"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, April 30, 2007

Soup of the Week & The Riches: Pilot

This is a great soup when you need a meal in a hurry.

Chicken Corn Chowder

1 can cream of chicken
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I use the precooked Tyson grilled chicken)
1 can corn, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the soup, milk, onion, and rosemary. Stir in chicken and corn; heat through. Add the cheese; stir until melted.

The Riches: Pilot

If there's anything close to a certainty in this wacky world of 3,000 channels, it's this: When a new show premieres on FX, chances are it's going to be pretty good. Even the less-than-stellar shows are more daring, creative, and entertaining than most of what I might see on a broadcast or basic cable network. And The Riches is no exception; in fact, it is one of the most well-done new shows of the year. The Riches knows where it's going. And it looks like it's going to be a pretty fun ride.

Eddie Izzard plays Wayne Malloy, the patriarch of a family of Irish Travelers, who roam from town to town assuming identities and ripping of innocent people, or "Buffers," in their terms. We find that out right away when Wayne and two of his three kids -- Dehliah and Sam -- invade a high school reunion; the kids steal everyone's wallets while Wayne distracts them by becoming the life of the party. The oldest Malloy child, Cael, awaits to spirit them away in the family home / getaway RV.

After some difficulty, they swing by the penitentiary to pick up Dahlia, played by Minnie Driver. Dahlia missed her kids and husband during her two years in the joint, and we find out later that she got snagged for a crime for which Wayne should have taken the fall. Anyway, after Dahlia reunites with her Traveler clan, a dustup occurs between Wayne and his cousin-in-law Dale, who has taken control of the clan's affairs. Wayne steals the family's money and takes the Malloys on a trip to parts unknown, essentially breaking from Dahlia's family in one fell swoop.

On the road, they get involved in an accident that kills the occupants of a BMW. Wayne decides to take the family's ID and the keys to their new house in a wealthy Baton Rouge subdivision, where no one has ever met the dead couple. Once they move in, Wayne realizes that assuming the role of the dead couple -- the Riches -- not only helps them hide from Dale, who wants Wayne's hide, but will also allow his family to get off the road and finally live the American Dream, in their own perverse way. After initially objecting, Dahlia agrees to stay. And so begins the Malloys' life as the Riches.

Izzard and Driver are what make this show work .I don't know much about the kids just yet, outside of the fact that Cael seems to be the one most in control, Dehliah knows more about the family's skeletons than she lets on, and Sam likes to wear girls' clothes. But I'm sure I'll learn more as the weeks go on.

The pilot actually showed less humor than I initially expected, but there were flashes. The scene at the reunion showed Wayne at his schmoozy finest, and the scene where he goes golfing with his neighbor Jim and hustles obnoxious executive Hugh Panetta, shows Wayne's sly side.

Questions abound: will the Malloys be outed? How does a bumpkin like Wayne know how to play golf so well? Will Jim's wife Nina be the one to find out the ruse, or will she be too doped up to care? When will Dale catch up to them?

Like most FX shows, there's an overabundance of bad language, some violence, and flashes of nudity. But it didn't distract me from concentrating on the Malloy's adventure.

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