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Emmys: ‘Transparent’ Music Supervisor on Season 3’s Biggest Challenges

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent (Photo: Amazon Studios)

As we enter Emmy season — nomination voting runs June 12 to June 26 — Yahoo TV will be spotlighting performances and other contributions that we feel deserve recognition.

This year, Outstanding Music Supervision makes its long-awaited debut as an Emmy category. In honor of the milestone, Yahoo TV asked music supervisors for some of our favorite series to answer the same set of questions about their work this season — and to name a past show they believe would have been recognized had this category existed sooner.

We continue with Bruce Gilbert, music supervisor on Amazon’s Transparent.

1. What song/placement are you proudest of this season?

I’m particularly fond of the Karen Dalton song “Something On Your Mind” that closes the third episode of Season 3. I’ve wanted to find a home for that song for quite some time, and I think it’s perfect here, especially as a bookend to the start of the episode that kicks off with another favorite, T. Rex’s “Life Is Strange.”

Brett Paesel as Rita, Gaby Hoffman as Ali Pfefferman, and Annabel Marshall-Roth as Young Rita in Amazon Studios’s Transparent. (Screengrab: Amazon Studios)

2. What was the most challenging scene/moment for you this season creatively?

Getting Ali’s nitrous trips right was a fun challenge. The scenes feature Laura Mvula’s “Is There Anybody Out There” and the theme music to Wheel of Fortune where Ali is a contestant. It’s nuts.

3. Was there a song swap that worked out even better than your original idea?

With the popularity and critical acclaim of the show, artists have been really enthusiastic about wanting to contribute to Transparent. Season 1 was a slightly different story, as no one had seen the show yet. In episode 8, “Oh Sister” by Bob Dylan, which plays over our main titles in this standalone episode, was an eleventh hour replacement for a different song that was denied. The Dylan song turned out to be perfect so it was a blessing in disguise.

4. What’s the song that isn’t the theme song of the show that you think would make the perfect theme song for the show?

See above. Or “Madame George” by Van Morrison.

5. Name a past show that you think would have been recognized for its music supervision had the Emmy category existed.


Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman in Amazon Studios’s Transparent. (Screengrab: Amazon Studios)

6. If you haven’t already mentioned it above…. what’s the song you never thought you’d get the rights to this season but you did (and how did you do it)?

I wasn’t sure Alanis Morissette was going to approve Shelly singing “Hand In My Pocket” in the final scene of episode 10, but it turns out she’s a huge fan of the show. And Judith Light delivers.

Read more from Yahoo TV:
Emmys: ‘Girls’ Music Supervisor on the Final Season’s Biggest Gets
Emmys: ‘The Leftovers’ Music Supervisor on the Final Season’s Greatest Hits
Emmys: ‘The Get Down’ Music Supervisor on Having Patience and Giving Chase