The second season of “Enlightened” started recently, and if you haven’t yet discovered this show, it’s a real pleasure to fast-watch the first-season episodes and get up to speed. As a “comedy of alienation,” according to show writer Mike White, “Enlightened”is remarkably good, an insightful satire of the symbiotic relationship between the New Age self-actualization movement and the worker hell of corporate America.
The basic premise of “Enlightened” is an inspired one. A 40-something woman named Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) has a sobbing, shrieking breakdown at her workplace, Abaddon Industries. The first shot of the pilot episode is of Amy’s tear- and mascara-streaked face, clownishly distorted by anguish. Betrayed by the married executive she’s been sleeping with and facing a demotion from the Health and Beauty Department to Cleaning Supplies, Amy stages a hysterical confrontation in the sleek corporate hallways. She chases her betrayer to the elevators and pries the elevator doors open with superhuman strength, wailing, “Health and Beauty was mine, Damon! Health and Beauty was mine.…”