Where will Transparent go from here? The Emmy-winning dramedy has been in turmoil for months ever since Jeffrey Tambor, the star of the show, was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by former assistant Van Barnes and series co-star Trace Lysette (Tambor has denied the claims, calling them “false accusations”). Their allegations arrived in the midst of the #MeToo movement, and Tambor was ultimately dropped from the series, tasking the show’s writers with re-centering the narrative of a series that revolved around his character. While other productions, such as Netflix’s House of Cards and the film All the Money in the World, moved quickly back into gear after similar scandals, it appears Transparent will need more time. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show’s shooting schedule has been pushed to December, which means there won’t be any new episodes in 2018. Representatives for Amazon have not yet responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.
Prior to Tambor’s scandal, the show was supposed to shoot and air new episodes this year. However, the fifth season now has to be rerouted, allowing the writing staff ample time to work Tambor out of the show completely, according to T.H.R. He has served as the crux of the series for the last few seasons, playing Maura Pfefferman, an older woman coming into her trans identity. What will the show do now that its anchor is gone? The answer for House of Cards was fairly straightforward, as the last season of the show ended with Robin Wright’s character becoming president and distancing herself from her spiraling husband (Kevin Spacey). Now, Wright is the show’s core lead. Transparent, meanwhile, will have a slightly harder time explaining away Maura Pfefferman’s disappearance (by the end of Season 4, she’s still a vital presence with an expanding relationship plotline). Perhaps things will shift in favor of her ex-wife (played by the delightful Judith Light) or one of her three children (Gaby Hoffmann,Amy Landecker, and Jay Duplass). The narcissistic trio have a never-ending series of problems, lending the show a true ensemble feel. Or maybe the narrative could be handed over to one of the trans actresses starring on the show. Lysette, who is trans, made this very request when she went public with her allegations against Tambor last November, asking Amazon to turn this scandal into a “teachable moment.”
“Let our brilliant writers continue to craft something that is entertaining and creates social change the way they know how,” she said in a statement. “Don’t let the trans community suffer for the actions of one cis male actor. Transparent has been a guiding light in the industry, by employing more trans people in Hollywood than any other production in history, which made it even more difficult to speak out.”
As T.H.R. points out, Amazon is currently entering a shaky new period after former TV head Roy Price resigned (following a sexual harassment allegation scandal of his own) and was replaced by Jennifer Salke. Laying a path for Transparent, a flagship series that earned Amazon prestige credibility in the TV world, will undoubtedly be a key part of whatever new agenda is set for the future.
Meanwhile, the allegations against Tambor aren’t going away. In a Wednesday interview with Megyn Kelly, former assistant Barnes detailed her allegations against her onetime boss, claiming that he made lewd jokes around her and allegedly told her that he watched her sleep naked one night when they were sharing a house for work.
“That’s violating,” she said. “It’s so creepy. This is a man I put my trust in.”
Tambor, in response, referred Kelly to a statement he released in November: “I am aware that a former disgruntled assistant of mine has made a private post implying that I had acted in an improper manner toward her. I adamantly and vehemently reject and deny any and all implication and allegation that I have ever engaged in any improper behavior toward this person or any other person I have ever worked with. I am appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation.”
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Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.