Well, we just watched the first episode of George and Tammy. I’ve been reading all my friends post their opinions about it since it came out. I’ll be honest with you, I went into it with very little expectations. I didn’t expect a documentary. I expected a trashy, cash-in bio-series that would be fun to watch. I really like both Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain and figured they would make it entertaining even if the script was bad.
My thoughts after watching the first episode:
OOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFF. OOOOFFF! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF….
From the opening scene, I was confused at what my eyes were seeing. The microphone is a mic that was widely discontinued by the early 1950s, the cowboy hats are all from the late 1970s/early 1980s “Urban Cowboy” era, and the music was 1960s—sort of? But modern sounding at the same time? This lack of attention to detail carries forth through the entire dismal proceeding. It’s just awful. I think The Buddy Holly Story was more historically accurate than this mess, and The Buddy Holly Story used to be my benchmark for poorly produced, factually incorrect, badly executed music bios.
I could get past all that if Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain saved the day and made it entertaining. They don’t. Every moment here feels wooden and forced. There isn’t a moment where I thought they absorbed the characters. Shannon is a great actor, but he really seems to be collecting a paycheck here, and not even trying to be inside George Jones character. There is no joy in any of this, anywhere. And then they start singing, and that’s where the trouble really begins. OOOF!
I get it, it would be hard for anybody to step in and sing like George Jones and Tammy Wynette. But what passes for country singing in George and Tammy is the saddest attempt I’ve EVER HEARD. Shannon sings like what I would imagine a New York vocal coach would teach you to sing like after hearing a Kenny Rogers album one weekend while he was vacationing in the Hamptons. Jones is (arguably) the greatest country singer of all time, and they give us Michael Shannon channeling “Up with People?” Wow, does this stink. It is beneath contempt.
There are other details that seem so obvious. For instance why is Tammy Wynette wearing 1990s stripper boots with enormous clunky heels instead of 1960s go-go boots? Because they’re both knee-high and white? These sort of details aren’t even that difficult. The only way you can get away with making something this bad is if you get hired for a job and you literally don’t care about the job or the end product. It’s among the worst things I’ve ever seen. It is abysmal.
George and Tammy is terrible. And yet, Sally Jo and I will probably watch the other episodes. Why? I don’t know. Probably because we will cling to the hope that it might somehow get better. Gluttons for punishment. OOOFFF!