This week Amber West and I revisit two of our simmering reviews on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday — NBC’s Smash and Lifetime’s The Client List. Are we still watching? Or have we given up completely?
First, to recap: Back in 2010, the Lifetime Network aired The Client List starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Love, as she’s been referred to many times in the media since her role on Party of Five, plays a mother who takes a position at a massage parlor to make ends meet after her husband suffers an injury that prevents him from working. She later learns that her fellow masseuses are actually turning tricks and earning a fine living as prostitutes, serving some of the most prominent members of her community.
The fictionalized story is inspired by actual events that took place back in 2004 in Odessa, Texas — my hometown’s neighbor, fifteen miles to the west. It took me a while to put everything together, but this story captured everyone’s attention in West Texas, especially mine. Why? Because one of my former high school teachers was included in the list of “Johns” at the time. Wow. Right? But I digress…
Now two years later, Lifetime is banking again on the popularity of the story and Jennifer Love Hewitt — The Client List is now a series on the television network for women. The names have changed (Samantha Horton is now Riley Parks); the basic plot has been tweaked (the injured husband is now a husband that has abandoned his family); but the general idea remains the same (a mother goes to work as a prostitute to make a living for her children).
The series picks up after Riley Parks’ (Hewitt) husband leaves, forcing her to hit the pavement in search of work to provide for her two small children in Beaumont, Texas. On her way out of another failed interview, Riley runs into an old friend and former co-worker who is doing seemingly well for herself working at a parlor an hour away. Riley accepts her friend’s business card and drives to Sugarland, Texas where she checks out this parlor — The Rub.
Side note: This is a classic TV faux pas – Beaumont, Texas and Sugarland, Texas are not easily commutable for a single mom who drops her kids off for school, works a full shift, and then is back in time to pick her children up at the end of the school day; it’s at least a two-hour drive each way without traffic…
Anyway, The Rub is a legitimate massage parlor operated by Georgia (Loretta Devine) — legitimate ninety percent of the time anyway. The other ten percent consists of “The Client List” — guys looking for a little extra, or “happy endings” as we’re more familiar with today. Riley insists that she will not provide any “extras” — even though “the girls that don’t do extras, don’t really do that well” at The Rub. That is until she needs to make more money to pay the mortgage; she needs a name off “The Client List.”
When I first reviewed The Client List, I was impressed with a few of the one-liners. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the later episodes. What hooked me originally has since released me. Hook-Line-and-Sinker – haha, get it?
I also liked Riley’s best friend (Lacey, played by Rebecca Field). She plays a minor role but seems to be a character full of spunk and pizzazz. I still like Lacey, and I particularly appreciated her reaction when she learns of Riley’s profession. That’s right – snoopy friend finds a tin full of cash in Riley’s freezer and she decides to follow Riley to work. She puts two and two together and blows up. Good for her. Even better, she doesn’t agree to understand nor does she agree to like what Riley does, but she’s not willing to destroy the years the two have spent together over Riley’s job. Good for her, again.
Also in my first review, I mentioned a few aspects of the series that bothered me: the over-the-top Texas Twang, and the obvious sexual tension between Riley and her brother-in-law (Colin Egglesfield). After watching most of the season, I’m still annoyed with the horrendous Texas accents, but now I find myself pulling for the brother-in-law – not necessarily because of Riley, but because of him – he’s adorable; he’s helpful; he’s a great uncle; and did I mention he’s adorable?
And to answer my question in the original Watch Wednesday review — will The Client List be like Ghost Whisperer where Love cries in every episode? – The answer is YES, folks! Riley cries in every episode for one reason or another. Watching Love cry on cue is almost worthy of becoming a fun drinking game all in itself — take a shot every time Melinda (Ghost Whisperer) or Riley cries…
But back to the current review at hand… Clearly after as many episodes as I’ve watched it’s time to award The Client List with a rating higher than the SSTV rating. But sadly, it’s not much better… The Client List earns the NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing) rating: it’s perfect for that late night television sleep timer. Now that I’ve watched what I have for our WatchWed series, I probably won’t watch anymore unless I’m lying in bed and I can’t find anything else to watch.
And before I go, I’d be remiss to not add the irony of The Client List airing on Lifetime (television for women), considering Love’s The Rub attire is more like television for men… And yes, I’m STILL a bit jealous. What woman doesn’t want to look like that in lingerie?
What do you think? Have you watched The Client List? How would you rate it? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about NBC’s Smash after giving it a whirl. I predict she loves the music, being a Broadway gal and all, but is that enough to keep her going back for more?
Come back next week when Amber and I review something... it’s summer time and the heat is taking a toll on our planning ahead.
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech