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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?

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Today the season two DVDs were released. So, I thought it would be nice to have a little discussion post where we celebrate the show one last time. Favorite moments? Least favorite moments? Most uncomfortable scene?
 
 
 
Enlightened (HBO)



How my character and I differ:

I have learned to have boundaries in my life, which makes my life easier but also makes me harder to be around. The most difficult part of playing Amy: Keeping my “skin” raw enough that one word — not even the wrong word — taken the wrong way, and I would leap into an unbelievably, inappropriately huge response.

What I need most to play Amy:

Longing. That pretty much sums her up, and I find it relatable.

My favorite scene from last season: My favorite Amy moment was when Dermot Mulroney’s character dumps her and he says something like, “We both knew that this was never going anywhere,” and instead of the Amy you’ve watched go ape shit for two seasons, she says, “I didn’t know.” I loved it — it showed that sometimes maturity and wisdom comes from being your most vulnerable self.

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08 August 2013 @ 09:53 pm
Laura Dern was inspired to create Amy Jellicoe, the flawed center of 'Enlightened,' by the Bush-Gore disputed election.

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HBO explained its decision to cancel "Enlightened" to the press Thursday (July 25). It had partly to with the show's ratings, which didn't move much in Season 2, but also with how the season ended -- just right, in the opinion of HBO Programming head Michael Lombardo.

"I think the most important element to not going forward was we felt creatively, the story of Amy Jellicoe [Laura Dern] had come to a natural resting place," Lombardo says. "We thought it was best to end it where we did. It wasn't a financial decision per se, it was about choices and a creative decision about it had worked beautifully. It felt we should end where we ended it."

Lombardo does acknowledge, though, that ratings were a factor. "Some of it was about seeing a show that didn't grow in its second year," he says. "It had not as robust ratings as we had hoped for, because we think it's a beautiful show, and the second year even elevated in terms of creativity."

What do you think? Do you feel like "Enlightened" ended in a good spot?

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Laura Dern was in Chicago with her kids when she received word that she was nominated for lead actress in her recently canceled HBO comedy "Enlightened."

"I was very surprised in that I wasn’t aware of it at all," said Dern of the nomination announcements that happened early Thursday morning. "It was a nice way to be surprised. And I’m totally thrilled -- it’s a lovely compliment, or gift, or however an actor wants to take something like this."

The nomination was also welcome in that it was further proof to Dern of what she already strongly believes: That "Enlightened" is an important and respected show, worthy of gaining a wider audience than it initially did.

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I thought this was an interesting read.

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Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.

Krista was in an impossible position from the beginning. As Amy Jellicoe was burning out in a spectacular fashion at Abbadon, her assistant Krista was actually given an opportunity: with her old boss gone, she could rise in the corporate ranks. When Amy returns after an extended leave, she finds Krista thriving. She’s pregnant. She’s happy. She’s successful. And she’s occupying Amy’s old office. It was always going to be awkward.

Creator and writer Mike White allowed his show to luxuriate in complexity, and Krista is never reduced to just one thing. Actress Sarah Burns created an empathetic character who is fundamentally conflicted about her relationship with Amy. Even though we may have experienced most things in Enlightened through the vehicle of Amy, we’re never blinded by her, and can see the always earnest and sometimes tone-deaf strain that she manages to put on others. On one level, Krista is just kind of trying to lead her own life and deal with Amy’s intermittent, terribly self-centered, interruptions as they come.

EW spoke with Burns about her character, knowing what it feels like to outgrow a boss, and Enlightened’s bittersweet ending.

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