Dougie beat her senseless, and then get off on a technicality, from murder charges.

  23. Laya says:

    I love the show! HBO offers shows that are so different! Please renew Enlightenment for a second season, it is so valuable.

  24. oisin5199 says:

    Absolutely love this show. Probably the most realistic take out there on the “Enlightenment” process that people go through when they look for alternatives to mainstream religions. So many times I want Amy to see what she’s doing, but the show (thankfully) doesn’t let her. While I won’t say this show changed my life, like Delon, it has definitely opened up some major emotional reserves about things in my own life. Mike White continues to be brilliant, and deserves every Emmy, as well as Laura Dern and Diane Ladd (that last episode has to be her Emmy reel). I really hope they renew.

  25. Phillip says:

    This is a terrific and intelligent dark comedy that I suppose is too much of a mirror to the average TV viewer. There’s simply nothing else to compare this with. It’s a reality version of Curb Your Enthusiasm mixed in with a little bit of Rickey Gervais. I think it would be cool if Larry David, Rickey Gervais and Laura Dern could all collaborate on a HBO project.

    Enlightened is a wonderful show and Lara Dern should earn an Emmy.

  26. Lorraine Grosset says:

    please, please save this outstanding show that is the hightlight of the HBO fall season, or the entire fall season for that matter. Laura Dern is brilliant, convincing, and engaging, and she offers a brilliant commentary on the modern day office situation. Her co-workers are a hoot, and the writing is top-notch. Let Amy continue to muddle through in her bumbling, self-absored way as only she can!!!!

  27. santiux says:

    When i fisrt started to watch this show, i was like meeeeh.
    But then it started to improve, and it’s one of my favorite show! It’s so realistic: someone who’s trying to be better but no one let her! Everyone is like tumbling her world down but she don’t care, she just continue to trying to be a better person, but i think that se fails… Amy is comparable to everyone of us.
    And the finale was A-MA-ZING. I want a new season or maybe something better: a spin off based on Helen’s life. Maybe title: “Consider Helen”? Yes, i am dreaming. Let me dream!

  28. Paulysj says:

    I too LOVED The Comeback and find Enlightened equally as entertaining. I also rank it up there with the British version of The Office as cringe-worthy humor. I really hope it gets another season, but I doubt it.

  29. Nette Fae says:

    I like this series. I hope HBO gives it a second season. Amy is in her own little world, with small periods of clarity, though perhaps it’s two steps forward and one step back. I watch this show as if watching an accident. I can’t help myself but stare and wonder if she’ll push onward to become truly enlightened.

  30. Tania says:

    I gave this show a chance and I just couldn’t get past the third episode. I really HATE it. I understand that the ratings are not very good. So I guess that I’m not alone in my sentiments.

  31. wilsim007 says:

    It’s kinda funny that I’ve never really been a fan of Dern or anyone else on the show. And everytime I see Diane Ladd, all I can think about is watching her sing “Uncle Bud’s got cotton” on “Alice” back in the 80’s. But I was really hooked on this show from the very beginning. Dern had me from the start when she was like a mad woman trying to get in the elevator at the beginning of episode one. My biggest complaint about the show — THE EPISODES ARE TOO SHORT. I usually can’t wait until next week, and now I have to wonder if I even get to wait until next season. But when the show and actors win all kinds of awards (yes, they will), HBO will realize they have something special. It’s just too bad that someone else has to point that out to them.

  32. Paisley says:

    Loved this show. Agree with Slezak completely. I was moved and haunted by Diane Ladd’s episode last week. What an honest portrayal of hidden pain unearthed by a random encounter with an old acquaintance. How resigned she is to relive the memories with a glance at an empty chair or a photo. Wow, I felt her pain and loneliness, her sense of abandonment … Right in the gut. Please HBO renew this show.

  33. Mike says:

    At times hard to watch, but not really cos its also so brilliant. And hilarious. Many times I wondered if I was in the mood to cringe through another ep, but I’m glad i stuck with it. Not a comforting show by any stretch, but it is filled with rewards. Utterly original and totally unpredictable. I would welcome a second season! I want to see her grow, and stick it to the man, er woman….julie_bitch!

  34. Wolff says:

    i heard the show was already renewed

  35. Wolf says:

    It was announced last week by HBO Brasil and HBO Latin America that How To Make It In America, Hung, Bored to Death and Enlightened were all renewed and will be back in late 2012.

  36. Girlatwork says:

    I’ll take a secod season. Who doesn’t want to see Amy get all Erin Brokovitch on everyone? Dern is cringetastic! Then there’s the play of themes: day of the locusts style cynicism, cali new age spirituality, corporate greed and alienation. Fantastic writing, direction, casting, acting. What’s not to love?

  37. amy says:

    I’m really hoping they get a second season. I’m a True Blood fanatic and have to say Enlightened was more sastifying to watch than TB.

  38. Yes! says:

    This show only proves to me how powerful media can be. This is also my first experience with Mike White’s writing. I admire how pithy he is, and how much heart his work contains. I admire how he doesn’t go for the cheap joke. I like the spaces (I’ve named it “White”-space, huh ha!), they give the show breathing room. I very much enjoy the bravery and risk-taking within this show. To me, Amy’s struggle within the show parallels the struggle Enlightened will have with ratings and the average audience member. I agree, it is a bit ‘too much’ for most people, and that is exactly WHY it needs to stay on the air. Every cringe-worthy moment has a lesson wrapped in it. It is supposed to be painful to watch at times, because that is how life is. It’s so accurate, especially the dialogue in the last episode – where Amy overhears the conference room making fun of her presentation. When she went back in there and stood up for herself it was so gratifying. I cannot wait to see Amy fight fire with fire in the next season. My acting teacher says we live in a society that now caters to the lowest common denominator of humanity with shows such as 16&Pregnant and Karadashian moronic nonsense – she is right. It seems a great deal of people want to look at plastic instead of real to feel better. We need shows like this for people to look in the mirror. Buck up. I can’t go on enough about this show. I even got my roommate hooked. Seeing Amy read her Abraham on the us, the moment in the car where Tyler talked about being lonely, the dialogue/behavior was between Amy’s mother and the other older woman at the grocery store. That dialogue was so real. As a recent acting graduate, all I can do is look at how natural the behavior is. As far as the actors – what I love is no one is ‘trying’ – especially Mike White, which is inspiring to see. A lot of writers are very self-aware on camera from what I’ve seen. Life is dark and life is light. And it’s given a woman a chance to finally express the ranges of humanity including rage – and let’s admit, in corporate America if you do that/speak out against injustices despite their validity – you as a woman are seen as ‘crazy’ – but Amy is brave enough to do it despite our inherently misogynistic business world. Good for her. Fight the good fight. It’s a success in itself to have a 1st season – let’s see more! ☺

    • Geoff says:

      I’ve been watching this in the UK and I gather we are not that many episodes behind. I have to admit my reason was a liking for Laura Dern and Luke Wilson since his performance in the Royal Tenenbaums. Maybe I’ve missed the point but for me the show provides the audience with the opportunity to be enlightened. Amy, following therapy, is trying to make sense of her life holding on – as was/is the perchant of hippies and liberals – to soundbits of eastern mysticism. Such beliefs are out of sync with the modern world and this, albeit in brief moments, exposes how it has distorted our humanity, made us self-serving and desensitized us to the plight of our fellow human beings. Amy is no Neo who will tear apart the Matrix and lead, in her case, family members and fellow workers to freedom. If it were not a show but reality she would either succumb or be destroyed, ending back in therapy, probably the cognitive behavioural type. It has the potential to be radical television but will, more likely, leave us – as we curl up in the comfort of our living rooms – accepting the futility of challenging the status quo.

  39. Mich says:

    I completely agree with you. Love the show…love the level of discomfort paired with the surprising comic elements. And I live for Laura Dern. I really hope the show is renewed. Thanks for the post.

  40. Kathy says:

    I Love Enlightened!!!! Please renew!!!

  41. Maya says:

    America may not want it, but the rest of the world does – such a fantastic show.

  42. Carolyn says:

    Great show that is so well written and acted. It is a slice of real life full of pain and joy. If that is depressing to some than continue on the path of mindless reality shows that are anything BUT. Please renew this superb show!!!!!

  43. Neesh says:

    Never once missed an episode.
    Always bummed when each episode was over.
    And thrilled that it’s been renewed for a second season!
    Dern and White (and cast and crew) deliver excellence!
    Dern’s portrayal of Amy is astonishing.
    Enlightened is savagely hilarious and heart-breaking all at once.
    Good job!

  44. Robert Spinello says:

    I enjoyed every episode. Laura is great-what a fantastic actress! Her character is totally believable…Amy struggles through her life determined to be “bold” and to make a difference. I can’t wait for season 2. I will be watching the first 10 again.

  45. Mark says:

    I’ve got to agree with Mr. Slezak – this show is fantastic and I would be really sad if it doesn’t return next season. In a half hour you can go from laughing to crying, anger to joy. Ms. Dern is fabulous – and the supporting cast is beyond amazing. The writing is spot on – so real even as you laugh at how absurd the situations may appear. I do think it is hard for Americans to watch a show that so effectively mirrors our own internal conflicts, contradictions, dreams/nightmares. The episode that focused on Amy’s mother and her backstory was one of the best reflections on aging, loneliness, and memories that I’ve ever seen. The episode about being single or “alone” was also brilliantly done. Amy’s voiceover reflections at the end of each episode typically leave me reeling – they resonate so deeply and more than once I’ve been moved to tears (not something I typically do over a 30 minute dramedy). Many times I replay the last few minutes just to absorb the wisdom that is casually thrown out and easily missed. Enlightened is the zenith of what American entertainment can produce and I’m just hoping that the folks at HBO recognize that they have a winner on their hands.

  46. Oscar Lopez says:

    BRILLIANT! Laura Dern is funny, heartbreaking and at times pathetic. What a great and interesting new character. The writing by Mike White is fresh, sensitive and wonderfully unpredictable. The supporting cast, the look of the show and the music choices make this a show different from anything else out there. Every week it leaves me wishing it was an hour long show. The first season should have been at least 13 episodes. I really hope HBO picks it up for many more seasons.

  47. Mike says:

    Right on point. Couldn’t have said it better.

  48. NotYet says:

    My basic identity – 58 year young male, BA degree from a well respected northeastern university. 35 years in a single profession. Assistant vice president level. I guess that makes me a careerist, accidentally, of course. Divorced seven years ago after 22 years of marriage. Returned to my prowling ways, temporarily, of course, and loving it (thank you, ladies). Three adult, college educated, independent children. Four grandchildren, all less than 11 years old. Point, my perspective is broad.

    I have read all 58 comments currently posted. All who find the show a positive are essentially on point. The comments of Ms. “Yes”, in my view, gives the best summary of what life is and why Enlightened is such a fantastic representation. I do not watch much television anymore. Most of the shows, in my opinion, are overwhelming predictable, and mindless, in general, thus boring. As a society, it seems that we are intent upon “dumbing down” our citizens. What entertains many of us is an example of that course. It was once said that if one truly wants to be entertained, their focus should be on life and all of its realities.

    Enlightened is true life. It is life, with all of its realities. In many respects, we all are Amy, perhaps to a greater degree than we choose to admit. Laura Dern is so perfect in her performance. I have met several Amys over my corporate, and personal, life span. Man, do I so very much love this show!!!!

    I do NOT consider the show a comedy. I consider it a drama, with elements of humor. It’s Amy’s character, her sense of purpose, her sense of righteousness, her fortitude, her injuries, her vulnerability, her moments of confusion and disbelief, her failures, her desire to rectify a wrong, her will to succeed, her honesty, and above all else, her sophisticated naivety, that has me waiting for the next episode. A show needs to throw me a curve ball every now and then to keep my attention.

    The episode in which Amy threw Levi’s drugs into the stream was hilarious. Levi stomps off to town to meet with a supplier. The episode could have been written with him staying, but it wasn’t. Amy apologetically went with him. It could have been written with her staying put. After Levi gets his buzz, he asks Amy if she wants to have sex. Fans, there is only one way to write her response. She says yes, right? Ex-spouses. . . A vacillating flame. . . More than a little emotional connection . . . Amy’s last second invitation to the camp, with a very confident belief that Levi would accept, and he does . . . They have to make up (she threw away his drugs) . . . How could she not accept his invitation to bed? ? The fact that she did not respond to his question at all, and the next scene was morning, with them not under the covers. NICE CURVE BALL! ! Fans, the show is not a comedy. Its a drama, with elements of humor. I enjoy the show so much that I often think each episode should be an hour long. It’s true life!

    Some of you have commented that the show has already been renewed. It should be! It doesn’t take much insight to know that Enlightened is the type of show that will develop a greater audience, over time. Perhaps by word of mouth, perhaps by commercial promotion, or both, but it will grow. Whatever the case, the basic premise of the show makes it deserving of a commitment by HBO.

    I am not a performing arts critic. I only know what grabs my attention and what repels me. Enlightened has hooked me. To the writers and performers of Enlightened – – GREAT WORK! ! !

  49. Myra Nichols says:

    Best show I’ve seen on TV since the beginning of the Soprano’s. I find Enlightened to be realistic and right on target with work as well as personal relationships. It’s not depressing, just real. Had to take a deep breath when Amy’s former boss told her what a nothing she was to him outside of his house with the wife inside during an early episode. Love the detatched screwed up relationship between Amy and her mother, one that niether can seem to change. Levi is the perfect immature drug addict who Amy can’t seem to let go of. Hope that we can look forward to a second season although with good shows like In Treatment cancelled maybe I’ll just have to go back to CNN on Monday nights.

  50. Meg says:

    Its a fantastic show that stays with you. It makes you think. The scenes are so perfectly composed in the actions, dialogue, and the visuals. Scenes pop into my mind from time to time and I find myself thinking about the issues they raised. Not many shows or even movies do that.