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As groundbreaking series ‘Transparent’ heads into its fourth season, star Jeffrey Tambor tells USA TODAY the changes he has seen in society.
USA TODAY

Spoiler alert! The following contains spoilers from Transparent Season 4, Episode 2: “Groin Anomaly.” 

The Pfeffermans’ trip to Israel started with a crazy high and one traumatic low. 

In the second episode of Transparent‘s fourth season (streaming on Amazon Friday), Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) volunteers to accompany her transgender parent, Maura (Jeffrey Tambor), to Tel Aviv, where the reemployed professor has been invited to lecture at a conference about the intersection of Judaism and gender. 

High on a marijuana-infused gummy bear that Ali gave her on the way to the airport, Maura foggily walks through security, only to be stopped by a TSA agent for a so-called “groin anomaly” detected by scanners.

More: Jeffrey Tambor on trans representation in Hollywood: ‘It needs to happen faster’

According to Al Jazeera America, most body-scan machines at airports use blue (male) and pink (female) start buttons. If someone has body characteristics of more than one gender, they may set off an “anomaly” alert and require a pat-down search. 

The situation with Maura escalates when Ali pulls out her smartphone and starts filming the heated encounter, as confused male and female TSA agents whom should pat her down. Maura eventually loses patience, shouting, “If you want me to be a man, I’ll be a man! If you want me to be a woman, I’ll be a woman! If you want me to be a (expletive) chicken, I’ll be a chicken!”

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‘Transparent’ star Jeffrey Tambor tells USA TODAY he didn’t change anything in his character going into the new season.
USA TODAY

“We call it our gut punch,” Tambor says of the episode closer. “I’m so passionate about that scene because it’s human beings and I feel sorry for both sides of the fence. I feel sorry for the TSA agents, who literally have no idea how to do this; I certainly feel sorry for Maura, who doesn’t know how to play this; and Ali, who’s freaked out completely. But that is human and that’s what this show is after.” 

Reading the scene at the table read for the first time, “I remember it being extremely funny, chilling, devastating and moving,” Hoffmann says. “There were probably a…