Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scamming With The Riches

FX’s The Riches,(click on link) which just wrapped up it’s first season, turned out to a quietly clever drama, with two stellar turns from leads Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard. They play Wayne and Dahlia Malloy, two charter members of the Travellers, those Irish-American gypsy scam artists who prowl the south east skinning the regular folks with variety of bunko schemes. Through darkly comic circumstances, both husband and wife (she just recently released from a brief stint behind bars) and their three kids steal the identity of the recently deceased Riches and plunge headfirst in an American dream/nightmare of upward mobility and encroaching creature comforts. The show’s premise is quite original and awfully shrewd—the outsider Malloys, used to a life as true outsiders, used to the codes and conducts of their own tribe, used to a life of brief and very temporary financial gain and consumer pleasure, become the Riches, mixing with their waxy suburbanite neighbors in a deep south cookie cutter development, maxing out legitimate credit card while keeping face with the Joneses, and learning the very peculiar ways and means of daily capitalism as practiced by what they refer to the regular Janes and Joes they refer to as “buffers”. Both the comely Driver and the cross-dressing comedian Izzard reroute their Britishness into becoming deep-fried Dixie chickens, and their dual performances are wonderfully shaded, easily transitioning from the broken, to the bewildered, to the bold. Izzard’s Wayne sums up his sudden strange circumstances succinctly by asking if his tombstone is going to state, “Here lies a guy who came up with $19,876.74 a month.”

1 comment:

skylolo99 said...

Sorry - I gave the Riches a few weeks and found the show to be a bit too precious, unbelievable and squirmy for my taste. There were too many situations when Izzard's character should have been busted on the spot. The class reunion scene comes to mind as well as the scene where he holds a rock or a piece of shit or something to illustrate a lesson to his law firm. I think Izzard is a really good scene chewer and I love Minnie Driver, but I just can't get behind their characters. I don't root for them. After each viewing I felt the need to take a shower and then a valium, or a valium then a shower. Maybe that's the intended result, but my life is squirmy enough as it is.