Review: Dirty Sexy Money – The Birthday Present

dirty sexy money

It’s been six months since series one ended and in last night’s season two premiere, we discovered that Tripp and Patrick are still estranged – but Nick’s been brought in to help reconcile the two – and Simon and Karen have “escalated” their relationship, but the mysterious Nola Lyons could throw everything into turmoil and the ‘de-frocked’ Brian wants to get closer to his illegitimate son.

It was great to see Peter Krause on screen again as Nick; I absolutely loved him as Nate in Six Feet Under and I couldn’t quite help waiting for one of his SFU daydreams or talks-with-the-dead to happen, but alas, neither did…

dirty-sexy-money darlings

Anyway, last night’s episode was based around Nick’s birthday for which Tripp and Letitia Darling threw him a lavish birthday party on a yacht, despite the fact that Nick and his wife Lisa had been planning to celebrate his birthday privately… but that was before Tripp called Nick in to negotiate reconciliation between himself and his eldest son, senatorial candidate Patrick.

Patrick’s going through a rough patch in his own marriage as he searches for his missing transgendered mistress while his youngest son Jeremy revealed his feelings for Lisa to the lovely and mysterious Nola Lyons and the relationship between Karen and Tripp’s archenemy, Simon Elder, entered a new level of intimacy…

As someone who’s never seen the show before, I found it bewildering and if I came away from the show knowing one thing for sure, it’s that it doesn’t pay to trust anyone in the Darling family, because they are far from darlings…

Greg Berlanti’s rambling and intricately woven – hence complex – ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ centres on Manhattan’s richest family, the Darlings. The family is, of course, anything but, however nobody is to know that so that so the ‘We’re uber rich’ façade will be retained at any cost it seems.

The biggest draw for me about Dirty Sexy Money was the very impressive cast list which includes, as I mentioned earlier, Peter Krause as the family’s frustrated lawyer Nick George, Donald Sutherland as the domineering, scheming Tripp – patriarch of the Darling family – and his alcoholic, unfaithful wife, Leticia who’s marvelouslly played by Jill Clayburgh although she’s more than a little Sue-Ellen-ish in her portrayal of Leticia.

In fact, were it not for the very A list cast and snappy, witty, intelligent dialogue, this show would be just a modern day Dynasty or Dallas, but thanks to all of the above, it somehow managed to pull off with panache what would otherwise be a cheesy and predictable soap/drama.

dirty sexy money birthday present

The episode opened – as I mentioned earlier – with the Darlings throwing a lavish yacht party in honour of Nick’s birthday which provided the perfect opportunity for the show’s writers to reintroduce each Darling during the opening sequence. The Darling offspring include the politically savvy Patrick played by William Baldwin, the serial bride Karen, played by Natalie Zea, the childlike playboy Jeremy – Seth Grabel – and the scornful Brian played by Glenn Fitzgerald.

The season two premiere certainly lived up to the show’s title; every member of the family seems to be knee deep in one scandal or another. For instance, Karen’s sleeping with her father’s archenemy in an effort to procure information for Tripp and Patrick’s political career is under threat when his wife died while attacking him because of his affair with a transgendered woman.

Jeremy meanwhile wants to sleep with Nick’s wife and Brian’s bribing I.C.E. to keep his ex-mistress from leaving the country with their child. Poor Nick’s – most likely futile – job is to make sure that they don’t all annihilate the family’s reputation in the process of committing their sordid and nefarious deeds. His role as the family lawyer includes covering up deaths and an arson attack, so needless to say, life isn’t exactly boring or humdrum for the Darlings.

dirty-sexy-money lucy liu

The fabulous Lucy Liu was introduced as a woman who’s “taken” with Jeremy so he “takes” her in the back of his limo… slightly classier than a Ford Capri and a bag of chips I suppose however she’s clearly using Jeremy to get access to his family, but it’s not obvious what her motives for doing so are yet.

The highlight of the episode for me came at the end though when Leticia got arrested for the murder of her former lover – who was Nick and Brian’s father – Dutch George. That ending has set up a mystery that will doubtless run throughout the season and I’m guessing it’s what will also bring together the ‘fractured’ family unit. The Darlings are, it seems, capable of many unpleasant things, but if nothing else, they’re loyal to each other no matter what.

Aside from the superb cast list, Berlanti’s clever dialogue always seems to flow effortlessly and unlike many other shows of its ilk, doesn’t seem contrived. He’s created OTT characters who do ludicrous things yet they’re still quite easy to ‘believe’ in.

dirty sexy money brian

Brian I noticed seems to get a goodly proportion of the really good lines, an example of which is this one, which he uttered to Tripp: “I left the church so that I wouldn’t have to smile and pretend to care about other people’s problems. When you sent me to Munich to close that factory and fire all those people…that was fun.”

Well fair enough – servitude to a religion full of skullduggery and dullards or a power mad trip to Munich? I’d have to agree the latter sounds infinitely more entertaining.

However, I also enjoyed one of Patrick’s lines… “I’m going to take a shower,” he said to his wife Ellen. “And try to wash whatever’s left of this marriage off my body.”

Oooo, that’s gotta sting eh? But that’s a good one to remember for next time you dump someone! Although, Ellen did then set about him with a metal bar so if you do use the line yourself, check for, and remove, potential weaponry.

The unfortunate Ellen then slipped and landed on her head which killed her, so her revenge attack for his savage remark didn’t really go to plan….

But how’s Patrick going to get out of that one with nobody else around to prove he didn’t whack his old lady himself?

Dirty Sexy Money is without question pretty ridiculous, but one certainly can’t accuse it of lacking in drama. If they’re not killing each other, they’re bonking each other and absolutely everyone, to a man, is as devious and ruthless as they come!

Here’s a clip from last night’s show…

I can’t decide whether to bother watching any further episodes though given that the show’s been cancelled and season two is the last one… I hate just getting into a show and then the plug gets pulled.

I guess it’s going to depend largely upon what else is on at the same time on a Sunday evening… time will tell no doubt!

Will you continue watching or will you also figure it’s hardly worth it given it won’t be around after this season ends?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.