Monday, July 12, 2010

Dirty Sexy Money: Pilot (1.1)

Dirty Sexy Money was a short-lived primetime soap opera which attempted to relocate the decadent wealth and trashy romantic and professional entanglements of Dynasty to the 21st century. While it lacked the all-out campiness of its ridiculous predecessors, Dirty Sexy Money did have its own unique charm, helped by a surprisingly classy ensemble cast of major stars and fun new discoveries.

The Darling family are the definition of filthy rich. Each is troubled in some way, from drunken Leticia and her illicit love for a dead man, to spoiled daughter Juliet, ne're-do-well brother Jeremy and tranny-schtupping attorney general Patrick. Holding the fabric of the show together is the Darling family lawyer Nick George. Away from the obvious baggage he's carrying as a result of his childhood abandonment from both of his parents, Nick's motives for accepting such a colorful job provide some of the mystery glimpsed in the pilot. He claims his intentions are noble (the paycheck is going to help a whole bunch of charities), but you need to ask yourself if it goes deeper. Sure, he's probably trying to prove that he isn't his father, but there's also the possibility that he's looking to once again pursue things with Karen. She's clearly still in love with him, and he's putting himself in a risky position by getting associated with her once more.

The tone of the series is self-consciously soapy. There are moments of melodrama (Tish smashing the vase; Juliet's overdose), but at the same time there's an almost satirical quality to the show's humor. Nick's comments to the reporter’s question about organ harvesting are particularly inspired. At the same time, I loved the brief flashback of Nick, Karen and Brian as kids, especially Brian in his sad clown make-up.

Of the characters, both siblings Brian and Karen unsurprisingly steal the show. The image of a volatile, argumentative and vindictive man of the cloth is pretty hilarious. He hasn't got a lot of depth right now (few of the cast do), but that's not a problem with a show like this. He's a complete asshole, and you kind of love that. Natalie Zea completely nails the role of Karen. She's vacuous, shameless and deliciously uncensored ("Nick deflowered me"), but there's also a hint of melancholy to her character at the same time. Sure, she's a martini-swilling serial divorcee, but there's a sense of regret attached to her, especially where Nick is concerned.

I didn't particularly enjoy the first season of this show when it first aired, but I'm hoping my opinion will change as I re-watch it. The pilot remains as enjoyable as I remember, opening up a world of boozy rich folk that I'm eager to see unravel. B+

Guest stars Peter Bogdanovich (Himself); Bellamy Young (Ellen Darling); Elle Fanning (Kiki George); Brooke Smith (Andrea Smithson); Laura Margolis (Daisy); Daniel Cosgrove (Freddy Mason); Michelle Krusiec (Mei Ling Hwa Darling); Kiersten Warren (Ellen Darling); Trevor St. John (Dutch George); Candis Cayne (Carmelita Rainer); Selenis Leyva (Detective); Joseph Adams (Chancellor); John Ellison Conlee (Duncan McAndrews); Roxana Brusso (Maria)
Writer Craig Wright Director Peter Horton

No comments:

Post a Comment