Monday, April 11, 2011

The Kennedys

I've been watching the latest Kennedy Family Worshipfest on the Reelz Channel, and it's turned out to be a mixed bag of undue adulation and a smattering of truth telling.

JFK's adulterous affairs were portrayed as just something sophisticated people do, but at least they were acknowledged. Poor Jack, he just can't hep' it. A glimpse of Father Joe Kennedy's antisemitism made it in, along with his miscalculations over America's entering into WWII.

Bobby Kennedy was generally portrayed as a rash cabinet member, and also as a moral saint... Pretty to think he was a saint. J. Edgar Hoover was portrayed as a self-serving vindictive creep, but at least the writers didn't toy with his masculinity.

President Kennedy's back trouble was well documented - and his drug use, from Demerol to amphetamines... the amphetamines administered by a shady non-government physician. Oh! And Jackie received the same uppers from the same doctor.

JFK was of course the Berlin Wall President, it's construction beginning in 1961, but Kennedy's feckless response was portrayed as wise and the lesser of two evils. However, the Bay of Pigs fiasco was -almost- fairly treated as a miscue of Kennedy's administration.

But then, the treatment of the Cuban Missile Crisis miscasts JFK as the hero. I have always argued that if Kennedy had acted strongly in Berlin and at the Bay of Pigs, the Soviets would not have perceived him as weak, and the missile crisis, which nearly started WWIII, would never have occurred. And the worst part of the production for me was when Jackie says to Caroline, "Your Daddy just saved the world." That's a nice thing to tell your daughter, but it was Daddy's indecision and weakness that caused the crisis.

The Kennedys started strong, but like most mini-series, it sort of fell apart at the end as the writers attempted to tie together loose ends. I do recommend it solely because of the one character that steals the show... The father... Joseph P Kennedy. In fact, the mini-series would have been better if they had simply told his life story and used his family as a backdrop.


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