You Should Be Watching Netflix's "Hollywood" And Here's Why

Ok, I’d like to tell you right from the start that the opinion you’re about to read comes from someone who is completely in love with “Hollywood” —  the new series produced by Netflix. It’s written by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, both famous for creating a bunch of other successful American TV shows, such as American Horror Story, Glee and The Politician. In this one, they chose to add a fairytale-y and somewhat magical tone to the late 40s’ Hollywood. In that hostile, post-World-War-II scenery, themes such as sexism, racism and homophobia were still taboos — the series, however, manages to approach it in a very sensitive way.

The plot has other hints of reality in it, since some non-fictional characters are added, like Rock Hudson, Vivian Leigh and Eleanor Roosevelt, which makes the whole watching experience even more fascinating. But you shouldn’t watch it expecting a history lesson: the main idea of the show is picturing a big “What if?”, as in ‘what if black people, women, LGBTs — minorities in general — got a shot in the old times Hollywood?’. If you’ve seen “Once upon a time in… Hollywood”, by Quentin Tarantino, you’ll probably get what I mean when I say it’s similar to what is done there with Sharon Tate’s true story: both try to revisit a moment is history and rewrite it with today’s perspective.

About the plot: you’ll notice there isn’t only one specific main character. What we actually see is a group of people from different backgrounds, who end up bumping into each other and interfering in one another’s lives — which makes my task of describing the plot to you rather challenging, I must say. But, okay, as far as the story goes, we’re introduced to a war veteran, Jack Castello (David Corenswet), who aspires to be a movie star. His wife, who works as a waitress, gets pregnant, so he finds himself in desperate need of a job. That’s when he meets Ernie, a petrol station owner who actually runs it as a prostitution center, if only clients tell their attendants they “want to go to Dreamland”. We also meet Archie, a black gay screenwriter trying to make it with his script “Peg”, about an actress called Peg Entwistle who jumped off the Hollywoodland sign in 1932 (that’s a true story, by the way), and a young Roy Fitzgerald, who ends up changing his name to Rock Hudson. 

In the cast, there sure are some familiar faces, such as Jim Parsons (famous for playing Sheldon in “Big Bang Theory”), who, by the way, brilliantly represents another non-fictional personality in the series, the known to be very abusive agent Henry Wilson. Also Darren Chris, who plays a half-asian director called Raymond, Patti LuPone as Avis Amberg, Laura Harrier as Camille Washington and so many other names that allure anyone who chooses to watch the seven episodes of the show. Another aspect that has the same effect is the soundtrack. I don't know about you, but a good musical background in movies or series wins me over, for sure. And this one, full of references to the 40s, made me stay in that groovy mood for the whole week that followed my binge-watching.

One of the main themes in the plot is representation. And it appears even in a somewhat metalinguistic way, because at the same time that it deals with the importance of interracial castings, for example, it does so with black characters as protagonists. It talks about homophobia, while putting gay actors as protagonists. Talks about sexism, giving strength to female actresses. I imagine the power these images must have for black families, young LGBTQ+ people feeling confused with their identity and so many other groups that see themselves reflected in the complex and inspiring plot of "Hollywood". Productions like this are essential, especially nowadays, as we still see people of great social and political influence holding on to outdated prejudice - if you know what I mean.

I believe that what makes this series different from all the others, is the way it managed to give Hollywood’s story itself the whole "Hollywood treatment". It brings all the charm that comes to mind when we hear the name of that iconic place, but it’s still able, as contradictory as that may seem, to show the several rotten spots that are masked by spotlights and smoke. So make yourself a favor, go over to Netflix right now and make sure to enjoy this hopeful, inspiring piece that is Hollywood.

Here's the trailer!

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This article was edited by Amanda Oestreich.

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