“When one person in a family transitions, everyone transitions” says Judith Light’s character Shelly Pfefferman in the exquisite (but really: Alabama Shakes’ “Sound and Color” sets a lulling tone that turns each character into an oil painting) first trailer for Transparent‘s third season. The line is perfect: this has always seemed the thesis of Jill Soloway’s show, since Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura first came out as trans at the beginning of the first season. Not only was Maura exploring the opening of a new world of possibility — and questioning the givens of her old one — so too were her children and ex-wife. The trailer, which can be watched below, comes immediately after some of the themes of the third season were revealed at the Television Critics’ Association press tour.
In “season three, the theme is to come out of your shell,” Our Lady J, one of the series’ writers, said at TCA (as quoted in The Hollywood Reporter). “Most people think of someone who has transitioned is as going from male to female, not as being assigned the wrong gender at birth,” she noted when she also revealed that the third season would flash back to Maura’s childhood in 1958, as a 12-year-old. (The show has previously included flashback to examine Maura’s adult understanding of her relationship to gender, and in Season 2 featured repeated flashbacks to a pre-Holocaust Germany, where a trans Pfefferman aunt played by Hari Nef was persecuted.)
The trailer shows two steps for Maura: asking to be called “Mom” instead of “Moppa” (which clearly provokes mixed emotions for her ex-wife), and beginning to seriously consider plastic surgery; meanwhile, it looks like she’s still seeing Angelica Huston’s Vicky, while Shelly looks to be toeing the line between empathy and exploitation by giving talks about her family and seemingly her own abstract transitions as what looks like a burgeoning business venture. The children look like they’re in pretty much the same place — Jay Duplass’ Josh looks lost and isolated, Gaby Hoffman’s Ali looks lost within her relationship, and Amy Landecker’s Sarah looks lost but enjoying herself slightly more than the others in her lostness.
The season will be available to stream on Amazon on September 23. Watch the trailer: