Monday, April 17, 2017

Feud pt. 7

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Aldrich's affair with Bette continues. He names her an associate producer on Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte - an honorific, really, but you can imagine how it makes Joan feel. Production is halted when she contracts pneumonia, but is it real, or is she faking it as a form of protest? The studio is unsure, and their patience with her is running out. Meanwhile, Bette's teenage daughter BD wants to marry an older man.

It's time to finally talk about Mamacita! Jackie Hoffman, who looks very different in real life, portrays Joanie's sour-faced, Teutonic maid/valet/girl Friday. In looks and character, she has so much specificity that she's got to be based on a real person (I wasn't sure at first). Hoffman has had some good scenes with Jessica Lange, providing a stern, level-headed contrast to Lange's icy emotionalism. Plus, Mamacita was the one who encouraged Pauline to continue pursuing a directing career in Part 4. Last night she finally reached her limit with her mistress. Mamacita has been an important part of this story, in her own way. Kudos to the writers for making her a person, not just an extra.

Last night's episode was directed by Helen Hunt. You remember her - the Oscar-winning actress from As Good As It Gets and the TV show Mad About You? (I recently re-watched Cast Away. She plays some big, deep emotions in that one.) Turns out she's been directing in television over the last several years. Good for her.  Here's an interview where she talks about Feud.

In yet another great Bette & Joanie scene, we get to the heart of the difference between the two: one, a supremely gifted thespian who was never made to feel beautiful, the other an intensely gorgeous star who never felt like a legitimate actress. There's an unacknowledged thread of envy, mixed with respect, between the two that stops short of being made explicit. It's the entire series in microcosm.

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