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TV Shows We Love: Hollywood

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There’s no business like showbusiness, right? TV series Hollywood knows all about that as it follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in a post-World War II Hollywood trying to make a name for themselves. And everything goes, and I mean everything. Even letting your talent agent fondle you if it means getting an audition. Isn’t that still Hollywood today?

Set between 1946 and 1949, the series explores Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age when films such as Casablanca, Scarface and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were made. Glamorous parties and high fashion were on show at every occasion yet so were sleazy acting agents and homophobia.

In just seven episodes we are introduced to 11 main characters whose lives are all intertwined. An ex-marine with a pregnant wife he doesn’t love; a gay, black screenwriter trying to get his foot in the door who is secretly dating a hunky actor; a failed movie star running an underground prostitution ring at a gas station for Hollywood’s queer community and so on. And when money was in dire need, nearly all of these men joined the ‘sex parlour’ and attended rather risky up-scale parties with all of Hollywood’s A-listers.

The series is somewhat based on the stories of Scott Bowers, a young ex-Marine who opened a gas station in the 1940s who in the show is named Ernie. Though its creator Ryan Murphy wanted the series to be much more than that. Through the stories of a diverse group of characters, Hollywood highlights the injustices of showbusiness, in terms of race, sexuality and gender and in a way, features an alternative universe. Though issues are still present, Hollywood tries to show what the film world would be like if a woman could run a big film studio, a gay black man wrote a hit starring a black actress in the romantic lead and newcomer directors were given a chance and actually listened to.

Perhaps it is idealistic. To say these outcasts would be the ones to make decisions and reach fame, yet sometimes we need a happy ending. And a little glitz and glamour.


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