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YMMV / Hollywood (2020)

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  • Adorkable: Early on, Claire is trying to be The Vamp, but her attempts at being a seductress are so awkward that she just comes off as cute.
  • Angst? What Angst?: After he's shown questioning the decision for only a few seconds, Raymond later shows up to sell his body for sex at the gas station with no complaints. Granted, he doesn't go through with it, but that's due to Ernie raising the funds himself.
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  • Award Snub: Joe Mantello and Patti LuPone's acclaimed work went unnoticed at the Emmys.
  • Awesome Music: "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller is given a remix for the trailer. It's able to perfectly capture the era, while still having a few modern tweaks.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Henry's dance in his home, covered in ribbons and fringe, with Rock awkwardly watching, something that's never mentioned or brought up again afterwards. To a lesser extent, there's Jack's nude photo shoot, which was especially notable considering how uncomfortable he was previously using his body to advance in the world.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Despite being very underutilized, Anna May Wong is regarded as one of the series' best characters and Michelle Kruseic is likewise seen as one of the standout performances.
  • Fanfic Fuel: It's extraordinarily tantalizing to imagine how the rest of the entertainment history would be changed in the series' Alternate History.
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  • Just Here for Godzilla: While certain members of the younger cast aren't without their fans, many say the main or only reason to watch is to see the older, more seasoned veterans' performances.
  • Love to Hate: Henry Wilson is an utter Slime Ball who constantly treats those around him like crap, especially his clients who he sexually extorts. But Jim Parsons' humorously vile performance makes him rather entertaining, and he continues to be an engaging bad guy even when working with the heroes, occasionally even proving useful. Not to mention, in a show widely criticized for Tasting Like Diabetes, Willson's Jerkass nature can be a fun change of pace compared to the other main characters.
  • Narm:
    • Camille's acting is already laughably bad, but people heralding her as so sensationally good makes it even worse. Of note is the time when Claire gives an intentionally bad audition for the same role as Camille, and many fans noted that she comes across as better.
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    • Dick Samuels dies out of nowhere in the final episode. It's treated as a pretty sad moment, and it would've come across as such... if not for one little detail: Dick Samuels had noted before in the series how the original ending of Meg doesn't work because the main character's death serves no purpose outside of being sad, only for Samuels himself to die himself in the final episode out of nowhere in a moment that serves no purpose to the story outside of being sad. You'd think the writers who would explicitly noted you shouldn't kill a character just for the sake of sadness would follow that advice and not kill Samuels. Adding onto this, the show's example is even worse than the in-universe script, as Samuels's death has precisely zero build-up, occurs offscreen, and makes no real impact on the plot.
  • Nightmare Fuel: After Meg is green-lit, the cast and crew of the film are harassed by the racist mass that populated America at the time. It reaches a point when flaming crosses are planted into the main cast's yard and the writer's house has a Molotov thrown in.
  • The Scrappy: Camille is most disliked of the main characters, with the main reason being that she's supposed to be an exceptional actress, but her performances come across as more laughable and dull than actually good. Not helping matters is despite her status as one of the series' central figures, she's also quite underwritten, having much less character to speak of than most every other principle cast member.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Ernie and Ellen's relationship is a completely out of nowhere example of Pair the Spares. Despite sharing maybe two scenes together where, we later see them as a couple confessing to each other just how madly in love they are. The brief prior interactions do feel like they're building up to a relationship, but the fact that we barely see any of them together makes the whole thing feel unearned, despite their actors having good chemistry.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: One of the biggest criticisms of the series. It tries to be a hard hitting drama that shows of the darker elements and bigotry of Hollywood. But it also tries to be a light hearted crowd pleaser where all of this real life prejudice is very unrealistically overcome by our heroes. This then ruins the former element, and the latter element has actually been deemed a slap in the face to the real life people who couldn't overcome these prejudices.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Actor, in this case. Darren Criss is one of the most acclaimed performers in this cast, with his prior Ryan Murphy collaboration resulted in one of the best received performances ever in a Murphy production. Unfortunately, while his work was well received here, many agreed that his role is rather boring and doesn't offer him the showcase that he deserves.
    • Despite being one of the show's best characters and playing an important role in the prior episodes, Dick Samuels has fairly little to do in the finale, and in it he suffers from an out-of-nowhere death that occurs offscreen and adds nothing to the plot.
    • The series shows an alternate history where Anna May Wong gets her due. Unfortunately she's largely Out of Focus for almost the whole run. If Ryan Murphy really wanted to right Hollywood's wrongs towards her, then it would've been better to have Wong as a central figure throughout the run. Especially bad since her actress Michelle Kruseic is one of the show's better actors.
    • Camille doesn't get that much screen time or development compared to the show's other leads, and her characterization mostly revolves around her struggles with discrimination and her relationship with Raymond. The fact that we never really get to know her is especially unfortunate, considering that the plot revolves around her acting being so good that it can instantly overcome Hollywood's systemic racism.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The show examines discrimination in the movie industry, but the manner in which it does so sees all the main cast unrealistically overcoming these hurdles in a manner that many described as being toothless and insensitive to the real people who struggled during those times. A darker story showing how some fail when fighting against this (and even their failed attempts could be shown as inspirational for future generations) would've felt more true and could've been far more powerful.
    • Henry Wilson's Heel–Face Turn is done near the end of last episode entirely offscreen. After spending the whole show as a total Slime Ball, it could've been interesting to see him take steps to better himself, but all we see is the aftermath where he's rid himself of all his vices, robbing us of what could've been several powerful scenes.
    • Given their actors and characters were far better received than the younger cast, the show might've worked better if it just focused on the older veterans of the industry.
    • The creators of the show admitted that, besides Anna May Wong (who actually has a small role in the series), another, more direct inspiration for Camille was Dorothy Dandridge, with Camille being basically Dandridge if she received her Oscar nomination a decade before (Dandridge was nominated for an Oscar for Carmen Jones in The '50s but didn't win, whereas Camille is nominated for an Oscar for Meg in The '40s and actually wins). If anything, this only made people wonder why they didn't just set the show in the 1950s, if not outright making an Alternate History story about Dandridge actually winning for Carmen Jones, given that in the 1950s the Civil Rights Movement was starting to gain traction, which would've made the series' premise of a Black woman winning an Oscar and the film she stars in winning Best Picture at least a little more plausible than what the show actually went for (a movie in the 1940s being just so good that it somehow managed to overcome racism).
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • Even the reviews that weren't particularly positive about the show admit that Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, and Patti LuPone gave stellar performances here.
    • Jeremy Pope and Jake Picking deliver performances that come across as very sincere and touching.
    • Michelle Kruseic has little to work with as Anna May Wong, but still manages to give one of the series's strongest turns despite her short screentime.
  • True Art Is Angsty:
    • The idealistic tone of the show has been attacked by many critics for being "toothless", as choosing to show an Alternate History where Hollywood becomes a more progressive haven in the 50s is seen as the show avoiding the real life difficulties people faced. Notably, the show does explore these, but is just choosing to show a 'what if' scenario. Some critics have gone so far as to call the show an insult to the real life pioneers who, in this universe, are swept under the rug in favour of the fictional trailblazers Archie, Camille, Dick, Avis, and Raymond.
    • In some Fridge Brilliance, the lighter tone and Alternate History approach of the show is mirrored in-universe with Meg. In Real Life and in the show, Peg Entwistle tragically jumped to her death, which was the inspiration for Archie's script; after deciding to make their story the tale of a black woman however, they decide to go for an uplifting ending where despite the real life hardships Meg would face, she decides against ending it all and the film ends on a light-hearted note. This pretty much mirrors Hollywood; despite the fact such a film would face great opposition, which it does, they make it anyway, and against all odds, it becomes a hit that nets multiple Oscars. Yes, the show and the in-universe film take liberties with real life to tell an optimistic story, but its doing so to reject the idea of True Art Is Angsty and avoid Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Quite a few reviews accuse the series of being an insult to the actual marginalized people of Hollywood who had to fight and claw against prejudice every day to get at most a sliver of acclaim, saying they just weren't trying hard enough and could have magically solved racism, sexism, and homophobia if they just tried a little bit more. It gets worse for anyone who remembers Gentleman's Agreement, a hard-hitting exploration of anti-Semitism: It was the real life Best Picture winner in 1947, which is replaced by Meg in the show.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Zigzagged. Jack initially seems to our main guy, with the first episode almost all centered around him, where he then becomes greatly overshadowed by the more interesting supporting characters. But after the premiere, the series becomes and more and more of an Ensemble Cast, mostly eliminating this problem. At the same time though, Jack still is arguably the largest role, even if it's not by much, which means this trope is still a bit in play.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Laura Harrier may have seemed like a decent choice for Camille based on her previously well received work, but once the series released, her work was widely panned. The biggest criticism being that Camille is supposed to be an unbelievably sensational actress whose not just excellent, but so excellent she as a black woman is able to win an Academy Award for lead actress in the 40s. Unfortunately, not only was the consensus that Harrier's In-Universe acting isn't that good, it was deemed by many to be actively horrible, making all of Camille's praise utterly laughable.
    • David Corenswet is a similar, but more downplayed example. Jack is also supposed to be an excellent actor to the point of an Oscar nomination, but many viewers either said Corenswet's in character performances weren't anything special, or were downright bad.


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