Unraveling the Human Experience: A Writer’s Perspective on Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette and Joan

bette and joan

As a writer, I am constantly seeking narratives that explore the intricacies of the human condition. That’s why I find myself repeatedly drawn to Ryan Murphy’s series “Feud,” particularly the first season, “Bette and Joan.” That, and as a gay man, of course I’m drawn to a story about Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) brawling it out. For my generation, its the old Hollywood equivalent to watching Alexis and Crystal catfight it out on Dynasty. But this series doesn’t merely offer a fascinating tale. It serves as a mirror, reflecting our own experiences, rivalries, and internal struggles.

“Feud: Bette and Joan” chronicles one of Hollywood’s most legendary rivalries: the one between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the making of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” What makes this feud so intriguing and relatable isn’t the surface-level animosity. It’s the underlying pain that fuels it.

Having watched “Bette and Joan” multiple times, each viewing unveils a new layer and a fresh understanding of these complex characters. The rivalry between Davis and Crawford was not born out of hate but out of pain, as stated in the first episode by Oliva de Havilland (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones). Their competitive relationship is a testament to their individual insecurities, fears, and past hurts. In essence, this is what makes them so real and human.

As a writer, this series offers a rich tapestry of character development. Each episode delves deeper into the psyche of these two women, revealing their vulnerabilities and strengths. They are not mere caricatures of Hollywood starlets. They are complex, flawed individuals grappling with their careers, their relevance, and their sense of self in an unforgiving industry.

What strikes me most about “Feud: Bette and Joan” is its raw portrayal of the human experience. It shows us that beneath every feud and every rivalry, there’s a story that is untold, and we must dig deep into the emotions behind a feud to figure out what actually started it, no matter what the parties involved might say. The series reminds us that our personal battles are not about hate but about the hurt we carry within us.

Ryan Murphy’s “Feud” is not just a well-crafted drama series. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling, character development, and the exploration of the human psyche. It’s a series that puts a spotlight on the complexities of our personalities and the inner turmoil we all face.