Wednesday, November 21, 2007

“Don’t look at me like that…three million was more than fair.” – Dirty Sexy Money

Last week, there existed the potential for Dirty Sexy Money to run off the rails with an ill-guided love affair, but like any good relationship I was willing to stick around to see how they handled it. My greatest concern was not the relationship itself, really: rather, I was concerned that the Karen Darling we know and love would be lost.

The answer is a resounding “no” on that front, at least for a majority of the episode. The scenes in which she interacts with Nick and Lisa? I despise that Karen Darling, all she’s doing is being wholly delusional. It’s in direct opposition to her other character, a delightfully sardonic and acutely aware but slightly naïve wit factory. Luckily, the writers seem to know this: we got mostly the latter this week, with the former making only a brief appearance. If this is the balance they’re setting, its impact on the show as a whole should be limited.

While “The Country House” was the real title of the episode, referring to (what else?) a trip to the country house, I figure the real title should be “Three’s Company’. The episode was structured around a series of three-person relationships, and I’ll start with the one which was most isolated and, more importantly, gives this post its title.

Brian’s actions in this episode delighted me, because they managed to strike the perfect balance between his love for his son and his corrupted morality. Fighting for custody of Brian Jr. with Angela (Threesome #1), Brian was his usual bitter and jaded self as the Gustav period came back to haunt him in the arbitration hearing. A conversation with Brian’s mother sends him to God…who he asks for assistance with letting the arbitrator accept his bribe (This was after he had tried to buy Brian Jr. from his mother). And really, while his actions are sketchy at best, he needs to save Brian Jr. – going from Casa le Darling to Football curtains is no way for a 7-year old to live. [Also: I’d pay four million for Brian Jr., personally…which, you know, sounds really sketchy. Anyways…]

Meanwhile, Patrick Darling was dealing with a mediation of his own – the custody of Patrick’s company between Ellen, his wife, and Carmelita, his lover (Threesome #2). They haggle back and forth, but it is clear that there is no easy resolution to this particular problem. This was especially clear when, after Patrick turned to his transsexual lover in a time of personal struggle, Ellen shoots him in the leg with a hunting rifle Cheney style. This ripped from the headlines development provided a great act break, although I thought they over-played the allusion as a whole.

Speaking of overplayed, let’s stop for a moment and consider our most serious ménage a trios (Threesome #3): Tripp invites Simon and Patrick to the Country House, with Nick present, in order to have a “sit down”. This sit down starts off easily enough, but then Tripp reveals the nature of their feud: turns out that Elder’s parents were employees of Tripp’s father who were reported to authorities and exported to the Soviet Union, where they ended up in Siberian work camps. I missed part of this, but that part of the story is ridiculous enough as it is. Still, I like it, mostly because of my love for all things Gulag (This is a purely scholarly fascination, I swear). Elder destroys Darling Plaza (The building he won two episodes ago) as retaliation for Tripp digging up this dark past, but the fact that Dutch was the one who ratted them out (To McCarthy? I missed a few minutes) certainly gives him some motive for that pesky murder we’ve been ignoring for a few weeks.

The episode did make some move on the Nick/Lisa/Karen triangle (Threesome #4), along with Tish playing the role of instigator. In short: Tish tells Lisa about the kiss while they’re at the country house (Proving very much her daughter’s mother), Lisa gets pissed off at Nick for not telling her (Why didn’t he tell her? Honestly, Peter Krause would never do such a stupid, stupid thing), she storms off and Nick has to spend Thanksgiving away from his wife who feels he is spiraling out of control (Really? I don’t see it.)

The other threesome is a bit more existential, but I’m totally shoehorning it in: Jeremy’s chivalry manages to score him a date with Ms. Sofia Montoya, but he poses as Jeremy Babeson (There’s Threesome #5 here, I swear). To make this a threesome, we have two choices: either Jeremy Darling and Jeremy Babeson are made distinct entitites, or we include consistently awesome Limo Driver Clark who poses as Jeremy’s father and discusses the porn stache. The storyline was just really fun overall, even if his lie is going to get him in a lot of trouble in the future.

And yet, balancing all of these storylines, the episode moved briskly – for better or for worse, this overly hectic and insane structure seems to work with the show’s actors and writers. I think there’s still some areas for concern, but at the same time I think my greatest fears have been largely turned aside: I can ignore a few threesomes when there’s always another enjoyable threesome around the corner.

Other Notes

- There were a lot of fantastic one-liners in the episode – from “We Babesons don’t shake, we hug” to “Ellen? Also doped up on sedatives,” it seemed like everyone (In this case, Clark and Nick) were getting in on the game.

- Karen’s ideal way for her and Nick to get together: Tripp ships them off to India, or Bali, has them set up an orphanage for “the really starving children” and then he strands them on a beach. Oh Karen, why can’t you be like this all the time? Although it was a bit more on her naive side, still damn funny.

- “So what, you’re going to knock her unconscious with your cologne and then, what: Shanghai her?” was a bit too long to make it into the title, but Karen did knock quite a few lines out of the park.

- So, uh, Juliet wasn’t in the episode. And, I really almost didn’t notice. So, can we send her on an extended vacation maybe? I think it’s for the best, even if I’d feel bad for Samaire Armstrong.


page said...

I really don't much care for Peter Krause's wife. I don't think their story line adds much. I'd be happy if it was 100% Darlings, plus Nick. I agree with you, I LOVED the Babesons bit, that was great.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love this show. Praying it doesn't get canceled.

Carrie said...

Anonymous, no worries. It got picked up for a full season!

Myles said...

The only worry at this point, really, is that they could pull a "Men in Trees" and extend the episodes into the following TV season and run something like Eli Stone in its place at midseason (assuming the Writer's Strike ends).