Culture / Entertainment

Transparent Episode 3 Recap: Shangri-la

The episode opens with Maura packing up her house to move to the Shangi-la Apartments.

Mardakan Digression 1: Yes, a digression already. Shangi-la sounded very familiar to me so I looked it up and found that it comes from the novel Lost Horizon and refers to a harmonious valley. Nope. That wasn’t what I was looking for and then I remembered! The Shangi-la is also a resort near Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks. In my youth, Shangi-la and Tan-Tar-A (another resort in the same area) did indeed call to mind paradise though clearly my idea of paradise has changed over time.



Anyway, Maura is moving to the queer commune, and Sarah has come over to help her pack. Maura wraps pictures in paper while Sarah talks about lesbian love, which apparently involves texting the object of your affection about sandwiches. Lucky ladies. All I know is that I want to handle moving like Maura does:


Look what the homosexuals have done to me.

Sarah spends the night and we see her lolling about on the couch in boxer shorts leaving a message for Tammy saying, “When I hear your voice, I feel better.” Someone needs to teach Sarah how to play hard to get. Sarah is restless and goes through some boxes and finds a bunch of letters to Josh stashed in cereal boxes.

Josh is trying to call his glitter girl (whose name is Kaya, I guess) and she won’t take his calls. So, he goes to harass the other member of Glitterish and tells her that Kaya won’t return his calls which is weird because they are totes getting married and the girl says, “Oh my god, you weird old sad fellow.” The word “fellow” makes this the absolute perfect line. Thank you Glitterish! His phone rings and it’s Sarah, and she tells him to come get his cereal boxes and he gets really testy and tells her not to look in them and she says she already looked at the letters and pictures from “Creepy Rita” and it turns out that Creepy Rita was his babysitter so the “creepy” part of her nickname seems accurate.

Ali’s friend brings her some moon rocks and asks when they are going to do them but Ali is planning to get high with Derek and Mike (her trainer and his roommate) because she is hoping for some “spitroasting.” Ali’s friend and I find it odd that she wants to share BBQ while high but then Ali explains it to us because we don’t watch porn.


“This pepper shaker is investigating my vagina…” Digression 2: I had to spend quite a bit of quality time with the Urban Dictionary to understand what moon rocks are and what the salt and pepper shakers were really doing to the candle.

Sarah says goodbye to Maura who is sitting with just a few boxes because she’s downsizing. The movers start loading the truck and Josh arrives because he’s worried about his Alphabits. He checks that his letters are there and then plays with a metronome and then Maura dressed as Mort enters the room – she couldn’t tell him.

We then take a trip to 1992 and Wild Time Books. Mort is inside looking at Transform Magazine while the three kids are in the station wagon out front. He meets a guy who suggests a PO Box but Mort says his wife does the bills. The guy and I both say, “Mine too.” Mort leaves, gets in the car and starts doling out candy. Ali and Josh fight over the Charleston Chew, which is like the burnt brussels sprout of candies.

Josh shows up at the studio where he works and the boss says that he is not going to be working with Glitterish anymore. Instead, he’s going to be working with The Drug Mules. Josh says, “Neigh.” He causes a scene, asking if Kaya had him fired and the boss tells him she didn’t feel safe with him. Josh gets super duper mad, picks up a chair and throws it at the window. Don’t worry – it bounces off.


Why wouldn’t Kaya feel safe with me?

Josh is now unemployed.

Sarah arrives home and tells Len that she’s been “riddled with anxiety” and “overwhelmed” and he says, “How?” Ouch, Len. Just because we don’t work outside the home doesn’t mean we don’t have stress, OKAY? Sarah starts justifying her existence by talking about committees and the school parent organization and then mentions that she’s training for a triathlon, “To swim in the ocean to raise money for breast cancer…because I hope one day if I have breast cancer, somebody swims for me.”  And as she bursts into tears, I burst into laughter.

Len looks confused and Sarah tells him that she and Tammy lived together in college and she is still in love with her.


Suddenly, Len understands that his wife has been making ladyfinger sandwiches.

Len suggests they go back to therapy, but Sarah says it’s won’t work. She can’t fight the power of the ladyfingers.

Josh shows up at Kaya’s because nothing makes a woman feel safer than an angry man barging into her backyard. She tells him she had him fired because there is no way she was moving to the mountains and running around with her boobs spraying milk. I want to tell her it’s more of a dripping situation than a spraying one but this doesn’t seem like the time. He won’t give up.


Let me mansplain something to you…

Kaya tells him she had the abortion the day before and they are done.

Davina is helping Maura unpack and Maura tells her she wasn’t able to come out to Josh but plans to tell Ali next.

Speaking of Ali, she is prepping the drugs for the pig roast and it looks like this…


…which looks like these…


Dammit kids! Stop throwing the illegal drugs on the ground!

She cuts off the extra paper and then they swallow them and the recapper has to go back to the Urban Dictionary because she’s not sure they are using the illicit drugs correctly.

Sarah drives through the city, leaving messages for Tammy, calling her “babe” and “honey” which seems a bit premature. She shows up at Tammy’s house because this family loves to stalk the people they love. She spies with her little eye Tammy and family in the living room.


9 out of 10 lesbian moms love a good game of charades

Meanwhile, Ali and Mike growl and talk about cats and invite Derek into their feline play. Derek says he’s thirsty and Ali says, “You should kiss me. I’m 70% water.” I am going to use that line forever and ever. But then Ali makes a terrible mistake and tells them she is going to be the vessel through which they make fuck each other and they are all, “Nope.” Everybody puts their pants back on and Derek escorts Ali to a cab. Once in the cab, Ali makes all the small talk that’s ever been made with the Armenian cab driver. There are small candy bars in the car and she asks where he got them and he tells her he gets them at The Costco and she says, “It is so nice that you go all the way to The Costco to buy candy and I’m so sorry about the Armenian genocide.”

Josh sits in his underwear reading Rita’s letters.

Sarah goes to her family home and sets up a bedroom for herself now that she’s left Len.


Take the new Buzzfeed quiz: How Lez Is Your Lamp?

Ali continues to busy herself with the business of being high and her phone rings and it says “Daddy” who asks to visit and Ali says, “Now is the perfect time! I would love that!” This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.

Rating: 4 out of 5 ladyfingers

Favorite Line: Such a tough call this week but I have to go with Sarah’s line, “…because I hope one day if I have breast cancer, somebody swims for me.”

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  1. Deborah Goldstein says:

    Few have fought the power of the ladyfingers and won.

    For the record, not that you asked, but I was more a sprayer than a dripper. #bioniclactator

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