“Dirty Sexy Money” has the same irresistible allure as the Darling family around which it revolves. Hands down one of the most intriguing, snappy and entertaining new shows this fall, “Dirty Sexy Money” grabs the reader’s attention the same way the Darlings snare central character Nick George (Peter Krause) – without even giving him much time to think about it.
After his father’s death (followed by a funeral which he gets shut out of initially), Nick is enlisted to handle the Darling family’s legal matters, of which there are many.
The Darlings (who, incidentally, are anything but) are the most dysfunctional family on network television since the Bluths of “Arrested Development.” Clergyman Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) is trying to get his illegitimate child into an elite school. Karen (Natalie Zea) doesn’t bother trying to hide her infatuation with Nick, even in front of her fiancee. (“Nick deflowered me,” she says when introducing the two). And, oh yes, State Senator Patrick (William Baldwin) is entangled in an on-again, off-again affair with a tranvestite.
But “Dirty Sexy Money” plays out the transvestite mistress subplot much better than Thursday night drama “Big Shots.” (Yes, folks, there are – count ’em – two plotlines involving transvestite mistresses on primetime this year. It’s like the new substance addiction!)
The show boasts one of the best ensemble casts on primetime.
Donald Sutherland is appropriately serpentine as the family patriarch, Tripp. His raised eyebrows alone convey that this is not a character who’s used to hearing “no.” As son Patrick, Baldwin channels some of the breathy arrogance his brother Alec uses to brilliantly portray NBC honcho Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock.”
The pilot episode is replete with blink-and-you’ll-miss-them one-liners like this priceless mother-daughter exchange between matriarch Letitia (Jilll Clayburgh) and aspiring actress Juliet (Samaire Armstrong): “I want to be a human being!” “And someday you’ll be one.”
As it stands, the show seems to not know whether it should be a drama or a comedy. In future episodes, perhaps its genre will be defined a little more clearly. Then again, maybe wearing both hats is part of the show’s charm.
It’s a bit of a stretch to ask viewers to believe that Nick would even accept his father’s job working for the obscenely rich family, which he’s resented his whole life, to begin with. For his character, a service-oriented lawyer, money can’t be the only motivating factor. But an intriguing plot twist at the end of the pilot makes it clear that Nick won’t be walking away from the position any time soon. Fans will probably want to get their hands dirty right along with him.