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Feud: Capote vs. The Swans

Feud season 2





Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

“Tell me everything from the beginning,” Truman Capote says to his close friend, Babe Paley.

And so Babe Paley does. She tells him about how she caught her husband, once again, having an affair—with all the sordid details included. She tells him about how she already knew about his affair, but that he had agreed to stop. And she tells him how it hurt her.

“He didn’t really hurt you,” Truman counters. “You’ve not been in love for years. It’s your pride.”

And as Truman helps her to calm down and drift off to sleep, Babe agrees.

“You’re right,” Babe says. “The only person who could ever really hurt me is you.”

And that’s exactly what Truman does.

He takes all the details of her husband’s affair and publishes them in Esquire as a poorly disguised story. He does the same with many of his other friends, too.

And in doing so, Truman takes a swan dive down the social ladder.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Lunch at La Côte Basque

For a long time, most people associated Truman Capote with two works: Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. For me, growing up in Kansas, the latter was required reading.

But before his death, Capote would tarnish his reputation by publishing the secrets shared in confidence by his high-society friends over lunch at La Côte Basque, whom he affectionately called the “Swans.” The reward for this betrayal? Most of the Swans cast him out of their social circles, and the event ended whatever remained of Capote’s already faltering writing career. As it turned out, the story, La Côte Basque, 1965, which Capote bragged was akin to the bullet of a gun, ended up backfiring mostly on him.

It’s a story that’ll backfire on viewers, too.

The dramatization contains many references and a couple scenes of sex, including some of the same-sex variety. (Truman Capote was openly homosexual.) A painting displays a woman’s breasts. Violence, including suicide, is present. And abuse, alcoholism and heavy swearing all play parts in this depressing tale of treachery, too.

Feud: Capote vs. The Swans shows us Capote’s swan song, and it’s one that should’ve been left unsung.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 28, 2023 – S2, E1: “Pilot”

Truman Capote, struggling to write his book, finds inspiration—by publishing the secrets of his friends.

Truman enters a sauna in a towel, where he meets another man across from him. The two engage in sexual activities during an extended scene (we don’t see any critical body parts, but it’s clear what is happening). “I want to be molested,” Truman tells the man. The two talk about orgasming, and the other man is a self-described “sexual sociopath.” Truman describes a man who “flirted with the Nazi party,” by which he means that the man had sex with Nazi-affiliated men. We also see a man and woman engaged in clothed sex, and later, the bed is stained with the woman’s menstrual blood. Women wear outfits that expose cleavage. We’re told of many affairs. There’s a reference to oral sex. A man and woman kiss.

We meet a man who identifies as Catholic but wants to engage in sex with Truman. “I love a good Catholic lapse,” Truman remarks. There’s a reference to Lent. Truman describes himself as “witchy.”

A woman commits suicide with cyanide. A woman shoots a man to death, and colorless blood splatters the wall behind him. We hear rumors that a woman who accidentally shot her husband actually did it on purpose. A woman throws wine in Truman’s face.

A woman drinks scotch to swallow a Valium. A man references a sedative. People drink alcohol. Many people smoke cigarettes. One man describes Truman as a “full-time, 60-hour-a-week high-level drunk.”

The f-word is used 15 times, and the s-word is heard four times. We also hear one use of the c-word, and one use of another c-word that references male genitalia. “H—” is used once. God’s name is used in vain seven times, and Jesus’ name is used in vain twice. The slur “f-g” is heard a handful of times.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

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