HBO News Blog

Laura Dern Talks Enlightened Season 2

By Jacob Klein on Dec 19, 2011 to Enlightened

HBO’s newest ‘dramedy’ has just closed it’s first season and critics all over the internet are already demanding a second season.  As yet the network hasn’t confirmed that Enlightened season 2 is even in the works yet but lead actress/producer Laura Dern already has a few ideas.  In a recent interview the actress responded to questions about the second season of Enlightened:

TVLINE – So if there is a Season 2, are were going to see Amy in this Norma Rae-Erin Brockovich kind of role? I know we didn’t see exactly what she did with that access to the corporate email accounts, but can she continue to work at Abaddon after metaphorically burning it to the ground? Do you and Mike [White] have a sophomore season mapped out in your brains?

LAURA DERN  – We have it a bit mapped out, but we’re still exploring too. The exciting part of our work together is in how we imagine what Amy would do with these opportunities. I can say [whatever happens] will never be anything but the most unlikely version of events. Just when she’ll think she’s being a whistleblower, just when Amy thinks she’s saved the world, somebody will be like, “Boy did she screw thatup.” [Laughs] What’s great about Amy is she’s the kind of person that is trying to open a can of worms, and when she does, nobody sees it, but they’ll see all these other cans that nobody even knew were there. It’s like with Levi or with her mother: “Well, he’s never going to not be an addict.” “She’s never going to not be a shut-down mother.” And yet she’ll try to open them up in her way, and she won’t succeed, but the flowering will occur in a whole other area. And that’s what is beautiful about complicated people, people who are willing to tell the truth and force us to our own truths, even if we don’t do it the way they wanted us to.

TVLINE – Getting back to the hope for a second season. The show hasn’t been huge from a ratings standpoint, and I wonder when you and Mike conceived this show — which isn’t a comedy per se, but is more quiet and meditative, and not really like anything on TV right now — did you worry about finding an audience for it?

LAURA DERN – You know, we didn’t think too much about it, really. We just hoped to make something that people would connect to. In terms of ratings, all of that is so elusive. For us, cumulatively, we’re seeing that a lot of people are supporting the show, whether they’re finding it on HBO Go or On Demand or in their TiVo box. But Mike and I and everyone involved have made the story we wanted to tell. And we hoped that there would be a lot of people who not only connect to it, but who would be willing and patient enough to give Amy her due. I mean that in the same way as I would about the people who are in the Occupy [Wall Street] Movement right now. There is a lot of judgment we can put directly toward our ideas of what a person who does this kind of thing is. Or we can surrender all judgment and [appreciate] that people who are willing — at all costs — to speak up may also be complicated people.

TVLINE – So last question for you. I wrote a column recently urging HBO to give Enlightened a second season, and there was some feedback from folks in our comments section saying things like, “Oh, I watched the first two episodes and I just couldn’t deal.” Or, “It’s too upsetting or too depressing.” So let’s say you had to try and change those people’s minds. What would be your pitch to them?

LAURA DERN – It’s your moral duty, as an American, to stand with Amy. To me, it’s the exact same things that I would say when someone says, “My God, you know, all these hippies are like down there with tents [at Occupy Wall Street]. And they don’t even know what they’re fighting for.” I’d urge them to just go down there — I know this sounds exhausting — but go down there and start asking people why they’re there. Even if there’s someone who’s clueless and doesn’t really know why he or she is there, the mere fact that they’re there — just like the mere fact that Enlightened exists — shows that there is unrest. We all want to have a voice again, which is why I’m so excited in my own little way to get to play a character that points a finger and recognizes the same story that’s being told in a million different ways right now. We’re all considering how to use our voice and if it means something, and what it is to be a whole person so that we can do it successfully, and that is super exciting to me. So I would beg people, if they are annoyed, they are a perfect audience! We’ve been waiting for them our whole lives. The very people who are saying, “I cannot handle this,” they’re the perfect people to watch [Enlightened].

We’ll have more on the next season of Enlightened as soon as we hear that it’s been officially renewed for a second season.  Enlightened Season 2 will most likely premiere in Fall of 2012.  Did you get a chance to watch season 1?  Are you excited for a season 2?  Leave a comment below and let HBO know you want an Enlightened season 2!

  • glindygirl

    I absolutely LOVE this show and the imperfect and very plausible character in Amy Jellicoe. I love Mike White’s writing and the social commentary he makes in the double dealings of Abbadon and the corporate drones of Abbadon that make up most of our American zeitgeist nowadays…this show is a wonderful satire of how our complete lack of values have been turning us all away from the common good to becoming the sheeple we have become as a nation …showing us how the greedy corporate interests and the heartless drones who do their dirty work are taking us all…a wonderful mirror is held up to us all and Amy Jellicoe IS, unlike Hannah in the vapid series “GIrls” a TRUE voice of her generation and should be the voice of us all…I applaud this show and we need to pay attention to the amusing, entertaining and very real messages it has to share with us. Power to the people…Give me Amy any day…she may be clueless in her own way, but at least there is something there of value…Hannah is clueless and has nothing to offer us but narcissism and hopelessness with nothing redeeming in the end….I would rather be enlightened than bored to tears by clueless and empty characters any day.

  • Grace

    I love this show, i am excited they made a second season

  • minigal

    Enlightened is a little “gem” of a show! Wonderful writing and interesting, quirky characters. I can totally relate to Amy and her desire to make things better in a less than ideal world. I’m looking forward to the developments in Season 2 and hope a wider audience discovers this watchworthy unique show.

    • I’m glad people are excited for it! I hope it hits its stride in season 2 as good shows often do.

  • Kaye

    Thank you Laura Dern and Mike White. I fell in love with this show from my first viewing. It’s so sensitive, so poignant while being subversive on so many levels. It makes me cry inside – as a mother, as a daughter and as a wife. Both my husband and I are huge fans and we want to thank you because your show helped us navigate some really difficult times with our daughter. And Laura, I have always loved your work – this is my favourite Xxxx

  • Susan Olson

    I’m assuming the writing for Season 2 is done, so I’ll be optimistic and assume a season 3. The best episode in Season 1 was Consider Helen. It was the most personal and compelling, giving Diane Ladd a chance to shine.

    I suggest an episode that picks up where that left off. This episode would suggest why Jim asphyxiated himself since all the clues were in the previous episode. You have to being Carol back, and create a husband for her. In this episode, as Carol suggested, they do get together when Carol’s daughter comes to visit. In the reunion, it’s hinted at with some eye jazz that there was a relationship between Carol’s husband and Helen. Amy gives these old folks a couple glasses of wine when they arrive, and 2/3 of the way thru, the whole truth comes out. Helen and Carol’s husband had an affair, and Amy’s younger sister (so far barely mentioned) is the product of that liaison. Jim found out ( flashback to the confrontation between Jim and Carol’s husband). That’s why the partnership broke up and Jim offed himself. Neither wife knew that the guys knew. But both women knew. The episode should end there. Might I suggest Bruce Dern to portray Carol’s husband?

  • Liz

    Love the show! HBO depicts perfectly the ugly side of corporate America. Laura Dern’s Amy is endearing. I love her resilience; reminds me of my best friend. This show makes me laugh, sympathize, hope and relate. I’m anxiously waiting for Season 2 — and hopefully beyond.

  • Elisa

    Can’t wait for Season 2! Brilliant show!

  • joyce

    My husband and I really loved the first series of enlightened. So many people just ride on the coat tails of others never express how they feel. The all mighty dollar also seems to win. Really looking forward to season 2.

  • Rebecca

    Love this show and it’s willingness to come from unchartered territory! Love Laura, Mike, Diane, and Luke! Can’t wait for season 2! I love that this show doesn’t present mindfulness as a joke, but is respectful, because it’s really makes a difference.

  • shawn

    yes , calender guys- and maybe a hook-up with amy for a young cutie!!

    • lara lew

      AGREE_ some hot love interest- young and she can control him- he puts up with her ups and downs- maybe quite and hot- but mike is a great writer he knows we need some of that!!! us young girls- who now are his biggest fan- even though he like her in the show!!!

    • Dang you ladies are hot for Enlightened! I had no idea this show had such sex appeal.

  • suz

    come on season 2 – you give us everything- but young HOTTIES!!!

  • catalina

    I’ve just seen the whole first season almost at once and I loooved it!!!! i feel so connected to it. all the characters are special and human and i love amy and levi relationship because is so honest. I think amy’s feeling about her life, and her sik for meaning and love is the growing feeling of all people nowadays with less or more concious about it so we need this encouragment it takes courage to enoy life and make a diference in that way for all of us, so thanks for this wonderfull and sweet serie, can’t wait for season two!

    • As a man, I will have to give this show another chance. Love Girls!

  • Meghann

    Enlightened immediatedly drew me in … I was amazed that something so real was on tv.. I was so excited!! Amy is like a mixture of me and my best friend… Quirky, ambitious, a little crazy but totally taking in All the beauty in the world right now. I want to meet Laura dern , she’s a genius for making a show about this… She’s spreading the enlightenment!

  • marcy

    love dermot, molly but…. levi, laura qw need something for us to look ant and think about – all other shows have a least one young haedoody to look at- us young girls need a little blonde- tan – hot bodies to look at as this great show – come on – throw us a bone-
    aka john snow= half the girls watching – HBO shows have a hottie to talk about- come on!!!

    • suz

      we need some hardbody to look at – yeah throw us a bone!!!

  • Diamond Harris

    Hello my name is diamond and I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee this show to the fullest! I sometimes have low self esteem sometimes it seems as thought my world is crashing down when all I try to do is make things better and help people my problems and fears take over.I am a college student in Texas and I live off campus, I came across this show one day when my ex boy friend said that he was coming over and he didn’t and I was stuck in the house watching TV by my self. As I was flipping through the channels I remember thinking to my self”ugh how come its not anything good on TV around this time?” and then Enlightened came on and I was truly enlightened. I really hope to see more stories like this from Amy I always think of me as being Amy’s friend because I think that whats she needs more than anything a really good friend and I wish they did casting in my area for the show because i would certainly audition, as a matter a fact Im in school majoring in theater arts but anyways I love Amy and all her battles and all of her short comings because in a sense she is like me and I am like her, the only thing is I never stole files and thought about burning my place of work down (laugh) but please please please please renew the show for season two….it gives people like me something to look forward too and it gives us a small piece of mind that’s says yes its true you are not the only one feeling like this and you aren’t alone!! GOOOOOOOOOOO Amy!!!!!!

  • Ben

    I loved the show. It is so beautifully complex!

  • Luis Villegas

    Thank you for a great show. Human behavior, interaction, conflict, lies, truths, emotions, addictions, ethics, environment… Would love to watch season 2.

  • Kelsey Kleiman

    I just watched the entire season. Mike White, you are an amazing writer. chuck & buck, the good girl, school of rock, year of the dog, enlightened. You leave me speechless. Laura Dern is genius in this. The whole cast is great. And the director line-up is amazing as well.
    So glad I found it. And its so not a comedy. Bummed to have to wait until Fall for more. Good thing I found Girls. Also incredible writing and incredible writer / actor as is MW. Does Lena love Mike’s work and vice versa?

  • laura

    I absolutely love this show. Amy embodies every characteristic that I have within myself but have been too fearful embrace. Her character is so honest and hopeful, which some might believe appears pathetic however she is definition of strength. This show truely conveys what it means to have compassion for life no matter how flawed you are and allienated it can make you.

  • p miller

    i am still waiting for more of LEVI- luke wilson and some younger hot guys for us young girls that kove this show but need more BEEFCAKe- boys – we love all the girl stuff-but when there is something yummy to look at we like it even more- hot bods- glonde- calif- goys for me!! and my friends.
    please season 2 !!!!!!

  • Kathy

    Can’t wait for season 2 of Enlightened!!! Still really upset about Bored to Death, please bring it back!!!

  • selemah

    Love, love, love enlightened this show is so funny that my husband and I talks about the next day. PLease hurry and bring back the show.

  • matt

    HBO would be hitting a foul ball in route to a strikeout if they drop the ball on Enlightened 2012 season

  • Jenny

    I love this show. A friend had highly recommended it to me. It took a couple of episodes to get into it, but once I hit the river rafting episode I was totally hooked. I even watched that one twice! There’s definitely a little bit of Amy in me, and lately when I find myself in frustrating situations, I think”what would Amy do?” Fortunately, I usually do the opposite! The whole drive to be “enlightened” and stay centered and peaceful in a world that pushes in the other direction is to me the crux of the show. I also love Amy’s relationship to Levi and hope that is developed further. I’m an avid watcher of “Game of Thrones” and can’t wait for season two, but there’s something about the quiet truth of this show that really pulls me in. No violence, no torture, no foul language, no lurid sex … it doesn’t need any of it. I also appreciate the 30 minute back to back episodes. So well acted, crafted, and directed!

    • I’m happy so many people are into this show. HBO renewed it for a second season and I hope it gets more exposure this time around!

  • jen

    I had never even HEARD of this show until a week or two ago. I stumbled upon it on HBO on demand and I watched the entire season in one sitting!! I LOVE this show. So excited for season two!

  • stephanie

    My husband and I love the show. It is ‘real’ and captivating. Characters are all great studies in the diversity of human’s. I am really glad that it will continue to air!

  • Andrea

    Loved this show! Dern and White are brilliant. Please bring it back HBO!

  • Delia

    i just finished watching season 1 in one sitting. i loved it. i felt connected to the character in so many ways, i almost felt as if I were her. i am truly excited and happy this show exists, honestly. It’s great to see a show that centers its focus on self-change and self-motivation for once. i can’t WAIT for the second season. COMMIT TO A SECOND SEASON ALREADY, HBO!

  • Caroline

    I can’t wait for season two! This show is amazing and relatable. Incredible.

    • Aly

      I was hooked since the first episode. Amy and the other main characters are so vulnerable and the underdogs that so many of us can relate to in one way or another. I am surprised this is categorized as a comedy, because several episodes have brought tears to my eyes, they were so dramaticallymoving. Thanks, HBO, for renewing it for a second season!

  • Andres

    Im IN LOVE with show. I watched the whole season in two days I could not get enough!! It’s like Laura says about no being able to handle it. There was moments when I couldn’t watch but it so good you watch and your hooked and it’s like watching your own very crazy life unfold in front of you. It’s so relatable. Looking forward with great enthusiasm for the second season!!!!

  • dee

    I just finished watching it on Shaw on Demand, great first season, I look forward to the second one. I can relate to Amy, I’ve done several self help weekends and always came home with a fire in my belly for change. The hard part has always been still thinking you have to fit in… as you write the next season keep in mind she may need to go for a tune up to keep her strong and focused, maybe a meditation weekend with her mother, or a new employee who secretly shares her drive!
    Good luck

  • Rick

    This show is awesome. I’d never heard of it until 3 weeks ago and came across it staying in a hotel room one night in Boston. I’ve watched all 10 episodes on ON-Demand over the last few weeks and have been telling family and friends about it. Really looking forward to the next season and hopefully many more.
    Rick in Decatur GA.

    • Glad to hear it, Rick and Holly! I’ve only seen the first three episodes but I liked what I saw! Would you guys say this show is geared towards women or can it be a guys show too?

      • Rick

        Perhaps more women will like it because in this day and age I think more women than men are becoming enlightened, but there are alot of men out there that I think will like it. Probably a slightly older male demographic (35+).

        • Yeah that sounds about right. I’m going to watch the rest of Enlightened this Holiday with my wife (we’re <35) and I'll let you know what we thought!

          Thanks for the replies, Rick!

  • Love this show, love laura and mike.

    • amy

      Haven’t missed one episode! Absolutely love it. I am Amy, not only in name but in reality. Working for a system like she did put me in the hospital with a total break down. I soooooo relate. She is a great hope for me. I hope she is one day vindicated, and may it be sweet!

      • lara lew

        we love it too, Amy is great, we could use some eye candy- young hotties- mike give us our seriws young hot body!










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