Benjamin Frohman ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Contributor
From the impressive mind of Ryan Murphy, the creator of the musical Glee, the absurd Scream Queens, horrific American Horror Story, and exhilarating American Crime Story comes a new show that capitalizes on gossip and drama. This show is called Feud.
The format of the show is similar to American Horror Story in that it’s an anthology series. However, it also takes a cue from American Crime Story, focusing on actual events and people in history. The concept takes after the title, and each season will focus on a new feud between two people of notable status. This season of Feud circles around the two Hollywood bombshell actresses, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, whose relationship was a bit of a bombshell to say the least. Academy, Tony, and Emmy award winner Jessica Lange makes a long-awaited return to television as Crawford and plays the part to a T, capturing the essence and fire behind one of the most impressive forces to ever hit Los Angeles movie studios.
However, the show really gets interesting when Davis comes into the picture, played by the ever-vivacious Academy award winner, Susan Sarandon, who brings recognition to a wrecking ball of a woman. Sarandon gives truth to the tale of Bette Davis by keeping the pace and volleying criticism and emotional heat back and forth with Lange’s Crawford. The volatile chemistry between the two women, really draws the viewer in. The show follows the two women as they work on their one and only movie together, the classic Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?. The women aren’t so much glamorized as they are immortalized in their films; instead, they are shown with fragility, realness, and depth that is raw and emotional.
The cast is rounded out by Stanley Tucci, who doesn’t play Caesar Flickerman, but deals with another sort of hunger game: a hunger for fame and recognition. Tucci takes on the character of Jack L. Warner, the president and driving force behind Warner Brothers, who watches from the sidelines throwing firewood into the flames every chance he gets. Robert Aldrich, the director of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, is played by Alfred Molina, who at first tries to mediate the two women, but eventually intervenes in some very twisted ways. He brings a peripheral presence that is unnerving. The magical Kathy Bates, who plays Joan Blondell, and charming Catherine Zeta Jones, who plays Olivia de Havilland, make some much needed commentary on Joan and Bette throughout, giving input that is harsh and invigorating to watch.
The show takes a gander at the Hollywood movie industry, bringing to light a lot of ugly themes including sexism, ageism, dirty dealings, and a whole lot of cattiness. Of course the show is dramatized and a bit eye-roll worthy at times, but the show does an incredible job of playing with that and making it into something believable and intoxicating. The cast being female-driven is refreshing and empowering in a lot of different ways, and the acting is top-notch. The show does a great job of giving a keyhole look into the forces that defined an industry. I say this show is a much watch and is sure to keep anyone’s attention.