Launching on May 12, Jill Soloway’s new Amazon series I Love Dick is no Transparent. However, what it is will challenge you, maybe shock you, inform you, and certainly throw into question what a TV show is with a plethora of perspectives rarely seen on the small screen.
Sure, challenging can sometimes be a polite way of saying confusing, as I say in my video review above, but it can also be something new, striving, and different – and that’s an ambition you’ve got to like about this series co-created by Soloway and Sarah Gubbin based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 novel. And that’s even when the 2017 Sundance Film Festival-previewed show meanders at times, as it almost instinctively does.
Starring Kathryn Hahn, Kevin Bacon and Griffin Dunne and set in a West Texas art town, the series with the obviously attention-grabbing title goes straight for the lustful and creative obsession of frustrated and seemingly self-destructive filmmaker Chris (Hahn) for modern-day Marlboro Man in residence Dick (Bacon). A longtime Soloway collaborator, Hahn is great here as usual, while the Footloose star reminds us of how indie his aura can be. Yet, with the emphasis on the female gaze, patriarchy, iconography, the labor of women, and explorations of what and how art is and can be (plus some New York Dolls and Louis Bourgeois thrown in), the real stars of Dick are not immediately in the spotlight.
Turns out in the right and daring hands, feminist art critiques are a honed narrative device. Turns out also that Roberta Colindrez delivers a breakout performance that signals where the future is, literally and figuratively.
So, if you want to take a break from reading Avital Ronell’s The Telephone Book or similar such material, check out my video review of I Love Dick for more on what I think of the series. Then tell us, will you be watching? If you want to see an artist like Soloway expand her horizons, you should.