Thursday, October 04, 2007

"I want to be normalcized. And independent!":Dirty Sexy Money

While I enjoyed the premiere of Dirty Sexy Money, I had some (I think) understandable concerns about its sustainability as a series. After watching the second episode, I am less concerned, but I am not sure if I like where its going. The problem was that certain types of jokes are only going to last for so long, but the second episode was almost completely devoid of any comedy at all.

This episode picked up where the last one left off; with Nick George (Peter Krause) continuing to work for the rich and famous Darlings as a means of investigating potential foul play amongst the Darlings in the death of his father in a plane crash. However, he still has to put up with all of their daily issues, almost none of which require the skill of a lawyer. His main tasks this week are to find the mother of Brian Darling's illegitimate son, since he does not want to claim him, and to make sure that everyone shows up for a photo shoot to promote Patrick Darling's potential candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

While doing this, he also makes some progress on the murder mystery front, speaking to the plane mechanic who we found out last episode was paid $100,000 by Brian (it wasn't for the murder, it was blackmail money regarding the illegitimate son) and stealing Tripp Darling's journal. Well, it looks like Tripp Darling didn't kill his father either, even though he did know about the affair between Nick's father and his wife Letitia Darling. In fact there is a scene at the photo shoot where Nick announces to the entire family that he stole Tripp's journal because he is trying to find out who killed his father. That was surprising to say the least. I had my suspicions that it would turn out none of them did it but that the series revealed (or at least implied) this so soon wasn't expected. The next likely suspect? A billionaire called Simon Elder, whom Nick's father was collecting information on, all stored in his briefcase unlocked with the help of Tripp at the end of the episode. I'm not sure how this will motivate Nick to keep working for the Darlings if he doesn't think one of them murdered his father, but we'll find out next week I'm sure.

The other Darling members had their own dramatic moments this week, with Brian finally accepting his son (although he still lies to his family and makes him pretend to be a Swedish orphan) after Nick discovers his mother has fled to Brazil and gets fed up and brings him to the photo shoot. Juliet, the younger twin, is living in a hotel in an air of fake independence, and refuses to go to the photo shoot and is replaced by a look-a-like. Unfortunately for her, her greatest rival and former friend is staying in the penthouse of the same hotel. I suppose that this is a setup for cattiness to come, but nothing has happened yet as the only Darling to see her new neighbor was her twin brother Jeremy, who was seduced by her. Patrick Darling wavers on running for Senate throughout the episode (his father wants him to, his mother doesn't) but eventually decides to take the plunge on the advice of his transsexual lover. Karen Darling unfortunately doesn't get much this episode, as the only thing she really does is pine for Nick and ask him to tell her fiance that he isn't allowed to be in the photo shoot. She really needs better material.

The best moments of the episode are probably those that contain Tripp (Donald Sutherland, who is clearly having fun with this) and Letitia (Jill Clayburgh, who I am glad got more time this episode), who both give good performances that add to the depth of their characters. Both of them show the regret they each have over her affair with Nick's dad with competence and subdued (surprising, for this show) emotion. There are also some good moments between Nick and his wife, but Krause, who has much less to do this episode, didn't get as many chances to shine as he did in the premiere. I'm not sure how I feel about William Baldwin yet as he is just sort of there; I don't know if he's doing a very good job playing a wooden character or a bad job playing something else. Jeremy was slightly less annoying this time around, but I haven't really been engaged in his or his sister Juliet's storylines yet. I still like Brian, who was a little less bitchy this episode but got a good scene with his son.

Now, back to what I said before. There wasn't really much going on this episode that was very funny. This could be either a good or bad thing in the long run. The show needs to do some character building, and the tone of the pilot simply would not be sustainable for a series. However I think it may be a mistake to delve completely into the drama category, because at least some of the reason for watching this show is to get trashy comedy out of it. So, my verdict is still out on this show, but we'll see in the weeks to come.

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