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

Dirty Sexy Money: "The Italian Banker"

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Image for article titled Dirty Sexy Money: "The Italian Banker"

Did I promise William Baldwin in an American flag apron or what? That was a priceless image in an episode not short on priceless images. Add to the list: A bedraggled Donald Sutherland, the look on Peter Krause's face as he views a sex tape featuring a member of the Darling family (and the sexual position that gives this episode its title), and Samaire Armstrong and Tamara Feldman in a red carpet catfight. (A side note: Gossip Girl had a catfight in its third episode last week. Is that a requirement of this year's life-among-the-obscenely rich soaps?)

What's more, this episode felt like the series slipping into groove. It moved along nicely and leaned on the funny stuff without letting go of the overarching plot. And the funny stuff was pretty funny. I'm not sure what amused me more: The notion of a Buddy Ebsen sex tape or that Jeremy once owned one but then parted it with it under undisclosed circumstances. That and Juliet's cheerful insistence on her "twintuition" with Jeremy almost make up for groaners like Karen's husband's declaration that he was "giving her a mulligan" for a transgression involving his caddie and a line about bananas I'm not even going to bother repeating.

In terms of the big picture, the larger Dirty Sexy Money mythology is starting to take place. Tripp now has a (possibly murderous) rival in the form of Simon Elder (to be played by Blair Underwood). Referred to as the "richest man in the world" he gives Nick an unexpected, and unseen, hand here. Why? The mystery deepens.

And while we're on the subject of riches, how about that party where complimentary watches get handed out, and accepted or refused, like so much shrimp cocktail. Did the credits even need to point out that same promotional consideration came courtesy of Bulgari? And, more importantly, how much is this show going to fetishize the obscenely rich and how much will it criticize them? Right now that's a big TBD, but the best episode of the series so far gets a… Grade: B+

Stray observations:

- Also quotable, Juliet to the maid: "Can I please be unpacking now?"

- The Darlings always lie, so when Juliet says she's a virgin what should we believe.

- The Patrick/Carmelita romance is shaping up to be the sweetest relationship on the show. But shouldn't we be made to feel a little sorry for Mrs. Patrick?

- Why wouldn't a hamburger, even a hamburger consumed by pineapple, get wet underwater?