Shelly Pfefferman had quite the journey in season three of Transparent.
The character, portrayed by Judith Light, spent much of the first two seasons dealing with the revelation that her ex-partner, Maura (Jeffrey Tambor), is a transgender woman. In a bit of a running gag during season three, a newly defiant Shelly develops a one-woman show -- called To Shell and Back -- about reclaiming herself after a failed marriage and her evolving relationship with Maura and her kids. It all culminates with Shelly covering Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” on a cruise ship during the season finale.
Season three also includes a flashback to Shelly’s younger years, which revealed that she was molested as young girl. Later, Younger’s Molly Bernard portrays Shelly in her college years, when she first meets Maura. Still identifying as Mort, she’s dating another woman when the two start flirting. “When they meet, [their relationship] begins with a secret,” says Our Lady J, who wrote season three’s flashback episode.
While Our Lady J says that Transparent season four will have more of a political focus, including an episode that deals with Israel and Palestine, the upcoming season will also “see a lot more of Shelly.” The flashback to her younger years really opened up the character’s story.
“I’m in a lot of season four,” adds Bernard, who plays the sexually fluid Lauren Heller on Younger. While the TV Land show, which is back with season four, is her main job, she couldn’t help but gush about what a “dream” it is to be part of the Emmy-winning Amazon series. “Transparent is an honor and it’s such a gift to explore other parts of my acting.”
Watch the season four trailer below: