Fifth-episode verdict: Dirt

The Carusometer for Dirt4, a Major Caruso

Episode five of Dirt has aired and I feel a little cheated. The chief of FX promised that we should all keep watching until episode five, because then it was going to get good and funny. Now, I’m not sure if he meant that it gets good and funny after episode five or not, but it certainly wasn’t good and funny during.

We started off on a low, got lower for episode two – a full five on the Carusometer – before episode three returned us to our previous low high. Episode four had some moments of dark humour that were actually quite enjoyable, thanks to our schizophrenic reporter (that man who I initially thought “looks a lot like Ian Hart” turns out to be Ian Hart, thus exposing the secret Brit all US shows must now have). But he re-embraced the darkness, despite being armed with kittens given birth to him by his pregnant dead hallucination of a girlfriend, so that humour’s disappeared again.

Indeed, the supposedly funny episode five was more of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so I’m not sure we’ve turned humour corner onto hilarity drive here. What we have, instead, is a show that is clearly Courtney Cox’s attempt to get back at the tabloids by doing unto them what they’ve done to her. It’s all made up. All of it. Not a word of it rings true, which is surely the point. But it’s just so dark and vengeance-ridden that it’s just not good television – not because it should be light and frothy, but because it’s ultimately empty, ridiculous and unentertaining.

So I’m afraid, Dirt, that The Medium is Not Enough has declared you to be a four or “Major Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Major Caruso on The Carusometer corresponds to a show in which David Caruso not only stars, but has full editorial control over the scripts, all of which call for other actors to be buried up to their knees while being forced to agree that Jade really was a good film, that they really haven’t seen a taller actor than him in their lives and that tangerine is probably the manliest of all hair colours.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.