This popular post was originally published April 11, 2011.
Sunday night, ReelzChannel broadcast the two part finale of a controversial eight part miniseries entitled The Kennedys. Many networks passed on the miniseries, including but not limited to the History Channel, Showtime, FX, Starz, Direct TV’s 101 Network, Bass Fishing Network, Dental Floss TV, Air America and NBC (you get the idea).
Critics of the show blame the script, making the case that the miniseries isn’t historically accurate. One of The Kennedys producers claims that networks passed on the project due to pressure put upon them by the Kennedy family. After watching the entire miniseries, my guess is that it was a combination of both.
However, I find the notion that The Kennedys is controversial somewhat laughable. Let’s make a list of some of the “characters” in the miniseries and see if we learn anything.
Tom Wilkinson as Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.- Wilkinson played the role of the family patriarch nobly. I read someone tweet that his voice sounded a little bit like a Boston Hannibal Lecter, which is an accurate description. In the miniseries, Kennedy Senior is portrayed as an ultra rich, power thirsty S.O.B. that would do anything, and spend anything to get his boys to the top. Oh…and he liked to fool around on his wife. Is this news? Controversy? Not so much.
Greg Kinnear as President John F. Kennedy- Kinnear did a magnificent job bringing to life the 35th President of the United States. Kinnear’s President Kennedy, while seeming to care very much for his wife Jackie, also had his dad’s penchant for screwing around behind his wife’s back. What a shocking revelation! Jack Kennedy loved the ladies? The hell you say? Again, what controversy?
Katie Homes as Jackie Kennedy– So, The Kennedys would have you believe that Jackie was a classy lady that had to put up with a lot of heartache due to her husband’s wandering eye. Wow, this keeps getting more and more controversial. Have we not heard this story about the Kennedy family 100 times before? Controversy? Still waiting. And finally…
Barry Pepper as Robert F. Kennedy– Pepper portrays a man that is fiercely loyal to his brother Jack. He is also a highly intelligent, arrogant bastard that made many enemies inside and outside of Washington. Hmm… RFK was cutthroat and didn’t get Christmas cards from J. Edgar Hoover. Man, all this new information is earth-shattering is it not?
So what did we learn? Jack and his dad loved the ladies, Bobby could be a jerk and Jackie was a class act. Oh, and apparently Jack and Bobby did not have a brother named Teddy. He was never mentioned in the entire series.
All in all we learned nothing. If the Kennedy family really tried to bury this series–thinking that they were going to keep some of these revelations a secret (like these are secrets), then they are completely delusional.
Was The Kennedys historically accurate? Probably not. But since when does that matter? Was Oliver Stone’s JFK or W. historically accurate? Why are these networks worried about the historical accuracy of a Kennedy movie?
The Kennedys is one part History Channel and one part Days of our Lives. If given the chance, the American people would have been able to figure that out.
With the television landscape cluttered with such shows as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of 10 Different Cities, Cake Boss, Cupcake Boss, Lemon Meringue Pie Boss, America’s Worst/Best Restaurant, Jersey Shore, Paulie Shore, Dinah Shore, Amazing Race, Amazing Grace, Will and Grace, Live to Dance, Dance to Live, Secret Millionare and reruns of Alf– I have to ask one question:
Who in the hell is a television executive to tell anyone what reality is? That’s controversial…