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Caroline Vella

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Get Enlightened

Posted: 03/01/2013 5:30 pm

People sometimes have a hard time wrapping their brain around the fact that I blog about music and I'm also a yoga instructor. And if I'm a music blogger, why am I always talking about film, TV or yoga? It actually makes perfect sense to me... or rather non-sense. As a person who tends toward over thinking, I'm drawn to experiences that help silence the never-ending game of telephone that goes on in my own head. What appeals to me about yoga and the cultivation of inner stillness, is the same refuge that I seek through great art and storytelling. It's through the expanding of my heart that I am able to quiet the mind, which ultimately enables me to better express my own voice. Some days are easier than others, but like anything, it's a work in progress with hopefully no end-all in sight.

Take for example, the HBO show Enlightened. Last year immediately upon seeing the first episode, I posted a blog applauding the series and the use of the poignant Regina Spektor song "Human of the Year" at the close of the premiere episode. It perfectly expressed the sentiment of the show, in which Laura Dern's character so convincingly explores the struggles we all face in trying to get to the heart of our inner truth without blowing it along the way.

The subject of personal growth is one I connect to, but it surprises me the series hasn't appealed to a larger audience and the future is uncertain. It's ironic that the show about trying to pull it all together after some unraveling is now hanging by a thread... awaiting HBO's decision to renew for another season. I don't claim to be overly enlightened but I find it to be one of the most insightful and thoughtfully written shows on television. Each week I'm amazed at how brilliantly creator, writer and actor Mike White weaves together these soul-searching characters and scenarios. (The "Following" episode alone, exploring our insatiable need for social media connection, should earn him the award for human of the year.)

Though the show is teamed next to Girls it hasn't enjoyed the same popularity. Maybe it's because no one knows about it and it's not getting the same publicity. Or maybe it's because floundering just isn't as funny when you're well past your 20s. We point and gawk at it when it's on reality TV but maybe the raw and authentic emotion of it all bubbles a little too close to the fictitious surface. But that's exactly what makes it compelling. The teetering between heart wrenching and heartwarming or profound and pathetic is stuff we all grapple with on a daily basis. Regardless of how life plays out, aren't we all in our own way, trying to make some sense of it?

It's almost as if Mike White is wrestling with his own inner dialogue and expressing it through the words of his characters and unknowingly questioning the fate of his show's future. On one hand, slacker boss Dougie responds to corporate layoff with, "Life's a sneaky bitch... Just when you build your castle, here comes the fucking tidal wave." But then, his own character Tyler, finally hoping to get a little piece of the of the pie asks in earnest, "Can't this have a happy ending for everyone?" With the season and possible series finale this weekend, let's hope it's the latter and HBO sees the light and doesn't blow it.

 

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