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A visiting dignitary, a CIA agent, a Nazi spy, Japanese tourists, an assassin and a group of "midget" actors from The Wizard of Oz (1939) all check into an elite Los Angeles hotel called Under the Rainbow.
Carrie Fisher presents a two part documentary on a couple of subjects dear to her heart: "Live and love in la-la land" and "Chasing the Hollywood Dream". Shown over consecutive nights on the BBC, part one reveals the many facets of Hollywood love (or lack thereof). The husky voiced Hollywood Princess drags all her immediate family into this (even grandma Maxine) and shows us a bit of the only picture her parents made together: "Bundle of Joy". While she usually takes the side of her mom against her dad, this time we get to see Eddie Fisher reminisce over family pictures while Debbie Reynolds comes over slightly nutty doing her Las Vegas shows. All of this is shot not so much in a documentary style but in a voyeur over the shoulder/filming into the sun kind of way, so the viewer can make up his or her own mind when to laugh.
We visit a single match up party hosted by Doe Gentry (Carrie prefers to stay home with her personal trainer). Also featured are Beverly Hills divorce lawyer Iris Phinsilver, Talent Coordinator Jay Bernstein (discoverer of Farrah and Linda Evans) and Paul Smith, owner of a one man mail order sperm bank in the Mohave Desert (not to worry, he has many different donors, all of them 'High Achievers'). In between we watch our host and her best friend Penny Marshall talk about guys while being massaged. Seeing Carrie being rubbed is all fine and good, but closeups of Laverne's toenails being done I could have lived without.
No sign of half-sisters Joely and Tricia Lee or full brother Todd, but uncle George at Skywalker ranch is visited to talk about how adopting changed his whole life (this was before he decided to show the world exactly how much). This leads to a piece about California adoption, where a baby is born while the adoptive parents are already looking on (!). This show seems to draw the conclusion that the only relationships that are for life in Hollywood are with your pets, as we close on the funeral of Grady the Swiss mountain dog.
Part two dives into the seedy world of the Hollywood Talent Search, where 'the predators of hope feed on youthful fantasies'. They don't call them cattle calls for nothing. While Carrie won't let her own daughter near the camera, we follow a couple of other hopefuls and their stage moms (shot facing the back of people to really give you that intruding feeling), ending up with one lucky girl cast in John Carpenters remake of 'Village of the Damned'. It's a bit of a shame Carrie did not bump into Mark Hamil on the set, as this second part misses that family feeling that made yesterday's episode so intriguing.
However, there are still a couple of unexpected celebrity appearances: Victoria Sellers walks her dogs with Carrie while the two of them discuss being the child of famous parents. Later the sardonic one goes to the beach with Martin Sheen to ask why he let all of his children follow him into the biz. You do get the feeling Carrie is planning to show this to her daughter the moment she starts showing interest in joining Tinseltown traffic. Former child star Paul Petersen (of The Donna Reed show) talks to Antony Tomkins, one of the kids from Diff'rent Strokes (not Willis) in jail, and for some reason we visit Debbie Reynolds in Vegas again. Finally the Fisher Princess sums it up and explains exactly why she gave up acting: it was just too painful going out looking for approval all the time.
Part one: 8 out of 10 Part two: 6 out of 10 Average: 7 out of 10
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