There’s just something about all that glitz, glamour, and beautiful faces. That’s why Hollywood is so profoundly cemented in American culture. If you asked people what they wanted to be when they were kids, most would say they had a dream of becoming a Hollywood actor or director but were faced with the harsh reality that it’s a difficult business. However, there are a select few who take this leap and leave everything behind in an attempt to achieve superstardom. This dream is the premise of Netflix’s new show, “Hollywood.”
“Hollywood” premiered on May 1. It was created by Ryan Murphy, who most notably lent his hand to producing shows like “American Horror Story” and “Glee.” “Hollywood,” however, takes a dive into the lives of people from the 1950s as they follow their dreams of acting on the silver screen, writing, and directing in Hollywood.
What’s interesting is that viewers get a glimpse of the different parts of the movie industry through the perspectives of these characters. Lovable idiot Jack Castello, played by David Corenswet, moves to California after his service in the war to become a famous actor. On the way, he works as a male escort for a business posing as a gas station, where he cheats on his wife multiple times. Jack then meets talented screenwriter Archie Coleman, played by Jeremy Pope, who struggles to find work because he’s a gay African American. The chain of meeting others goes on and on until each main character finds themselves working the same film, “Meg,” about a troubled actress who threw herself off the Hollywood sign after being cut from a movie.
As one might tell, there’s an abundance of diversity in the show, which is interesting considering that its setting is 1950s Hollywood. Netflix undoubtedly wanted to send a message. “Hollywood” discusses a variety of social issues that were prevalent in this era, like the type-casting of minorities and the roles of women at home and in the workplace. However, it focuses heavily on homosexuality, which does more harm than good and comes off as a conspiracy that the entirety of Hollywood is gay. The show meant well by this, but there were so many things they could’ve done better with this concept. For example, a lot of Hollywood executives in the show preyed on young, aspiring actors, so one would expect the show to touch more on how sexual harassment and assault isn’t just a thing that happens to females. Instead, some of these executives, notably Henry Wilson, played by Jim Parsons, provide the “comic relief” of the show due to their perversions.
Though some of these social issues are valid for the time, “Hollywood” literally changes the course of history on multiple occasions. This is most prevalent when the characters go to the Academy Awards after “Meg” is nominated for numerous Oscars. Not only is this confusing, but it’s historically inaccurate. It’s ok if a show wants to make a fictional representation of a real thing. However, a problem arises when you start incorporating nonfictional characters who were actual members of Hollywood. These actors and actresses include Rock Hudson, Vivien Leigh, and Hattie McDaniel, who all make appearances on the show.
Lastly, there are two infuriating deaths in the show. One was strategically placed to cover up a central plot hole of determining whether or not “Meg” was going to be made. The other one was out of the blue. There was no mention of that person being sick, and it likely left viewers annoyed, considering there were other characters who outwardly said they were going to die soon.
Despite these significant issues, “Hollywood” is a cute tale about making it big in one of the most challenging industries to achieve success in. It’s refreshing to see how the characters were able to build connections to one another and work together on a surprising “woke” film. Hollywood’s a big town, but everyone seems to know each other. You have to remember the password: Dreamland.