The Corner

Film & TV

Impeachment: American Crime Story

For people looking for a decent binge watch over the Thanksgiving weekend, one option is FX’s newest season of its American Crime Story series. The first season dramatized the O. J. Simpson trial and was riveting. This second season follows the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

I’m only part-way through. But somewhat surprisingly, the drama really focuses on Monica Lewinsky herself and Linda Tripp, her confidante, who eventually put her story out to the people investigating the Clinton White House.

Lewinsky’s somewhat juvenile passions around the president are on full gaudy display, alongside all the 1990s set pieces and obsessions.

The portrayal of Tripp in the series has generated a lot of commentary.

In the New Yorker, Doreen St. Félix tries to rescue the view that Tripp was a contemptible villain:

Thoughts of revenge provide the only warmth in her lonely days, which end with frozen dinners consumed in front of the television. Her aggrievement is generally that of the conservative white woman at the end of the century, sensing her creeping obsolescence. But it’s deeper than that; Tripp considers herself unappreciated as if by fate.

In Vanity Fair, Tripp’s daughter, Allison, is found to be grateful for the humanizing portrait of her mother.

There’s also a portrayal of right-wing D.C. life in the 1990s, with a fun turn by Cobie Smulders as Ann Coulter. The portrayal of Clinton so far by Clive Owen is pretty chilling. He turns on a sinister warmth and anger at will, to manipulate the people around him.

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