The Husband:

It seems a little counterproductive, I’m sure, to discuss the halfway point of a show that, upon completing its airing of its 13 season two episodes, will no longer grace the ABC network ever again. Yes, Dirty Sexy Money has been canceled, but unlike Fox or CBS, ABC likes to at least freakin’ air the episodes they already have in the can just to be honorable. (At least, that’s how I look at it.)

So where are we with this soapy primetime dramedy about the filthy rich (or is that dirty sexy rich?) Darling family and their more socially conscious and intellectually respectable lawyer Nick George (Peter Krause)? Well, last season balanced its drama and comedy out very well, giving us as an audience a vantage point of this wealthy but immature family through Nick, showing us the ridiculousness that can permeate any family no matter what their situation. It was funny, it was strange, it was mysterious. (The last part? We still don’t actually know who killed Nick’s father.) It toyed with our conventions of who was a good guy, who was a bad guy, and how secrets both bring people together while also tearing them apart.

The Darling Mermaid Darlings . . . wait . . . sorry . . . thats that other cancelled ABC show.

The Darling Mermaid Darlings . . . wait . . . sorry . . . that's that other canceled ABC show.

This season? The comedy is completely gone. Aside from Letitia (Jill Clayburgh) running over a bicyclist or Jeremy (Seth Gabel) saying something misogynistic, this has become a full on drama, as over-the-top and preposterous as a daytime soap opera. You wanted Blair Underwood’s competing billionaire to no longer have any gray areas? Well, you get your wish, because now he’s a mustache-twirling villain. You weren’t interested in the problems presented by son and Attorney General Patrick (William “Billy” Baldwin), running for the position of New York senator, as he juggled his two relationships (one with his loyal wife and another with transsexual Candis Cayne)? Well, you win again, because they killed his wife in the first episode of this season and then had Carmelita leave him because of the cover-up. You wanted Samaire Armstrong to leave the show (as one of the two wacky young twins) and get some real-life rehab? Check. She’s not even on this season, an absence only meant once.

The show is still extremely easy to watch, an hour-long bout of rich people acting like assholes and its effect on the people in their lives, but it’s just not great TV anymore. It’s passable TV, and that’s about it. I will continue to be baffled as to why the producers/showrunners/writers decided that the thing that viewers really wanted to see was the disintegration of Nick and Lisa’s pretty healthy marriage (I certainly don’t), or that Lisa (Kate Walsh’s dead ringer Zoe McLellan) disgustingly hooking up with Lothario Jeremy is more fun than when Jeremy pretended to be poor in order to bed the luscious Sofia Vergara (who is still one of the hottest women on television). Even Donald Sutherland has pretty much been pushed aside, no longer an enigmatic self-made man with complex emotions and motives but simply a curmudgeon who exists solely to berate his children.

I love Peter Krause, though. My two favorite shows of all time are Sports Night and Six Feet Under. I wish him the best post-DSM and hope he can find a better fit for his talent. Even watching his character on this show slowly lose his soul (but not in an interesting vampire kind of way) is captivating enough just to see him react to whatever the hell the writers are throwing at him week after week.

I don’t know. I just don’t know. The show was always a strange fit for ABC, a little too strange for having a seemingly simple premise, a little too dark for those amused by Dynasty-like shenanigans, a little too smart to be on after Private Practice, and a little too silly for those of us who watch The Sopranos and Mad Men. But now it’s just a strange fit anywhere. Who was this show made for?

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