The Kominsky Method, Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin: Fashionable impairments of an ageing Hollywood | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Celebrity and Crisis
  • ISSN: 2044-2823
  • E-ISSN: 2044-2831

Abstract

The series (Netflix, 2018–20) stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as two ageing members of today’s Hollywood milieu. Sandy Kominsky (Douglas) is an acting coach. His effort of self-preservation and perpetuation of the star’s charisma clashes with corporeal decay and financial collapse. Norman Newlander (Arkin) is Sandy’s agent and caustic friend. He has peculiar death thoughts and constantly makes humorous reference to both men’s physical, psychological and social disparities. What does Kominsky tell us about contemporary celebrity culture as regards ageing and the crisis of public appearance thereto related? The show reveals film and television industry’s leading position in setting desirable or disputable models of old age through a renovated alliance with fashion. Arkin and Douglas’s looks express the shame of old age but also glamorize it. A self-reflexive narrative testifies Hollywood’s search for innovative strategies of self-representation that includes old age, showcasing the transformation of celebrated bodies and underlying the value of personal flexibility. Amid the decline of their image and influence, Douglas and Arkin develop a new adaptability, demonstrated variously in terms of masculine aesthetics, through clothing, living spaces, gestures and dialogue. This article investigates the implied social meaning attached to the dressed old body in the public sphere when the predicaments concern privilege and influence. The main character’s costumes draw on fashion trends such as dandyism, hipster style and vintage. Arkin’s, on the other hand, stick to the classic, although not in a strict formal way. Their juxtaposition reveals how fashion trends come to the aid of celebrities’ effort to overcome crisis, a means to manage as well as spectacularize confused and ambivalent attitudes to ageing.

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2024-01-24
2024-05-27
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