Enlightened: Season One – An Introspective
Enlightened was a two season HBO series written by Mike White,who we all may only remember from School of Rock, although his catalog covers some ground throughout the 2000s. Starring Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a former corporate meltdown turned progressive peacekeeper through an emotional rehab, who is just trying desperately to get back into the good graces of her old company, while trying to simultaneously clean up their act is a show of just that: desperation.
Season one focuses on Jellicoe’s desperation to ‘stick to the script’ of her self-help books as she returns to work at Open Air, Abbadon, the company where she had had her infamous breakdown just a month before. Many of the same faces now inhabit the upper levels, which makes Jellicoe’s rise back that much more difficult as no one but Jellicoe is open to second chances.
This is where it becomes almost insulting as Jellicoe pleads in nearly every episode for her former coworkers to remember their friendships her to no effect, yet thinks however optimistically that there’s still a chance for redemption (as if most viewers aren’t streaming episodic blocks and can see right through her former secretaries and partners).
While Dern is putting the hours in at Abbadon for us, she is also (for some reason) still dealing with her drug addled ex-husband (Luke Wilson), who seems to be the only character worth watching as he battles multiple drug addictions, yet never gets enough screen time for our own fixes.
As great as the writing, cinematography, and meaningful closing voiceovers are, somehow this show just doesn’t manage to make a ten episode first season worth sitting through. It isn’t until the last episode that anything exciting enough to make you want to watch the next episode happens. Even then, you’re inclined to watch the next episode for one reason: to see if it gets better.