Television: American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, "The Man Who Would Be Vogue"

Okay, so my first question is: Why should I care?

This season's pilot episode begins with the contrast between Versace's opulent lifestyle and his murderer (Andrew Cunanan) sitting on a beach and then beginning to wander around Miami Beach. We know—well, people who know anything about this story—how this will end. Then again, if you look at the season's title you know how it will end. But since I'm given next to nothing about Versace's character, nor am I given much of anything about Cunanan . . . I just don't care.

Yes, yes, I know we're going to go back and find all that out. But the assassination has zero impact here because I don't care about either the victim or the murderer.

So then we rewind and it turns out Cunanan is, you know, fucked up in the head. Okay . . . So what sets him apart from so many other murderers then? He's a pathological liar. So are a lot of killers. He charms his way into people's lives. So do a lot of killers. There is a very cringe-y scene in which he pesters Versace at a bar in San Francisco because he either doesn't pick up on social cues or chooses to ignore them. But really, he's just unlikable. Which is maybe the point, I don't know. But I don't want to watch a show about a guy I don't like.

Let's look at Versace then. Well, I mean, he's dead, so . . . Aside from the morning routine before his murder, we see him only in a few flashbacks where Cunanan is worming his way into Versace's circle. There's not much to go on. Sure, we're sorry he's murdered in a nothing-like-that-should-happen-to-anybody way, but not in a personal, what-a-loss way. We don't know this guy, except that he was a well-known fashion designer. Doesn't make him a sympathetic character, though.

Meanwhile, Versace's sister Donatella sweeps in to take over the company and basically sideline Versace's long-term partner Antonio. So she's a bitch, and we can't like her, either.

The FBI agents screw up everything. Can't like them.

Who the hell are we supposed to root for in this?

Maybe I'm not the right audience for this. Maybe I don't worship enough at the altar of fashion or something. There's a sort of reverence around Versace here that I just don't buy into. Maybe I need to in order to care about the story being told.

I'll keep watching. As they fill in the backstory, maybe I'll find reasons to invest in some of the characters. But so far I'm not wowed.

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