I Love Jill Soloway and Kathryn Hahn
I’m a big fan of Transparent, and in between seasons, I sought out creator Jill Soloway’s other work. As it turns out, I’ve been watching their shows for years, including Grey’s Anatomy and The United States of Tara. There is something about Soloway’s writing that I really relate to, probably because, like many of the characters, I’m a wife and mom in my late 30s. Jill Soloway often explores the different roles women assume throughout their lives, and the most recent pieces address female sexuality in ways that haven’t been depicted in the past.
When Grechen mentioned watching I Love Dick recently, I listened to the Fresh Air interview with Soloway (also recommended by Grechen) and then started watching the show. Kathryn Hahn, who plays the lovely rabbi Raquel in Transparent, is featured in this new Amazon show based on Chris Kraus’ book by the same titillating name. Hahn often works with Soloway and played the main character in Afternoon Delight, which I watched again recently. It’s a beautifully raw portrayal of a California stay-at-home mom’s life, and again, I found myself relating on many levels. After listening to the Fresh Air piece, it’s easy to see Hahn’s portrayal of Soloway’s characters as an extension of Soloway. In Transparent, the characters of Sarah and Ali also embody those same qualities of women searching for something more than their assigned roles in life. Soloway very recently came out as trans, preferring gender-neutral pronouns.
With I Love Dick, which Soloway calls “a celebration of the feminine,” Hahn’s character, who is married, actively seeks out the man she is attracted to, who also happens to be the founder of the art institute where her husband has come to study. It’s a complicated story, but Soloway fills it with strong feminist characters who are artists in their own right, and uses other films and art pieces to illustrate the concepts at play within the show. There’s also the fact that it’s set in Marfa, a somewhat mysterious arts colony in west Texas, and the character of Dick is based loosely on Donald Judd, who helped put Marfa on the artistic map. This piece about I Love Dick’s director, Jim Frohna, is especially good.
I quickly devoured all eight episodes of the new show, and I’ve finally convinced my husband to watch them. The characters, the setting, and the clothing are so gorgeous, and each short episode is wonderful, just by itself. My very favorite is the fifth, “A Short History of Weird Girls,” and it’s beautifully acted by Hahn and her fellow actors, Roberta Colindrez, Lily Mojekwu, and India Menuez. I also did a bit of digging and found the Instagram account for Marie Schley, the costume designer for both Transparent and I Love Dick. Hahn’s wardrobe in I Love Dick is really enviable, and features pieces by Isabel Marant Étoile. In one scene, Hahn’s character wears a stunning silk wrap dress, and her husband doesn’t even notice. But I noticed, and I’m fairly certain it’s the Kamil Dress, or a very similar version of it. Lily Mojekwu, who plays the curator of the institute, also wears beautiful pieces by Eskandar.
Eight episodes just isn’t enough, and the ending of the final show bears a resemblance to a pivotal scene in Afternoon Delight. I’m looking forward to a second season, as well as Transparent‘s fourth season, and I can’t wait to see more from both Jill Soloway and Kathryn Hahn.