I had just quit my own version of an evil corporate job when I gave “Enlightened” a try on a whim last year. I found myself weeping. I watched the next one. And the next one. I stayed up until 3 a.m., like I had discovered a new confidante who “got” me in a way that few people did. It felt akin to a friend reaching out to hold me, stroke my hair, say the perfect thing and make me realize that no matter how shitty we can feel at times, you are connected in this life.
Enlightened series 1 arrived yesterday and I’ve watched it all already.
What did you make of the episode with Robin Wright?
I totally cried at her ending monologue outside the airport (of course). I wasn’t sure what I thought of the flowers in the journal. Mike White said in one of those youtube recaps that Amy had been totally alone and friendless so wanted to give her an episode with a friend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZnEgKXUqnc).
What did you make of it?
This was helpful in interpreting the episode: http://www.avclub.com/articles/sandy,65106/
And this (but don’t read the full article if you haven’t seen season 2):
AVC: You use floral motifs a lot throughout the show, and there’s a lot of flower symbolism throughout, particularly with Amy’s mother. This episode ends with Tyler buying the flowers. Why did you choose flowers as a symbol?
MW: I think with Helen, it’s little different; I think the meaning changes. With Helen, there were times, especially at the beginning, where the problem with Amy’s relationship with Helen is that she wants her to react and fight her or love her or something, and often the mom just shuts down. To me, flowers represent that nature doesn’t love you or hate you. It just exists, and there’s something beautiful in that. It’s not about approval or criticism; it’s just something that acknowledges a separateness, but it’s also life co-existing. To me, my sense of Helen is we understand from her background why she is probably trying to keep this emotional stuff in check. It’s not that she hates Amy, or that she even loves Amy. It’s that flowers, to her, is like her bringing Amy back to a non-emotional state, a natural state that is without these heavy, pendulum swings of emotion. And also, in the episode with Robin Wright, it’s kind of enacted, too. Helen says, “My flowers don’t judge me; they don’t move my stuff around.” So Amy wants all this stuff from Sandy [Wright], and first she projects onto her, and then she starts getting paranoid of her. And in the end, like the flowers in the book, she’s not really thinking about you. She’s just living her own reality, and I think that, for someone like Amy, is a lesson she needs to learn. It’s not either anger or love, there’s some kind of natural non-emotional state that she can reconnect with.
I need to watch this episode a few more times but it stirred my emotions STRONGLY. It’s been a long time since TV did this to me.
Sandy completely irritated me, waltzing in, all teflon sunny smile, beads and blonde hair (do I find blondes untrustworthy?!? see below), deaf and blind to the damage her long-forgotten probing questions could cause people who owe her nothing, the flaky no-show yoga class (but time to shop for mangos to juice), the healing straddling of Levi, the flowers, the bloody flowers.
I wanted to shake Amy and tell her – this woman is no friend of yours (I cheered a little when some of the veneer fell and Amy pulled Sandy up on her no show yoga). Sandy was probably just stuck for somewhere to stay, a feral cat, and happy to wander out of Amy’s life as easily as she wandered in. But I can also relate to Amy’s loneliness, unsatisfying friendships and the feeling of being on the outside no matter how much you want to break in.
I saw the Inside the Episode where Mike White said he wanted to give Amy a friend and thought – this is the friend you though she needed?!? I understand that Sandy functions as a mirror but found it painful to watch. I don’t know, obviously, there’s stuff going on here for me (I think Sandy reminds me of a childhood bestfriend who betrayed me).
Any of this ring a bell for you? What’s your take on Sandy?
You know, I think I related so much to Amy and her paranoia in this episode that I barely thought about Sandy. Sandy is really the last female “friend” we see Amy have in the whole series! Very sad.
But yeah, I know lots of flakey people, and California is the epicenter of the flakey friend, so it certainly seemed believable.
Ha! – I found the presence of Sandy so invasive that I barely thought about Amy.
Also, what’s interesting to me, and we see it later in Season 2 with the journalist, is that Amy finds people who she can connect with spiritually and/or politically, but then they let her down. Whereas some of the other characters, including her mom, are always there for her. I find that a lot in my own life. Certainly in L.A., I was often around people I admired and with whom I felt I had a lot in common, but they were not available for real friendship.
what I really liked about the Sandy episode is the takedown of Sandy as being in any way more self-actualized than Amy. For all her emotional messiness and self-absorption, Amy is at least earnestly trying to make the world a better place and is taking risks in accordance with that intent. Sandy is all flowery language (and flowery imagery!) with all the external trappings of healthy living but none of the self-reflection or open-heartedness. She reveals herself to be n emotional terrorist, and somewhat of a poseur (“journaling” implying that the is dutifully reflecting on her life, etc whereas in fact what she is doing is just glorified doodling).
On another note….I did really resonate with Helen’s remarks about Amy’s doomed friendships…been there, done that. Ouch! 😦