“I Love Dick” is an Almost-Comic, Almost Masterpiece

About 20 minutes into the pilot of “I Love Dick.” the new Amazon show from “Transparent” creator and showrunner par excellence Jill Soloway, I sat up and said to myself:

- Advertisement -

“Is Soloway trying to be funny?”

This is really the question I have about all things Soloway, from her brilliant work on “Six Feet Under” to “The United States of Tara” to “Transparent” to “Dick,” the latest messed up kid in the family. In between the insufferable characters and the hilariously small, myopic worlds they find themselves in, there is a thin strain of comedy that seems not to entirely want to be there.

The other side of this question, of course, is, “Is Soloway taking herself too seriously?”

Let’s say she is. Let’s say Soloway isn’t trying to poke fun at try-hard, effortlessly pretentious academics, self-important feminists who wear the term ‘artist’ a bit too readily, and spouses who don’t seem to consider the prospect of a non-monogamous marriage until after the first betrayal. If Soloway is trying to expose these archetypes for the fools that they are, “Dick” is her comic masterpiece.

In “I Love Dick,” an adaptation of feminist artist Chris Kraus’s 1997 pseudo-biographical treatise, “Chris” (Kathryn Hahn, aka Rabbi Raquel from “Transparent”) follows her scholar husband Sylvere to a fellowship in the isolated town of Marfa, Texas. There, she meets “Dick” (Kevin Bacon) and becomes sexually obsessed with him. But they don’t have sex. And Sylvere knows all about it.

Well, practically.

In between the primary plot of Chris – Dick- Sylvere, there’s a cast of new characters that did not appear in Kraus’s book. These are the kind of Jill Soloway stock characters most viewers will recognize from “Transparent.” Brilliant, pretentious, and achingly frustrating young queer people who believe that sexual freedom (howsoever it comes) will eventually translate into actual freedom. Eventually.  They’re the ones who are mostly obnoxious to watch, while Hahn bears the comic brunt of the piece, raging and blustering through every scene with exceptional comic timing.  As a comedy, it couldn’t have been pulled off without Hahn. The show even goes so far as to align Hahn’s visions of Chris with her visions of what art is.  We see increasingly absurd shots of Bacon, first carrying a lamb through the center of town, Christ-like, then sitting on the couch, legs wide, his genitals barely covered by a brightly-colored tapestry blanket. We also see, as a kind of prologue to each episode, footage from female artists past, most of which exposes sexual acts for what they are: Completely absurd.

But let’s consider the other side of it: Perhaps Soloway, in adapting the legendary Chris Kraus novel for the screen, didn’t actually find any of it funny. Let’s say she wanted to go at it with the pure heart and fierce intelligence that she brings to everything, without skewering the book’s vision, without calling out any of the bullshit. Let’s say that was the point all along.

Well, that’s more complicated.

Happily, “Dick” is the kind of TV show that can easily house more than one “point.” It can be obnoxious and hilarious at once. A viewer can be rooting for the characters while laughing hysterically at their obliviousness. One can see oneself in Kathryn Hahn’s Chris, while truly feeling that this woman – this manic, desperate creation – could never actually exist.

That’s the beauty of it. “Dick,” for all its flaws, is a complex show. There was never any doubt that it would be: It’s Soloway, after all. What’s good about it is that it’s building on an idea that this culture has just started to take seriously: The idea that women have sexual and emotional agency, no matter what their relationship to men. What’s great about it is that it’s a kind of rough draft. You can see someone else years from now picking up “I Love Dick,” seeing what it started to sketch out, and turning that sketch into a full, brilliant masterpiece.

Comments

45 COMMENTS

  1. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after looking at many of the
    articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

  2. Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind of information on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hello there, You’ve performed an incredible job. I will definitely digg it
    and individually suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  3. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with
    your site. It appears as though some of the written text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and
    let me know if this is happening to them too?

    This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Many thanks

  4. Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know
    if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get advice
    from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  5. I do not even understand how I finished up right here,
    but I believed this submit was good. I don’t understand who you’re but definitely you’re going
    to a famous blogger if you are not already.
    Cheers!

  6. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to
    find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I
    personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been written about for decades.
    Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

  7. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website
    and in accession capital to assert that I acquire
    in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  8. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it,
    you happen to be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will often come back
    sometime soon. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great work,
    have a nice day!

  9. I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills and also with the format on your blog.
    Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way stay up the nice high quality writing,
    it is uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one these days..

  10. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two
    pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  11. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some
    guidance from an established blog. Is it tough to set up
    your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m
    not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions?
    Appreciate it

  12. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could
    i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me
    a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your
    broadcast provided bright clear concept

  13. Tubebuddy The Tag- and Thumbnail- Generator will bring your video up in the ranking on Youtube, is awesome. Many more tools only for one goal, grow your Channel Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time It`s a Free tool, and Very useful plugin for Youtubers.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE.

  14. the sims 4 creating kitchenThe Sims 4 is the fourth major title in life simulation video game the sims 4 creating kitchen series The Sims, developed by Maxis the sims 4 creating kitchen and The Sims Studio and published by Electronic Arts. The Sims 4 was originally announced on May 6, 2013, and was released in the sims 4 creating kitchen North America on September 2, 2014 for Hello, Very Nice Site with a lot of Information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBxIRaaVEYE of the sims 4 creating kitchen the sims 4 creating kitchen is very easy to the sims 4 creating kitchen learn much of the Game The Sims 4 create a Kitchen and more. The game has the same concept as its predecessor, The Sims 3; players control their Sims in various activities and can form the sims 4 creating kitchen relationships. The game, like most of the series, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is nonlinear. The Create-a-Sim and Build Mode tools have been redesigned to allow more versatility when creating game content. Emotional state plays a larger role in game play than in previous games in the series, with effects on social interaction, user interface o date EA has released four expansion packs, with the most recent (Cats & Dogs) being released in November 2017. There have also been several “game packs” released, including Parenthood which allows the players to shape the characters’ children and teenagers as they go through life, as well as free updates that include major changes such as the addition of a toddler life stage. See You the sims 4 creating kitchen

  15. Tubebuddy The Tag- and Tubebuddy Thumbnail- Generator will bring your video up Tubebuddy in the ranking on Youtube, is awesome. Many more tools only for one goal, Tubebuddy grow your Channel Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time It`s a Free tool, and Very useful plugin for Youtubers Tubebuddy .Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time Tubebuddy on Youtube.Much more Subscribers, Views, and Watch time on Youtube.FREE Tubebuddy FREE Tubebuddy FREE FREETubebuddy FREE.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here