Fosse/Verdon: Who's Got the Pain?
April 16, 2019 8:42 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Rising Broadway star Gwen Verdon meets ambitious young choreographer Bob Fosse and their lives will never be the same.
posted by oh yeah! (10 comments total)
 
I'm watching this because Lin-Manuel's twitter compels me to and there's not much else on but gosh, are we supposed to like and admire Bob? I was just reading the Wikipedia of his first wife and it really feels like he spent his whole life being pushed and pulled down the road by talented women while abusing and exploiting them. He really comes off as a piece of shit here. And his choreography style has always given me the creeps. My family took me to see Fosse on Broadway when I was little and I found it creepy, nasty, and obnoxious; and now to find out that he personally was exactly like that is pretty perfect..
posted by bleep at 10:10 PM on April 16


I mean there's just such an air of reverence around the great and powerful fosse and I'm not sure if we're supposed to hold both ideas in our heads at the same time or is it ok to point out he did nothing but exploit talented women?
posted by bleep at 10:13 PM on April 16


I don't think this production expects us to like and admire Fosse, it seems like it's more critical of him personally than other representations have been. And from the episode 1 reviews from critics who had screened the first 5 episodes, there's worse of Bob's shittyness to come. I guess they're going for "separate the art from the artist", or the 'can't make an omelet without cracking eggs' theory of misery-inspired art.

I have fond memories of Damn Yankees, though it's been forever since I've seen a production, so I enjoyed watching the videos of Verdon's performances from the youtube clips in the AV Club review after seeing the rehearsal versions in the episode.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:49 AM on April 17


I just can't even tell what art there is to separate from the artist, these women were so bright, talented and charming they could sell anything.
posted by bleep at 9:42 AM on April 17


I'm watching this because Lin-Manuel's twitter compels me to... [Bob Fosse] really comes off as a piece of shit here. And his choreography style has always given me the creeps... I found it creepy, nasty, and obnoxious... I just can't even tell what art there is to separate from the artist...

Is Lin-Manuel Miranda holding a gun to your head? If not, maybe you could find something you actually are *enjoying* to talk about elsewhere, and leave the rest of us to our discussions?
posted by tzikeh at 9:56 PM on April 20


I actually like watching it, I was just wondering how the show felt about its protagonist.
posted by bleep at 10:02 PM on April 20


I don't think this production expects us to like and admire Fosse, it seems like it's more critical of him personally than other representations have been.

I agree with this. It's more critical of him, but I think it's also about how integral Gwen Verdon was to Fosse's success. She's so much more than a dancer; their partnership might have been personally devastating, but together they created amazing, lasting art. For me, that's the interesting part. These two incredible talents made each other better, but at what cost to Verdon? To the women before and after her?

My family took me to see Fosse on Broadway when I was little and I found it creepy, nasty, and obnoxious

I couldn't disagree more with this. His choreography is some of my favorite. Fosse lets dancers act more naturally in ways it didn't before him, like with the taxi dancers in Sweet Charity. I cannot wait until the show gets to Chicago. I wish the show would show us the choreography of Cell Block Tango.
posted by gladly at 8:53 AM on April 21


I actually like watching it, I was just wondering how the show felt about its protagonist.

Then I apologize for misreading your tone and intent. My fault.

I don't think the show is idolizing or even lionizing Fosse; on the contrary--they are going hard on the "warts" part of "warts and all." That's all fine, but my main issue is that there has to be something to root for about your protagonist in order to enjoy a show, even if your feeling about him or her is 80% "terrible human" and 20% "but semi-redeeming (though not ultimately redeeming) qualities are as follows." I hate to say this, because I adore the guy, but there is zero joy in Sam Rockwell's performance. He is nothing but dour, and while Fosse was an unbelievably strict task-master plagued with an inescapable drive to Always Be More, he had a happy side, a joyful side, a twinkle in his eye. There has been none of that so far, and I am not holding out hope for future episodes.

Michelle Williams, on the other hand, should win every award available to her for portraying Gwen Verdon. What a master class.
posted by tzikeh at 2:19 PM on April 21




tzikeh I so agree. Rockwell isn't selling Fosse for me at all -- he is just a shit and not even a brilliant dancer to make up for it. There is some reason all the women love him and they should have shown it. Michelle Williams is so amazing.

I am really enjoying this even if I dislike Rockwell. Not sure about whoever is playing Liza but presumably she okayed the casting.

Who's got the pain is a fun song with great dancing but it was never plot relevant to the musical and they couldn't sell that.

If they are doing eight episodes, we have Cabaret and Damn Yankees, there will be Chicago, Pippin, All that jazz, Liza with a Z, maybe Sweet Charity?
posted by jeather at 7:40 PM on April 23


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