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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dirty Sexy Money: "The Lions"

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Illustration for article titled Dirty Sexy Money: "The Lions"

A mix-up too stupid to recount involving a DVD screener and an improperly programmed TiVo found me watching the first few minutes of next week's episode and missing the first couple of minutes of this one. My apologies, readers, but let me say this: I have seen the future and it involves William Baldwin and an American flag-print apron.

First, this week: Not to reduce Dirty Sexy Money to a formula two episodes in, but it looks like each week we'll be getting a central event, some space dedicated to Nick's search for his father's possible killer, and a little time for everyone else's sub-plot. That seems like a sturdy structure for this show. It's still trying to find the right balance between hilarious high-soap excess and legitimate drama, however, and so far it's better at the former than the latter. I'm with it 100% whenever the action involves asshole priest Brian Darling jerking his way from person to person or any scenes involving the sweetly debauched Jeremy or his sister Juliet's dubious quest for independence. (Of course she'd see that little dog as her totem.) When it involves Brian taking first steps to bond with his illegitimate son, I'm less sure.

But, hey, lions! Real live lions! (Although I'm pretty sure there might have been some special effects involved there.) All the business with the lion-supplemented family photo, part of Tripp's "rebranding the family" was brilliant. I especially liked the pseudo-Juliet courtesy of Nick's secretary Daisy, who seems to know the family better than he does. Laura Margolis doesn't have a lot to do in any given episode, but she does it memorably.

Also, I've to mention Candis Cayne who plays Patricks transsexual lover. Is she the first transsexual to have such a high-profile role on prime-time TV? I don't know and I'm too lazy to find out, but it feels like a breakthrough. And this week she actually has a scene to play. I'm glad they're not just keeping planning to use that character as a punchline.

Though I'm less sure of the show's dramatic elements than its comedic moments, I do see suggestions it will bring me over. I particularly like the way Tripp's attentions keep interfering with Nick's attempts to redefine his relationship with his dad in the wake of his father's death. And any show that features Donald Sutherland muttering Wordsworth and speaking Swedish will never have trouble keeping my attention.

Grade: B

Stray observations:

— Once again it seems like Nick's wife is just here to shrew.

— Nick's bribing the maid was a nice moment of history repeating itself and another sign that the job will eventually turn him into his dad.

— Dear Dirty Sexy Money editor. Please, please cut it out. Thanks.