Mini TV Watch: 'Dirty Sexy Money'

Sexy_lThere’s a problem with dramas about large families, and Dirty Sexy Money seems to have stumbled into it in only its second episode. When seven of the cast members are related to each other, the romantic possibilities are rather limited. This time out, only two of the Darling sons seem to be getting any action: Patrick, who wavers on a Senate run for most of the episode until his transsexual girlfriend talks him into reaching for the brass ring (no, that’s not a naughty euphemism), and Jeremy, who decides to bag his twin sister’s arch-rival celebutante, Natalie. (How long before that secret is out of the bag?)

So, with Sexy off the agenda, that just leaves Dirty Money. And there’s precious little of that in an episode that’s more of a treadmill exercise than a compelling advance in the plot. Here’s what we learn about Nick George’s quest to get to the bottom of his dad’s mysterious death: The airplane mechanic didn’t cop to sabotage, but to blackmailing Brian after learning that the reverend had an illegitimate son. Materfamilias Letitia Darling was having an affair with Nick’s dad. Tripp apparently didn’t know about the affair (Donald Sutherland is wonderful claiming otherwise at the end of the show, after wincing when Nick is able to open his dad’s briefcase by plugging his wife’s birth date into the combination lock). Both Tripp and Brian deny any responsibility for the death of Nick’s dad. And that case apparently leads us to a brand-new MacGuffin: shady billionaire Simon Elder (Blair Underwood — who should at least provide a welcome chocolate chip in this vanilla world).

So little happened in this episode that I began to miss the funny ringtones that Nick’s assistant, Daisy, plugged into his cellphone so he could tell the Darling family members apart. For the record, we just hear the wedding march when perpetual divorcee Karen calls as she’s trying on her gown. For the most part, we just get reiterations of what we learned in the pilot: Karen is still in love with Nick. Juliet is still a spoiled brat. Nick’s wife seems implausibly calm about her hubby betraying his principles by going to work for the Darlings. Brian still hasn’t told his wife about his illegitimate son — though his claim that the boy is a Swedish orphan is hilariously dismantled by Tripp, who not only speaks Swedish but walks around his mansion quoting Wordsworth (specifically, the ode that begins, appropriately, "The Child is Father of the Man"). Patrick, introduced last week as a future U.S. Senate candidate, spends the episode waffling about a run, then announces his candidacy to please dear old Dad. (Backstory alert: We learn that by pushing Patrick into politics, Tripp may be "trying to make up for [his] brother Kenneth.")

The subplots all build to what is supposed to be a tour de farce: an over-the-top photo shoot of the family, ostensibly for Patrick’s benefit, and featuring live lions. Yes, lions. Because nothing roars political integrity and probity more than being photographed with wild animals in daddy’s Park Avenue living room. (Mitt Romney, you might want to start taking notes.) At the shoot, we also meet Rebecca Colfax, the officious family publicist, who delegates the task of looking after Brian’s secret son to a maid with the priceless line: "Would you get it cake?"

Another maid gets a spotlight moment when she demands $500 after catching Nick snooping in Tripp’s office for his diary — another MacGuffin that yields absolutely nothing but a blurted-out confession/accusation from Nick at the shoot. The maid does note that Nick’s dad similarly paid her off, which helped put her daughter through med school. (Nice touch.) The compromising of righteous Nick’s character has already begun, it would seem.

The episode sneaks in other decent one-liners as well as some groaners ("Sometimes he can’t see the chorus for the trees," Jeremy says of his supposed songwriting buddy, Justin Timberlake), but there isn’t much to hold our attention. The juiciest moment in the entire show comes in the preview for next week’s episode, which promises the revelation of a $1 million blackmail offer for a "raunchy sex tape" involving an unnamed Darling. So, PopWatchers, were you as let down as I was by this episode? Will the prospect of a "raunchy sexy tape" be enough to lure you back next week? And if Nick no longer suspects Tripp of killing his dad, then why doesn’t he just quit now, aside from the fact that that would kinda end the series?

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • Todd

    I really don’t care for a single member of the Darling clan. And if Nick cheats on his wife, I’m done with the show.

  • GeeMoney

    Where’s the mini-TV watch about ‘Gossip Girl’? It was awesome, last night!

  • JMJ

    I love the show!!! I agree that last night’s episode was a little slower than the frenetically paced first episode, but that gave time for a little more character building with Nick, Letitia, and particularly Brian and his ‘Swedish’ son. Good story-telling sometimes involves a slow build in order to give the climax better payoff. You don’t rush sex (I hope), so don’t rush the story either, okay?

  • mscisluv

    I really like this show so far. And I had assumed that Tripp definitely knew about the affair the whole time….

  • Gtownguy

    I agree with everything you said. Brothers and Sisters is much better at managing the story lines of all the siblings, and you really like some of the characters. Here, you don’t like any of them. Of course Jeremy bags his sisters rival. Of course Patrick is going to run for Senate (though the tranny thing is a nice twist). Of course Karen is still in love with Nick and of course Tripp knows his wife had an affair with Nicks father. C’mon, powerful billionare guy doesn’t know his wife had a 40 year affair with the family lawyer. And of course Nick stays in a job with a family he has despised his whole life. At some point we have to care about someone. There’s no real emotion from anyone to make you care. Great balcolny scene with Tripp and Leticia, but how dumb of her to think he doesn’t know. And she think she knows every one of his emotions and facial exspessions. Jeeez. But I’ll be back next week. They better bring it though or I’m out. Fall tv has been pretty disapointing so far.

  • Mozz

    Wow, they managed to lose my attention at episode two, way too much television around for second chances. I am scrapping this one from my tv schedule. But the pilot episode was pretty good.

  • Anonymous

    i liked it it has a nice flow to it

  • Julie

    I loved the first episode, and Donald Sutherland is fantastic as Tripp, so I will give this show a few more weeks.

  • Jarett

    I am so digging this show. It’s a treasure trove of brilliant one-off lines, and my fav last night belonged to the Reverend Brian Darling. When Brian’s son remarked that his mom wouldn’t take him back, the Rev replied, “She’ll take you back if I have to shoot you out of a cannon at her.” (or something to that effect, what am I, TIVO?)

  • DanOregon

    Todd, you’re not supposed to care for a single member of the family. That’s the point. The scene with the briefcase was very well done. I hope they’re not making Brian more likeable. And how long before one of Darlings ends up on The View and says something stupid?

  • Maria

    I think the show is great. I like how they manage to give all of the charaters air time. I’m glad its not all about romantic relationships. Can’t we enjoy a show that isn’t all about who is sleeping with who?

  • junior

    I like this show (mainly for Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh) but I wish they would stick with a tone. The pilot felt all “dark comedy,” this episode was all “NYC Dynasty.” I would prefer they stayed at the “Dynasty” end of the spectrum because there is enough dark comedy on TV right now. That being said I will probably watch next week. Oh and reviewer, OF COURSE, Tripp knew about the affair (that’s why he suggested the b-day combo), he flinched because the briefcase opening confirmed it. Also, I don’t think Blair Underwood would appreciate being referred to as a “chocolate chip.” It’s not cute.

  • nobody

    What happened to the witty, irreverent show I saw last week? If I wanted to be bored watching a family drama that takes itself way too seriously, then I would’ve watched “Cane”. Show me the funny!!

  • Vivi

    Boo! I wasn’t let down by anything. This show rocks! Loved the pilot. Loved this episode. Can’t wait for the next.

  • union square

    I like this episode… mainly because of Tripp and Tish. That look on Sutherland’s face at the end of the episode made me sad.

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