Thursday, March 15, 2007

And I can't help myself

I was, as you may recall, skeptical of The Riches, the FX show starring Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard as folks who accidentally kill and then assume the identities of some suburbanites. While my skepticism was understandable, I am pleased to tell you it has proven to be unfounded. The Riches is fabulous in every way and at once more complex and more simple than the advance advertising campaign would have had us believe.

Did the family actually kill these suburbanites? Thankfully, no, which is good since these ne’er-do-wells need to be presented as sympathetically as possible for the show to work. What makes the family assume the dead folks’ identity? Well, I don’t want to spoil the show for those of you who should right now be making plans to watch it, buy it, download it, or netflix it, but suffice it to say the plot involves Southern-American gypsies, RV’s, clan wars, arranged marriage, theft, revenge, illicit and prescription drug addiction, wedding gifts, feigned epilepsy, golf bets, and a stress ball. And this is just the first episode!

Minnie Driver has disguised her natural accent with a deeply Southern though not at all believable drawl. However, in all other respects, she is perfect: haggard, fierce, caustic, confused. Eddie Izzard is feigning a nondescript American accent, but his character is given to dramatic moments of hyperbole or fantasy in which he realistically slips back into his native cadences and tone. He is by turns sympathetic and conniving. Two of the three kids, all as yet fairly underdeveloped, have great potential to be as intriguing and multi-faceted their parents, whilst the oldest boy appears to be playing a one-note version of the petulant, reluctant, disconsolate teenager. I hope there are better things in store for him soon.

But I know there are better things in store for us, the viewers, coming next week! Right now, both of the first two episodes are available on Yahoo video for free, if you’re interested, which you really should be. I mean it!

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