One of the things I love about this series on FX is that it covers events that I lived through, like their kickoff season on OJ Simpson. It is amazing how much you forget the little details of such events and I strongly suspect that is part of the success of the series. The other aspect that stands out is the casting that the series does…which is brilliant.
This season is the impeachment of Bill Clinton, at least that is the overarching premise. In reality, up through episode 5 (which is where we are at as of the time of this writing) the focus is not on the President as much as it is on Linda Tripp and to a lesser extent, Monica Lewinsky.
You might think this is a weird angle to approach this from, but it is brilliant. Sarah Paulson plays Tripp who is a weird character that I think the writers and actress have captured perfectly. She’s not cut and dry like the media often portrays her. At times, she seems to be a genuine friend of Monica Lewinsky. At other times, she is a victim, and at other times, she is a conniving person attempting to profit from her activities. It is because she is not a simple character that this focus works so well in the series.
The Beanie Feldstein portrayal of Monica Lewinsky is far from gracious. She comes across as a love-struck 16 year old that does not seem to have a grasp of the story she is being sucked into. Perhaps that is true to life, but somehow you still feel sorry for her which is a credit to the actress playing her. She is being manipulated by everyone with conflicting agendas, which is probably close to how things actually played out. This is a crime where you find yourself wondering who the victim is and the one name that seems to fill that slot is Monica Lewinsky.
The portrayal of President Clinton is deep and dark. Paula Jones comes across as a naive fool, manipulated by those around her. The first few episodes exist to put the pieces on the game board. By episode five you start to see how these are converging for what will be a brutal confrontation.
The series has done well to step back from the partisan aspect of the politics and focus on the characters, which was exactly where it needed to play.
I enjoy the series so far and encourage you to give it a shot, at least through the first three episodes.