Fosse/Verdon: Where Am I Going
May 10, 2019 4:25 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Bob appears to have bounced back from his recent psych hospitalization as he cozies up with new partner Ann Reinking, trades stories with Paddy Chayefsky and newly bereft Neil Simon, and welcomes Gwen and her new beau Ron for a very long weekend party on the Hamptons. Also, Nicole smokes her first cigarette.

Vulture recap with context on the song sung by Gwen and the reference Bob makes to Paddy's "TV script."
posted by Sheydem-tants (6 comments total)
@ohyeah: couldn't wait any longer!

WELL, what an episode. I don't drink any more, and watching a show where characters drink all night makes me tired and logey by proxy.

CW: SA, abuse mentioned below.

Anyone else get the idea that Gwen orchestrated the evening beautifully? It was only when I saw her remove that hair extension that it occurred to me that she caused a temporary rift between Bob and Ann and then rekindled things with Bob briefly to get him to agree to direct "Chicago." I can't blame her: with Joan's recent death very much on her mind and her own knowledge (pointed at by Bob) that she won't be able to dance "Chicago" forever, she is looking for some reparations for the creative years that she spent mostly in Bob's shadow.

I think it's clear that she's essentially "borrowing" Bob from Ann for the evening, while simultaneously handing Ann the reins as his new caregiver. It definitely shows a colder, more calculating side of Gwen that we've seen, but many of us have had partners that have taken from us again and again, and I for one can understand the drive we have when we know the clock is no longer our friend and there are unpaid debts.

Some other tidbits:
  • The only person who seems more concerned than impressed by Bob's story of deflowering statutory rape by several older women is Ron. It hasn't been until very recently that sex between a cis male under the age of 18 and an adult is recognized beyond the courtroom as statutory rape and abuse, and the impressed reactions from Neil and Paddy were common for the time.
  • It's clear in the next few minutes that the memory disturbs Bob, and when he walks into the kitchen to face Gwen and Ann as a united front telling him to take a break from work ... you know he's going to rebel completely. In fact, he devastates Gwen by telling her that he was never interested in directing "Chicago." (This changes over the course of the next eight hours.)
  • Michelle Williams is perfection in this episode, including her singing.
  • It's unlikely that Fosse, who seems to have refused psych treatment of any kind upon his release from hospital, would ever been able to take the year-long break his doctors recommended. So he continued with his workaholism instead, and coordinating two projects at once likely contributed to the heart attack.
  • A glowing review of "Lenny" in, of all places, the National Review.

posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:48 PM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I for one can understand the drive we have when we know the clock is no longer our friend and there are unpaid debts.

That's a beautiful way of phrasing this. While I was watching, I actually said out loud, "Bob, you owe her!" I'm not entirely sure that Gwen knew she was manipulating Bob. Everything she says to him is brutally honest. Fosse, Verdon, and Chicago were perfect together, even though Lenny was well received too.
posted by gladly at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2019

I'm watching it again and I really love the look that Michelle makes right after she says "Because they lost their mother" to Nicole and they showed the flashbacks of Joan. It really looks like how it happens when you're grieving someone and every time you think about it for awhile your brain acts like you just found out again and again and again.

Also all these old school NY accents are giving me such nostalgia, especially the way Gwen says "Neecole". Also I know for a fact my aunt had those straw chairs.

I love how perceptive, clear-headed, practical and smart Gwen is, to get what she needs to get however she can make it happen. Other characters might act like they're too good to level with Anne, or too good to manipulate someone who manipulates, gaslights, and abuses everyone around him, into doing something mutually beneficial.

Fosse's flashback scene - Paddy says something like "That story reminds me of how unjust the world is - what did you ever do to deserve that" I think that must be written so ambiguously on purpose. What did a 13 year old kid do to deserve that? And also kind of explains why all of his work fetishizes that burlesque style.
posted by bleep at 9:08 PM on May 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also the look Michelle makes right before she says "Lola. Charity. Roxy." when she's figuring out how to put this important lesson, and then immediately after when there's no reaction, made me LOL.
posted by bleep at 9:42 PM on May 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

coordinating two projects at once likely contributed to the heart attack.

Which he then made a movie about, starring Ann Reinking as the Ann-Reinking stand-in.

This show is about to get palimpsest-weird.
posted by tzikeh at 5:51 PM on May 12, 2019

@ohyeah: couldn't wait any longer!

No worries, Sheydem-tants, I was relieved to see someone else had posted the Fosse/Verdon thread since I was busy getting Lucifer S4 posted. I only just got to watching this episode now, so, whoever wants to post episode 6 and/or the remaining episodes of the season, please feel free.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2019

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