'Hollywood' Episode 1 Review: Forced into sex work and then arrested, what more will Jack have to endure?
On his quest to become an established and revered actor, Jack has to take some uncomfortable calls, but is it the last of his tribulations?
Spoilers for 'Hollywood' Episode 1
Ryan Murphy's reimagination of the 1940s' 'Hollywood' comes with more than just pretty faces and a bunch of gender and race swapped roles. Right at the onset of the seven-part Netflix miniseries, Murphy establishes that though Hollywood offers a fair chance to one and all irrespective of gender, race or genitalia, it won't just cast anybody because of a pretty face. It is all about having official training, which on the surface is for acting and deep underneath calls for desperation and a fierce need that cannot be compromised with. And that we see portrayed through the story of war veteran Jack Castello (David Corenswet), who decides to moonlight as a sex worker just to provide for his three-month pregnant wife (Maude Apatow.)
A homage to all things filmy and tinsel town, Jack's introduction to the story arrives in the form of Hollywood lingo that he must be well versed with before being even considered for casting.
Failed attempts at getting picked for screen tests later, his fairy godmother arrives in the form of Dylan McDermott's Ernie — a gas station owner who runs a secret solicitation service where people can get a little extra servicing under the password "Dreamland". How impeccable, isn't it? Sadly, after much debilitation, Jack's trip to 'dreamland' proves to be worse than his luck with Hollywood so far. And even having Patty LuPone's Avis as his first customer — sassy and kind as a film studio owner's wife should be — doesn't help make that eventual outcome any better.
Jack's tryst with Avis goes as normally as a person adopting the profession of sex work as a means to provide for his family would. And when his second customer turns out to be a man, even though he quits in a fit of rage over Ernie being a d**k about his hesitation and boundaries, he decides to come back because, well, ego and personal preferences won't pay the bills. So Jack does what a smart man would do. He enterprises. He dresses up as a cop and pays a visit to the local gay cinema, thus nabbing aspiring scriptwriter Archie Coleman, who goes around offering his sexual services for a price.
The pilot itself is a clear portrayal of the lengths actors are willing to go to for that moment of recognition and visibility on the screen — a dream that ends up being a waking nightmare more often than not.
So even with Jack appointing Archie as Ernie's man for all men, things don't exactly pan out the best of ways with an undercover cop tempting him with a tip and arresting him for soliciting, just a week into the job. But hey, at least rent, electricity and down payment for a new home for their growing family is sorted. The question that haunts us at the end of the pilot is what next must Jack endure, to provide earnestly for the wows he made? Does he get bail? Does he ever make it to the screen after really satisfying a customer who turned out to be a casting agent? Only time will tell!
'Hollywood' dropped with all seven episodes on May 1, only on Netflix.