September 27, 2007
Dirty Sexy Money and Gossip Girl, a comparison
Last night was the premiere of ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money", a title that I cannot say or write or even think about without rolling my eyes. But the show itself was fun--an a much better premiere than the similarly hyped "Gossip Girl", which aired its second episode last night. Both shows are about the scandalous antics of New York's super-rich and were created by guys with promising backgrounds--"Money" is by Craig Wright, a successful playwright who wrote a few episodes of "Six Feet Under" and "Lost", and "Gossip" is of course by Josh "OC" Schwartz.
But "Money" is already about a hundred times better. Sure, the premiere had some throwaway references to run-of-the-mill rich-person illicit behavior (the youngest brother casually mentioning his coke dealer and looking generally rumpled and fucked up all the time) but the show has some standout qualities, too:
- Name-dropping. The Darling family at the center of the show is like a wackier, WASP-ier version of the Kennedys, they know Bill Clinton, and got Dan Rather and Peter Bogdanovich to do cameos
- A cast that would be pretty great even if Donald Sutherland wasn't in it
- Donald Sutherland
- A potentially murderous priest with illegitimate children
- Possible incest!
Maybe it's because "Money" is about adults--the producers seem to feel totally fine about throwing in a lot more salacious material than the prudes over at "Gossip Girl". I gave that show a second chance last night, and that's it, we're through. Did ANYTHING happen in last night's episode that added anything to what we already knew from the premiere? The central scandal of the show is one single consensual sexual encounter that occurred a year before the show even started. Oooo! Other than that, there's some snoozy cattiness and some unsubtle attempts at commentary about class.
Actually, that's one thing the shows have in common: both are structured around one supposedly middle-class family, who the audience is meant to identify with, that's struggling to live in the high net worth world. Except this is television, so these families live in giant, fancy apartments and take cabs everywhere while talking about how they don't have any money.
Both shows also prominently featured Peter Bjorn and Johns' "Young Folks" in their premieres, the overplayed hit from summer 2006 with a catchy whistling hook that strikes me as a little too twee for either show. This song was used in "Grey's Anatomy" last season, and apparently was also in the premiere of ABC's "Big Shots" a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, the single was re-released last week, in case you haven't heard it enough yet.
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