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

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dirty Sexy Money: The Italian Banker

It turns out that the episode title didn't just refer to Paolo Vova, one of the Darlings' many bankers. It is also a sexual position, demonstrated by one of the Darling children in a raunchy sex tape. At first I thought that there would be a lot of suspense surrounding the identity of the Darling on the tape, but it ended up taking on comedic elements. I loved the interviews between Nick and the Darling children after Patrick was ruled out. You can learn a lot about the Darlings in a brief encounter, and Nick certainly did. Jeremy "had" a sex tape featuring Buddy Ebsen, Juliet is a "real, total virgin" (the first major difference between her and Paris Hilton), and Karen still remembers that mixed tape that Nick made for her. There wasn't a huge payoff at the end of the tape plot, but it did bring Nick closer to the mysterious Simon Elder.

As usual, a lot of humorous moments came from the twins, Juliet and Jeremy. Remember Jeremy's offhand remark about space camp in the pilot episode? Apparently, Jeremy is pulling a Lance Bass and trying to go into space with the Russians. I really hope an upcoming episode will be devoted to this, where Jeremy learns that you can't do drugs in space and promptly quits. I'm still not getting much out of the Jeremy-Natalie Kimpton relationship, but Juliet's interactions with her are priceless. I loved the moment in the catfight scene when the paparazzi were initially disgusted that the girls' feud was about bangs. Most of them still wanted to cover the story, though. This show has thrown in a couple of digs at the gossip media, and I hope they keep on coming.

The hijinks of Brian and Gustav the Swedish Orphan continued. It was strange to see Brian's home life, reading the Bible before meals with his wife and children. Mei Ling intrigues me, since she clearly doesn't know everything about her husband. How did she fall in love with him in the first place? The Darling wives have remained in the background so far (I caught a glimpse of Patrick's wife tonight), and I'd like to see more of them. Both Brian and Patrick seem to have a double life of sorts--Patrick is in love with Carmelita, and Brian is not an ideal man of the cloth.

Speaking of Patrick, the eldest Darling finally learned that break-ups are best done in public places. I wasn't sure what to expect of William Baldwin in this role, but Patrick is definitely starting to grow on me. The scenes between Patrick and Nick are especially good. Nick seems fascinated by the relationship that Patrick had with Dutch, since he didn't get to see that side of him. Is anyone else getting a brotherly vibe from these two? So far, I think there's a decent balance of drama and comedy in Patrick's character. His drunken ramblings at the bar were pretty amusing ("Sweet nectar!"), and I laughed at Clark the Driver's reactions to him. Side characters like Daisy and the Darling servants have been developed so well that I find myself wondering about them, too. The only exceptions to this would have to be Lisa and KiKi. All Lisa has done so far is discuss Nick's issues with the Darlings at the beginning of each episode.

Donald Sutherland gave another fabulous performance as Tripp. He finally confessed to Nick that he did not know about Dutch and Letitia's affair until after Dutch's death (I was right about that). I got a little choked up when Tripp explained his reasons for wanting to trust Letitia and Dutch. Sutherland's facial expressions in those moments are so moving. I can't tell if Tripp is genuinely confiding in Nick or manipulating him. I was suspicious when Tripp showed up at Nick's house and said that the whole Simon Elder business was keeping him up at night. Tripp and Simon must have a history, especially since Simon went out of his way to buy Karen's sex tape and return it to Nick.

Since he was wrong about his relationship with Dutch, Tripp tried to get a fresh start with Nick. The last scene between the two men made it appear that Nick was beginning to trust Tripp. I have to wonder, though, if Nick hadn't merely accepted the moral ambiguities of working for the Darlings after Freddy's remark about accepting people's imperfections. He must know that cooperating with Tripp is the easiest way to get the information he needs to solve his father's murder.

When will I see Simon Elder in person? I don't see the point of hiring Blair Underwood if you're not going to show his face (and, ideally, his chest). Simon has such a squeaky-clean public image (stamping out hunger and AIDS, etc.), that I think he has to be a major villain. He's certainly doing his best to make Nick doubt Tripp's innocence. What does Simon have against the Darlings? And what on earth is a prism processor? I cannot wait to see the two billionaires face off, soap-style.

Funniest Darling moments:
  • "Quite frankly, I don't find them very romantic." --Patrick, on sex tapes.
  • "You know how my twin-tuition gets really good the month before our birthday?" --Juliet.
  • "I don't know, a bournous or something. Shake it up." --Jeremy, after Juliet asked him what she should wear to the party.
  • "It was named for my grandfather, OK?" --Paolo Vova, on the Italian Banker position.
  • "I hope this doesn't affect any future business we might have, Mr. George." --The blackmailer.
  • Well, you look a little like a fly. But that's not all bad--bugs are cool." --Jeremy, critiquing Juliet's sunglasses.
  • "We pay the rent in this house with honesty. Don't make me raise your rent." --Brian, pretending to be a man of principle.
  • "I'm giving her a mulligan." --Freddy, forgiving Karen for sleeping with his caddy.

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