Seitz: Enlightened's Heroine Is Still Deranged, But Not Totally Wrong

What if you had the key that could unlock the chains, the magic key that could free us all—would you use it?" asks Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), the heroine of HBO’s great comedy Enlightened, which returns for its second season this week. Amy thinks she has such a key—a password to access e-mails of the executives at her L.A.-area cosmetics company, Abaddonn, who she suspects are lying greed-balls who pollute the environment, sell unsafe products, and plot to replace their workforce with "one fat guy in an office somewhere." And she’s right.

Too bad this righteous messenger is so easy to shoot. Amy is a former sales executive who last season took a leave for reckless behavior, rehabbed at a holistic treatment facility, and rejoined the company as a wage slave in Abaddonn’s experimental Cogentiva division, ground zero of the worker-replacement scheme. She’s a paranoid, manipulative flirt, a lazy flake whose workload is carried by her nebbishy co-worker Tyler (series co-creator Mike White), and a drama queen who acts as if other people are supporting players in the Julia Roberts movie of her life. "This is fate, serious fate, like sword-in-the-rock fate," Amy tells her mother, played by Dern’s real-life mom, Diane Ladd. "Maybe I am chosen for something, you know?" Read More....


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