It's fun! It is campy, it is trashy, it is Ryan Murphy, it is tres gay, it takes lies and makes them sound like truth, it takes truth and make it sound like lies but it's fun!
Do you like films about behind the scenes in Hollywood (I do) or gossip about Stars (I do) and/or do you like Patti Lupone or Queen Latifah or Holland Taylor (I do) and do you recognize the name of Phylis Gates or William Haines? If you know who they are you will be way ahead of getting the 'in' jokes than if you don't. Peg Entwistle was a real person and her story is a legend of Hollywood, real and fiction!
Ryan Murphy takes all the rumors in old Hollywood and makes them be the truth and elaborates stories that are mostly true but it is all a fairy tale in his head and shares it with us. In 7 episodes, 5 hours and 47 minutes, he covers an era in the movies that you know he wants to be the way he wants it to be. The last episode is the Hollywood every moviegoer wishes it was even though you know it could never have happened and rarely happens now.
Jim Parsons plays talent agent, and then producer, Henry Wilson and is very far removed from Sheldon Cooper. He is the main villain in this series and he is nasty! He gives the best performance in the series and that is saying a lot as most of the actors from Rob Reiner, Darren Criss to Daven Corenswet and Jeremy Pope stand out. Second to him is the performance by Dylan McDermott as the sleazy Ernie based on a true person, Scotty Bowers, who recently published his autobiography of the many women and men he set up sexually. I didn't recognize McDermott until about the third episode! Among the men, there was only one miscast and that is Jake Picking playing Rock Hudson but I think that was more of the fictional writing than the truth. Even though it is true Hudson's first screen test was used to show others how not to make a screen test and was 'butched' up by Wilson, Hudson did have a natural charm that shined through and made him a star.
Among the women, Patti Lupone and Holland Taylor chew the scenery and you are with them from their first appearance to their last. Obviously Murphy wrote the role for all of Lupone's strengths of which he has many. She also has one of the best storylines in the screenplay. Taylor's picture of a strong woman in a world of men who didn't/wouldn't recognize is very impressive. Oh, yes, their costumes and wigs are works of art in themselves and even if you wouldn't ordinarily be aware of such things you will have to be in this series. Oh, as I didn't recognize McDermott until the third episode, I didn't recognize Mira Sorvino who plays Jeanne Crandall, a blonde in the Barbara Stanwyck, Veronica Lake school until the credits!
For those who don't recognize the names of Tallulah Bankhead, Hattie McDaniel, Anna May Wong, Eleanor Roosevelt, and/or even Vivian Leigh you have a lot of learning to do. How about George Cukor? Does that name ring a bell? You'll learn about him in this and, yes, he famous (infamous?) Sunday brunches did happen as I went to one of them just after I got out of the Marines!
Ian Brennan produced and wrote the series with Ryan Murphy and both made sure that "Hollywood" is fun. You can find a lot of heavy thoughts and ideas about Hollywood then and now and what changes have taken place but you will forget all that as you keep shaking your head at things that are said and done and wondering if this or that really happened. And you may never see Jim Parsons in the same way again!