Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dirty Sexy Money: "The Chiavennasca"

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Image for article titled Dirty Sexy Money: "The Chiavennasca"

All right, if there was ever any doubt that Dirty Sexy Money was a nighttime soap, it ended tonight. Sure, it's a nighttime soap with a self-aware sense of humor, new elements (transsexual mistresses), and 21st century trappings (video chats and Internet gossip). But from the moment Letitia promised to tell Tripp which of the Darling children should bear no resemblance to Kiefer Sutherland and the show cut to a commercial break, there was no looking back.

But that's okay. There are worse things to be and four episodes in this remains a pretty entertaining show, if one that may have settled into comfortable patterns a little too quickly. Lisa George still has nothing to do but lay claim to her man despite the shameless efforts of Karen Darling to do the same. It's starting to get a bit old. Also, the big-dramatic-Donald-Sutherland-speech now appears to be a weekly feature and I like Tripp's slyer moments better. Sutherland can say more with a quizzical expression than with a monologue.

But, hey, this week also had Bad Pastor Brian menacing an overgrown girl bully giving "the little orphan" trouble. That's something. So was a nice moment demystifying bathroom sex. Sticking your foot in toilet water is always a mood killer. And, while the wait-til-next-week dangling carrots may be a contrivance, it still works. I do want to know which Darling is the mismatch. And who Nick's dad was working for. And why. Also, next week promises an end to the Blair Underwood teases and the full-on introduction of his character, the mysteriously sexy "technophilanthropist" Simon Elder. Now there's a name made for nighttime soaps. Grade: B-

Stray observations:

- Would you describe Tripp's shirt in his first scene as pinkish purple or purplish pink?

- Presumably Karen isn't the non-Tripp-sired Darling child since someone would have stepped in to stop her relationship with Nick. Or would they?

- Hmm… Do you think that "trip" to "Italy" blew their budget for the year?

- TV and low-budget movie staple Erick Avari played the Italy-based spy. His warm/menacing presence is welcome any time.

- Jeremy and Natalie like to have sex to Explosions In The Sky. Could there be a Friday Night Lights crossover in the works? Probably not.