Enlightened - The Complete First Season
Laura Dern shines her tiki smile on callous corporate America in "Enlightened," the 2011 HBO series she co-created and co-executive produced with co-star Mike White.
She’s Amy Jellicoe, who’s had a nervous breakdown at the conglomerate Abaddonn, and returns after three months of therapy in Hawaii to a reduced position. She’s now sequestered in their basement-level lab alongside assorted freaks and geeks, including White as Tyler.
In addition to the demotion, Amy’s moved back in with her estranged mother, Helen (played by Dern’s real-life mom, Diane Ladd), and is trying to reconnect with her addict ex-husband, Levi (Luke Wilson), plus catty former co-workers and fellow cellar dwellers. Just like Amy, her car breaks down; she spills coffee on her white sweater. She’s unable to rehabilitate Levi or to provide aid to causes she stumbles upon in the news, like an imminent immigrant deportation.
I suppose viewers are supposed to sympathize with this tall, blonde heart on a sleeve, whose breakdown was precipitated by an affair with her previous boss and who is trying to live her therapy mantra as an "agent of change." But Amy is just annoying, prattling on to anyone and everyone, nosing into business both personal and professional, attempting to resurrect dead relationships. Rather than enlightening, it just exhausts.
The Blu-ray set is the complete first season of ten 30-minute episodes, all written by White (who also wrote the Jack Black vehicle "School of Rock"), with two directed by Jonathan Demme. Features include audio commentaries and "Inside the Episodes" segments, but there’s nothing in the box to help the audience care.