Feud

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Feud TV Poster Image
Stunning period piece full of juicy gossip, iffy messages.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Iffy messages about women, aging, and stardom permeate this series ("men age, they get character, women age, they get lost," women should "just look pretty and keep their mouth shut"); parents may want to point out to young viewers that these types of ideas are antiquated (or are they?), and that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are both rare examples of women who had long Hollywood careers. By showing us the pain of those who are passed over, Feud is a powerful argument for putting these notions to rest. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bette and Joan are both tough and sophisticated women who gossip about others, joust for power, and are not above using deception or aggression to gain their ends. They are also great artists with a passion for their work, who care about their fans, and who worked very hard to maintain their successes. 

Violence

Casual violent language ("If I make another sandals saga, put a bullet in my head"); Bette and Joan sometimes scuffle physically. The movie Baby Jane contains shocking death and abuse; it's seen being filmed. 

Sex

Graphic and vulgar commentary on women's body parts; Joan says she won't play a "Sapphic" role' subtle sex jokes (someone tells a landscaper "it's an honor to prune Joan Crawford's bush"); a man is unfaithful to his wife and enlists his coworkers in keeping his secret; a man and woman kiss and then fall into bed before the camera cuts away. 

Language

Strong language includes "f--king," "bulls--t," "hell," "c--t," "goddamn," "ass," "b---h," "s--t," "tits," "Jesus," "crap," "screw." During some scenes, characters hurl insults at each other: "broken-down has-been," "viper," "drunk." 

Consumerism

Joan Crawford was in real life a spokesperson for Pepsi, which is described here as "s---y sugar water" but its logos are shown numerous times. The trappings of movie stardom are everywhere: expensive furniture, servants, elegant clothing. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Joan Crawford is an alcoholic who conceals her drinking but often explodes emotionally, berates others, slurs, stumbles. Both Joan and Bette smoke cigarettes nearly constantly; vintage cigarette packs are shown prominently as are packages for other vintage products (some are still sold). In one scene, Bette grabs for her cigarettes the minute her alarm goes off in the morning.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Feud is a series about the making of the 1962 movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and the women who starred in it. Besides the incessant smoking (in one scene Davis reaches for her cigarettes the second her alarm goes off) and constant drinking (every adult drinks at every social occasion; Crawford is an alcoholic who slurs, stumbles, explodes), the chief concern for parents will be the many concerning messages about women, particularly older women. Crawford and Davis are often called "washed up" or "has beens," with no worth because of their age. Parents may wish to talk about these statements with young viewers -- does the phenomenal and long-lasting success of Baby Jane show them to be untrue? Strong language includes "f--k," "f--king," "bulls--t," "hell," "c--t," "goddamn," "ass," "bitch," "s--t," "tits," "Jesus," "crap," "screw." There are graphic jokes about women's body parts, references to infidelity; a man and woman kiss before falling into bed (the camera then cuts away). In real life, Crawford was a spokesperson for Pepsi, which is described here as "s---y sugar water" but it's a plot point, too, with its logos and bottles shown frequently. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChris1989 March 6, 2017

Not what I expected but good

I was watching this hoping to get a good laugh at it I didn't get the laughs non stop like i had expected but I sure got a few laughs and a good time I lik... Continue reading
Parent Written byGabriel N. November 14, 2017
My kids asked me to watch this show, because it had their favorite actress, from American Horror Story, Jessica Lange. I was unsure about it at first. As I watc... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bylinas101 March 22, 2017

Mature True Story

A mature realistic and incredibly well made work of ADULT (mature) art.
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominatorcc March 20, 2017

Are they aloud to say that on T.V?

I decided to check this show out.... I was suprised by the unbleeped f!$ks and one use of Cun!. Otherwise, it is a pretty good show.

What's the story?

In the 1940s, Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) were the biggest movie stars in the world, and fierce rivals who engaged in a long-running FEUD in gossip columns. But by 1961, everyone viewed them as washed up, too old to be cast as anything but a grandma. So Crawford went looking for her own project, and found it in a suspense book titled What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Soon Bette and Joan were starring in their very own horror movie -- both on- and offscreen. 

Is it any good?

With lush sets and clothes, ironic feminist subtext, and gossip even Baby Jane fans haven't heard, this series is a positively enthralling treat for vintage vultures. Ryan Murphy, a big Baby Jane fan himself, is clearly relishing unpacking the meta behind the 1962 mega-hit that launched the mini horror genre known variously as "psycho-biddy," or "hag horror," i.e. movies about older women. These movies seemed to view aging women as repulsive monsters, and carried with them a "good news/bad news" message: good news, there are parts for both Bette and Joan! Bad news, Bette's going to be a terrifying madwoman, Joan a faded, helpless wraith. 

But at home, off the set, Sarandon and Lange play these outsized stars as vibrant, yet vulnerable women, tragically warring with each other instead of with the system that put them out to pasture. Still, what a pasture! The elegant furs, vintage evening wear, and designer furniture is enough reason to pause to admire every painterly shot -- particularly the ones that reveal Crawford's furniture covered in custom-made plastic protectors, just like in real life. Fans may be pausing, too, to look up period details: Did Crawford really upstage Davis when signing the movie's contracts? Did Davis really kick Crawford in the head accidentally on purpose while shooting? Feud is the rare show that works both on a guilty-pleasure level and on a deeper one, with the Crawford-Davis rivalry digging into questions about stardom, regret, and the value of older women in a culture that doesn’t always recognize their value. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what old Hollywood was like for women, in general and in Feud. Despite their outward hostility, how do Bette and Joan show teamwork in making and publicizing Baby Jane? How do both of their long careers demonstrate perseverance

  • Characters often make disparaging remarks about older women in general and Bette and Joan in particular. Do you think this show agrees with what's being said? 

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