ResBasEco • 2 years ago
I enjoy this show. Laura Dern’s character is highly recognizable from my corporate drone days. She’s in that career gray area where you don’t really want to keep running down the same road everyone else is because it’s lost most of it’s meaning. I think it’s important to point out the significance of her not having children. I’m a guy but I’m in the same boat. When you have kids you aren’t really allowed to do this kind of soul searching and floundering around. There’s a schedule to keep, examples to set, and lives to protect. But when kids aren’t a factor, quitting a job (every three or four years) is almost always an option. You need more from what you do every day in order to feel like what you do matters. I’m curious to see what she figures out.
I loved the show Sex and the City, but couldn’t help but wonder (a la Carrie) what Carrie’s future could have morphed into if she had remained single. It was disappointing that they all ended up paired off; to that end I like the theory that Mr. Big and the other ladies had all been but a dream (https://thebitterbabe.com/2013/10/01/fantasy-lives-2/).
Amy in Enlightened is finally the character who is alone– single and childless- at forty. And boy is she alone. She seems completely friendless; there’s no trio surrounding her as in Girls or SATC.
In the first couple of episodes we see her trying to ram her way back into the lives of people with spouses and kids. First with Krista and then, through a literal car ramming, back into the life, via apology, to the married-with-kids coworker with whom she had an affair.
Given her spectacular meltdown in the first episode, it’s no wonder none of these people want to have anything to do with her. And yet, it’s an extreme version of what many of us who remain single and childless feel– that we are an embarrassment, the eternal fifth wheel.
Eventually we see Amy bond with other childless people– her ex Levi, Tyler and Dougie and Eileen from work, the journalist Jeff– and she loosens her grip, although not entirely, on Krista. We also are treated to one episode with Sandy, the single and childless friend with whom she bonded at Open Air. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the people I know who are fans of the show are also older, single, and childless.
The show derives much of it’s humor from the fact that Amy is like the Energizer bunny. She just keeps going and going. She is routinely kicked down, but she rises back up ever more determined, albeit occasionally delusional.
In this quiet period of my life, when I’ve been trying to change my life and only partially succeeding, when I’m spending far too much time alone, when I’m feeling a bit rejected by former colleagues, when I’m unsure about my future employability and feel like I’m facing this battle all alone, when former “friends” both here and in L.A. don’t answer emails, when I feel like an embarrassment to the people who encouraged me to re-apply to my old organization, when I’ve felt powerless and expendable, when the few people who continue to reach out are also on the margins… this show has spoken to me like no other.
I’ve taken strength from Amy and her indomitable spirit.