AndersonVision Best TV of 2017: #9– Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” is like every other Ryan Murphy production. The first season is great and then you spend the rest of the time waiting for the lackluster second season. Prove me wrong, Murph. That being said, this was a classic trip back in time to the last call of the Golden Age of Lady Pictures. What could’ve started as a fight between Jack Warner, Robert Aldrich, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford became something more. It became a look at business friends over the years.
Plus, what about the side roles? Sarah Paulson as Geraldine Page and a special guest spot for John Waters as William Castle? That was a work of love. On the flip side, you got to see what the studio system did to women like Davis and Crawford. While Susan Sarandon kills it as Bette Davis, Murphy all-star Jessica Lange mines every inch of pain out of Joan Crawford. Did she abuse her kids? Maybe. But, this isn’t about those issues.
This is about a woman who started as an escort, became a star and spent the rest of her life fighting to stay in the High Life. Some viewers complained that the focus fell away from Davis, as the series closed. Well, she got to live longer and had a modicum of success on TV. Joan Crawford’s career kinda died with Trog and Night Gallery. From there, it was her body failing. While Bette Davis losing touch with her daughter hurts, it’s not quite dying alone.
If the future incarnations of Feud can work on this level of character study, then I welcome them all. For now, I stay hesitant of what comes next. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what we have here. Hell, I still enjoy the first season of Glee.