Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dirty Money Arrested in a Sexy Development

I am a pretentious asshole; I don't watch TV. I go out. I amble about the city aimlessly in the pursuit of everything and nothing. I don't have a DVR or Tivo and only watch things on DVD; ergo pretentious asshole. (If ESPN had a Criterion Collection, I would probably own it)

Yet as of late, I've been home bound (one part injury/two parts quarter-life crisis) and have succumbed to the clutches of the societal evil known as network television.

Which brings me to last night's premiere of ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" an intentionally tasteless title affixed to a show hoping to garner the precious "fun, sexy, but surprisingly smart" tag that so many 'dramedies' hope for. And on the surface, it would almost appear as if they've accomplished said tag in it's pilot. Yet upon further inspection, one can't help but draw interesting comparisons to another network show that wasn't network friendly enough to cut it, Arrested Development. Both are fun, playful jabs at the financial uppercrust of socialite life, yet one succeeds in it's ingenunity while the other sags through missed opportunity.

Sizing up the characters and overall premises:
"Dirty Sexy Money": a famously opulent celebrity family's lawyer dies, forcing the deceased's son to unwillingly follow in his father's foot steps, trying to balance a normal family life with the ridiculous needs of these self absorbed nitwits

"Arrested Development": a famously opulent celebrity family's father is imprisoned for tax evasion, forcing the son to unwillingly follow in his father's footsteps, trying to balance a normal family life with the ridiculous needs of these self absorbed nitwits

Male Leads :
  • Peter Krause as Nick George: Who the fuck doesn't love Peter Krause? Sports Night, Six Feet Under, anything he's ever done on stage...whatever this guy touches turns into critical gold. He's our smart everyday man, just the way we like em.
  • Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth: Okay, so Teen Wolf II and having an older sister that made it plausible to masturbate to a Michael J. Fox sitcom aren't exactly the benchmarks of critical gold, but he has recently made a massive resurgence in film and TV as our critically revered smart everyday man, just the way we like em.

Quick character/plot comparisons :

  • Devious secretive patriarch : Donald Sutherland & Jeffrey Tambor...CHECK
  • Aloof matriarch who fucked her husband's brother/lawyer : Ditto
  • Slutty, stupid female socialite : Both Darling sisters & Portia De Rossi...uh huh
  • Outrageously childish sibling who fathered an illegitimate child and is failing horribly at their career: Dirty Sexy's Reverend Brian Darling & magician Gob Bluth...Whoa, similarities getting scary now
  • Irresponsible and sexually deviant sibling who is wasting potential of their career: DSM's Senator Patrick Darling IV (charmingly played over the top by Billy "I'm the one that's not crazy"Baldwin) and Arrested's Tobias Funke (charmingly played over the top by David "I'm the one that's not crazy about Jim Belushi" Cross)
  • Younger sibling/child who's trying to figure life out by doing extravagantly childish things: DSM's Jeremy and Juliet Darling & Arrested's Maeby Funke and George Michael Bluth
  • Main character onstantly quitting on family only to once again return to the chaos despite all kinds of logic saying not to: Uh huh,...yup...sounds like someone just pitched an hour long dramatic version of Arrested...

So yeah, unless "Dirty Sexy Money" decides to get all seriously smart on us, suddenly making the characters more compellingly 3D and Krause miraculously looks less detached than he did in the pilot, DSM, for all it's entertaining excess, feels more like an elongated, inconcise, and less clever version of "Arrested Development." Which isn't very dirty or sexy at all. (Though the idea of a Baldwin banging a tranny hooker is pretty money)

0 painful displays of affection:

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