Thursday, September 27, 2007

"I can't even win a yacht without getting arrested.":Dirty Sexy Money

When I was thinking about what would be fun to write about in the new fall schedule Dirty Sexy Money was my number one choice for one reason: the potential for what I referred to as "trashy goodness" at the time. Well I've seen the pilot now and I must say that I am not disappointed in that respect.

You have seen similar shows before; the life and times of a large, eccentric family; usually rich, with little of substance to do, always getting into trouble. I am not really old enough to have watched shows like this in the 1980s seriously, so I won't repeat the most obvious comparisons you have heard already from that decade. The idea I like better (thanks, Todd) and have heard less is that this show is similar to in both in character makeup and in setting to Arrested Development, but with a more trashy, less wacky bent. The mechanics and pace are obviously different since this is not a sitcom, however, and it is nowhere near as funny, but the similarity is still there.

Peter Krause plays Nick George, a lawyer who has worked for good causes and little money during his career so far, however one fateful day his father dies in a plane crash and his life is about to change. His father's employer, the extremely rich and famous Darling family, wants him to take over his father's previous position as the family's attorney. He refuses at first because he remembers how much of his childhood was ruined because of all the time of his father's that was required; but eventually caves because of the exorbitantly high salary he is to be given. Will people do anything for enough money? They will when the plot requires it! He quickly discovers that this job is more than he has bargained for (of course) as he is called into every little problem the family has; practically every family member has a crisis needing his attention on his very first day alone. However despite any inclination he might have to quit instantly, there's an over-arching mystery surrounding the death of his father which will act as Nick's motiviation for keeping the job. The show does need a reason to exist after all.

Krause does well as the lead, and there is a very large and talented supporting cast here that has a lot of potential. My favorites are Donald Sutherland (Tripp Darling, the family patriarch and potentially only sane member), Natalie Zea (Karen Darling, in love with Nick despite being engaged to someone else), and Glenn Fitzgerald (Brian Darling, a villainous Episcopoal minister). I also like Zoe McLellan as Nick's wife Lisa; hopefully some balance can be brought to the proceedings by focusing at least a little bit on Nick's own (likely failing) personal life as he works for the Darlings and attempts to discover who murdered his father. Not all is roses though as some of the family members seem like they could grow old and tired quickly. Seth Gabel (as Jeremey Darling), the youngest and continually wasted son is really not very interesting and a little bit stale of an archetype. William Baldwin's (Patrick Darling) plot line seems like it will evolve into one of the least interesting stories as well, even though there are some funny lines created for Krause at his expense. I mean, a politician with a dark secret: shocker! The one I am not too sure about yet is Samaire Armstrong (Juliet Darling), who could either turn into a good or bad Paris Hilton parody.

I think the overall strength of the show will be a combintion of Krause, who will be the baffled witness to the hysteria of some of the better supporting turns. The two potential weaknesses that are the most dangerous are probably too many supporting arcs that can't all be good, as well as a little bit too much smarminess. I think a good comparison would be Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which was a little bit too self-aware ("Look at how cute I am!") for its own good. I am not sure what the show will be like long-term yet; if the funny moments stay fresh it could do well, but the milage out of the "we're self-absorbed and completely oblivious to reality" jokes may vary. Nevertheless, this is my third favorite pilot of the season, and looks to be much more interesting and entertaining than Cain, the other new large family show.

It may not last long enough however, if the ratings are any indication. I think ABC missed an opportunity of scheduling here. They should have put this show on at 10 PM on Sundays, after Desperate Housewives, which would have been a much better fit for a lead-in. Then they could move Brothers and Sisters to Wednesdays at 9 PM, and Private Practice to Thursdays at 10 PM, to capture the post Grey's Anatomy audience. Well, it is just an idea anyway.

My favorite moment: the limo scene with Krause and Baldwin; I had seen part of it on the preview already, but I love that "I'm not going to go into a hotel and give a tranny hooker a check!" bit.

1 comment:

eBay Rookie said...

I watched the first half and then turned it off - and that says a lot because I always finish watching - no matter how bad it is. Hell, I even erased it from my DVR, I NEVER do that without finishing the show.
There was no one I liked. I knew I would start hating Nick. So why bother? It just made me hate humanity.
Although the priest was entertaining. But that's all I'm going to give them.