A highlight from Impeachment: American Crime Story

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Harris also with us is NPR political reporter. Danielle Kurtz lemon. Welcome back Danielle. Hello, I'm always happy to be here. You probably know a lot of the story, but here goes Monica Lewinsky was a White House intern with whom president Bill Clinton began a sexual relationship that took place in The White House. Later, when another woman named Paula Jones came forward with an accusation that Clinton had sexually harassed her, the investigation of that accusation came to include Lewinsky as well. That was partly because Lewinsky confided in an older friend named Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded their conversations about the relationship and turned them over to prosecutor Ken Starr. Clinton was eventually impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, although he was eventually acquitted. Here there's an all star cast bringing all these people to life, beanie feldstein is Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson, as Linda trip, annaleigh Ashford, as Paula Jones and Clive Owen as president Bill Clinton. There are also some smaller roles of note Billy eichner and Cobie Smulders as Matt drudge and Ann coulter and Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton who at least in the early going is not in this very much. The whole thing comes out of Ryan Murphy's very prolific shop, which did the previous American crime story in American Horror Story and all kinds of things and although a lot of his stuff is now on Netflix. This is on FX. So ayesha, Danielle and I have chatted a little bit about this show, but I don't think I've talked to you about it. What is your kind of bottom line on this show? The bottom line is that and I'm going to borrow from Ben Travers and IndieWire described it as more of a flashback than anything else. And I have to concur with that assessment. One of the things that made for me at least the people versus OJ, miniseries, very compelling, was the way it sort of toad this line between elements of camp and then elements of real seriousness in a way that was, I think, very well handled. And I mean, I think it helps that you have these sort of charismatic figures, and it also has this intention of reassessing the legacy of someone like Marcia Clark, the attorney who was prosecuting OJ. And Sarah Paulson also played that role. Here, this is just so dour and sour and I was ten years old or so when all of this was happening. So I am part of the generation where this was the first time I learned what oral sex might be. I still wasn't totally clear on it, but I had heard of it. And so there's so many details that I did not know, although I did listen to the really great podcast slow burn, recommended highly recommend it. Delved into many of the things that are talked about here. And so those things are more fresh in my mind and watching this, I felt as though it just feels like a flashback. It feels like we're kind of going through the motions. And I don't look at the sense that it's doing what the creators intended, which is to elevate the three women at the center of this story. It's entertaining enough and I think that beanie feldstein is great in this role and really humanizes Monica Lewinsky. But overall, I wish it was a little bit more interesting. Yeah, dramatic. Danielle, you and I've talked a lot and you've talked a lot to other folks about the role of gender and masculinity and politics. This seems like ripe Danielle Kurt's lemon bait, and I'm curious what you thought about it. Even leaving aside the gender stuff, just to get at my basic feelings, I really struggled coming in today to even say what I felt about it, because I don't feel like I know. But I think ayesha kind of got it this in the IndieWire review you mentioned got at this that I inhaled this show. I watched it and I just plowed through it. And at the time, I was like, oh yeah, this is good enough. But then it feels kind of like how I felt about the show Game of Thrones when I finished it, which is I am never going to think about that again. Yeah. This is well made with actors I liked. I thought Clive Owen was very good as Bill Clinton. He generally made it more than just an impression I thought. And I know we'll get to that. And beanie feldstein like I used to said was very good. But I found myself wondering, okay, why this why now? Because Monica Lewinsky has already gone out there and tried to re and not just tried to, but successfully recaptured her story, dream made it and said, okay, this was terrible. I am now an anti bullying advocate. I'm retelling this myself. I have rethought the power dynamics here. And as a society, we have rethought the power dynamics. We have rethought how feminists treated Monica Lewinsky back then. We have rethought how consensual this relationship really could have been between the leader of the free world and an early twentysomething Internet. Yeah. This show, yes, made me feel worse for Monica Lewinsky and feel more for her. But I already through slow burn and other things had kind of rethought that, so I'm not sure I was trying to figure out, okay, what more this show was doing?

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