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

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Riches: Operation Education

Things are starting to settle in for the Malloys, and their new lives as the Riches, and this is where the fun starts. As I watched the first two episodes, I was waiting for the series to get into a routine and show the Malloys faking and conning their way through life at Eden Falls. I just felt during these cons we'd see the lighter touches that the show's casting and premise indicated would be there.And this third episode doesn't disappoint.

We see one con after another in this episode, as the Malloys actually try to become upstanding members of society, all under Wayne's direction. The social security con was especially funny, as the kids were able to cop a form of gibberish that was close enough to Indonesian to be convincing. Of course, we had Wayne faking his way through his welcome speech at Panco, which he made soon after screwing Dahlia in their rented Mercedes. He even managed to incorporate the rock he used to make his briefcase look realistically weighed down. "We're rocks, all of us are rocks." When someone chimed in that together they make a mountain, we know that the buy-in on the part of the buffers has begun.

But you wonder how Wayne is going to actually do his job, considering he knows nothing about the law. He probably realized he was in deeper than he thought when he looked at the files and didn't even know a relatively straightforward term like "eminent domain." Heck, he even found it tough to fire the person whose place he was taking, momentarily getting conned himself (the guy said he had 12 kids, even though the pictures were cut out of a catalog). We know he's going to utilize the paralegal as much as possible, but that's only going to get him so far. And Panetta may be an asshole, but he's not a stupid asshole; he'll find out eventually that he hired a fraud. There's a reason why Wayne hasn't held down a job for more than a couple of days at a time.

The big con, of course, was Dahlia's efforts to get the kids into an exclusive private school after the headmistress, Jane Fedley, dismissed their entry. To be honest, as condescending as Fedley was to the Malloys, it's almost understandable. This family comes in, not knowing anything about the process of getting the kids into this school, and asks to have the kids enrolled immediately.

Cael and Dehliah don't even want to go to school anyway, thinking it's just "buffer bullshit," as Dehliah put it. But you can tell Sam wants in, as you almost seriously believe that he knows how to read Shakespeare in French ("Just the soliloquies," he tells Fedley during the con). Now, how does he want to do it, as a boy or a girl? Dahlia loves the kid the way he is, but knows he has to make a choice. I wonder if we're going to find out that Sam has more in common with his half-breed father than just a desire to steal the American Dream.

For a woman who was "scared of school," as Wayne said, Dahlia sure tried her hardest to get the kids into that place. That's what happens when you cross Dahlia Malloy, I guess. Anyway, putting one over on the headmistress, kidnapping her parrot, then pretending to find it in order for her to "owe them one," didn't feel as satisfying as it should have. I think it was because, as condescending as the woman was, she was an innocent victim. And that's going to be a problem with The Riches.

That's probably why we have the specter of Dale hovering over the family. Dale is pure molten evil, and the way he got Tammy to manipulate Cael to the point where he's on the verge of showing Dale where they've been hiding, makes you think that he's going to get close to Eden Falls sooner than you think. He's the one guy that no one roots for, making a good counterpoint to the grey world of both the Malloy family and the phony buffers in the world of the well-to-do.

Actually, I'm surprised Cael fell for Dale's scheme so easily; he seems to be the one in the family who has his head screwed on straight. Maybe he knows what's going on, and we won't find out about his reaction until the next episode.

Good performances all around; I'm intrigued by Sam, and am looking forward to seeing more of him. He seems to be an expert con artist already, and his penchant for dressing like a girl can only help that. I'd imagine we'll see more scenes of Minnie Diver sucking down cough syrup or shooting meth, but for now, she's content to just swipe pills from her neighbor Nina. And that stoner musician dude who Dehliah met? I'm sure we'll see him again. Anyway, as the scenes FX showed at the end illustrate, the poop is going to hit the fan, making it harder for Wayne to keep things together. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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