I decided to give CW's "Easy Money" a try solely because it had Laurie Metcalfe in the cast. She always manages to create great characters regardless of whatever else is going on around her. It was worth a look, I figured.
I was pleasantly surprised by the show, given that it's had no critical press whatsoever. I think what's a little off-putting at first is that the photography is very flat, and looks almost as if videotaped. And the show's setting is in a slowly running to seed suburban strip mall, which doesn't exactly lead you to think that anything profound is going to unfold.
But as I watched I began to see that the photography is eminently suitable for the unvarnished suburban scenes, which not only centers on strip malls, but indoor shopping malls and a second tier local community college.
As for the characters and their story, well..it's shaping up to be slightly more Shakespearian than anything set in a seedy suburban setting has a right to be. Laurie Metcalfe plays the "Lady Macbeth" of Payday Loans. She's been carefully guiding (manipulating) her two sons and one daughter, who all work for her in the family business. Like Al Swearingen, she's at once morally repugnant and still somehow likable. In the first episode, her brightest son, the one who best understands the management of the business, finds out that he's not related by blood.
If this sounds familiar, then it is. It's very similar to the story that's being told in "Dirty Sexy Money", only in a slightly more declasse neighborhood. "Easy Money" has an equally skilled cast as the one in "Dirty Sexy Money", and with each episode, the screw turns slightly on Morgan Buffkin, the smart son, just as it does on Nick George, the put upon lawyer. The writing is understated, the humor is dry, and the soundtrack kicks ass.
Sadly, the show has almost no viewership at all, and I don't have any hope that I'll be seeing much more of it. It's smartness is too subtle not only for the masses, but apparently even for TV critics.
The show also answers the burning question of whatever happened to Judge Reinhold.
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