Impeachment: American Crime Story Offers Riveting Angle on History | TV/Streaming

Don’t worry: Murphy and company aren’t really interested in the tawdry retelling of an affair. Leave your cigar and little blue dress jokes at the door. In fact, the affair between President Bill Clinton (Clive Owen) and Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) is backdrop to centering the story of Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) when the show opens. Starting in the Whitewater days of the White House, “Impeachment” ties a lot back to the death of Vince Foster, which aggravated Tripp and left her without an ally in the White House, where she also reportedly heard about a moment of sexual aggression by President Clinton on Kathleen Willey (Elizabeth Reaser) that would come up again later. As she was shuttled off to the Pentagon, she was convinced she was about to part of something big on a national stage, and “Impeachment” really portrays Tripp as an opportunistic predator, someone who was drawn to her new colleague with a story about dating Bill Clinton because it allowed her to be a part of the story.

Scenes in which Tripp meets with literary agent Lucianne Goldberg (Margo Martindale) or gets excited about conversations with Newsweek really make Tripp out to be a true villain, especially in scenes wherein it feels like she pushes Monica back to Bill when she just wants to let the relationship go. Some of this is a bit overdone, and there’s a bit too much of it, but Paulson is an incredible actress who finds a way to convey the insecurity of people who thrive on misery. Her Linda Tripp constantly makes everything about her, complaining about the trauma of the situation she’s in without consciously understanding that not only is it of her own making but something she desperately needs.

The first half of the 10-episode season focuses on Linda Tripp’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky and how it lead to the impeachment, but it’s cast against everything else that would impact this case, particularly the allegations of Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford), who is portrayed in a way that sometimes feels cruel. The dramatic point is that both Lewinsky and Jones—and, really, a lot of women in these situations—were pushed and pulled by people who didn’t have their best interests at heart. Taran Killam plays Paula’s boyfriend Steve Jones as an aggressive, jealous type who wants public shaming of Clinton more than a financial settlement, and Judith Light captures her attorney in a similar fashion. Everyone in this narrative saw something they could get from a relationship between an intern and the leader of the free world from those next to Clinton’s alleged victims to the people who made their careers on this story like Matt Drudge (Billy Eichner), Ann Coulter (Cobie Smulders), and Ken Starr (Dan Bakkedahl). The writing effectively captures that very American opportunism that leaves victims behind. No one cared about the abuse of power in this story as much as how that abuse could give them power of their own.

You can view the original article HERE.

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