TV Preview: HBO's Enlightened: A Comedy About the Pitfalls and Pratfalls Of Getting Back On Your Feet

Attempting to change your life for the better can have mixed results.

By , Columnist
Over the past few years, we’ve seen quality television shows devoted to troubled women attempting to scrape and scrounge through life, dealing with their challenges the best way they know how. Pill popping Nurse Jackie(Nurse Jackie) and pot dealer Nancy Botwin (Weeds), immediately come to mind.

In HBO’s newest drama, Enlightened, we are introduced to corporate executive Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), a woman who has, shall we say, issues. When we first meet Amy, she is not at her best. Having a breakdown in a stall in the ladies room of the office where she’s just been canned is not an auspicious beginning to her story. It seems, though, Amy is a trooper. Her life changes immeasurably as she takes herself in hand, pops off for a new age-y jaunt to Hawaii filled with meditation and “finding herself”, before returning to her life a changed woman. She has become enlightened.dern_tears2.jpg

Or has she?

We must give Amy credit because she tries, she really does. Maybe she tries a wee bit too hard. Her attempt to enlighten her slacker ex-husband (Luke Wilson) ends with him offering her cocaine. Her mother Helen (Diane Ladd), who is apparently the source of many of Amy’s problems, turns a deaf ear on what Amy considers a remarkable breakthrough. Damon (Charles Esten), the co-worker with whom Amy had a tryst, thinks she is totally off the hook and wants nothing to do with her.

With a cagey bit of wheedling, Amy manages to get her old job back but it’s obvious from the disgruntled glares and whispered remarks in the office, she is not welcome there.

What’s to become of Amy Jellicoe is anybody’s guess. The ten episode series, created by Dern and Mike White (Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks) “follows Amy as she navigates an unconventional path between who she is, who she wants to be...and what everyone else is willing to tolerate from her”.Laura Dern’s first rate turn as the beleaguered protagonist is certain to make viewers sympathize with her plight. It may even inspire them to tune in again.

Enlightened premieres Monday October 10 at 9:30 ET on HBO.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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