Another week, another silent phone. It’s nerve-wracking, as my fate hangs in the balance. Will I be starting a job soon? Moving? Reevaluating everything in the face of no job offers at all?
In the absence of news, I’ve had more time to think about the brilliance of Enlightened and have come up with some more insights into the show.
One theme I picked up on is that regret is a useless emotion. In the second season, Amy finally gets the job offer of her dreams, but it’s too little too late as she has set too many other forces in motion. She seems confused and regretful, but the truth is, she only gets the offer because of the things she set in motion– it is initiated by someone she never would have met otherwise– but these are also the very things that impede her from taking the job. You can’t really go back and say “if only.” Life is too tangled and messy to isolate out decisions like that.
A second theme that resonated with me is that if you aren’t interested in someone, the biggest favor you can do is let them go to find someone else. Recently another guy I rejected in the past announced his engagement, and once again, his fiancee seems compatible with him in a way I never was. Amy does Tyler a favor by recognizing they are ill-suited romantically and rejecting him; Eileen is thrilled to find him. Of course, like Amy, I’m still waiting for someone compatible to show up for me.
Third, Mike White sensitively portrays the ways in which the people we connect with intellectually can let us down personally. There are only two characters in the series who share Amy’s newfound spiritual/political/intellectual interests, and neither of them prove to be available for true friendship or romance. Both of them, in fact, use Amy and let her down. On the other hand, she has relationships with other people who don’t share her interests but who are always there for her.
I find that to be one of the most frustrating conundrums in my own life. Last summer I was introduced to a woman who makes an effort to get together with me frequently. I truly appreciate the effort, but our interests are so different that I find conversation to be a struggle and find it difficult to think of things we can do together. And yet, over the course of my life, I have been routinely flaked out on by people I connected with intellectually and politically.
In the parting shot of the series, Amy seems happy, but she walks alone. I suppose I’ll have to find satisfaction with this commenter’s interpretation:
Manruss • 8 months ago
In the end, Amy’s enlightenment came, not by getting any of the things she wanted out of life, but by simply becoming unafraid to live on her own terms.