The reimagination of the Golden Age of Hollywood in Netflix’s Hollywood is just too good to be true.
This post for Hollywood contains minor spoilers.
Hollywood (2020, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan) follows the lives of young actors, writers and directors—Jack Castello (David Corenswet), Roy Fitzgerald/Rock Hudson (Jake Picking), Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope), Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss), Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) and Claire Wood (Samara Weaving)—who are trying to make it big in Hollywoodland post-World War II. Murphy rewrites the Golden Age of Hollywood by revisiting old Hollywood tragedies and giving marginalised communities an overly optimistic representation of their struggles.
Hollywood’s set is lavish and extravagant, and definitely takes audiences to the nostalgic 1940s era, but even a gorgeous setting can’t help with its weak story. The series spends too much time exploring unnecessary plotlines such as Jack’s relationship with his pregnant wife (Maude Apatow) when it could have done a better job at showcasing the aftermath of being an openly gay and interracial couple—Rock and Archie—in Hollywood. Instead, Hollywood keeps it light and ends the series with a message of anything is possible in “Dreamland”.
Most characters in Hollywood are also not well fleshed out. In fact, most of them are used for their good looks and are just there to support Murphy’s vision of giving the underdogs the representation they deserve. What’s weak about Hollywood is that the series strives too hard to create a miracles-do-happen-when-all-hope-is-lost scenario. The progressive ideologies of this series are limited to what Murphy and Brennan believe should have happened in the 1940s and it is implying that perhaps if such a reality were to take place, marginalised communities would have the equality and visibility they truly deserve now. I find all this too far-fetched, as the way the creators has twisted the real truths of old Hollywood to make their version of events happen, is simply implausible.
Hollywood is great for audiences who seek to live in an alternate reality and enjoy scenes of unnecessary nudity. It would be better to spend the almost seven-hour long screen time watching something more worthwhile on Netflix.