None of this matters, because Jill Soloway lives in a world where the words “radical trans” can be followed, without a hint of irony, by the word “content.” Her production company Topple, which featured prominently in a recent, glowing New York Times profile, models its core tenets after Amazon’s corporate leadership principles. (Number 2 is “Be Chill.”) In Soloway’s voice, one finds the worst of grandiose Seventies-era conceits about the transformative power of the avant-garde guiltlessly hitched to a yogic West Coast startup mindset that speaks in terms of “holding space” and “heart-connection.” It’s like if Peter Thiel were gay.
But self-importance alone could never guarantee writing this atrocious. Narcissism can be wildly compelling in the hands of a professional. That this is the prose of a celebrated television auteur may be explained only if one recalls that TV writing, unlike the art of memoir, is a group effort. The narrator of She Wants It is a Gen Xer in millennial drag: precious, out of touch, and exceedingly prone to bathos. Without a second thought, she rattles off lines like “I woke up with a Zen koan in my head” and “I decided I would have to have an interesting life if I ever wanted to be like Jack Kerouac.” The following is an actual sentence: “As we all took over the bowling alley, the sheer variety of the ways to be queer and alive in Los Angeles in 2014 exploded my mind.”