(a “the very thing I hate is the very thing I orchestrate” TV miniseries review by Timothy J. Verret)
I feel justly justified to write a TV miniseries review of LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND: ME & SHADOWS for one reason and one reason only (not BOTH): Judy Garland, like myself, is an Enneagram 4, and I understand just about everything that is her life and often hard times (BOTH) from start to finish. I came up with that “the very thing I hate is the very thing I orchestrate,” because that is the song most Enneagram 4’s sing out loud (if they can sing; I can’t). What we don’t want, we get because we have orchestrated exactly this “don’t want.” Judy’s life and often hard times (BOTH) were exactly this, and it’s exactly why she suffered so long and hard (BOTH) until the very end.
Based on the 1998 book, Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir written by Lorna Luft, Garland’s daughter, this 2001 TV miniseries features Judy Davis as the adult Judy and Tammy Blanchard as the young Judy (okay, I know I can say, “BOTH,” but I’ll stop now). For those not in the know, Judy Garland is considered by many to be the greatest entertainer who ever lived (my vote is Barbra Streisand, but that’s beside the point). What made Judy such a great entertainer is that she had the true stamp of a true Enneagram 4: Uniquely talented and uniquely unrelenting in her professional and personal life. Judy also had the other “shadow” of the true stamp of a true Enneagram 4: Paralyzing fear of being abandoned and, thus, unloved. Judy DID kill herself, not in terms of a suicide so much as in terms of a suffering to try to prevent her very fears from coming true. She probably didn’t realize, as some Enneagram 4’s are prone to forget, that the very thing she hated was the very thing she orchestrated. She NEVER wanted to be abandoned and thus, unloved, and yet everything she did in her professional and personal life spelled out exactly this fate.
Of course, Judy Garland didn’t really do all of this orchestration alone. She had a mother who pushed her to get all the love she thought Judy needed from an adoring audience. She had a movie industry that changed her name and changed her childhood but NEVER could change her heart. Enneagram 4’s will surrender a whole lot “that got away” along life’s way, but they will NEVER let their heart be changed. They will go down to the depths of hell before they let their heart stop beating….and loving. What Judy didn’t understand is that all the loving she was looking for in others was the very loving she had NOT looking inside herself. All the applause and all the acclaim (and there was a lot) could never satisfy Judy. Why? Because the applause and the acclaim was never applauded or acclaimed toward herself. Boy, could I EVER relate to this! It is true that not all the people in her life were loving toward her, but what is also true is that she set this very trap up for herself. She had that thing that Enneagram 4’s have in spades: Extreme neediness! And it is this extreme neediness that left others in her life with, “How can I make Judy happy?” They didn’t realize it was NOT their job to make Judy happy; that was Judy’s job!
Did Judy Davis act the role of Judy Garland in this TV miniseries? Absolutely NOT! Judy Davis WAS Judy Garland in this TV miniseries. My intuition (another gift of the Enneagram 4) tells me that actress Judy Davis is NOT an Enneagram 4, but my intuition also tells me that Davis as Garland went right into the 4 and didn’t leave that 4 until the last filmed moment. It’s also my intuition that the 4 probably lingered on in Davis even after the last filmed moment. Tammy Blanchard is also sensational as the young Judy. Both actresses won well-deserved Emmy Awards as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Davis won multiple awards for her role, but something tells me they should have given her a Lifetime Achievement Award, for she achieved the lifetime of Judy Garland to absolute perfection. Davis gave all of us and me a glimpse into what it means to be a 4 and how it can mean destruction when a 4 is unable to tap into that 4-ness in a healthy way (note to Timothy and I wish could have been a note to Judy).
And don’t think I’m all that original (although as an Enneagram 4, that IS an essential for us) to come up with the “the very thing I hate is the very thing I orchestrate.” That’s something that the Apostle Paul in the Bible said perfectly: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it (Romans 7:15-20). Apostle Paul sure said a mouthful of “do’s” with this one, but he said the “do” to absolute perfection for an Enneagram 4 (and maybe all Enneagram types)! Judy Garland could have had this Bible verse written on her gravestone, for this is exactly the “do” that Judy Garland “did” that was not what it was all cracked up to “do.” It’s that she was “broken,” something, once again, Enneagram 4’s (and maybe all Enneagram types) can relate to. We are a “broken” people, and I find for me the only way to get “unbroken” is to admit that I am “broken,” and to live out this Bible verse: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). I wish Judy could have understood this. In her weaknesses, in her insults, in her hardships, in her persecutions, she could have admitted she was weak so that He could have made her strong. As it stands, though, she was too strong to admit she was too weak. She went to the grave on this one alone. May I not go to my grave on this one alone.
LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND: ME AND MY SHADOWS is a stellar TV miniseries with stellar performances and a stellar message for the Enneagram 4 (and maybe all Enneagram types): Please DON’T orchestrate what you hate! I can go on record (pun intended) to say that “hate” is that one word I….well….hate, but it’s the best word of choice for an Enneagram 4, like Judy Garland and myself, when we pursue applause and acclaim at the cost of appeasing so much fear and shame and so much fear of being abandoned and, thus, unloved. The audience can applaud and acclaim us, but it just won’t fill that empty void. That empty void is in there for us as an anthem for self-love, self-worth, and a whole lot of “self” becoming a whole lot of Him. I never seek to come across as preachy in these reviews, yet I know I sometimes “do” (I shudder to think I orchestrate this). It’s just that the medium of entertainment, true to the artistic Enneagram 4, awakens in me a deeper need for soul-searching and a deeper need to find meaning in my meaning.
I was once told by a fellow writer that my reviews were NOT really reviews. I took this as a compliment because, yes, my reviews are NOT really “paint-by-number” reviews. They are how I am exactly awakened inside me by what I have witnessed outside me. All the entertainment I review falls right into my lap, and I just express how that makes me feel right out of my heart. Now, if that’s NOT an essential Enneagram 4 trait, trust me on this one, there is NO essential trait to trust more than this one.
Judy Garland sang every note right out of her heart; I can’t sing even one note. But Judy and I BOTH (sorry, had to go there one last time) make “note” what it’s like to live right out of our hearts for the life and often hard times of being an Enneagram 4. Can you hear Judy singing this note to you? Can you hear me singing this note to you, albeit totally off-pitch? 😉💖