TV news and opinion from across the web,
curated by Norman Weiss.

  • Posted Tuesday 5/10/22 at 1:45AM EDT
    • True-crime adaptations Candy and Love and Death haven't been easy on Betty Gore's family
      Source: BuzzFeed News

      Candy Montgomery’s brutal killing of Betty Gore in 1980 with a 3-foot ax has spawned two true-crime adaptations in 2022: Hulu's Candy, which premiered Monday, stars Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery and Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore from creators Nick Antosca and Robin Veith. And HBO Max's Love and Death, premiering later this year, stars Elizabeth Olsen as Montgomery and Lily Rabe as Gore from David E. Kelley. As Buzzfeed News' Stephanie McNeal notes, other than the 1990 CBS TV movie A Killing in a Small Town, the case has received little pop-culture attention over the past four decades. "Betty’s loved ones weren’t looking to dredge up their trauma over her death, and one family member told me they don’t understand why they now have to do so more than 40 years later. But apparently, the case makes for a good story, and for some, that is what’s important," says McNeil, adding: "Betty’s family is still living with the aftermath of her death. They aren’t quite sure why the tragedy is now being turned into multiple TV shows. A family member, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their privacy, told me that they personally were not contacted before either series was made, nor were they informed that the projects were in the works." While HBO Max's Love and Death isn't completed, McNeil says Hulu's Candy "simplifies two complex and real women into easily digestible TV characters. The viewer is meant to root for Candy and distrust Betty, and there isn’t much character development beyond showing the differences between their lives and social standing. Neither comes off as especially well-rounded, and their motives are rather vague. The only real sense you get as a viewer is that when Candy tells her story, we should believe her."

      # TOPICS: Candy, HBO Max, Hulu, Love and Death, Betty Gore, Candy Montgomery, Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Biel

    • Kelly Ripa tests positive for COVID-19
      Source: People

      The Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host announced on her Instagram Story Monday night that she's sidelined by a positive test. "Unfortunately i tested positive for covid-19 this weekend," she wrote. "But thankfully i am fully vaccinated and boosted, and today's show was already pre taped last week. I am taking all necessary precautions and looking forward to returning to normal life as soon as the standard quarantine time is over."

      # TOPICS: Kelly Ripa, ABC, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Coronavirus, Daytime TV

    • Westworld Season 4 kicks off June 26, HBO teaser reveals
      Source: YouTube

      Set to the music of Lou Reed's “Perfect Day, Season 4 teases: "A perfect day is here."

      # TOPICS: Westworld, HBO, Trailers & Teasers

    • Before his Wonder Years firing, Fred Savage previously settled a The Grinder lawsuit in which his accuser alleged he "violently struck" her on set
      Source: Page Six

      Savage's firing from The Wonder Years reboot last week after multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior marked the third time and third different show that the former child star was accused of misconduct. In 1993, costume designer Monique Long sued Savage and his Wonder Years co-star Jason Hervey and the show's producers for sexual harassment, alleging they verbally and physically harassed her daily on set. The lawsuit was settled out of court. In 2018, Youngjoo Hwang sued Savage for harassment, assault, battery and discrimination on the 2015-2016 Fox comedy The Grinder. Savage settled the lawsuit out of court. Asked by Page Six about the new allegations, Hwang's attorney Anahita Seda said Monday: “This was a long time coming and I am not the least bit surprise. When my client came to me in 2018 with her allegations against Mr. Savage, we discovered that there was at least one lawsuit that had been filed against him in the past and that Mr. Savage had allegedly engaged in this type of behavior not just towards my client but other women as well. It is unfortunate that it took my client speaking out and now reportedly these others before action was finally taken.” Hwang alleged in her lawsuit that Savage “violently struck” her in the arm three times and yelled "Do not touch me with your hands!" after she brushed dandruff off of his suit and that the actor had a “volatile and aggressive temper as it related to the female crew.” Hwang also alleged there were numerous complaints against Savage over the years. “Defendant Savage was known to intimidate, bully and torment female crew members while they were doing their job duties by yelling things like ‘I’m not a dog, quit f*cking following me!’ ‘Don’t ever even f*cking look at me anymore’, and ‘Get the f*ck away from me,'" according to the original lawsuit. Savage has yet to respond to the new allegations.

      # TOPICS: Fred Savage, The Grinder, The Wonder Years (1988 Series), The Wonder Years (2021 Series), Legal

    • Cary Fukunaga accused of sexual misconduct by three women in their 20s, including twin sisters who appeared on Netflix's Maniac
      Source: Jezebel

      The 44-year-old Emmy-winning True Detective and No Time to Die director's comment on his Instagram Stories last week in support of women in wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's plan to overturn Roe v. Wade prompted Rachelle Vinberg, a 23-year-old former Betty star and skater, to write: “I spent many years scared of him. Mans is a groomer and has been doin this sh*t for years. Beware women.” That promoted twin sisters Hannah and Cailin Loesch, who appeared on the Fukunaga-produced and directed 2018 Netflix limited series Maniac, to allege similar behavior. "For three years after, Fukunaga allegedly pursued both of them—inviting them to spend time with him in London while he worked on No Time To Die, and later to his farmhouse during the quarantine," reports Jezebel's Audra Heinrichs. "They said Fukunaga also invited himself to their family home in Pennsylvania. At one point during his stay, they said, the three sat in a hot tub, where Fukunaga asked the pair if they were virgins and whether they’d ever participate in a threesome, suggesting that incest is fine 'if all parties are okay with it.'" Heinrichs adds: "Jezebel has reached out to Fukunaga’s representatives, as well as Rachelle Vinberg and Cailin and Hannah Loesch for comment. None had responded by publication time." The allegations come seven months after actress Raeden Greer accused Fukunaga of firing her for refusing to go topless on True Detective.

      # TOPICS: Cary Fukunaga, Maniac, Cailin Loesch, Hannah Loesch, Rachelle Vinberg, Sexual Misconduct

    • Winning Time had a strong end to Season 1, but it pointlessly fudged facts and overused filters
      Source: The Big Lead

      "I understand poetic license and having to tell an interesting story, but it just seemed like some of the lies the show told didn't really add much," says Stephen Douglas of the first season of HBO's Showtime Lakers drama. "But we're not here to nitpick. Mostly. The show is worth celebrating for two very important reasons: casting and basketballing. Even if the material is a little out there, the actors all deliver. Every actor was pretty much born for their role, including, somehow, Rory Cochrane as Jerry Tarkanian. John C. Reilly made me forget the real Jerry Buss ever existed. Quincy Isaiah and Solomon Hughes are perfect as Magic and Kareem and the rest of the Lakers are great. Jason Segel and Adrian Brody make a great couple. I know nothing about Claire Rothman or Jessie Buss, but Gaby Hoffman and Sally Field are both excellent. Maybe the toughest role is Hadley Robinson as a young, inexperienced, capable, overlooked Jeanie Buss who is literally the posterchild for how poorly Buss treats women in this show. (Side note: Hoping for a whole lot more of the failson Buss boys in season 2.) Then there's the basketball. The actual basketball works. From the first game of one-on-one between Magic and Norm Nixon to the actual NBA season, the basketball has felt real. Everyone looks and moves like they're just alternate angles of old highlights. The scenes in the locker room and huddle feel like they've been ripped out of good sports movies. There are legitimate moments during the games where you might even get goosebumps (Couldn't be me)."
      ALSO:

      • Winning Time Season 1 struggled at times to decide the kind of show it wants to be: "With all these known quantities there’s pressure on showrunners to inject drama into the story, but this is also an inherent joy to the subject matter," says James Dator. "We’re watching the rise of one of the greatest basketball players of all time, on one of the greatest teams of all time — that’s fun, it should be fun, and sometimes Winning Time struggles when it attempts to blend comedy with the drama in an attempt to make the show feel lighter. The issue is that the majority of comedic moments come at a character’s expense, which is normally fine, but comes off as cruel knowing these were real people. In early episodes this worked fine...As the show progresses these attempts at comedy become more awkward. With this blend of uncomfortable humor lightening the tone for dramatic events we can’t really rely on, the end result was an enjoyable first season — but a deeply flawed show."
      • The season finale devolving into a Hoosiers/Air Bud level of championship game histrionics is not a bad thing, but...: "...The show has been trying for nine episodes to be so much more than that," says Lee Escobedo. "It’s tried to be a statement on the failings of capitalism, the invisible Black man, and the ills of American society. But in the end, it decided to be pulpy, feel-good entertainment. For example, when Magic tells versions of his mother, girlfriend, and rival Larry Bird that exist in his head to f*ck off in his living room, it colors the scene and episode with a melancholic sourness. We know Magic wins multiple championships and gets the girl. In fact, he gets every girl. And more. When the imaginary visions disappear, leaving Magic alone in his home, we still know less of the man who has been a part of our pop-cultural consumption for more than 40 years before the series started."
      • Winning Time cinematographers used roller blade cameras and retro tech to film basketball scenes: “Our earliest discussions surrounding how to shoot basketball revolved around how to get inside the plays and help the audience understand the dynamics of why Showtime was so special,” Todd Banhazl, who served as cinematographer alongside Mihai Mălaimare Jr., tells Indiewire “And also how to connect the camera kinetically and emotionally to the players. Showtime is extremely fast, and we knew we’d be recreating very well known plays from Lakers history, so accuracy was also very important.” They also benefitted from extreme sports veteran cameraman John Lyke, who could operate a camera while Rollerblading. “John comes from the extreme sports world,” says Banzahl, “and had already shot a great deal of basketball where he had begun to learn how to work within the players, on his skates, with a small handheld camera in his hands. Everything opened up for us when John came on board. We equipped John with a lightweight handheld Arri 416 16mm camera on a backpack rig (so he could keep up with the players up and down the court)."
      • Did Magic Johnson really steal the NBA Finals MVP?
      • Winning Time co-creator Max Borenstein on Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar denouncing the series: "I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have any part of my life adapted into a show or movie; I don’t know if I could watch something that was made about my life if I wasn’t making it," he says. "So I would never predict or judge anyone’s reaction to it. But we’re so proud of what we’ve done. We remain enormous fans of the era, of all of these characters and everything these people have accomplished. We made this from a place of great appreciation, affection, and fandom. And beyond that, we’ve made it with a tremendous amount of research. We spent three years reading every book, watching every interview. One of the great benefits of telling a story about people who’ve lived their lives in the public eye is that, in many cases, they’ve written their own stories. Our only main character who doesn’t have a biography or an autobiography is Jerry Buss. Jerry West’s memoir, West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, is one of the best books I’ve ever read about an athlete’s life. It’s a beautiful, poignant, and very self-revelatory memoir, and that was one of our great sources, as were Kareem’s books and many, many others. We strive to always root our show in the facts, and one of the things that’s been really cool has been watching reactions from the audience where they’re surprised by some of the characterizations or by the way that they meet these people."
      • For Winning Time, getting to face the Boston Celtics is like the White Walkers in Game of Thrones: "Anyone who knows the story of these two guys, has seen the documentaries or read about them, knows that what starts out as an intense bitter resentment and rivalry ultimately became very, very deep complicated friendship," Borenstein says of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird's relationship. "In a way, they were the only two guys who really understood each other and so they were very uniquely bonded. In our show, hopefully we have an opportunity to get there. Getting to face the Celtics is like the White Walkers in Game of Thrones. They flirt with it for quite a while in this iteration of the dynasty and then only eventually get there. When they do, it becomes a rivalry for the ages. And so this is the hint that he’s more than just the villain, that there’s an internal presence there, and that he’s every bit as competitive and driven as Magic Johnson. Hopefully we have an opportunity to get to that place where we get to explore the beginnings of their friendship and get into Larry’s POV, which is certainly part of our ambition eventually."
      • Why Winning Time went from a limited series to a regular series: "This next season? What we discovered when we thought about the show is, this must be a miniseries but it just became clear that if you did that, you would only have room for the highlights," says Borenstein. "There are shows and things I’ve seen that do a thing like that with some true story stuff, but what was so compelling about this to me were these themes that we’re talking about and these characters, the way that they transform and the way that Pat Riley goes from being a color commentator to ultimately becoming this driven, controlling coach, one of the greats, but who as you say, burns out his own welcome in LA. That is a slow burn, a long arc, that’s something that you couldn’t make a great movie about all of this because you don’t have the real estate, and you can’t make a great miniseries about it. The only way to get there is to do it as a continuing drama that has the real estate and the runway to really serve these arcs. I hope we’re given the opportunity to continue to tell that story long enough to do it right, but we’re not going to adjust our pace to try to speed it up to the point where we lose the purpose. We’re making every active creation as an act of faith, and right now, we’re so fortunate to have this incredible cast, to have this network behind us, and to have fans who are appreciating it. So yeah, this next season is going to be, you know, taking the same pace that this first season did, roughly, to tell the next piece of the story."

      # TOPICS: Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, HBO, Max Borenstein

    • From B Positive to Big Sky to Grand Crew: Here are the 24 network shows on the bubble
      Source: TVLine

      ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW are expected to announce the fates of roughly two dozen shows this week. ALSO: Here are some burning questions ahead of the Upfronts Week.

      # TOPICS: B Positive, ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, NBC, Big Sky, Grand Crew, Save Our Shows, Upfronts

    • Eurovision will be available as a Johnny Weir-hosted stream on Peacock
      Source: Deadline

      Weir will be providing commentary and pop-ins on the Eurovision Song Contest from Los Angeles starting Tuesday.

      # TOPICS: Eurovision Song Contest, Peacock, Johnny Weir

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi won't be eligible for this year's Primetime Emmys since it's releasing only two episodes before the May 31 cutoff
      Source: Variety

      The new Star Wars series, which premieres May 27, could've been eligible for this year's Primetime Emmys. But it would have to release the entire season to Emmy voters before May 31 and the season must conclude before June 16. Obi-Wan Kenobi's finale is scheduled for June 22.

      # TOPICS: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Disney+, Emmys, Star Wars

    • Jimmy Kimmel reveals which late-night host didn't check in with him after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week
      Source: Twitter

      "I heard from Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, James Corden all checked in," Kimmel said in in his return to Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday. "Stephen Colbert sent soup to my house. Seth Meyers, not a peep. Nothing." Kimmel added that Matt Damon also didn't check in with him.

      # TOPICS: Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Seth Meyers, Coronavirus, Late Night

    • Fox and NBC get more than a quarter of their primetime audience from live sports, while ABC is less dependent
      Source: The Hollywood Reporter

      Fox is expected to finish in third place thanks largely to having live sports. "Fox is something of an outlier among its fellow broadcasters, Nielsen data from the last two seasons show," explains The Hollywood Reporter's Rick Porter. "NBC also owes a sizable portion of their viewership to sports, while ABC likes to tout its viewership independent of it. CBS occupies something of a middle ground. Nonetheless, the outsized effect sports can have on network audiences speaks to why rights to such programming have skyrocketed in recent years. With live sports consistently the most reliable way to get people to watch linear TV (and the commercials that come with it), networks pay hefty premiums to secure those rights and the audiences that tend to follow."

      # TOPICS: FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, Sports

    • Study: Men made of 64% guests discussing abortion last week on Fox News
      Source: Media Matters

      In contrast, women comprised 63% of CNN guests and 69% of MSNBC guests talking about the US. Supreme Court reportedly overturning Roe v. Wade, according to Media Matters.

      # TOPICS: Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, abortion, Cable News, U.S. Supreme Court

    • Kiefer Sutherland can't stand watching 24, but he enjoys consuming cooking shows, Succession, Ozark and he Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
      Source: Radio Times

      What's his issue with 24? "It’s still too close – I don’t even have mirrors in my house," Sutherland tells Digital Spy. "I could give a fine performance in a film but by the time I’ve watched it and done all the self-loathing, I’ve ruined it for myself."

      # TOPICS: Kiefer Sutherland, 24

    • In a nod to Dave Chappelle attack, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler get Jack McBrayer to protect them at Netflix Is a Joke Fest
      Source: The Hollywood Reporter

      “We saw what happened to Chappelle, and I don’t care what anyone says, I didn’t like it," Fey said during their on-stage conversation. "We were a little worried about that, but I feel like the vibe in here feels good. I don’t feel like anybody is going to try that sh*t.” As a joke, Fey brought up her 30 Rock colleague McBrayer on stage. “It really is an honor to be here,” he said. “But security is important so I do need y’all to know that if you act a fool, I will f*ck your sh*t up. If you come for them, I will come for your nut sack.” Fey and Poehler also discussed the time Kevin Spacey hit on Fey at an SNL afterparty and the time Fey tried to set up Poehler with James Marsden. ALSO: Steve Harvey lost a lot of respect for Will Smith: "You slap me? If you sit back in your seat, Jada would have to move out of the way."

      # TOPICS: Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler, Dave Chappelle, Jack McBrayer, Kevin Spacey, Netflix Is A Joke Fest

    • Wilmer Valderrama: Disney+'s new Zorro series will be "incredibly thoughtful" and "grounded in authenticity"
      Source: Entertainment Weekly

      "I'll tell you this: This will be a Zorro for this generation," Valderrama said on The Drew Barrymore Show of playing the swashbuckling hero. "And it'll be incredibly thoughtful with its origin story, and it'll be grounded in authenticity."

      # TOPICS: Wilmer Valderrama, Disney+, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Zorro (Disney series), In Development

    • Former Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder may have bought her way onto The New York Times' bestseller list
      Source: Gawker

      Schroeder's new book, Off With My Head, placed No. 8 on The Times' bestseller list last week. "Omg. It feels freaking unreal to be recognized twice…," she captioned an Instagram post. But as Gawker points out, The Times put a dagger next to it, indicating that the book may have soared to the Top 10 via suspicious bulk orders.

      # TOPICS: Stassi Schroeder, TV Books

    • In Season 3, Breeders remains one of the most grounded family comedies on air right now
      Source: The A.V. Club

      "Over two seasons, FX’s dark comedy Breeders has excelled at portraying the tough realities of parenthood. Its third, thankfully, is no different," says Saloni Gajjar. "This isn’t a happy sitcom where a 20-minute episode wraps up its issues neatly with a warm heart-to-heart. Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard) are often exasperated by their two kids; he expresses it through verbal rage, while she mostly solemnly seethes. The duo ultimately try hard to raise their children to the best of their abilities, despite some stumbling blocks. And a major pitfall they have to reckon with is how Paul’s anger directly affects his 13-year-old son Luke’s (Alex Eastwood) burgeoning anxiety." ALSO: Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard discuss their characters' journeys in Season 3.

      # TOPICS: Breeders, FX, Daisy Haggard, Martin Freeman

    • Jack Kahler, The Man in the High Castle actor, dies at 75
      Source: Deadline

      Kahler, who died of leukemia, appeared on six episodes of the Amazon series as Harlan Wyndam-Matson, a collaborator for the Japanese empire. A character actor, Kahler's numerous TV credits also include 24, NCIS, Mad Men, Joan of Arcadia, Night Court, Hill Street Blues, Newhart, L.A. Law and, most recently, Love, Victor.

      # TOPICS: The Man in the High Castle, Jack Kahler, Obits

    • Hulu's Candy is too cut and dry, with little insight into why it's now telling the Candy Montgomery-Betty Gore story
      Source: Vulture

      "Candy is so cut-and-dry in its linear movement from affair to murder to court that it denies viewers the context and texture needed to make this world feel established and lived-in," says Roxana Hadadi of the Hulu limited series starring Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey from creators Robin Veith and Nick Antosca. "Placing us alongside Candy for the killing might be the series’ attempt to invite viewers behind a literal closed door, but the blood-drenched sequence is so staggeringly grotesque that it’s more repellant than immersive." Hadadi adds: "There’s no narrative twistiness here and no real obfuscation in terms of who is guilty. That isn’t to say that manufactured mystery is required for true crime, but what Candy lacks is a sense of why this story and why now. What does this incident tell us about the criminal-justice system and how it treats criminals of a certain race, gender, and social class? About the closed-ranks nature of the American South? About being a woman in America, aside from the fact that men can be trash and children can be a nuisance? That latter question is alluded to a bit in the series’ presentation of Candy’s and Betty’s domestic lives, but any sort of insight about the challenges of womanhood then versus now is absent."
      ALSO:

      • Candy is an overstuffed mess: "The axe murder of Betty Gore isn’t the only attack on women in Hulu’s Candy, a screamingly sexist limited series even the most fervent true-crime fans can safely skip," says Alison Foreman. "Created by Nick Antosca (The Act) and Robin Veith (Mad Men), this five-part docudrama takes on the infamous case of Candy Montgomery, a Texas housewife who hacked up her supposed best friend amid a love triangle in the summer of 1980. With former The Sinner star Jessica Biel playing Montgomery and Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey as Gore, Candy has the cast, time period, and setting needed to thoughtfully consider how patriarchal pressures sometimes spur suburban women to violence. But instead, this overstretched mess delivers half a day’s worth of slut-shaming that does little more than masquerade as being about—or for—anyone with a vagina."
      • Candy should've been called "Candy and Betty": "In the first few episodes, the scripts are patient in explaining how both women are equally, achingly lonely, and yet go about trying to fix that feeling in entirely different ways. While contrasting Betty and Candy’s lives, Candy has a clear focus in establishing the Venn diagram between them. Giving both women dimension is the best thing the series ever does, which also raises the question of why the show is called Candy rather than Candy and Betty. Biel and Lynskey are, in fact, both giving lead performances, and the title should reflect it. Once it catches back up with the murder, however, Candy starts to show its seams."
      • Candy works by living in the psychological margins while trying to make sense of a senseless death: "Given an event this harrowing, it’s almost impossible not to have some part of this project feel disjointed," says Steve Greene. "There’s a destabilizing sense to the frequent time-hopping that Candy largely uses for its own benefit. In the process, what it asks about human nature and what a person is capable of is a journey that doesn’t happen without some jarring discoveries. That said, Candy does seem to work better when it’s locked into the mental state of each person it’s profiling. When Candy tries to make some of those visions and manifestations more literal, it removes some of the slippery, elusive nature of the show that makes it great."
      • Candy tries but eventually gives up to trying say something profound: "The better of the recent true-crime series, like Under the Banner of Heaven or The Girl from Plainville, have come armed with some larger purpose beyond simply recounting the juicy details — to examine religious fundamentalism in the former, or to humanize its central players in the latter," says Angie Han. "Initially, Candy appears to want to use its story to say something about conformity, maybe, or idealized femininity and domestic labor. But by the fifth episode, which revolves around Candy’s trial, the series seems to have forgotten what message it meant to deliver, in favor of sitting back to gawk at the circus."
      • Jessica Biel shines in an old-fashioned true-crime treat: "The performances, starting with Biel and Lynskey, are sharp and convincing," says Brian Lowry, "and the unexpected turns down the stretch make this one of those fact-based productions where the less you know going in, the better...Candy doesn’t break new ground, but nor does it really need to. Yes, it has plenty of company in this particular genre, but thanks to the principals, it’s a tastier treat than most."
      • Biel proves her performance in The Sinner was no fluke: "She has really turned a corner in terms of performance in the last few years, doing her career-best work on the excellent The Sinner, and proving here that that was no fluke," says Brian Tallerico. "She imbues Candy with a jittery energy that makes it seem like this woman's perfect house of cards had to collapse at some point. The way Candy treats her affair like something else on her housewife to-do list is fascinating. Get the groceries, pick up the kids, have sex with a friend’s husband. She’s even better in the scenes after the murder; she makes her breath shallower, repeats phrases, nods her head in an unnatural way—she’s got the air of a woman who knows the days before she gets caught are getting shorter. It’s a fantastic performance. Candy is worth seeing for its quartet of performers alone."
      • Despite the outstanding performances, Candy, like its titular character, has commitment issues: "The limited series spends most of its time flirting with the possibility that Candy Montgomery was a narcissistic psychopath and Betty Gore was wholly unstable, never fully convincing us of either," says Karama Horne. "Unfortunately, the series’ conclusion is as unsatisfying as the case’s real-life verdict."
      • Candy is a confused, gauzy adaptation of a real-life tragedy: "The series oscillates between gauzy idealism and painful awkwardness, never quite sure where it wants to land," says Maggie Boccella. "Does it want to defend Candy Montgomery as a woman who merely had a psychotic break, released after years of trauma and marital tension, or does it want to condemn her? She feels guilt and pleasure in ironically equal amounts, and the show finds itself muddled in much the same way that many of Hulu’s previous original projects have — their film False Positive comes to mind. As a result, many of the characters are reduced down to pieces on a game board, mere shallow reflections of living, breathing people. The most striking is the infantilization of Betty Gore, a loving mother whose only storyline seems to focus on her lack of an adult understanding of sex, despite already having a daughter."
      • Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey perfectly embody Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore: "Biel, who also serves as an executive producer on the series, disappears behind Candy’s accent, permed hairstyle and oversized glasses. With Candy’s flashes of panic, we get glimpses of how deep in denial she is about what she has done," says Amy Amatangelo, adding: "On the other side, no one does an insecure woman who feels she is being overlooked and ignored better than Lynskey. She exudes a woman simmering with rage right beneath the surface. Lynskey’s plaintive expressions speak volumes even when she doesn’t utter a word, which leads to a very powerful scene in the finale."
      • Biel is the perfect choice to play charismatic, dizzying and feral Candy: "She leads with smooth smiles and undercuts them with dissociative middle-distance stares; her over-busy housewife character is doting and domestic but also athletic and fierce," says Laura Bradley. "The rest of the cast packs a similar punch. Lynskey, who’s been having a moment since Yellowjackets exploded, oscillates between empathetic, pitiable, and frustrating as Betty; Schreiber’s Allan seems to both love and resent his wife, and Orange Is the New Black’s resident Porn ’Stache is delightfully adept at playing the bereft widower."
      • Candy's structure is its biggest fault: "The murder and discovery happen all in the first episode, and too quickly, with the audience made to wait until episode five to show what happened that Friday afternoon at Betty’s home," says Sara Clements. "That first episode is suspenseful and gripping, a feeling that dissipates for most of its following episodes. There’s a lengthy gap between the event we’re all here for and the show’s decision to transport the audience back two years earlier. This does make for essential backstory and this isn’t to say that what happens in the years before is uninteresting. In fact, the messy drama that intertwines these two women and the cracks that are revealed in their respective marriages makes for good drama and helps to explain what could have led to this crime. Within this backstory, however, something as significant as Candy’s childhood trauma is explored so briefly that it feels like the writers thought this point unimportant despite perhaps being the key to her actions. It would have been beneficial to have the murder and the discovery of Betty’s body happen more slowly, so the anticipation of that act wouldn’t have been satisfied so early."
      • Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey were drawn to the psychological complexities of their characters: "For 90 percent of their lives, they lived these very normal, suburban lives, and then boom, this crazy thing happens," says Biel, noting some of the nuances of getting into the mindset of a killer. "She had to be beloved and likable and nice and kind and someone that you can really get behind, and then after this crazy thing happens, I still want you to weirdly be behind her," she says. Lynskey, on the other hand, felt a connection to Gore. "I just felt like I knew her, and parts of me were parts of her," she says, noting that it was particularly difficult to connect to Gore's depression. "You're living in this feeling and it can sometimes feel slightly repetitive, but that's what depression also feels like."

      # TOPICS: Candy, Hulu, Jessica Biel, Melanie Lynskey, Nick Antosca, Pablo Schreiber, Robin Veith

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