Culture / Entertainment

Transparent Episode 1 Recap: Sounds Like Clitoris

The episode begins with some jaunty piano music. Ali rolls out of bed, walks through her house that looks like she’s about five years away from her own episode of Hoarders and makes coffee. She then leans and stares and sips.


This would never happen at Starbucks.

Next up, we see a bearded guy (Josh) awake in bed next to his lady lovah. He appears to be pulling his mustache into his mouth and chewing on it, so we know immediately that he’s a big weirdo.


Mmmm…tastes like chicken…

He rolls over and starts tickling his lady’s breasts with the sheet, and she wakes up smiling instead of screaming, “SPIDER!” like I would.

Digression 1: About twice a year, I wake up in the night because I am convinced that I see a spider descend from the ceiling into my bed. There is not a spider, yet I spend a few frantic minutes looking for it, which means that I am really fun in bed.

He says, “Just doing a little river dance…more like the Ice Capades…” and the young woman laughs, and I laugh, and I pretend the mustache eating never happened.

We cut to a kid watching a train go around a track and a mother packing lunches for her kids. She is counting out the number of raisins she puts in each lunch – a real parenting moment! How many times have you packed lunches and made sure everything was exactly the same?

When we finally see the mother, it’s Courtney Cox! Well, more like Courtney Cox after a rough day at the track, and her name is actually Sarah.


So no one told you life was gonna be this way…

Sarah rushes around the kitchen and then starts herding the children toward the door.

Ali and a friend are walking through a park where everyone seems to be doing some sort of exercise and no one is feeding ducks like normal people. Ali says she has a new idea and asks her friend if she remembers the book, “Are You My Mother?”


The friend starts laughing and says, “Oh yeah! That motherfucking bird that’s like “Oh tractor, are you my mom?”

Digression 2: I loved that book but was always confused about the tractor and even as a child, I thought that bird had a cognitive impairment.

Well, Ali wants to write a book called, “Are You My Soul Mate?” and sell it at Urban Outfitters. Clearly, she is not worried about the recent controversy surrounding their products. Ali’s phone rings and it’s her dad.

Sarah buckles the kids into the van and pushes play on the stereo and “Free to Be You and Me” starts playing just like real life! Not my life because we’re all about that bass (no treble) but Deborah plays that in the van for her kids. Sarah gets behind the wheel, and her phone rings. It’s her dad.

Josh is hanging out with the band he is working with (his lady friend is one of the vocalists) and he takes pictures of them knitting as you do when you’re making an album. They talk about pot, anxiety and vocals when Ali arrives on the scene. She asks if he is fucking both of them, and he says that he is “making sweet love” to only one of them – the one who won’t lead to statutory rape charges (my words, not his). She asks what the band is called and he says, “Glitterish” and Ali says, “Glitterish? Sounds like clitoris.” And it really does. She jokes that he should have snacks for the band, things they’d like such as “Juice boxes and string cheese.”

Digression 3: Please discuss the design flaws inherent in the juice box experience. You squeeze the box even a tiny bit and juice is everywhere. These should only be given to children if they will be drinking them somewhere else…like at school…or a friend’s house.

Ali asks Josh if he talked to their dad and he has and then asks Ali if she thinks their dad has cancer and she says, “Kinda.” Ali is the best/worst.

Sarah is at the kids’ school and runs into Tammy. Tammy is a lesbian and we know this because she has short hair and is wearing a blazer. Here is the thing about Tammy (or more accurately the way she is portrayed by the actress) – she acts like Jane Lynch trying to play Shane from the L Word. It’s not good.


Should I fuck Will Schuester or Cherie Jaffe?

Sarah and Tammy obviously know each other and Sarah mentions seeing a story on Tammy’s interior design business. Tammy then catches Sarah up on her break up and new wife and daughter. Tammy’s daughter is new to the school because she’s was kicked out of her old school for being a biter. Sarah says they should get the kids together because Sarah must own stock in tetanus shots.

That night, Ali, Sarah, and Josh arrive at their dad’s house. Sarah brought take out and they wonder what their dad wants to talk to them about. Cancer is everybody’s guess. They are met at the door by their dad, Mort, who kisses them all on the cheeks and says, “My darlings.” I would not describe these people as “darlings” but parents are always blinded by love for their children. Except for me. Mine really are darlings.

As Ali and Sarah take the food out of containers, Sarah mentions running into Tammy, and Ali gives us a little backstory – Sarah and Tammy spent their college years “lezzing it up together.” Ali disappears a few minutes later and finds Josh looking through Mort’s collection of vinyl. He shows Ali an old Jim Croce album and they wax nostalgic and sing a little bit of “Operator,” and I mention that I always preferred “Time in a Bottle” but they don’t seem to hear me.

They all sit down to dinner and…I don’t know what to say about dinner. It’s a complete mess – the way they eat, the way they talk over each other, all of it.


You have a little something right there…

They all point out how messy the others are and then disagree with each other and then Mort says, “There is a big change going on.” Then, they all start talking about him having cancer, and I know I shouldn’t be laughing at cancer but the conversation is so quirky and real that I can’t help myself until Mort bangs on the table and yells for everyone to stop, and I’m a little scared. He tells them he is thinking of selling the house or giving it to Sarah. Then, Ali and Josh start arguing that Sarah shouldn’t get the house and, at that point, I want to start kicking all the shins because they are all so selfish. Josh says he loves them all but he is leaving. Sarah starts packing up the food and dinner is over.

Later, Mort writes Ali a check and she makes excuses, saying her unemployment check got lost, and he says he is always willing to help her. He asks, “What happened to the Price Is Right money?” and really – the thought of Ali on the Price Is Right is just, well, priceless. Before she leaves, he tells her that of all his kids, “You can see me most clearly.” And that kinda breaks my heart because he definitely shouldn’t be putting all his eggs in the Ali basket.

Ali and Sarah leave, and we see Mort change into a long, colorful night gown and nestle into bed, ruffling fingers through long hair that had been pulled back, and we see the truth – this is Maura, not Mort.

The next morning, Sarah and her husband are in the bathroom getting ready for the day which means checking moles (him) and putting on make up while pantless (her).

Digression 4: How many of you stand in the bathroom pantless? I wouldn’t stand there in a t-shirt but no pants. No t-shirt and no pants maybe but not dressed half-assed.

Sarah mentions that her dad is retiring ,and they chat about that and then she tells him she wants to invite Tammy and her daughter over for a playdate and he’s fine with that. We know this because he says, “I like lesbians.”

Ali visits her mom, Shelly, and her husband, Ed. Shelly flits around the condo talking about the condo board and all this condo talk that I don’t understand before excusing herself to cut cantaloupe and that simple random declaration made me love her instantly. Ali tells her about her dad selling the house and there is a lot of sucking and eating of cantaloupe by all parties and then Ali asks Shelly if Ed is okay. She says that “since he lost his words” people think he can’t hear and tells her to ask him herself.


Who has two thumbs and a lap full of melon? This guy.

Next, we pay a visit to the Los Angeles LGBT Center where Maura is sharing in a support group. She looks fab – her hair is done, she’s got on a great wrappy shirt thing and she’s got bangles (bracelets, not the band). She tells a story about going to Target and being asked for ID by the cashier who takes her ID, compare the photo on the ID to the customer standing before her and says, “Oh.” Maura sees this as a breakthrough and a step in the right direction though she admits she hasn’t told her kids. Then, she delivers what I thought was the most devastating line of the episode, “I don’t know how it is that I raised three people who can’t see beyond themselves.”

Ali gets home and strips and stares at herself in the mirror before putting on running clothes and heading to the Exercise Park to find a buff trainer who will discipline her. Uh huh. There is ass slapping.


Push it real good

Sarah asks Tammy if she will give her some interior design advice and invites Tammy to see her old family home that her dad wants to give her. They drive there together and go inside and Tammy talks about the house’s “bones” which must be required of every character who is an interior designer. Tammy asks if she’d really move there and Sarah says she’d miss the farmer’s market and the papusa lady, “I really like her papusas,” which must be a hot lesbian pick up line because Tammy’s voice gets low and she approaches Sarah like a tigress and says, “What did you say?” and Sarah says, “I love her papusas.”

Josh is bringing some joy to his girlfriend’s Glitterish with nary a papusa in sight. He tells her he loves her and she calls him a loser. Ah…young love.

Sarah and Tammy make out and ponder their papusas…


Does this come with queso?

…and then Maura walks in on them.


There’s always money in the banana stand.

Rating: 4 out of 5 juice boxes
Favorite Scene: The family dinner – deliciously dysfunctional.

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  1. Hey. We listed to Free to by You and Me in the SUV too!

    Also, on the dinner, yes. Who taught these people to eat?

  2. Deborah Goldstein says:

    1. I would stand in the bathroom pantless – but only in my en suite.

    2. You have to count the raisins. They will compare, and if you haven’t counted the raisins, you will pay for it.

    3. Juice boxes are bad, but juice pouches are the work of the devil! I have PTSD from spending too much time trying to spear that straw into the pouch without piercing through to the other side.

    4. Judith Light is fantastic, and so is this recap!

  3. 1. All or nothing for me.
    2. I hate raisins but understand.
    3. Yes!
    4, She is and she gives good cantaloupe.

  4. This is hysterical. I hated the messy dinner faces blech, was also cracking up about Tammy/Jane lynch/Shane (and why are her pants always so high with the belt??). My wife stands (in the en suite) in her t-shirt and pants less and I find it extremely sexy. Light is good but a little overly accent-y w the Jewish. Let me know if you need help w Juice boxes or raisins, I must say I’m quite talented both with spearing of juice boxes and with equal division of snacks. All of this said, love the show!

  5. Great recap! Indulging in the free 24 hours of Amazon prime and binging on Transparent!!! love love love the reference to SHANE! I miss the l word. Great recap. Enjoy the digressions. Can so relate.

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