Friday, February 22, 2008

Lipstick Jungle/Cashmere Mafia: Mothers, Daughters, Dogs

PhotobucketThere was plenty of action on both Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia this week. This comes as a welcome relief if (like me) you're a little tired of all the discussion about how much harder women have to work to make it in business. Both shows were almost nothing but plot in these episodes. So, what did each do right and wrong?

I'm surprised to report that the most appealing part of Cashmere Mafia this week involved Lucy Liu and a dog. Mia has gotten ex-fiance Jack out of her system and is now seeing handsome doctor Jason (Jack Yang). Jason appears to be just right for Mia on the surface; he's successful and driven and catch match Mia in sheer busyness. But something is not right - he falls asleep just as they're about to have sex. Mia has agreed to take care of a stray dog for a couple of days. The dog doesn't appear to be much interested in Mia (or anything else) until just at the moment an animal shelter worker (well played by Wallace Shawn) arrives to take the dog away. The connection Mia feels to the pooch is what she wants to feel to a man; she and Jack don't have it so she dumps him. This is perhaps the most charming Lucy Liu's been yet on this show, and as a result this was probably the most enjoyable Cashmere to date.

It was a treat to see Peter Riegert playing a corporate raider who is either interested in Juliet, her company, or both. But Juliet has been too opaque as a character for anything she does to have much resonance. Much better was Zoe as a now stay-at-home Mom who takes over her daughter's science project to such an extent that the kid gives up and does her own version. It's a good change to see one of these women out of their comfort zone. Caitlin, after being dumped by her girlfriend last week, is back in full career mode. Her putting on a fashion show with no clothes felt like a Sex and the City rough draft, but Bonnie Somerville (still my favorite actress on the show) makes it work.

I swear Andrew McCarthy thinks he's doing a British accent on Lipstick Jungle. McCarthy plays Joe, a billionaire with his heart set on fashion designer Victory. Tonight the new relationship hits a bump: Joe has dinner with Nico and Wendy but thinks one evening with Victory's best friends is enough. I'm still interested in how the affair between Nico and photographer's assistant Kirby has made Nico more confident at work; see her idea for a sexy photo spread for a British royal family member for an example. But Nico's panic about the the affair almost being discovered leads to a chain of events that cause Kirby to loose his job. He retaliates by filing a sexual harassment claim, the effects of which will be handled next week. It looks like Lorraine Bracco's nasty editor Janice has been beaten back for the time being. After photos of a tearful Wendy appear in the tabloids, Wendy attempts to repair the damage to her reputation as a mother by bringing her daughter along to a ritzy luncheon. When that doesn't work, it's up to Nico to save the day by getting Janice's assistant to dish on some her boss's indiscretions.

If this recap reads like a plot summary its because neither Cashmere Mafia nor Lipstick Jungle gave their characters a chance to breathe this week. Cashmere goes away for a time now, the strike-shortened 7-episode run is over. I'll be back in this space with a full-on review of Lipstick Jungle next week.

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