Fosse/Verdon - A TV Review
When FX announced the Fosse/Verdon miniseries and I realized I did not have the cable subscription to watch it, I freaked. I threatened in my mind once again to blow up ATT. I researched every way in which I could watch it even if it meant illegally acquiring it.
“They can’t do this to me!” I said. “I am a Broadway nerd. I saw the original Pippin on Broadway. I’ve watched Cabaret and Chicago ten times each. All That Jazz. Every dance video. Every musical ever made. “I deserve to see this miniseries!” Rant. Rant. Rant.
While I was ranting and having what my kids call my “drama queen moment,” Amazon picked up the miniseries and sold it to me for 11 bucks. All eight episodes! Glory to God. Now I OWN IT. Say what you will about Amazon, but he/she has been my go-to person – (even if Jeff Bezos has taken such a large portion of my self-published book that my royalties offer me only jellybean money.)
The miniseries flashes back in time and forward and in and out of the Fosse/Verdon relationship as well as their professional collaborations. It seems a wonder they produced so much quality stuff as they fought, cried, drank, smoked and drugged their way through their lives.
Now. Was it worth it? Eleven bucks. For me, yes. It’s produced for Broadway nerds. And wannabe hoofers. And wishful singers. Musical comedy dreamers.
Fosse was, shall we say, an asshole to live with. Brilliant to work with. I couldn’t help thinking his molestation by vaudeville show girls led to an obsession with proving his manhood.
Then I said, no, “He was just an asshole.” Gwen Verdon put up with far too much from him. Gwen got sucked into Fosse’s charm, his fame, and to what he could do for her after he became the idol and she the has-been. Bad place to be. I hated to watch her grovel. But that’s show biz?
I was quite taken with the portrayal of Gwen Verdon. With all my Broadway nerdiness, I knew very little about her. She was kind of before my time. I enjoyed learning about her, but more than that, I enjoyed watching Michelle Williams put her together perfectly. Williams’s performance was whole new experience in theater, in movies for me. The girl is hot.
I have to say about four episodes in, I got a little sick of Fosse’s drugging and adultery, and Gwen’s pushy whining. But that’s just because musical theater is a fantasy escape for me and this show was about the REAL lives of two emotionally fragile and highly talented people. Bad combination, talent and emotional instability.
His smoking: it was difficult to watch Bob (Sam Rockwell) smoke up to 100 plus cigarettes in this production. It was like watching the man deliberately kill himself as he was creating magic.
I’m so glad smoking is no longer de rigueur in films although I lament that everything else is more than acceptable.
I give Michelle a 10.
I give Sam an 8. (And I adore him.)
I give the other cast and crew a 7.
I give the production a 7.5.
And I hope to never see Margaret Qualley play Ann Reinking again.
Poor Ann Reinking. She must be having nightmares.
Here’s what the pros said about the series:
Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 83% based on 64 reviews
Metacritic,…assigned the series a score of 68 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews.”
You can purchase the miniseries at Amazon.