Monday, April 2, 2007

Throwing dirt on Dirt

Well, I finally got around to watching the season (series?) finale of Dirt. Like most of the series, it was a main course of "eh, okay" accompanied by a side of "what the fuck?"

The "big draw," supposedly, was a mini-Friends reunion with Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston, and their "kiss." Now look, I'm a red blooded male and enjoy the sapphic shenanigans as much (or more) than most. But this liplock was seriously underwhelming. Peck on the lips, with as much heat as a refrigerator bulb. And I'm sorry, I just don't get the Aniston thing. Every character she tries to play is just a toned down or toned up version of Rachel Green. The acting talent in the bloodline apparently stopped with Victor Kiriakis. While I appreciated her haircuts on Friends (my ex-wife once got "the Rachel"), I don't think she's that hot. Like not cracking the "top 100" hot. Just don't get the appeal. So that whole plotline limped along.

In fact, most of the plotlines, though coming to some kind of resolution, sputtered out:

  • The brother was the secret stalker? Huh? Perhaps with a more convincing actor playing the brother (this guy was awful) it might have had some resonance, but all those scenes were sub-soap level.
  • Speaking of bad acting, I still don't give a shit about Holt. Can't buy him as a movie star, still can't buy Lucy's attraction to him. And the scene with the close up of his eye? What was that? A return of his sushi worms? Forming of a tear? A "reflection" of the toll the paparazzi took on him? Huh?
  • Julia goes nuts and tries to kill Lucy with a kitchen knife? Is she dead? Does anyone care?
  • What was with Brent labeling the tape with Lucy's name? Does this mean they've done it? Does this mean he's now fixating on her (after seeing the cold fish lesbo kiss?), wants to bed her in his camera laden boudoir, and is just being OCD about advance tape labeling?
  • Willa sitting in Lucy's office with a bad black wig? Was this supposed to be real? A flash forward? In Willa's imangination, where she thinks now that she's started her own "vault of secrets" with the bad AMTM clone she is "grown up" into Lucy? Huh?

Argh. As usual, the best thing about the show was schizophrenic Don. Even though Ian Hart rocked his scenes completely, I was still confused. Why were his visions (lame Holt, rotting dead Don with English accent and hot dead chick) telling him to kill Lucy? What's the point of that?

I stuck around for all the episodes of Dirt. Given the ratings and critical trashing, I think this may be an FX "one and done" like Starved, Over There or Thief. I won't mind, and I don't think my Tivo will be doing any weeping if we don't see the return of Dirt. It was a mild diversion, and had some interesting moments, but there were just too many unlikeable (and more importantly, uninteresting) characters. Don, and to some degree, Lucy and Willa, were the only decent characterizations on the show, and the plotting was too pedantic to make the situations in which they appeared compelling. The shows writers couldn't seem to come to grips with the scenario for the show, which on its surface would seem to be rich with opportunities for humor, tragedy and satire. In my view, what killed the show was that they didn't embrace the lunacy of the tabloid world and inject the situations with a sense of fun and humor. After all, take another show on the same network, Rescue Me. That show tackles some seriously dark material and subjects, but consistently makes me laugh. The characters there are also morally ambiguous, but extraordinarily well written and performed.

Unless FX is willing to retool the tone and concept somewhat, and give the show another chance to build up some audience and critical passion, I think we've thrown the last bit of dirt on Dirt.

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