'Enlightened': How Laura Dern's HBO comedy stacks up against the women of Showtime

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Season 3 of "Bored to Death" isn't the only reason to look forward to Mondays on HBO this fall. Oct. 10 also marks the premiere of "Enlightened," a spiritual comedy from Mike White ("School of Rock"), starring Laura Dern as a woman changed by a long tenure in therapy.

Naturally, during the series panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, this premise drew comparisons to the stable of female-driven comedies on Showtime ( "Weeds," "The Big C," Nurse Jackie," etc.).

"I feel like there are parallels," says White, who admits to not being too familiar with any of the series. "Tonally, this is pretty different. It has a little more teeth I think. It has darker strains in it."

Darker -- but not "Dexter" darker. White got a lot of laughs when he noted that "to make noise in dysfunction land, your main character has to be a serial killer."

Dern seems to think her character, Amy Jellicoe, is dangerous in a different way.

"I see the series, in terms of my own personal experience and everyone i know, as very relatable," says Dern. "The aspiration is to try to be the best of ourselves. Mike's voice is a very earnest one about how we all long for it. And the pitfalls are that she's very flawed and feels everything in an enormous way. With those traits can come disaster at any turn."

Dern also admits that it's her characters' honesty that made her want to take the role.

"It's really interesting that so many of us long for or put honesty on a pedestal," she says, "but when you're inside a character that's honest, how unlikable that trait is."
Photo/Video credit: HBO