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17 December 2011 @ 10:17 pm
This is a community dedicated to the HBO series "Enlightened" which stars Laura Dern.

'Enlightened' is the new offbeat HBO series written by Mike White and starring Laura Dern as Amy, a self-destructive health and beauty executive who has a very public workplace meltdown. After three months of contemplation and meditation at a treatment center in Hawaii, Amy returns rested and ready to pick up the pieces of her old life and reshape the world she left behind. That includes delivering well-meaning, but generally unwanted advice to her mother Helen (Diane Ladd), with whom Amy is now living; her slacker ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson) whose only solace comes from recreational drugs; and the crew of awkward co-workers Amy finds herself reassigned to.  The series follows Amy as she navigates an unconventional path between who she is, who she wants to be...and what everyone is willing to tolerate from her.

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20 July 2014 @ 11:08 am


My favorite art makes me feel like shit. Confused. Angry. Sad. Uncomfortable. Frustrated. Choose any one of those words and you wouldn’t be wrong. Life’s best moments don’t come as a result of something easy or something predictable. They come when we least expect them. They come in the form of a rainbow painting the sky mere minutes after the storms ruin the picnic. The best memories aren’t given; they’re earned. That’s why they are the best. That’s why they matter.

Movies? I love it just as much when I walk away moved to tears as I do when I leave wondering what the hell just happened. Music? Having played the drums my entire life, I feel just as excited seeing someone perform a simplistic, groovy back-beat as I do when I know I’ll never be able to replicate what I just saw. Television? While I love me some Fresh Prince-like sitcoms, my heart and mind lies almost entirely with something like The Wire, a series I had to consume twice before I even began to appreciate everything that was going on.

About a month ago, I watched the last episode of the last season of the ill-fated HBO series, Enlightened. I was a couple years late, yes, but a friend whose recommendations I wholeheartedly trust said the series was must-see TV. Combine that with a trusty new username and password for HBO Go on my ever-reliable Roku, and my first stop on the app was the Laura Dern-starring short-lived dramedy. Or comeda. Or ...

... Or, well, I don’t quite know how to accurately describe it. Because even as I sit and write these words, weeks after having time to digest the story in its entirety, I still can’t make heads or tails of what it was I saw. Was it supposed to be funny? Because it was. Was it supposed to meditate on Grand Ideas through the prism of a middle-aged woman trying to do right in such a wrong corporate world? Because it did. Was it supposed to illicit weird, unnerving emotions that force us to reconsider the repressed complex feelings we rarely take the time to internally examine? Because that’s the effect it had on me.

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He also hasn't ruled out bringing back the Laura Dern comedy

Mike White is a writer's writer. So when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences asked him to participate in its new digital series, naturally the topic was writing. Or more accurately, not writing.

“Academy Originals” is the Academy's first original digital series, with new episodes every Monday. The doc-style show covers everything from creative process for filmmakers to historical moments in filmmaking, and more. In the video below, which launched on Monday, the former “Enlightened” showrunner discusses the value of procrastination and time not spent at the keyboard.

In a conversation with TheWrap on the same day, White expounded on the topic and masterfully tackled plenty others. We spoke comedy models, if “Enlightened” will live again and White's belief that street-fighting and algebra are mutually exclusive talents. Sorry, “Good Will Hunting.”

TheWrap: Tell us a bit about why you got involved in “Academy Originals”?
White: I don't know, they just approached me and I — they were talking about the creative process and, I don't know, it's the Academy, what am I gonna say, “F off?” I dunno. Honestly, I didn't really know what it was about but, whatever, if somebody wants to listen to me yammer I'll do it.

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12 February 2014 @ 08:43 pm
Details are still spare, but someone on Imdb posted something about the panel:

  • I was there. The message or vibe I took away from it was that Laura Dern is probably more ready to restart the series than Mike White. In fact, it became pretty evident that Mike White doesn't feel like he could sustain or re-engage with the high level of intensity that running a show requires. I guess the closest analogy that I could draw is someone who has a fear of heights and has just come back from sky-diving. It was thrilling and scary at the time, overcoming huge obstacles and it was a huge accomplishment, but ask him if he's ready to go back up and do it all over again. Probably not.

  • It was interesting to hear how the producers ended up with such a formidable line-up of directors. Especially after Seasons 1 and 2, directors were approaching THEM. Mike White credited Laura Dern for drawing them in. She revealed that Alexander Payne and Spike Jonze had both spoken to her about directing episodes if there was a third season, and that every time she runs into HBO execs, she happily relays the latest directors who will never be working for HBO because they canceled her show.

  • She used the words "super" and "amazing" a lot, sometimes together, and it just made me smile because one could see how much of her enthusiasm was channeled into Amy.

  • We didn't hear much from either Timm Sharp or Sarah Burns, but both received a big round of applause when they were introduced, or whenever Krista or Dougie's names were mentioned. Timm Sharp did reveal that after he lost out on the part to Mos Def, he cut his hair which he'd grown out for his audition. And when Mos Def pulled out, Mike White called Sharp, hoping he hadn't cut his hair because now he was going to be Dougie. So for the first season, Sharp had to wear extensions and wigs to simulate the hair he'd auditioned with. Season 2 was his own hair.

  • As far as Season 3, Mike White mentioned a plot point that I hadn't heard him discuss before, and that was the notion of shifting alliances. His "for instance" was that Tyler would turn on Amy because his loyalty to Eileen.

  • Hope that clarifies what went on. No major announcements.

Source: Imdb Message Board
08 February 2014 @ 06:59 pm
On Being Weird (a Brief Manifesto)
Writer and actor (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, The School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks); director (Year of the Dog); cocreator of Enlightened; poet laureate of the outcast

I'm weird, you're weird, your mama's weird.

For me it was never about trying to cultivate a personality of weird. But I guess if you're in the weird eye of the hurricane, you don't notice. I want to feel authentic, and in order to be authentic, I'm perceived as weird.

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In unrelated news, Brie Larson ("United States of Tara" and "Scott Pilgrim") has been cast in Mike's new movie The Good Luck of Right Now .
08 February 2014 @ 06:51 pm

The SF Sketchfest had an Enlightened panel last week. Unfortunately, I could not find any articles about it. Only this picture and a short description of the panel:

  • The reunion of the HBO series “Enlightened” took place on a rainy Superbowl Sunday at Marines’ Memorial Theatre. Moderated by Andy Richter, co-creators and stars Laura Dern (“Amy”) and Mike White (“Tyler”), actors Timm Sharp (“Dougie”), Molly Shannon (“Eileen”), Sarah Burns (“Krista”) and producer David Bernad dished about the show, how privileged they felt to be a part of it, and how a third season might have been shaped. Audience members were treated to a sincere and often tender panel discussion, punctuated by behind the scenes stories and genuine laughter from the stage. Mike White shared that his guiding principle for the show was, “How do you do the thing that’s exactly what they haven’t done?” He noted the desire “to capture an existential crisis, and it’s all in pastels.. like a Southern Californian Miss Havisham’s!” He also leant insight to Laura Dern’s character, Amy. “I believe that the world can be better than this and that’s a good quality… even if it’s crazy.” The San Francisco Sketchfest audience burst into applause.

10 December 2013 @ 09:25 pm
If you live in the US, close to San Fransisco, you're in luck! There will be an #Enlightened event next February with Mike, Laura and the rest of the cast:

Exclusive: "Enlightening" Sketchfest Event Announced

SF Sketchfest is nearly upon us. The two-week comedy festival, running Jan. 23-Feb. 9, 2014, for which the schedule will be announced tomorrow, has given SF Weekly an exclusive announcement about one of its biggest events.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, the director and cast of the acclaimed and great prematurely canceled HBO series, Enlightened, come to San Francisco for "Becoming 'Enlightened.'" Star Laura Dern, director Mike White, and producer David Bernad will all be present at the event, along with Luke Wilson, Sarah Burns, Timm Sharp, and Jason Mantzoukas.

The team will be at Marine's Memorial Theatre, and for $30 you can listen to their stories about the show and bring all your pressing Enlightened-related questions. Maybe like, what would've happened in that third season that never happened? Would Mantzoukas have ever returned? What about Dermot Mulroney?

The full lineup for the 'Fest will be announced tomorrow, so stay tuned. Tickets will go on sale next Sunday, Dec. 15, at

2. Enlightened (HBO)
Should you devote your life to doing the right thing, even if it's for the wrong reason? Mike White and Laura Dern's canceled-too-soon comedy forced viewers to grapple with that question as whistle-blower Amy Jellicoe (Dern) tried to drag down the big bad corporation where she worked — and earn more Twitter followers in return. While every other show pushed us to identify with antiheroes, Enlightened posed a harder challenge, urging us to root for an annoying but relatable human who couldn't desensitize herself to the horrors of the world. Despite its dark humor, Enlightened was a sincere show. It wasn't asking: Why does this crazy woman feel everything too deeply? It was asking: Why don't you?

The entire Top 10 list at the source

Additionally, Enlightened is on the Best TV of 2013-list by Maurren Ryan of The Huffington Post:

Enlightened," HBO: The great TV tragedy of 2013 was the cancellation of this aesthetically rigorous and dreamily intelligent show, which challenged viewers to stick with the bundle of contradictions that was Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern). Tom Scocca's great recent essay, "On Smarm," castigates those who would sacrifice real dialogue and productive confrontation in favor of cloying, reductive "civility," and it's hard not to think of Jellicoe when reading Scocca's words. She was not tactful, she was often abrasive and her self-absorption tripped her up time and again, but at least her subversion and drive had a purpose. Sure, it may have been a partially self-serving purpose, but Jellicoe believed in her ideals and didn't care whom she inconvenienced by pursuing them. "Enlightened" was a gorgeously crafted, compassionate ode to the dreamers, schemers and oddballs who see life not as a game to be won -- or a challenge to be avoided by hiding in a corporate cubicle -- but an opportunity to be seized. Amy Jellicoe was after, yes, enlightenment, and who are we to say she didn't find it -- and lead others in that direction as well?