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

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Riches: Reckless Gardening

Last episode, I found out two things about the Malloys and their life as the Riches: 1) Wayne is going to have to do more than BS if he's going to survive as a Panco lawyer, and 2) life as a buffer is more trouble than anyone expected it to be. This episode, I saw the noose starting to tighten around the Malloys, as more and more pieces of the Traveller life are seeping into their Eden Falls existence. And, unfortunately for Di Di, those pieces are flying around and smacking her square in the face.

Di Di is certainly becoming the most level-headed of the family, isn't she? At first, I thought it would be Cael, because I thought he had the smarts to protect his family from getting caught. But, of course, a girl got in the way. But it seems pretty unfair that because Cael managed to get tailed by Ginny that Di Di has to pay for it by being "engaged" to Ken the dipweed.

I mean, even if Travellers haven't done a lot of book learning, most of them have the requisite street smarts to be able to scam and scheme their way through life. Ken can't even staple papers together. The only thing he's good at is stealing, and he's still way too obvious when he does that. But Di Di, as much as she wants Ken out of her life, knew that if he was caught with the pot Cael's buddies planted on him, he'd be way too stupid to keep his mouth shut. He already spent the entire day at Panco saying "Wayne" and "Mr. Malloy" instead of "Doug" and "Mr. Rich." Aubrey's already suspicious; I'm sure Ken's day of "aprenticin'" hasn't helped.

It was strange that Wayne was a surprisingly competent lawyer. It's almost as if he's getting the hang of the job (with Aubrey's help, of course). But it did seem like he not only knew the facts and law behind the alligator attack case, but had the wherewithal to dig up just enough dirt on the victim, Hartley Underwood, to get her and her lawyer to back off. Panetta's threats probably helped, and Wayne's Traveller experience can help him in some aspects of lawyering, but knowing about how to lie can only get even the best lawyers so far.

Gregg Henry (Hugh Panetta) is pretty adept at playing an asshole, there's no doubt about that. Hugh Panetta is about as slimy as it gets, and it felt good to see Dahlia dig her fingernails into his scrotum. But only he can use her desire to get clean against her. It's amazing how powerful blackmail is. Just ask Di Di. But somewhere within that assholish personality is a sympathetic figure. Heck, he was able to get Wayne to admit that his mother left him. I'm guessing she was the non-Traveller side of Wayne's family, but I guess I'll find out more about that soon.

Let's talk about Dale for a second. Wow. Sociopath doesn't even begin to describe him. The man will literally kill his own father just to get a chance to lead the clan. I don't think I knew until now that his father wanted to have Wayne lead the family after he died, and I wonder if anyone informed him that Wayne stole all his money and skipped out. But even Ken can see that Dale is pure molten evil, and unfit to lead the clan. Heck, even Dale probably realized it, which is why he took his father out for that "walk."

Somehow, thanks to Dahlia, Di Di didn't get a permanent record. It was good to see both Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver play to their strengths this week: a drunk Wayne is a funny Wayne, especially when he's trying to be a police sketch artist or when he locks Ken in the trunk, and I would like to see Dahlia sing more often, so I can hear Driver's wonderful voice.

It was a pretty entertaining episode. However, I think it should have had a little more tension, and Wayne's suddenly competent lawyering didn't sit right with me. But it's undeniable that this show has smart writing and an emotional underpinning that makes all of the Malloy's shenanigans more palatable.

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