Six weeks ago I did not like the first episode at all but loved Michelle Williams.
Now I love this series. Fosse is yes a totally pathetic person. I feel more pity then like. Yet this is a totally driven man with lots of demons in his mind.
Two episodes ago we saw how emotionally frail he was. He had so much success with a Tony for Pippin, Emmy for a show featuring Liza Minnelli and an Oscar for Cabaret. He did it in one year and it’s never been repeated. This lead him to being hospitalized for a mental breakdown.
Episode six starts with now is in postproduction of Lenny and starting the Broadway show Chicago. He has a massive heartattack and has open heart surgery. He would have been in his 40s.
This sixth episode was brilliantly done and utterly depressing. The episode keeps entering his mind where he is doing standup. He is baring his soul for jokes. We see his inner demons and how they were formed. His parents never happy with money he brought in as a 13 year old. He was the breadwinner. How two 40 year old women sexually used him at 13 and he is telling this as a stand up act in his mind while laying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery.
You realized these events shaped him. Shaped his view on success that it will never bring him pleasure and on sex. After he ends this inner monologue about the two women he reaches for his girlfriend begging her for sex to help him feel alive. He thought they put in his heart wrong and if he was really alive. His girlfriend was Anne Reiking. The sex scene was utterly depressing to watch with him all connected up to a machine. No clue if this happened in reality.
You wonder watching if this did not lead to his death 10 years later. Was he just being pulled in too many directions. Verdons boyfriend asked her to pull Fosse from directing Chicago. That it was too much. She said pulling him would kill him.
I am not sure if it’s intentional but they are almost turning her into the villain. After he got out of the mental hospital she was enabling him to push himself to do Lenny and Chicago. It was way too soon to do either let alone both. He at least wanted to wait on Chicago but she insisted he do it for that season.
It is obvious that Chicago is her star vehicle they both own the rights. Yet from his inner monologues he seems that he will perform just so others benefit. He danced as a child so his parents would benefit even if it meant being sexually used at 13. Is he doing Chicago for her benefit even though it meant a heart attack.
When she told her boyfriend he would die if he could not direct did she really mean her career? She had done a play previously but it closed on opening night. The play failed during the time of his award wins.
Again I do not know if making her the villain is intentional nor do I know what is fact or fiction. Her boyfriend named Ron in the show seems to be a composite since the name Ron is fictional.
Sam Rockwell is really turning in a good performance, oh the fantasy scene of Pippin where he debated suicide was fantastic, episode four. The song used from Pippin was where Pippin was encouraged to die in flames.
I say Emmy for best limited series and for these two. The miniseries about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford was vastly more enjoyable and at least was funny at times. This is still good but in its own way.