These issues of white privilege, white anxiety about white privilege, and intersectionality don't disappear after Maura's adventure in Compton, though — they're a (painfully awkward) driving force throughout the season.
Whether it's Gaby Hoffmann's Ali cluelessly whitesplaining "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf" to her Black female dentist or a B-character complaining she got dragged for her hot take on Zora Neale Hurston, "Transparent" Season 3 painfully and hilariously pokes fun at liberal white privilege, a lot.
"We have to be interrogating ... our racial privilege; our cis privilege," Soloway explained.
The three actors who play Maura's spoiled-but-trying adult children — Hoffmann, Amy Landecker (Sarah), and Jay Duplass (Josh) — were all thrilled that Soloway chose to make their privilege the butt of the joke since, per Hoffmann, "we love making fun of rich white people."
Duplass particularly enjoyed filming a scene in which the Pfefferman children lose their minds after Maura ends up in a hospital (after the Compton incident) where there's "brown people around," and ask to get her medevaced to Cedars Sinai ... even though she's medically stable and ready to return home.
"It’s fucking absurd, and it’s true, and it’s real," he explained with a laugh.
To make these sequences — and the painful scene with Elizah — more than just a laugh, however, Soloway made sure to "bring in people who are trans, who are people of color, to tell their own stories" behind the scenes.
"If I’m not a woman of color and I’m telling Elizah’s story, I’m interpreting, I’m not reflecting," Soloway continued.
And "Transparent" is admirably inclusive behind the scenes, though trans actress Alexandra Billings, who plays Davina on the show, points out that the very white, very liberal, very Jewish Pfefferman story is worth telling, too — privilege and all.
"I’m one of the few people of color on set, and what’s important is we remember the human story that’s being told transcends the color story that’s not being told," Billings said. "[...] Certainly the privilege is predominant, but ... every story needs to be told through the lens of the history of the person living it."
One such person is Trace Lysette, who has played Maura's trans yoga instructor turned friend since Season 1.
Lysette said that it's not all laughs at privilege's expense when it comes to Season 3 of “Transparent.” The series also takes its time delving deeper into her character, whose privilege begins and ends with her whiteness — which probably doesn't mean a whole lot when you're in the sex work biz to pay for gender correction surgery.
"I think they do a good job at showing the contrast between what people are afforded," she said. [...] "My character Shea, you’ll see later in the season where she’s working and what she’s doing to make ends meet. That’s a narrative that’s all too common for girls like me ... I’ve gone down that road. I’ve dealt with sex work, and financing my own transition; all of that. So it’s a very real story that’s being told. I think the levels of financial privilege are definitely addressed, and racial privilege."
Contrast Shea with Maura, who considers getting these surgeries on her own this season with the ease of someone who can easily afford it and ... well, you begin to see why conversations about intersectionality — financial, racial, LGBTQ, or otherwise — are worth having. Forever, probably.
"Here’s my maxim: keep the conversation going," Tambor concluded. "If it’s a difficult conversation, just keep talking."