Fosse/Verdon: Nowadays
May 22, 2019 4:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Gwen fights to assert her own creative vision on Chicago, challenging Bob's increasingly dark approach to the musical.
posted by oh yeah! (9 comments total)
Well, that was pretty fantastic. I hope Michelle Williams gets an Emmy nomination or something for this, because, wow.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:20 AM on May 22, 2019

I hope Michelle Williams gets an Emmy nomination or something for this
posted by tzikeh at 6:10 AM on May 22, 2019

Hah, I just didn’t want to jinx her, tzikeh.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:00 AM on May 22, 2019

I was thinking during this episode how they really led me down the garden path vis a vis how the show wants me to feel about Fosse during any given episode. They want me to hate him, I hate him. They want me to understand his troubled path, I understand his troubled path. They want me to admire his artistic vision, I (very begrudgingly!) admire his artistic vision. I didn't realize it the whole time I was watching it but in this episode I was like boy howdy I guess I'm just in their hands completely. I think that's a sign of a pretty good show!

In this one there were two really interesting scenes, to me:
When Gwen made her impassioned speech about how he owes her this solo and he's like eh, that's fine, but if it doesn't work it doesn't work. And even though we've had all of Gwen's complaints on our minds this whole time, I can't imagine that song without Velma in it, it wouldn't make any sense. I hated how they were making me side with Bob for the first time but also it was fun, like a rollercoaster.

The other scene was when he could see that Gwen needed to catch her breath during rehearsal so he had that extended convo about dexadrine with his assistant. I was like oh my gosh, in Bob's twisted way that's him low key buying her a few minutes without calling attention to her, that's the most romantic thing we've ever seen him do. Some times in a love story you're supposed to just understand that two people love each other even though you never see them acting in a loving way or enjoying each other's company and then sometimes it's just tiny subtle things like this.
posted by bleep at 10:59 AM on May 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

(I thought that they communicated that he was buying her time by the way they had him looking at her off by herself while he was talking)
posted by bleep at 11:01 AM on May 22, 2019

Just a great episode of television. This show has been kind of inconsistent for me, although overall I really enjoy it, and the actors are never not wonderful. But something about all the components, even the ones I have trouble with like the utter bleakness of things, Bob himself, the time-jump storytelling and cutting, all worked here and all came together. Gwen is allowed to be a truly fucked up person in her own right, to be conniving, and most interestingly to be totally wrong and totally correct at the same time. I also thought this did a great job showing two people whose bodies are failing them and who need those bodies to do the one thing that seems to bring them joy, and the frantic way they push against it but still support each other through it or don't......really good shit.
posted by colorblock sock at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Woof. I'm in the process of leaving a work situation that, well, partakes of some of the destructive elements we see here.... I finally listened to my inner Ron (who counsels Gwen to leave the show). So, extra resonance for me. I'm amazed Gwen maintained anything other than the bare minimum of a relationship with Bob afterward. If he really called her while she was in recovery from her surgery... all of the ughs.

Michelle needs all of the Emmys this year and next as far as I'm concerned. That irate monologue was as great as anything Bette Davis ever delivered on the big screen. And I continue to be impressed with her singing chops.

Bob's artistic decisions are right time and again here, but I really hated him for coercing the dancer to get him Dexedrine, especially if she was Latina as depicted in the show. Then again that is classic amoral junkie behavior, and afaik he never recovered, so there you go.

Bonus fun fact: Jerry Orbach played Billy Flynn in the original Broadway production!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:57 PM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Afterthought: Gwen having painful infertility treatments because of the problems with Bob's sperm was yet another way she carried the weight for him. This wasn't something he could have helped, obviously, but the way this society puts the burden for everything onto non-men ... whew.

And then of course to have the accusation of infidelity when she finally did get pregnant ... unreal. That's presented as the sad reality of his psyche that it was; it didn't really make me mad at him.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:45 AM on May 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Pairing the story of Chicago with Nicole's conception and birth, showing how Gwen has always carried the pain, carried the work of parenting their daughter and their show, it's achingly beautiful. It's not just that Gwen Verdon made Bob Fosse's career possible; she made his life possible. What would he have been without her?
posted by gladly at 3:48 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

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