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Third-episode verdict: The Riches

Posted on March 31, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for The Riches1-Caruso-Free

First, apologies for not blogging so much for the last fortnight or so. Instead of bumbling around at home, I've been out and about so I've scarcely had a chance to watch any tele, let alone write about it (despite my shiny new iPod). So, to catch up with the backlog, I'm going to break with policy and blog a bit at weekends.

The Riches is first in the queue to be cleared. As you may recall, the first episode was actually pretty good, despite Eddie Izzard's fluctuating Southern accent. Since then, Wayne Malloy and his family have settled down and are continuing to try to steal the American dream.

With Izzard as exec producer, it's no surprise that Wayne Malloy, despite being “the world's greatest con man”, is pretty rubbish at being a con man, eventually ad libbing his way into the successful conclusion of a scam rather than using careful planning. His attempts to convince the world he's a high-flying lawyer wouldn't work anywhere except in a TV show, but they're entertaining, particularly if you enjoy Izzard's style of comedy. The Izzard influence even extends to Malloy's younger son, whose transvestite tendencies are an interesting background to an already weird family. Minnie Driver continues to impress, as do the rest of the cast.

While the second episode lacked the punch of the wonderfully dark first episode, the third managed to create a new style for the show as a slightly dramatic dark comedy, rather than a slightly comedic dark drama. It's not necessarily comfortable viewing - something that appears to be a trademark style for FX (“the dark network”) - and there are more than a few flaws in the whole set-up, but it is head and shoulders above the average piece of rubbish that hits our screens.

So it's a pleasure to declare The Riches scored a 1 or “Caruso free” rating on The Carusometer. A “Caruso free” rating corresponds to a show that David Caruso might accidentally get sent a script for, but which he'd be unable to see a part for which his talents would be suitable. If he did ring the producers to ask for an audition, they would pretend to be a Chinese laundry rather than meet him and confess their mistake. Caruso would then dine out on the tale of how he turned down a part in the show for a minimum of seven months.

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