Although the title is a reference to the 1950 classic, Sunset Boulevard, which features the star power of Gloria Swanson and not Joan Crawford or Bette Davis, it rings true for the battle of these two stars. After the success of La La Land during this season, Hollywood continues to be an entrenching topic on the screen. Not only does Hollywood love Hollywood, but we love it too. I mean what’s not to like? It’s the most famous neighborhood that symbolizes the dream many of us fantasize. Now that Hollywood has been around for practically a hundred years, it produces stories about itself and makes for some pretty interesting, behind-the-scenes tell-alls. The battle between Bette and Joan is just one of the many. ‘One of the many’ does not do it justice because after just three episodes it’s the next bingeable show on Stream Demon. Perhaps this will change after the conclusion of the first season, but so far it’s the perfect concoction for TV.
Hollywood was a different place in 1962, especially for women. Today actresses still struggle, but not nearly as much as women then. Meryl Streep would never be where she is if it were not for the actresses before her. Bette Davis helped end the contract war and both her and Joan helped raise awareness for the roles women of an older age are casted in. They were hardly a day over 40 before the roles started drying up. Most male actors had half the talent these two had, but still received roles throughout their lives. Bette and Joan would not just roll over and die and they proved that when they teamed up for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in their 50s. They also show another issue for women in their time and it’s the one that was displayed when they were pitted against each other. Unlike the feminist movement, women commonly were out to get one another in the professional realm and perhaps that is why Bette and Joan hated each other. The show details it completely, but maybe the show would be detailing their friendship if the times were different.
Ryan Murphy took up this project with the help of Jaffe Cohen & Michael Zam. You can definitely feel aspects of American Horror Story and America Crime Story in this and it works in the best way. Combining the contexts of horror thrillers and revealing dramas, Feud feels like a Hitchcock teamed up with Ron Howard. Of course the fact that Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange came together to bring these two old broads to life is a testament to the quality of this show. At times you have to check your vision to make sure you aren’t seeing double. Jessica Lange, 67 and with 2 Oscars, plays a 56 year old Joan Crawford with 1 Oscar. Susan Sarandon, 70 with 1 Oscar, plays a 54 year old Bette Davis with 2 Oscars. See the likeness below:
Although more than ten years apart each, the pairs look and act to a tee. It cannot be streamed yet, but will probably be picked up by Netflix next year like American Horror Story and American Crime Story were. The fourth episode comes on FX tomorrow night at 10PM and you can catch up if you have cable and On Demand. Also shining on the screen in this lavish production are Stanley Tucci, Alfred Molina, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kathy Bates. It will make you want to watch all the old classics and look into the legendary feud. The roles might even add a shiny new Emmy to the actresses’ award collection. It’s more than just a cat fight and deserves to be the next show on your watchlist. From Pepsi to Coke, Bette and Joan engulf a story that can entertain millions.