Friday, March 21, 2008
Darlings you were wonderful, you really were quite good
WEALTH! Dirty Sexy Money, Channel 4, 9.00pm
It's quite brave of Channel 4 to take another punt on a US drama about a dysfunctional upper-class family, since Brothers and Sisters kind of tanked last year and appears to be returning as an E4-only extravaganza, but really, the fact that they both focus on moneyed families is where the similarities begin and end. Brothers and Sisters was soft, gentle and soapy - good qualities for, say, Imperial Leather, but not necessarily the basis of compelling television. Dirty Sexy Money, on the other hand, is brash, glitzy, swift, and just a little bit sleazy. Needless to say, we love it.
Six Feet Under's Peter Krause stars as do-gooder lawyer Nick George, whose father was essentially the bitch of the Darlings, New York's richest family. Needless to say, this led to poor Nicky having the sort of woebegone childhood where he didn't see enough of his daddy, and vowed that he would not be like him when he grew up. This, of course, has the unfortunate side effect of making him a bit of a sanctimonious old fart. However! When his dad dies in a Mysterious Plane AccidentTM, partriarch Tripp Darling makes him An Offer He Can't RefuseTM - he takes over his father's old job, and the family gives him $10 million dollars a year to do all the do-gooding deeds he could never afford when he was a bleeding heart attorney working for peanuts. It's a slightly contrived set-up, we grant you, but that's all taken care of within the first ten minutes or so, and we spend the rest of the hour meeting the many glorious fuckups that are the Darling parents and children, and that's where the fun really starts.
You might want to have a pen and paper on hand to jot down a rudimentary family tree to keep track of everyone and who they're married to/having an illicit affair with, but so far our favourites are alcoholic middle child Karen Darling, whose spacey lack of interest in her own life would be conspicuous, were she not actually one of the sanest children in the family; Episcopal priest Brian Darling, who has what we'll politely refer to as "anger management issues", and the pretty-in-a-coked-up-way Jeremy Darling, who wins a yacht off Ethan Hawke in a poker game in the first episode. It's an unusual choice for a Friday night, given that, while very funny in many places, it clearly isn't a comedy, and it lacks the slapstick throwaway element that worked for Ugly Betty in this slot, but we're quietly hopeful that it won't be completely ignored, Echo Beach-style, because on the basis of the first episode, it's going to be ace.