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Broadcast TV Impeachment: American Crime Story - FX (1 Viewer)

Ken H

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Episode 7 - The Assassination of Monica Lewinsky

On schedule, after Monica has given her perjurious testimony in the Paula Jones case, Clinton is deposed for same. He doesn't know what Jones's attorneys know, and thus also perjurers himself about their relationship. But Clinton gets a bad feeling about the questions and how they were being asked, and decides to try and cover his tracks even better by asking his secretary Betty Currie to verify his version of events when Monica saw Clinton in the White House. She dutifully agrees with him. He also asks Betty to contact Monica and see how she is doing. Currie calls Monica’s pager a number of times, but Monica is being handled by her mother (portrayed by Mira Sorvino) and lawyer Ginsberg, and is not allowed to reply. Much to my surprise, Currie is portrayed by Rae Dawn Chong, who looks like someone’s grandmother. Maybe mine. How time flies.

Monica is told by Ginsberg that he will 'make this all go away', when they meet with the OIC. Unfortunately, the Office of Independent Council and Kenneth Starr have different ideas, and are now going to investigate her family if she doesn't fully cooperate, among other threats.

Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, who has been investigating Clinton's various ethical misdeeds, and spoken to Tripp, is ready with his story exposing Clinton's lies about his relationship with Monica, is told his story will not be run, because there is no other proof except the Tripp tapes. The reporter knows this is time sensitive material and sees all his effort being cast into the wind. Which turns out to be right, as Matt Drudge breaks Isikoff's story on his web site, creating an entirely new way of communicating news to the public.

Tripp, knowing the 'you know what' is about to hit the fan, tells her children they will perhaps hear some nasty things about her, but she wants them to know she ‘did the right thing’.

The Washington Post reports the OIC is investigating if Clinton told an aid, Monica, to lie about their relationship for the Jones deposition.

And finally we get to see Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton, as Bill tells his wife about The Post report, and denies everything, lying right to his wife’s face.

For reasons unknown, Falco has no prosthetic makeup, which makes her and Beanie Feldstein the two main players who essentially look like they do in the real world. On the other hand, Clive Owen as Clinton, and Sarah Paulson as Tripp, appear as Tussauds Wax Museum replicas of their characters, not recognizable as themselves. This disconnect is distracting for me.

The story has gone mainstream, as CNN, et al, are covering it nonstop, much to Monica’s horror. And the tapes now become public knowledge, even as Clinton continues to lie.

As Clinton sees his presidency swirling down the drain, he calls back Dick Morris, a disgraced (prostitute toe sucking) former political pollster and consultant, to help formulate his strategy. Morris tells him it’s too late to tell the truth, and he must continue to lie about his relationship with Monica, if he is going to survive.

Meanwhile, the press coverage is digging up pictures of Monica with Clinton, video of them at public gatherings, her old HS teacher she had an affair with and followed him and his wife to another city, and on and on. Monica is watching all the coverage, including the late night shows lampooning her, and her mother says she won’t let Monica watch all the lies. Monica tells her mother it’s all true; she had affair with Clinton, she did go to fat camp, and her parents did break up, and I did tell Linda you raised me in a house of lies, and now the whole world knows that too.

Ginsberg finally cuts a deal with Starr’s OIC, and gets Monica immunity. At least that’s what is supposed to happen. But Starr sees Ginsberg on all the Sunday morning news programs and he’s gloating, saying Starr should be worried about going to jail, not Monica, etc. Starr says he's not going to sign off, and abruptly decides to cancel the deal.

Meanwhile back at the White House, Hillary tells Clinton they must address the issue directly, and now. He makes an appearance at a White House presser that Hillary was previously scheduled for, for an after school funding program, and makes a brief statement congratulating everyone, including Hillary, for making it happen. Then, he says he is going to make a direct statement to the American people; he did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky, he did not tell anyone to lie, not a single one, these allegations are false.

The episode ends with Monica hearing from Starr’s office that the immunity deal is dead, sees Clinton empathically deny everything, again, on national TV, and is about as distraught as a 23 year old could be, considering her plight.

A very powerful look at how very powerful people go through life.

If you like ensemble acting, as I do, this is an excellent example of it. Continues to be very enjoyable.
 
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Ken H

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Will this end up streaming?
Yes.

If you subscribe to a cable/sat provider, it's available now on Hulu. Otherwise be prepared to wait about another 10 months, and it will show up on Netflix.

 

Johnny Angell

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Yes.

If you subscribe to a cable/sat provider, it's available now on Hulu. Otherwise be prepared to wait about another 10 months, and it will show up on Netflix.

A few days ago I looked for it and it wasn’t available on any streamer. The above article says in 10 months it will be on Netflix.
 

Ken H

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Episode 8 - Stand By Your Man

Flashback to 1992, with Clinton struggling in the Democratic primaries, and then Jennifer Flowers is paid by The Star tabloid for a for a front page expose of her '12 year affair with Bill Clinton'. After seeing Clinton's poll numbers drop by 4% in the one day after The Star story hit the news stand, his campaign staff comes up with a plan to staunch the wound by having both Bill & Hillary do an interview on 60 Minutes, where Hillary makes the famous 'I'm not sitting here like some little woman, standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette' comment. The ploy turns the campaign around, but as Hillary is making a campaign appearance she is told she came off as calculating, cold, unfeeling. Tammy Wynette wants an apology. She replies the problem with most politicians today is they have a low pain threshold, as she puts on her best smile to meet the crowd.

Starr's office turns up the heat and puts Monica's mother in front of a grand jury. Then they have Monica come in for handwriting examples and fingerprint her. Her father is tired of Ginsberg's ineptitude, and decides to get other legal council. This is all Starr needs to make a deal, and now all Monica has to do is tell the OIC the truth in exchange for full immunity for her and her family. Which she does.

Starr wants to get Clinton in front of a Grand Jury, and with Monica cooperating, gets the 'blue dress' from her with Clinton's DNA on it. Clinton is forced to give a blood sample, which shows a DNA match. Now Clinton is up against a wall and is forced to tell Hillary the truth, not to mention the nation and world.

Starr calls Clinton to testify in front of the Grand Jury. Almost as the question starts, Clinton asks to read a statement and is allowed. He says he did have an inappropriate relationship with Monica but they did not have sexual intercourse, and as defined by Paula Jones's lawyers in his deposition, he told the truth. He also says he will not elaborate on further details, for a variety of reasons including his family, the office he holds, etc.

Clinton delivers a national statement on TV. They go to Martha's Vineyard for his birthday and have dinner with Vernon Jordan and his wife. Bill tells Jordan she is not even speaking to him, while Hillary tells Jordan's wife she is just fine. When they get home, he is desperate to talk to her, and she blows up, berating him, throwing a large glass vase of flowers at him, as he well deserves. She has invested everything in their relationship, and he has thrown it all away. After, he is outside, truly alone, crying.

As Clinton goes back to Washington, Hillary stays in Martha's Vineyard. Tammy Wynett's 'Stand By Your Man" is playing in the background, and Hillary is outside looking at the ocean, truly alone, crying.

Although for Falco, this is familiar ground already covered in The Sopranos, she knocked it out of the park. Well worth the wait to see her performance. Owen's performance was right with her. Best episode yet.
 
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Ken H

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Episode 9 - The Grand Jury

Being her usual ego inflated self, Tripp decides to hole up in a Washington DC hotel, because the judge told her not to talk to anyone. Like she couldn’t do this at home? Tripp's literary agent Lucianne Goldberg (portrayed by Margo Martindale) is being interviewed on TV, and she is asked what does she think about the fact only 1 in 10 Americans view Tripp favorably. She says it's all because of the vast conspiracy the White House is behind. The reporter says do you think it also might be that people don't like people who tape their friends? Cut to her daughter comes by the hotel to drop off some mail, and is asking her mother to come home, she is tired of staying with her father, she drives by the house and no one there anymore, the press is gone. Tripp looks at her incredulously and says it's not safe! As her daughter looks around the room, newspaper and magazine clippings are everywhere; she tells her mother this is no good for her, she needs to come home. Tripp says the clippings are for beyond the Grand Jury testimony, because she's going to address the nation and simply tell her story. All I can think is what a self deluded POS.

Monica prepares for her testimony to the Grand Jury. She asks her mother how does she look, says she’s going for the deranged whore look. Just as she is about to leave, Clinton is on TV in the Rose Garden, much to Monica’s amazement, he’s wearing a tie she gave him, and Monica says it’s fine, I’m not going to let it mess me up.

In front of the Grand Jury, Starr decides to use a female attorney to ask the most damaging sexual questions; she says up until now all he would let her do was secretarial work. Monica is forced to admit she performed oral sex on Clinton, and is obviously distraught, and the attorney says we are not going to dwell on this subject. The attorney says they are introducing a document that has all the times Monica saw Clinton alone in the White House, and details the specific sexual acts. The document is multiple pages and is distributed to all 23 of the Grand Jury members, who obviously are shocked at what they are looking at.

Monica then is asked about her past and the previous relationship with another married man. She says that relationship isn’t as it’s being portrayed, and she did not want to get into another like relationship when she came to Washington. She believes what she did was wrong and regrets everything, and the effect on her family. She also says no one asked her to lie, that was all her own idea, and she did it to not put Clinton at risk. She is then asked about the day she was picked up by the FBI and held for 12 hours. She says yes, she was offered a chance to have her lawyer but he wasn’t available and she declined the offer for a public defender because she was afraid and did not trust them, after being told she could go to jail for 28 years and her family could also be in trouble. Her testimony ends with saying no one asked her to lie, she was never promised a job for her silence, and she is sorry, mostly just sorry for everything that happened. And she hates Linda Tripp, which the Grand Jury seems to agree with.

Paula Jones gets a nose job, courtesy of a unknown benefactor who pays the $9000 bill.

Tripp finally decides to go home, and finds in the mail a New Yorker with a story about her called Portrait Of A Whistleblower, outlining a long history of anger issues about marital infidelity, starting with her father in childhood, and continuing to Clinton in present day.

As Clinton faces Impeachment, he throws himself on his sword and tells Hillary everything he has that’s good in his life is because of her. And he loves her. She says nothing and walks out.

Tripp, who is working at home now, has asked for specific info for a project and when it arrives, it’s not what she needs. Her daughter has found out about Tripp being arrested when she was a teenager, and the issues Tripp had with her father. Between all this Tripp is flipping out and goes to the Pentagon to confront her boss. She then finds out the DOD is conducting an investigation into her lying on her original security clearance application, because she said she was never arrested.

Juanita Broaddrick is visited by the FBI. They ask her about her testimony in the Paula Jones case, where she says nothing happened with her and Clinton.

While Paula Jones is still recovering from her nose job, she gets word the judge hearing her case has thrown it out, and having already turned down the Clinton settlement offer, her husband is livid. Things come to a head (pun intended) as the husband finally makes it clear he believes Paula went down on Clinton. She finally has had enough of him, and as he’s making his way to the door, stops and looks at Paula. She finally snarls at him oh, you think I’m gonna ask you to stay? Getting the message, he leaves.

Monica is required to listen to the Tripp tapes and verify that the voices are her and Tripp. Each one. The female attorney is present as a witness, and is hearing everything, as Monica does.

At the same time, Tripp goes in front of the Grand Jury. Having already heard Monica’s testimony, and been exposed to a barrage of negativity directed at Tripp in the press and entertainment field, the Grand Jury only needs a few questions and answers from Tripp to know how they feel. It’s clear they see her as a self serving, paranoid, bitter, angry person, who had zero concern for her so-called friend Monica. After, Tripp is shaken by how she was treated by the Grand Jury. She then makes her address on the courthouse steps to the nation, where she basically says she told the truth and they would do the same. A reporter asks the same question that’s on everyone’s mind – Why did you betray Monica Lewinsky? Tripp does not answer and walks away.

Hillary comes into the Oval Office as Bill is considering his options facing Impeachment. He’s sitting there, depressed, and comparing himself to Andrew Johnson, generally considered one of the worst Presidents in American history, and how until now and him, no other President has been Impeached. She tells him she hates it when he’s like this, nothing has been lost, not yet, and she is going to continue to fight the people who have tried to drag them down, and they will win again, like always. She tells him “he is not Andrew Fucking Johnson”. In other words, she is still in his corner.

Starr’s prosecutors come to the conclusion they need more specific testimony from Monica about how Clinton physically touched her to entice her sexually, which he claimed he did not do. Again, the female attorney used in the Grand Jury and tapes episode gets chosen to do the questioning. Monica knows everything she says will most likely become public knowledge at some point. She's asked about the first encounter, which involved them kissing, taking her breasts out of her bra, him touching her, putting his hand down her pants, first outside of her underwear, then underneath directly touching her, bring her to an orgasm, then she performs oral sex on him, which was her idea. This was all when he was on the telephone, having a conversation. During another encounter, Monica describes how Clinton took a cigar and penetrated her, and took the cigar and put it in his mouth, said it tasted good. With the questioning over, the attorney says for your sake I hope this is goodbye.

Starr’s team is ready to wrap up the report to Congress, but a new development takes place. Jane Doe 5, Juanita Broaddrick, has changed her statement from the Paula Jones case. She now says Bill Clinton raped her. Starr’s response is that since Clinton has not made any statements regarding her, there is no perjury, and no reason to include the charge in the report; there is simply no room for charges unrelated to the Impeachment. His aid lobbies for inclusion, and Starr says fine, and makes it a footnote. A rape accusation is relegated to a footnote.

Paulson really delivered an outstanding performance in this episode, but so did all the other major players, they just didn’t have as much screen time. All in all, once again really entertaining. Looking forward to the final episode.
 
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SamT

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Rotate!

I thought this episode was the most serious and the darkest one yet. Especially the last scene. It's going to stay in my mind for a long time.
 
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ScottH

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Rotate!

I thought this episode was the most serious and the darkest one yet. Especially the last scene. It's going to stay in my mind for a long time.
I already don't even remember what the last scene was! :P
 

SamT

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The rape case and also how Ken Starr didn't exactly get what rape is. Also downplaying it. It's a footnote.

And this is why I love this show. It's so gray. I don't know if it was a good or bad thing. I have mixed feelings. Is it bad because he dismissed rape. Or is it a good thing because he said it doesn't concern me, I'm a professional, I'm going for the lies and obstruction.

Also enjoyed seeing Brett, ...strangely!
 
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Ken H

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The rape case and also how Ken Starr didn't exactly get what rape is. Also downplaying it. It's a footnote.

And this is why I love this show. It's so gray. I don't know if it was a good or bad thing. I have mixed feelings. Is it bad because he dismissed rape. Or is it a good thing because he said it doesn't concern me, I'm a professional, I'm going for the lies and obstruction.

Also enjoyed seeing Brett, ...strangely!
Here's Slate Magazine's take:

The grand jury is presented with a chart outlining what sexual contact occurred between Monica and Bill organized by date. However, Starr’s team, pushed by young member Brett Kavanaugh, feels the descriptions of the sexual encounters are too vague and Monica’s answers too general. Kavanaugh insists she be reinterviewed under oath and forced to be more specific. In a grueling interview with the lone female member of Starr’s team, Monica is subject to questioning about the most intimate details of her love life, questions she must answer to retain her immunity deal. Starr’s rationale is that Clinton claimed he had not lied under oath when he said he “never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky” in his Paula Jones deposition because he was using the definition of sexual relations submitted by Jones’ lawyers. Accordingly, to build their case, Starr’s prosecutors have to determine if the sexual acts performed fell inside this definition or outside, in which case Clinton could be charged with perjury.

The Starr Report, of which now-Justice Kavanaugh was a principal author, notably combined sanctimony and prurience; its introduction noted, “Many of the details reveal highly personal information; many are sexually explicit. This is unfortunate, but it is essential.” Kavanaugh himself wrote a memo to the Starr team arguing for a sexually explicit line of inquiry with the president. However, this approach may not have been legally essential so much as politically desirable, going into detail about behavior that was sleazy but not criminal and offering innuendo in place of substantive charges.

That Starr had a highly selective approach to moral outrage became more apparent when, as president of Baylor University, he failed to address accusations of gang rape against the university’s football team. He went on to be part of the legal team that negotiated a sweetheart deal that let Jeffrey Epstein serve only 13 months in jail with daily 12-hour passes. These actions led one of his former advisers, Judi Hershman, to reveal that she had had a “fond, consensual” yearlong affair with the publicly uxorious Starr.
 

TravisR

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Here's Slate Magazine's take:

That Starr had a highly selective approach to moral outrage became more apparent when, as president of Baylor University, he failed to address accusations of gang rape against the university’s football team. He went on to be part of the legal team that negotiated a sweetheart deal that let Jeffrey Epstein serve only 13 months in jail with daily 12-hour passes. These actions led one of his former advisers, Judi Hershman, to reveal that she had had a “fond, consensual” yearlong affair with the publicly uxorious Starr.
It's amazing how these self-appointed moral crusaders always turn out to be total pieces of shit. Always.
 

JohnMor

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The finale was probably the least powerful episode of the series. It was decent enough but I guess I was expecting something with more punch. A bit surprised they didn’t do the typical text at the end updating what’s happened to everyone in the intervening years.
 

Ken H

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I expected the final episode to be a bit anti climatic, and it was. The acting was still really solid but unlike the previous episodes where the devil was in the details, so to speak, there really wasn't much to add to what is already known. I was thinking combining the events of episodes 9 & 10 would have made a better ending.

And yes, I also expected a recap of the key players life's, but again, I'd guess most people watching already know.

For those still curious, here's Wiki links:

Monica Lewinsky https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Lewinsky
Linda Tripp https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Tripp
Bill Clinton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton
Hillary Clinton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton
Lucianne Goldberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucianne_Goldberg
Kenneth Starr https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Starr
Paula Jones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Jones
Juanita Broaddrick https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanita_Broaddrick
Kathleen Willey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Willey

Overall I thought it was very entertaining with great acting. Highly recommended.
 
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SamT

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3x10 The Wilderness

The funniest line:

- The upside to being cast as a black cat in this fiasco is that you're too famous to be on their kill list.
- Let's hope so.
 
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TravisR

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It took me a few episodes to get into it but it ended up being a pretty decent mini-series overall. I wish there was more Edie Falco though.

I'm badly paraphrasing but I laughed out loud at Ann Coulter's line about Starr conceiving his children through a hole in the wall of his prayer room.

Looking at the show as a whole, the person I most felt sorry for was Paula Jones. As portrayed, she was basically a person who was wronged, then used by scumbags, and then tossed off when she wasn't of any more use.

The saddest part of the show was seeing how much more insane things have gotten in the last 20-some years. They impeached Clinton over perjuring himself about an affair. Behavior like that looks positively sanctified compared to some of the stuff in recent years.
 

SamT

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I also felt for Paula Jones the most.

Kudos to Cobie Smulders. She played the creepy so well, you want to run in the opposite direction and not look back.

I agree that the finale did not have the necessary punch.
 
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Tommy R

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Kudos to Cobie Smulders. She played the creepy so well, you want to run in the opposite direction and not look back.
I had to look the name up to see who she played, and it turns out she’s married to Taran Killam who played Paula Jones’s husband.
 

SamT

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You mean you didn't know who she was or who she played?
 
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