Fosse/Verdon Recap: Staggering Through the Thin and Thick – Vulture


Where Am I Going
Season 1 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Michael Parmelee/FX

It’s no coincidence that the two special guest stars in this week’s Fosse/Verdon are Paddy Chayefsky (played by Norbert Leo Butz) and Neil Simon (played by Nate Corddry). It’s not just that these two writers were among Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon’s closest friends; they were also responsible for helping to change the vernacular of the American theater by finding a fruitful overlap between the stage and television. Simon’s smash-hit Broadway comedies contextualized ’60s and ’70s middle-class neuroses in the voice of a top TV gag writer. Meanwhile, Chayefsky’s live television plays made stern social drama punchy enough for Middle America. Both men understood how to say something resonant about their times in stripped-down, stage-bound, character-driven stories sprinkled liberally with quotable dialogue.

In other words: Either one of them could’ve written something like this week’s Fosse/Verdon episode. And then they might’ve called in their buddy Bob to add “the flash.”