Image Source and Credit: E! Online
(Warning: Spoiler Alert!)
I remember flipping through channels and coming across this FX series, Feud: Bette and Joan. Initially, I had no interest in watching this program, but quickly changed my mind once I saw my favorite actor, Stanley Tucci, playing the role of Jack Warner. Afterwards, I became hooked and applauded the ending of this short season.
Feud is a program generated by Glee’s creator Ryan Murphy. Each season focuses on a real-life feuds that occurred through out history. Season one focuses on the rivalry between aging celebrities: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, during and after the production of their 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.
The season begins with Joan Crawford, played by the phenomenal Jessica Lange, wanting to get back into acting but struggles to find roles appropriate for her age. Since the opportunities are not coming in, she decides to create her own film and seeks the help of B-list director, Robert Aldrich, played by Alfred Molina, and fellow actress, Bette Davis, played by the amazing Susan Sarandon. Unfortunately, Bette’s stubborn personality clashes with Joan’s diva persona and a feud emerges between the two women. Through out the season, we witness these women engaging in a battles over attention, awards, and admiration. From Joan stealing the Academy Award for Best Actress from Bette, to Bette becoming executive producer and making Joan’s life a living hell on set.
I had a difficult time deciding who side I was on. Initially, I was #TeamBette when I learned about Joan’s plan to steal Bette’s Oscar. As the series progressed, I sympathize with Joan and became #TeamJoan. However, by the last episode, I was #TeamBestFriends:BetteandJoan. The last episode made me care about these actress and wonder why Hollywood has forgotten about them. As Bette said after the death of Joan, “50 years in the industry and they only give her 2 seconds [of recognition at the Oscars].” Both women on the list for “Best Actresses of all Time,” and are left to be forgotten. I am glad this series was able to remember these women as dedicating and fearless.
There are various laugh out loud moments over the course of the season, but no moment is more prominent than Joan last reflection before her death on the season finale.
Even after creating a successful film that placed both actress back on the map, the feud continue to even after Joan’s death. What absolutely BROKE my heart, was Joan’s secret desire to become friends with Bette and never revealing her true feelings to Bette. (I have a difficult time talking about this moment without bursting out into tears, but here I go anyway.) There infamous scene where Joan Crawford, who lost her spark and is facing certain death, hears laughter coming from her living area. She walks out to find Hedda Hopper (who at this point in time already died) and Jack Warner, enjoying each others company. A pale Joan with long, gray hair, walks towards them and is suddenly is transferred back into the glamorous Joan Crawford we knew. During this epiphany, Joan reveals her deepest secret of feeling lost in her diva person she created to uncover her true self: a loveless, financially poor, girl. Joan goes on to say that both Hedda and Jack made her life a living hell and a friendship with Bette impossible. Suddenly, they are greeted with Bette’s presence and forcefully joins the party. There is a moment when both Jack and Hedda leave and instead of tearing into each other, both women have a sensible discussion.
Image Credit: Suzanne Tenner/FX (Source: Vulure)
Joan revels to Bette that she always wished for a friendship with Bette and fantasizes about having late night talks with Bette about their director, Robert Aldrich. A serious moment and revealing moment occur between these two woman, when suddenly the audience remembers, it’s just a illusion created by Joan’s deteriorating brain. As Joan’s servant, “Mamacita” (Jackie Hoffman) takes a disorientated Joan back to bed, the audience learns that Joan died five days later without the women amending their feud. This scene runs though my mind everyday and can’t stop thinking about it.
Oh, how I yearn for some closure between the women, but I never received any. Both women died and the audience is left with what could have been: a mutual understanding.
I want to end this post by admiring Jessica Lange’s performance as Joan Crawford and encouraging you to watch this series. It will make you cry and call your “frenemy.”