Season 2, Episode 5
Date of release: June 29, 2018 (Netflix)
So, this is the Harvey Weinstein-inspired episode everyone was talking about when the season premiered. It was the half hour almost all of the reviews were talking about, it was the episode which depicted for the first time a fictionalized account of today’s #MeToo era. Its impressive status was not surprising, even if I happened to mouth a couple of “holy crap”s during the related scenes, despite the fact that maybe I shouldn’t, since the story has been blown wide open in October 2017, continues to be blown open wider ever since, and there are still aspects of Hollywood’s abusive behavior that haven’t even been uncovered yet. Just think about the pedophile ring that’s situated right in the heart of Hollywood and might be going on way behind the scenes of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows, and you don’t know about any of it. Everyone knows to shut up about it, and no one wants to openly talk about it by naming names.
The argument between Ruth and Debbie at the end had two different characters from two different centuries in it, and concerning the narrative I don’t quite know what to think of it. Debbie is accepting the unwritten rules of Hollywood, and it might have been one of the ‘WTF’ moments of the episode, but her 1980s thinking versus Ruth’s decision not wanting to be a victim of power sounded like it was a confrontation written with the knowledge of how far the Weinstein story has opened the floodgates today, instead of maybe putting the story into the 1980s for real, without having to go back to the Weinstein story and letting the viewers think that this is the real-life event which inspired the episode. Granted, I don’t know if any actresses were like Ruth in their times (1980s and before) and if any movies were put into turnaround because they did what Ruth did, or shows were cancelled because they did what Ruth did (there haven’t been a lot of stories out about those fates after and ever since the Weinstein news broke) — and while I appreciated the info that some actresses swallowed the ordeal and accepted that this is what it takes to become a Hollywood star, Debbie was for me a little too much the representer of the 1980s thought process in that scene, only put into the narrative to showcase that having to face male executives like this is part of the Hollywood business, and you can’t get out of it without screwing up anyone else. Maybe it was simply the fact that Debbie had a problem with Ruth’s decision to walk a way that made it so weird for me, but I also know that I don’t know anything about the Hollywood business, and I cannot imagine what women had to go through before the twenty-first century to get to the top of the business they were working in. I also know that not everyone can be like Ruth. Or Annabella Sciorra. Or Asia Argento. Or Rose McGowan. Or Evan Rachel Wood. Or Terry Crews.
I can only hope that this story wasn’t just part of the show, because the producers needed to have an episode resulting out of the late 2017 Weinstein news, and it will be very much forgotten or left at the side of the street after this. Yes, with the wrestling show having been rescheduled into the middle of the night and being close to cancellation, chances are this will be a huge deal for the women, but what I really don’t want is for Ruth to have a change of heart and humiliate herself in front of network brass, just so she can save the show. First of all, let’s not forget that Ruth already saved the show, when she pretty much directed the pilot. The show shouldn’t just exist because Ruth happened to be around every time something happened that almost cancelled it. Not that I’m advertising for one of the other women to get into Tom Grant’s pants (although I would be amused by Carmen going in and smashing the shit out of the guy — maybe Tammé too, considering Kia Stevens is a professional wrestler in real life), but yeah, maybe Sam should start speaking up. Maybe Bash should raise his voice.
But I believe Bash has other problems. Not just keeping the money flow going, but also his sexuality, which was very much the hidden issue here. When he entered the gay club and felt like he didn’t belong here, I was hoping this would be the start of his coming-out story, but apparently the writers weren’t ready for that just yet. The money question is generally an interesting story, since it adds another layer to the uncertain longevity of the show (rescheduled and close to cancellation by the network, and now they are also losing sponsors), but I’m more interested in the character arcs of the show, and there was definitely something there, when I looked at Bash’s face, looking at all the men dancing around him, and later looking at all the wrestlers on his collage board. As if he has been fearing getting lost in this rabbit role, because he knew that he might not come out of it again for whatever reason. Maybe the AIDS epidemic was somewhat in the news by this point already (and not considered an epidemic), which alienated Bash even more from his real feelings.