The Pearl Knows


I started a game awhile back, in an effort to curb my sailor-mouth habit, and I called it Swear Rations. The idea was that I would start the day with a small pile of tokens, each good for the use of one cathartic curse-word. Use them wisely, I would say to myself, savor them, appreciate them, and be done with it and be a goddamn (clink, a token dropped into the USED pile) lady for the rest of the day. It worked for a few weeks, and I even had a nice stockpile of rollover swears, and then one cataclysmic day I burnt through them all, and oh, it felt good. Angry, ugly, dirty words may be all of the things your mother says they are: tools of lazy, stupid people with no creativity or vocabulary, or maybe, an alarm bell for letting the devil know where you live (actual claim from neighbor-mother when I was an impressionable young girl). But sometimes they are the only defense when the world seems set against you.

I had a feeling HBO wasn’t going to renew Enlightened, but that inkling didn’t do much to lessen the blow when they announced they weren’t picking it up. “While not continuing Enlightened was a difficult decision, HBO is proud of the show and looks forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future,” they said via Facebook. “Oh, eat a bag of dicks,” I said, via my mouth. The vulgarity made me feel a little better, but not as good as cancelling HBO a few minutes later.

Television has never taken my breath away the way this show did, and there were moments this season when I had to just sit and cry when the episode ended, they were so poignantly, perfectly rendered. We were lucky to have two seasons, and for a writer like Mike White, who tied up loose ends and created graceful closure for the story in the second season finale, so we’re at least not left hanging. But I hope it’s not the last we see of performances like that, of that caliber of storytelling.

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