Ed Driscoll

The Kennedys: What was the Fuss All About?

I watched a good chunk of the debut episode of the Kennedys mini-series on the heretofore obscure Reelzchannel (that’s how they spell it on the Website, with a Z and no space between the two words) on DirecTV last night. So far I’ve learned:

  • Joseph P. Kennedy (sharply portrayed by veteran British character actor Tom Wilkinson) was a devious Machiavellian manipulator, the ultimate backstage parent, with grandiose plans for his sons.
  • John F. Kennedy had a serious yen for skirts, to the consternation of his long-suffering wife.
  • Bobby Kennedy was a devout, pious Catholic.
  • The actors’ Baaaaston-area accents come and go; Wilkinson in particular seems to be the quintessential mid-Atlantic man, as his native British accent frequently overpowers his attempts at a more chowder-centric tonality.
  • Greg Kinnear’s hairpiece is the show. It appears to be the first toupee (at least since the halcyon days of the Shatner Turbo 2000) to simultaneously employ both Stanislavski and Pudovkin’s theories on acting to shape its performance, and truly deserves a spin-off series of its own.

In other words — it’s certainly fun to watch, but tell me something I didn’t know about the Kennedys. And in the meantime, tell me what is it about this production that so spooked the History Channel?

And as good as it is, so far, it’s no Break On Through With JFK. Though perhaps Jack channels Jim Morrison in a later episode….

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Update: “The New Blacklist: Entertainment Reporter Concedes ‘Kennedys’ Pulled Due to Surnow’s Politics.”