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Sep 17, 2023Liked by Dennis Perkins

Thank you, thank you! I was one of those 300,000 outliers trying to proselytize all and sundry about the brilliance of Enlightened. You have inspired me to begin my own rewatch of this gem - I do not suspect, I KNOW that it will be even more timely now than it was when it first aired. Mike White, Laura Dern and everyone involved in the production of Enlightened deserve all the love for their nuanced, genius work.

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Sep 17, 2023Liked by Dennis Perkins

I was a huge fan of this show during its run, which came out and really enjoyed in on various levels. I was five or so years into my career at the time and its depiction of corporate culture, internal politics and the people you encounter in it is spot the fuck on.

Similarly, it was hugely difficult for me to try and sell this series to anyone and I do totally get why. Having experienced several of them first hand, people who go all-in on self-help books and wellness can be incredibly irritating, self-righteous and painful (and as we've learned in recent years, grifters on social media). Having to spend all day with people like that made selling people on the idea of watching a show about that to be hard work.

One aspect that I like, which you touch on, is that while Amy dresses up her push to improve the company in wanting it to be a better place, there clear implication and desire is for her to get another big gig within Abbadon and maintain her corporate prestige. There's still that naked ambition, but it's dressed up in self-help and wellness clothes, so to speak.

Dern and White are simply amazing in every aspect, as is Ladd who I wasn't overly familiar with before this.

Amy Hill is also great as the HR Rep. I remember her impressing me a great deal. Very accurate to the ones I've known in my decades of corporate experience.

Looking forward to following along with this series.

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Love this show and appreciate that EM is writing about it. Though at the same time, I am curious as to why this was picked for EM classics, when AVClub had reviewed both seasons back when they were on the air.

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So excited to finally have a push to start this show! It has been on my list of shows to watch ever since the A.V. Club named it the best show of the year and I just never got around to it.

This is a fascinating show. "Dense" is a great word for it because it manages to pack so much into the 30 minute runtime. I feel like there is so much going on and I'm amazed at how nuanced these characters and their relationships feel. Well okay, not the weirdos in the basement, but I'm sure some of them are full of surprises.

Dern's performance is incredible, the way she lets her anger burst out in different moments is telling of how tenuous Amy's enlightenment actually is. There's a lot to unpack with this show and I can't wait to follow along!

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This coverage is so exciting!!!!

1. The rage that Laura Dern taps into reminds me so much of Big Little Lies (season 2?). It's used for much more effective storytelling in Enlightened, probably because BLL s2 is.... muddy.

2. I love Mike White, and once interviewed him! And we spoke about Enlightened as it related to Survivor, and how so often his characters are actually selfish people disguising themselves as generous. That's so much of what reality tv is, be selfish but maintain a moral high ground. And all those traits will come in to The White Lotus s1 particularly.

3. Amy is such an exceptional character, she is patronizing and condescending, but at the same time desperately wants to be loved, and shows her love through these annoying methods. I wonder if now, with how often the "anti-hero" is the protagonist of tv shows, that audiences would be much more receptive to what Enlightened is trying to say. Also - is this the perfect "fuck work" show?

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If we were to compare the cringe levels between different seasons and versions, where does this rate? Because I am somewhat intrigued but it’s sounding like something of a humiliating slog for the main character.

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I rewatched this show for the first time since it aired during the pandemic, and I still think it's the best thing Mike White has ever done. One of my favourite shows ever.

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