“Dirty Sexy Money” (2007)

ABC’s ‘ Dirty Sexy Money ‘ is ‘ The Royal Tenenbaums ‘ meets ‘ Six Feet Under ‘ by way of ‘ Californication ‘, but with a cast 2x as large as any of its predecessors.

Money is a bright, new turn for Peter Krause, who was about to be eclipsed by his former co-star, Michael C. Hal and his triumph in Showtime’s ‘Dexter’. Money is the kind of comedy that wouldn’t have made it to network television as little as 4 years ago –there are ‘too many’ characters, the show is ‘too high concept’ and and the only audience it could entertain is the well-educated and firmly middle- to upper-class people familiar with the idea of middle-aged trust fund babies.

Money has all of the tack of a late ’90′s made-for-cable show, specifically, Showtime’s ‘ Beggars and Choosers ‘. In this case the object of criticism is not network television executives, but a too-wealthy family living on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, somewhere near 5th Ave. below 79th but above 54th

Donald Sutherland stars as the patriarch of the fabulously wealthy Darling clan, Jill Clayburgh is the matriarch, Letitia, while William Baldwin, Natalie Zea, Glenn Fitzgerald, Seth Gabel and Samaire Armstrong play the 5 adult Darling chilren, pursuing a variety of ‘careers’ subsidized by the Darling Pére.

Baldwin plays the oldest son, a ‘happily’ married political up-and-comer who’s got a transgender lover on the side; Armstrong plays the talentless, would-be actress; Fitzgerald is the priest with an out-of-wedlock child; Zea is the roundheels serial-matrimonist while Sabel and Armstrong are the fraternal Peter Pan twins, bleeding Manhattan for the delights of its youth culture.

With all of these plumb roles taken, Krause plays the family attorney,Nick George, a role he’s inherited from his recently departed father, who lost his family to the Darlings, who are incapable of paying a parking ticket without the assistance of a retainered attorney.

Despite the many delights in the first two episodes, the writers laid it on a bit too thick with an added subplot – the mystery of his father’s death. The show could have done fine as a character study for it’s first year without this arc, but I suppose the programmers wanted to throw the show into high-relief for maximum audience retention. Should the show survive until next year, the father’s will be one less issue for them to explore.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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