This First Episode Introduces The Biggest Hollywood Feud Ever

After months of hype, Ryan Murphy’s newest FX show ‘FEUD: Bette and Joan‘ is finally here! This show retells the events that led to the iconic feud of actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, focusing on the filming of ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane‘.

Starring Susan Sarandon as Bette and Jessica Lange as Joan, this show had a lot of promises but did all the hype pay off?

“That was a feud of biblical proportions.”

The Good:
  • The acting is incredible. The tension between Lange’s Joan and Sarandon’s Bette blows everything out of the water. Like the subject manner, it’s hard to not compare the two actresses. Personal biased aside, Jessica Lange is perfect but Susan Sarandon owns everything that makes Bette Davis tick. It’s really all about Bette!
  • Ryan Murphy TV shows have great opening credits but I think this could be my favorite. It encapsulates the film, time period, and wildness of the show. I’m curious if there will be any changes in the upcoming episodes!
  • This show is more than iconic Hollywood drama. ‘FEUD: Bette and Joan‘ digs into many of the problems these women faced in the industry. Topics of misogyny & ageism are the obvious ones but viewers also see the dark underbelly of Hollywood.
The Bad:
  • The pacing of the first episode didn’t work with me. It boils down to the character of Robert Aldrich taking up a lot of screen time. The great actor Alfred Molina does well with the material but it takes away from what audiences really want to see.
  • If you know the story of ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane‘ and love insane pop culture knowledge, this doesn’t really break any new ground. Most of the references are the obvious ones like Crawford’s attachment to Pepsi and Davis’ attitude.
The Campy:
  • The campiness of this whole show is easy to point out. ‘FEUD‘ comes from shocking TV director/writer Ryan Murphy and is about an iconic camp classic; it was bound to be insane. Everything is as over-the-top as you’d expect.
  • Nailing the visuals was important and art direction plays a major part of ‘FEUD‘. All of the costumes and sets pop and become a character all in their own. Production designer Judy Becker and art director Jamie Walker McCall deserve a special shoutout!
  • My favorite scene of the episode is the first time we see Bette Davis in her iconic makeup for Baby Jane. From the transformation to the reveal, it’s one of the most memorable TV scenes in a very long time.

Final Thoughts:

Everything comes together for an insanely fun time in ‘Feud: Bette and Joan‘. There is some flaws but the good certainly outweigh any of the bad.

This comes with a recommendation to fans of Ryan Murphy’s work or lovers of old Hollywood drama. If anything, watch it for Susan Sarandon alone!

Let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments.

Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at