Review: The Woman, The Myth, The Miniseries: 'Angelyne' Unveils the '80s Sensation

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday May 19, 2022

'Angelyne'
'Angelyne'  (Source:Peacock)

Once upon a time, all it took to become an overnight sensation was to get your name up in lights. The insatiable desire for fame and celebrity in our age of the Internet and social networking guarantees that everyone can have the real-life opportunity to nab their 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately, this particular celebrity didn't have it so easy — the Internet part that is. This is the story of "Angelyne," the original one-name wonder that dominated the skyline over Los Angeles with billboards that had everyone wondering, "Who's that girl?"

The enigmatic origins of "Angelyne" become the stuff of fodder in this 5-episode Peacock original limited series that explores her iconic rise and obscure climb up to ladder of celebrity, and reveals all the madness that surrounded Angelyne and all the individuals that came into her orbit.

Shot in a combination of dramatic and faux-documentary style, the story navigates the origins of Angelyn when she arrived in LA and wiggled her way into a band, and started to establish herself as a marketing force, landing herself on billboards — her most famous on Hollywood and Vine — all over LA with the help of a marketing executive played by Martin Freeman. Angelyne surrounded herself with sycophants who fell for her "otherworldly" persona, including Rick Krauss (played by Hamish Linklater), who championed her fan club and helped perpetuate the enigma that is Angelyn.

The limited series toggles between the decades and leads directly into the blockbuster Hollywood Reporter story that broke the true identity of Angelyne in 2017, and opened the floodgates. Was the woman who had become a Hollywood icon, the most associated with celebrity in the '80s, from a family of holocaust survivors who found their way to California? Was she intimately affected by her mother's absence and her father's intolerance that she fashioned for herself a form of alternate metaphysical existence? Even those stories are shrouded in mystery, filled with inaccuracies and profoundly misconstrued facts.

The reality is that Angelyne saw herself as a star who didn't exist until that billboard went up and her Barbie pink Corvette carved a path of celebrity that many followed like it was a yellow brink road. Rossum expertly toes the line between the farcical side of "Angelyne" and the emotional truth of her tale, which has so many sides that it's like playing with a Rubrick's Cube. "Angelyne" is as much a story about the icon as a mystery about her ascension to celebrity — it's a persona that suited her.

The insatiable demand for narratives that dive into peculiar stories continue to pique the interest of audiences. "Angelyne" is the latest in the run, and it's only a matter of time before "The Kardashians" land themselves a similarly-styled biopic. Help us all! But in the meantime, "Angelyne" is a softball fantasy that sheds some light and is an entertaining examination into her glamorous life.

The woman. The myth. The Icon. "Angelyne," starring Emmy Rossum begins streaming on Peacock on May 19.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".