Lookin’ back.

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of Ryan Murphy’s entertainment factory. He has done some good work – “Glee” was fun for a while – but sooner or later it seems he can’t restrain himself, or the people who work for him, from getting all ooh-look-at-me-being-transgressive-here. I just get sick of it. I feel like it’s a movie I’ve seen once, didn’t like, and don’t need to sit through again.

He’s generally very well-liked by critics, too.

I didn’t watch the first “American Crime Story,” his limited series that looks at one big messy story about a terrible you-know-what. It was about the O.J. Simpson case, and I OD’d on that one when it happened. I did see the second season, on the murder of Gianni Versace, at least most of it. But the third season, about the impeachment of Bill Clinton, dropped on Hulu recently and I am there for it.

Murphy tends to use the same actors over and over, his own little repertory company, with one, Sarah Paulson, his muse. She was Marcia Clark in the O.J. story, and she’s Linda Tripp in the impeachment saga. Early criticism was that Murphy would have been better off casting another actress than putting Paulson in a wig and fat suit to play Tripp, and I would have agreed in the early episodes, but it’s paying off at the end. She brings some humanity to a thoroughly unlikable person, no small feat.

Tripp is styled as the hero of her own movie, a woman who sees herself as a Very Important Person Who Is Only Doing Her Patriotic Duty, even as she does one shitty thing after another — primarily taping Monica Lewinsky. At one point, she hisses that Ronald Reagan never set foot in the Oval Office without a suit and tie, but the Clintons OMG with their pizza and rock ‘n’ roll and such disrespect, blah blah blah. The rest of the players – Ken Starr and his creep squad, Matt Drudge, Paula Jones, Susan Carpenter McMillan, the whole freak squad – comes to vivid life. I find myself being whipsawed through the whole experience again, how betrayed I felt at first (an intern? REALLY?) followed by the whole greasy shitshow.

Starr doesn’t come off well. Neither does his smarmy little aide, Brett Kavanaugh. Many of the supporting cast are superior — Margo Martindale as Lucianne Goldberg in particular — although I couldn’t buy Edie Falco as Hillary. She’s too New Jersey to play a Midwestern girl.

But as a dramatization of an appalling chapter in American history, it works very well. God, I remember pulling into the Meijer in Fort Wayne during the impeachment debate, when Larry Flynt was dropping his bombshells about all those Republican hypocrites, and just sitting in my car, too stunned to even buy my groceries.

No wonder we got Trump. We deserved him.

The end of the week, tra-la tra-la. Now, just to make sure I go into it with a stomach of bile, think I’ll read about Ginni Thomas. You have a better one.

Posted at 9:09 pm in Current events, Television |

39 responses to “Lookin’ back.”

  1. LAMary said on March 24, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    I liked Sarah Paulson in the OJ thing. I watched a very old episode of Law and Order the other night and I knew I recognized the actress playing a teenager. It was Sarah Paulson. She was probably around 20 at the time.

    Edie Falco is from Long Island but her northern NJ accent is fucking perfect. Tony and Carm lived in a town very close to my home town and Edie nailed that accent. When Tony bought her a Porsche SUV, the way she said Cayenne was so dead on it spooked me.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on March 25, 2022 at 1:47 am

    Trump is suing Hillary for defaming him in 2016, with HRC claiming collusion with Russia by Trump, as Trump is claiming Bob Mueller proved no collusion. Whatever it is Trump is seeking from Clinton was not revealed on NBC News. That orange monster in going to run, isn’t he?
    Why do these people love Trump? I refer to young men with doctor’d exhaust systems on their jacked-up pick-ups, mostly older Silverados. Sunday , across from McDonald’s here in Bryan, maybe 20 of these people held a Trump rally on the roadside grassy strip. They revv their engines loudly as they have parked amidst those cartoonishly ginormous Trump flags. They honk and wave, and people honk back. Trump is enormously popular around here. Why? Whatever convinced all these people that Trump is a great man? So, I guess they have all cut the cable and don’t know how to stream news. I know most nallers have also cut the cable but you stay informed so you know Trump is Trump, a worthless piece of shit.
    LA Mary…hate to nit-pick, but was not Carm’s Cayenne a coupe?

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  3. basset said on March 25, 2022 at 6:05 am

    Porsche makes both a coupe and a four-door Cayenne.

    Never saw the Sopranos, but I can imagine what that accent must be like.

    Probably not real far from this guy’s, at least to the untrained ear:


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  4. ROGirl said on March 25, 2022 at 7:01 am

    When Ryan Murphy does the dramatization of the plan/plot to overturn the election, Ginni Thomas should be played by Bridget Everett.

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  5. alex said on March 25, 2022 at 7:39 am

    basset, that was quite a bracing read first thing in the morning.

    Didn’t watch the reenactments described above, but their mention calls to memory what a disingenuous slimebag Kenneth Starr was, and his machinations made Bill Clinton seem all the more sympathetic despite him also being a slimebag. But the best part of the whole fiasco was Larry Flynt outing GOP House members, including each new successive Speaker they tried to appoint, for their own sexual misdeeds. We got to watch Bob Livingston, Bob Barr, Henry Hyde (he of the “youthful indiscretions” committed at age 40) all get their comeuppance. It’s too bad Flynt didn’t have the dirt on Denny Hastert, the former high school teacher and eventual House Speaker who was much later busted for paying hush money to former male students he had molested.

    What a cesspool.

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  6. kv450 said on March 25, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Let’s not forget that Kenneth Starr also oversaw the coverup of a sexual assault scandal while at Baylor University

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  7. Mark P said on March 25, 2022 at 9:23 am

    What kind of lawyers did Trump find that would let him think that suing Hillary over accusations of collusion is a good idea? Did they tell him he would be deposed? Under oath? I’m sure Hillary would love to see that. Me too.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on March 25, 2022 at 10:31 am

    The cherry on top of the panty-sniffing sundae that is Kenneth Starr is the role he played in allowing Jeffrey Epstein to skate down in Florida, getting him a sentence that allowed him free reign during the day so long as he returned to his private jail cell at night. Starr is in the Hypocrite Hall of Fame.

    I’ve tended to view Strip Search Sammy Alito as the most hateful of the SCOTUS members, but I’ve always had an extremely low view of old Clarence, a bitter, angry, frustrated man despite his lofty position on the high court. The ongoing revelations about Ginni are just nauseating, particularly the blizzard of texts she exchanged with Mark Meadows urging him to throw a wrench into our electoral process in fall 2020.

    Approval ratings for SCOTUS are going down like the Lusitania, but the core of ultra-conservatives needn’t worry. They are there for life, motherfucker, and they are going to do their thing whether you like it or not. It’s time to plan accordingly for the future, which looks to be fraught and grim for anyone not a straight white male christian.

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  9. Deborah said on March 25, 2022 at 10:45 am

    As with everything with Trump his stupid lawsuit is to get attention and raise donations. With him any news is good news and unfortunately it works for him. When he gets his name in the papers or on TV he’s happy, for anything, no matter how stupid or outrageous it is. I mean we’re talking about him again on nn.c for heavens sake.

    But isn’t Biden doing an excellent job? Honestly, I’m so glad he’s our president at this time.

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  10. alex said on March 25, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Not sure what’s happening with the criminal investigation launched by Cyrus Vance, Jr. A new prosecutor took over and let the case languish and two deputies resigned, one of whom announced this week that Trump is indeed guilty as charged. I just read that the new prosecutor is now handing back documents to Trump that had been subpoenaed, suggesting that he’s dropping the case. Wonder if he’s being threatened by some NYC wiseguys.

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  11. LAMary said on March 25, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Not sure if Carm had an SUV or a Coupe. I don’t remember seeing the Cayenne, just heard her saying that word.

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  12. MarkH said on March 25, 2022 at 11:48 am

    basset –
    All Porsche Cayennes are 4-door SUVs.


    The coupe you’re thinking of is the similarly named mid engined Cayman.

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  13. Mark P said on March 25, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    Apparently the suit is an object of ridicule, for the substance of the complaint as well as the quality of the actual filing. It has a number of issues like erroneous citations. Looks like Trump found lawyers with competencies consistent with his own.

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  14. LAMary said on March 25, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks, Mark. I thought so but since I had not seen the car Carmella owned I wasn’t going to push back. Sitting in gentrified northeast LA traffic I see plenty of Cayennes and Caymans and Teslas and BMW SUVs and Land Rovers and I’m pretty sure all the Cayennes I’ve seen are SUVs.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on March 25, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you kv450, for reminding us what a fine Christian gentleman Kenneth Starr turned out to be.

    Since HRC announced just a couple of days ago that’s she has Covid19, the timing of the lawsuit is just another of 45’s nasty schemes.

    I wouldn’t know a Porsche if it hit me in the face. I guess then it would have my attention.

    I too watched Glee until it jumped the shark and have no desire to revisit the American Crime Story episodes, but I did watch another Ryan Murphy show, Election. It was all over the place and full of unlikeable people, but the acting was superb. Judith Light in particular makes the second season worth your time. And Ben Platt, who is known mostly as a singer, managed to get to the piano for a sublime performance of Corner of the Sky from Pippin. Back in the late 70’s every other guy was using that as an audition piece for musicals.

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  16. Jeff Borden said on March 25, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    Another on the hit parade for Ken “Panty Sniffer” Starr. He played a key role in helping Jeffrey Epstein avoid serious jail time in Florida, which allowed the pedophile to work all day and return to his private jail cell at night. He’s in the Hypocrite Hall of Fame.

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  17. LAMary said on March 25, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    In case you missed it, the fourth audit of Maricopa County AZ votes in the 2020 presidential election has been completed. Astonishingly, Biden won this time just like he did in the three previous audits.

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  18. alex said on March 25, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    Damn, the deep state is so skillful at stealing votes they can even fuck up an audit performed by a self-interested third party.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on March 25, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    I’m imaging the hysterics displayed by Blackburn, Cruz, Graham and Hawley if a Dem-appointed SCOTUS justice had a spouse as deeply involved in radical causes as Ginni Thomas. Old Clarence should step down, but won’t happen.

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  20. Jason T. said on March 25, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    Dexter @ 2:

    Why do these people love Trump? I refer to young men with doctor’d exhaust systems on their jacked-up pick-ups, mostly older Silverados. Sunday, across from McDonald’s here in Bryan, maybe 20 of these people held a Trump rally on the roadside grassy strip. They revv their engines loudly as they have parked amidst those cartoonishly ginormous Trump flags. They honk and wave, and people honk back. Trump is enormously popular around here. Why? Whatever convinced all these people that Trump is a great man?

    Having just returned from a week in eastern Tennessee — and living in Western Pennsytucky — I would say that a lot of Trump supporters don’t think he’s a “great man.”

    1. Some of them like that he hates all of the same people they hate — gays, liberals, feminists, foreigners, non-whites, non-Christians — and he gives voice to their hates, and makes them acceptable again.

    2. Some of them think government can’t do anything useful, anyway — that’s what they’ve been told since Ronald Reagan was president — so they like the idea of gumming up the works with someone like Trump.

    3. Some portion of the group — I tend to think it’s small, but it’s there — genuinely believe the weird conspiracy theories that all Democrats/liberals are child molesters and pedophiles and are bringing about a socialist/communist “new world order.”

    But I really do think Trump’s support is mostly 1 and 2 — people who are more or less bigots; combined with other people who have given up on government ever doing anything useful to help them.

    A substantial portion of Americans have been told for 30 years that “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem,” and that “Americans are rugged individuals who need to do everything for themselves,” so they’ve given up on democracy.

    If you view the president now as mostly a figurehead, then government isn’t real, it’s just pro wrestling — and the next logical step is to elect a colorful, corrupt buffoon.

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  21. Jason T. said on March 25, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    As for the people who actually put Trump into office — Rupert Murdoch, the Koch family, the Coors family, the Mellons/Scaifes, the Mercers, various tech-bro douchebags, Russian mobsters and money launderers — 

    Trump is a useful idiot who gives them everything they ever wanted.

    He’s a libertarian wet-dream:

    He temporarily crippled environmental and labor regulations, he gutted the Justice Department, he helped ensure a far-right-wing majority on the Supreme Court for at least a generation, and he severely damaged the federal government’s remaining credibility, both at home and abroad.

    If you’re super-rich, and you hate the idea that the U.S. government might some time try to temporarily stop you from getting richer — Trump was your guy.

    Libertarians and super-rich assholes (ah, but I repeat myself) want to do whatever they want, free from any meddling by puny democratically elected governments.

    They’re trying to destroy the European Union next.

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  22. Sherri said on March 25, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned much in the discussion of all the bills banning trans athletes in high school and younger sports that various backward states are passing is the harm that these will do to kids who aren’t trans.

    I’ve watched sports, particularly women’s sports, for decades, and it’s not unusual to see a girl playing a sport who does not look conventionally female. Whether it’s because of choice (hair style and clothing) or genetics (the ability to add more muscle than average), some girls do not present as typically feminine. When that girl is the best player on the team that just trounced the other team, there have always been whispers about how “she’s not really a girl”, and they have always been harmful.

    But now, those whispers don’t remain whispers. They turn into protests, and examinations, and the need to prove that you’re a girl by whatever evolving standard is currently in place, even though you are and have always been a girl. It’s policing a particular binary on kids in a disrespectful way, not just on kids that are trans, but on any kid that does not fit in in the eyes on other people.

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  23. basset said on March 25, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    MarkH, I just looked on that same page before I posted, saw several of em labeled “coupe,” and went with that. Pics on my phone were too small to count door handles and a coupe is by definition a two-door, dunno what Porsche is thinking there. The chance of me ever even sitting in one is approximately zero anyway.

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  24. Jason T. said on March 25, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Sherri @ 22:

    I have a female friend who is somewhat stocky, has short hair, doesn’t like to wear makeup, and tends to wear jeans and pants suits.

    She’s already been followed into public bathrooms by angry MAGA-types and various other busy-bodies who yell at her, “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!”

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  25. Sherri said on March 25, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    Jason, that sort of stuff has always happened, too, but now people feel more empowered to make a stink about it.

    Imagine being a teenage girl being subjected to that. I know a woman in her 40s now who is 6’2” and has always looked pretty androgynous, and tells of people questioning her using the womens room when she was in her teens.

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  26. Deborah said on March 25, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    Sherri, so true. Oh my god, so true.

    The governor of Kansas that vetoed the transgender bill explained his reason for the veto and it was heartbreaking, he explained how many gender confused kids are suicidal, it’s sad, it shouldn’t be that way. As he said there are only 4 transgender kids in the whole state that are involved in school sports and only one of those is playing girl’s sports. He said those kids should know they are loved.

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  27. susan said on March 25, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is the governor of Kansas.

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  28. Dexter Friend said on March 26, 2022 at 2:20 am

    Carmela Soprano’s Porsche Cayenne coupe.


    I was brought up hearing the word as “coop”. In Bogart movies and really all cop movies from that era, late 1930s to early 1950s, the actors say “koo-PAY”. Yeah, I watch a lot of TCM. 🙂

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  29. basset said on March 26, 2022 at 5:40 am

    “As I was motivating over the hill
    I saw Maybelline in a Coupe de Ville…”

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  30. Deborah said on March 26, 2022 at 9:19 am

    It was the Governor of Utah, not Kansas. And that’s even more surprising.

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  31. Deborah said on March 26, 2022 at 9:24 am

    I must have misspelled my name again, my comment isn’t showing up. It was the Governor of Utah which is more surprising because he’s Mormon.

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  32. Deborah said on March 26, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Sorry, now they’re both showing up.

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  33. LAMary said on March 26, 2022 at 12:24 pm


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  34. jcburns said on March 26, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    If I may suggest: the next time your comment doesn’t show up, just step away from the screen and assume it has shown up everywhere else. Posting about it not showing up does not change things at all.

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  35. MarkH said on March 26, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Dexter @28 – That Porsche is not a Cayenne, but a 911 series Carrera, as the script on the rocker panel says.

    Jeff Gill, sorry about your Boilermakers, but, hey, ain’t St. Pete Elite!!

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  36. Dexter Friend said on March 27, 2022 at 12:36 am

    Well then it wasn’t a coupe. I concede the fight.

    Taylor Hawkins is dead at 50. “Colombia’s Prosecutor’s Office released a statement Saturday saying toxicological tests on urine from Hawkins’ body preliminarily found 10 psychoactive substances and medicines, including marijuana, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepines.”
    It’s being considered a death from natural causes. Foo Fighters now need a drummer. Maybe Dave will now do double duty. Seriously, all those drugs…Hawkins must have been a pain-filled wreck.

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  37. Jeff Gill said on March 27, 2022 at 11:43 am

    I’m in Indy, as I am most weekends, and my wife and I kept texting back and forth during the game: “we want Purdue to win, right?” If we had to lose, I’m glad it was to the Peacocks. Definitely will be rooting for them this afternoon.

    Purdue: the university where you’re more likely to make it to the moon than to the Final Four!

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  38. Deborah said on March 27, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    JC, if I may say, I was just trying to correct my previous comment about what the governor of what I remembered to be Kansas had done, which was indeed incorrect as Susan had pointed out. I wanted to state that it was the Governor of Utah that vetoed the trans bill passed by the state legislature. I didn’t want that comment to be lost so I repeated it in case it would be. Then my previous comment showed up so I apologized. I promise I won’t do that again.

    Now on to something else. I had no idea Clarence Thomas had been married before Ginni, to a black woman, Kathy Ambush, and he had a son with her who is apparently an actor. They were married in 1971 and separated in 1981, divorced in 1984. He and Ginni were maried in 1987, they had met in 1986. Thomas was confirmed in 1991. Anita Hill was an assistant to Thomas from 1981 – 1983 at the Equal Opportunity Commission, which Thomas chaired. I don’t know if that is meaningful in anyway, but I didn’t know it before.

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  39. jcburns said on March 27, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    “I didn’t want that comment to be lost so I repeated it in case it would be.”

    That’s not a problem you have to worry about. At all! Never!

    And repeating it just (to my eye at least) clutters the conversation up.

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