Work in Progress

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There’s something exhilarating – in these days of Peak TV – to stumble across something that feels truly fresh. And while Work in Progress certainly plays with a lot of familiar tropes, improv comedian Abby McEnany’s scripted/autobiographical series performs a kind of alchemy with them. If, for instance, I said “depressed older man is given new lease of life thanks to romance with woman young enough to be his daughter” you’d run a mile. But when it’s about “a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke from Chicago” whose life is transformed by an unexpected romance with a young trans man, the situation takes on all kinds of new dimensions. In the last couple of decades television’s depictions of different kinds of love, romance and sexuality have expanded exponentially. But even in something like Jill Soloway’s groundbreaking Transparent, everyone was still middle class and pretty and essentially performative. Work in Progress, on the other hand, feels real and life-like at a cellular level. It’s extraordinarily human. The performances from McEnany and Theo Germaine as Chris are outstanding. And I can’t remember ever seeing a more convincing or more moving portrait of what it feels like to fall in love. Melinda Houston

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