Saturday, September 16, 2017


Tig Notaro at Radio Station

Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro
Tig Notaro’s Mississippi - a state that has a history of segregation and fierce support of white supremacy encapsulating the evil that is racism - is filled with eccentric characters who are authentically and unselfconsciously themselves, often oblivious to the appeal of their awkward presence. Notaro’s ONE MISSISSIPPI series on Amazon involves lots of talking. Notaro is a radio host telling stories which ramble on, and on, often biographical as when she discusses breast cancer and her double mastectomy, narrated with a nonchalance that is punctuated with the abyss of cramped silences. 

Community functions highlight the slow pace of daily life where we meet many of the fictional town’s personalities. Some names are changed but Tig who is played by Tig remains herself - wearing the same dungarees, shirt and sneakers in every episode, as she observes her idiosyncratic family’s dynamics, forays into the gay dating scene, and work issues at the Radio Station - all told with an equanimity of a person who totally accepts who she is. 

The second season (6 episodes) is both funny and bitingly serious dealing with issues of sexual abuse, the election of Trump, and the sweet tenderness of falling in love with someone who turns your idea of a “suitable” partner on its head. The earnestness of trying to please the other, involves a wavering courage that is all too familiar. 

I am particularly fond of Tig's step-father (John Rothman) - a man living a compulsively ordered existence in the midst of chaos in contrast to her brother (Noah Harpster) who attempts to hide his lovely originality under the guise of good-ole-boy bravado. Stephanie Allynne who is actually married to Tig plays her sounding board at the radio station, and their courtship which involves many conversations, weaving in questions of sexual identity and its fluidity, is played out in the series.

John Rothman and Sheryl Lee Ralph
ONE MISSISSIPPI flows so naturally that a superficial viewing can be misconstrued as commonplace. A caustic dry wit permeates each episode and I continue to watch this understated, generous view of “ordinary” lives lived extra-ordinarily.