Hooray For Hollywood Part 1
Hollywood is not going to be a show for everyone. Much like the gates at Ace Studios during this opening episode, only a select crowd will enjoy this and if you’re not in the demographic this is clearly shooting for, Hollywood is likely to give the illusion of it being pretentious, preachy and self-righteous. It’s a shame too because this opening episode looks absolutely stunning and already has some tried and tested (but effective nonetheless) ideas about the glitzy facade of Hollywood peeling away to show something far darker lurking in the shadows.
Episode 1 of Hollywood begins in a post-World War II world with Hollywood itself bursting into life. Jack arrives at Ace Studios fresh from the war, eager to make an impression and get on the big screen. When he misses the cut for the extras on a mainstream picture, he tries to persuade the lady in charge to give him a shot but she’s having none of it; the first of many rejections in Tinseltown for our plucky protagonist.
Jack heads to the bank with his wife and tries to get a loan but thanks to Jack’s choice of career, and a lack of work and money coming in, they’re rejected. After a string of rejections at the studio lot, Jack’s offered a job by Ernie at a local Gas Station that’s actually a front for offering more than gas. Although reluctant at first to indulge in sex work, when he finds out how much is paid he decides to take the dive and begins this line of work.
He takes a mature woman back to a hotel where they have a meaningful conversation about her desire to be loved and presented to the world with far more to give. By comparison, Jack tells her about the impact movies have had on him. After a touching conversation, he sleeps with the lady and heads back to the gas station for his pay cheque. Once there Ernie offers him another job – this time pleasuring national treasure Cole Porter. This is where Jack draws the line there though and he refuses to do this and quits.
Instead, he dons a police outfit and heads to a local movie theatre where he scouts out a homosexual man named Archie and holds him up at gunpoint. Jack plays the part of an officer nicely and takes Archie to a coffee house where he pitches the idea of him working for Ernie in exchange for helping Jack with his own problems. Eventually he agrees and heads back to Ernie’s with a newfound enthusiasm and hope for the future.
As their business continues, one of the women Jack sleeps with happens to be in casting. The next day, he arrives at Ace Studios confident and raring to go. He’s called in by his name by the casting director and as he does, things start to look up for him. So much so that he’s saved up $500 and treats his pregnant wife to dinner at home.
The next day at work, he takes a woman back to a hotel but unfortunately she happens to be an undercover police officer, who arrests him for lewd conduct, which is where the episode ends.
Behind the glitzy facade and fantastic costume and production design is that aforementioned chasing of dreams that make Tinseltown such a harsh and illusive place to climb the mountain of success. If you can accept this isn’t going to be accurate portrayal of the time period and more of a blurred line between fact and fiction, Hollywood has a lot to like and gets off to a very promising start here.