Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Scandalous Client Lists, Take Two

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 HewittThe 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.”

Mortgage Money!!

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?

See what I mean?

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?

Yea, I’d like to look like that…

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Scandalous Client Lists

This week Amber West and I review two new 2012 midseason replacement dramas filled with scandalous client lists and female leads on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Lifetime’s The Client List and ABC’s Scandal.

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 two and two 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 HewittThe 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).

Riley Parks (Hewitt) lives in Beaumont, Texas with her unemployed husband and two small children.  Convinced she needs to save her family, Riley hits the pavement in search of work.  Unfortunately, she can’t find a day spa hiring any new masseuses.  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.

Georgia, owner & operator of The Rub

The Rub is a legitimate massage parlor operated by Georgia (Loretta Devine) — 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 comes home to discover that her husband has abandoned her and she’s in danger of losing her home.

Riley needs to make more money; She needs a name off “The Client List.”

Mortgage Money!!

As expected, she’s uncomfortable at first, but later proves to be a natural.  She makes enough in cash tips to pay her mortgage and even saves the marriage of one of her clients.  Saves a marriage?  Yes; she listens to him and give him advice on how to reconnect with his wife.  She even has a heart-to-heart with the wife (Mimi Rogers) after the wife vandalizes Riley’s car, stalks Riley, and follows Riley home.

I know what everyone is thinking — Mimi Rogers — now that’s a big name for a guest appearance.  Well, how about Cybill Shepherd?  Cybill plays Riley’s mother, Lynette.  There’s another big name…

The always beautiful Cybill Shepherd...

With only two episodes so far, what do I like about The Client List?

First, I was impressed with a few of the one-liners:

As Riley walks around the lobby area of The Rub, she notices that it is “not at all what it looks like on the outside.”  Nice pun.

When asking for a flexible schedule to care for her children, Georgia tells Riley that “this job is all about flexibility.”  Another nice pun.

I also like 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, like when she rushes over to console Riley after her husband’s departure:  “I brought some Xanax because I know how you can get,” and then Lacey pops a pill in her mouth.

As much as I appreciate the one-liners and the character of Lacey, there are also a few aspects of the series that bother me.

Like other television programs, The Client List uses an over-the-top Texas accent.  As Texans, we’re not supposed to hear our own accents, which is probably why I have such a hard time with TV’s Texas Twang.  Not all of us sound like that folks, honest.

And as if Riley’s job isn’t awkward enough as is (rumor has it that The Client List has angered “real life” massage therapists for giving masseuses a bad name), the obvious sexual tension between Riley and her brother-in-law (played by Colin Egglesfield) is really awkward, even for TV.

Okay, so who can blame Riley if she does indeed crush on her brother-in-law?

Will The Client List be like Ghost Whisperer where Love cries in every episode?  Maybe, but honestly I hope not.  I loved Ghost Whisperer, but watching Love cry on cue was almost worthy of becoming a fun drinking game all in itself — take a shot every time Melinda cries…

But back to the program at hand… Have we seen enough to award The Client List with a rating higher than the SSTV rating?  No; Not yet.  The Client List is like a pot of water sitting on the back burner where the coils aren’t even red yet.  We definitely need more to determine whether or not this series will be worth a watch.

And before we wrap, 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…  I’m just sayin’.  And yes, I’m am a bit jealous.  What woman doesn’t want to look like that in lingerie?

Ooo-La-La...

What do you think? Have you watched The Client List?  Did you watch the 2010 Lifetime movie?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about ABC’s Scandal.  From the episode we’ve seen, it looks like Olivia Pope has her hands full with the President of the United States…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two SyFy dramas – Amber revisits the soon to end series, Eureka, and I take a look at the Canadian hit picked up by US television, Lost Girl

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

Friday FaBOOolousness – Urban Legends

Watching American Horror Story this week reminded us of the power of the urban legend when a patient of Dr. Harmon’s couldn’t even muster up the strength to walk into his bathroom in fear of the Pig Man.

By definition, an urban legend is a modern tale or myth usually believed to be true.    A few favorites include:

The Bloody Mary Legend, the ghost who appears in a mirror after her name is called three times.

The Killer in the Backseat Legend, the story that begins with a woman driving home alone at night when a passerby scares her by flashing his high beams or speeding past her.  She manages to make it home, safe and sound, before realizing the other driver was only trying to warn her about the man in the backseat.

 

The Achilles Slasher Legend, the fear that a mysterious person lays in wait underneath cars ready to slash our Achilles tendons as we attempt to open the car door.

The Spider Bite Legend, the legend of the facial spider bite that swells and bursts, releasing hundreds of tiny baby spiders.

The Hook Legend, a tale of a serial killer who stalks and murders young couples.

 

The Kidney Heist Legend, the terrifying story of waking up in a pool of ice only to discover a kidney has been surgical removed and stolen.

The Pop Rocks and Soda Legend, the tale that enjoying a package of Pop Rocks candy and a can of soda together will result in an explosion of the face, throat, and/or stomach.

Hollywood has told the tales of the urban legend over and over again, and it has thrived in the success of moviegoers perhaps believing in, and definitely enjoying the frightening stories.

Candyman, the 1992 horror film starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, and Xander Berkeley combines the tales of Bloody Mary and the Hook, while placing a new spin on the legends.  In this movie, the characters summon Candyman by calling his name five times while looking into a mirror.  A man with a hook for his right hand appears and seeks revenge against those who harmed him years before.

Candyman successfully spooked the begeezus out of our group in high school, and as usual the sequels weren’t quite the same (Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman 3: Day of the Dead).

I Know What You Did Last Summer, the classic tale of The Hook, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe.  This movie follows a killer with a hook stalking four teenagers responsible for a hit and run the summer before.

Hollywood produced a few sequels, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Jennifer Love and Freddie Prinze Jr. return with the addition of Brandy Norwood, the singer, and Mekhi Phifer) and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (all new cast), but these follow-ups lost the shock factor of the original.

Finally, let’s not forget the Urban Legend Franchise that includes tales such as the Pop Rocks and Soda story, the Kidney Heist, the Spider Bite, and the classic, Bloody Mary.

Urban Legend stars a young, popular cast of the ‘90s: Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, as well as other familiar faces like Alicia Witt, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and Freddie Kruger himself, Robert Englund.    This movie resembles more of a slasher flick, but does introduce a few of the classic urban legends within the storyline.

Similar to its predecessor, Urban Legend: Final Cut hit screens a few years later starring Jennifer Morrison, Anthony Anderson, Eva Mendes, Joey Lawrence, and Rebecca Gayheart (again). We watched as another mysterious killer makes his way across campus killing college students working on their thesis projects.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary wraps up the franchise, but moves toward the supernatural when three friends call to Bloody Mary during a sleep over.  Instead of the usual slasher theme, this movie follows the story of a decades old murder via haunting and mysterious deaths.

Urban Legends – fact or fiction?  Share a favorite in the comment section below. 

What other movies have you enjoyed that tell the tales of the urban legend?  Is the number three the death number for an urban legend franchise (three Candyman movies, three I Know What You Did Last Summer movies, and three Urban Legend movies), or is it just coincidence?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday #8 – New to Summer 2011

Every summer, the major networks pick up at least one new show hoping to break it big with huge ratings success.  With June just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away, here are a few of the programs that might fit your television tastes.  Give ‘em a try!

ABC: The Hot ZoneThe new medical drama

The Hot Zone follows the medical staff, consisting of nurses and doctors from the allied nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia), in Afghanistan as they treat the men and women fighting to protect their country’s freedom.  The show stars a few familiar faces: Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Shutter Island), Michelle Borth (The Forgotten and Hawaii Five-0), and Luke Mably (The Gates).  Premiers Tuesday, June 21ST

NBC: Love BitesThe new romantic comedy

Love Bites follows a single girl (Becki Newton from Ugly Betty and Guiding Light) dating in New York City while searching for love, and a Venice Beach married couple (Constance Zimmer from Entourage and Boston Legal, and Greg Grunberg from Heroes and Alias). Love Bites plans to feature an array of guest stars including Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), Lindsay Price (90210 and Eastwick), and Guillermo Diaz (Weeds and Half Baked) just to name a few. Premiers Thursday, June 2ND

USA: Necessary Roughness – The new sports series

Necessary Roughness follows a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver in actually catching the ball.  Callie Thorne (Rescue Me and Prison Break) stars as Dani Santino along with Scott Cohen (The Gilmore Girls and Law & Order: Trial by Jury), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood and Desperate Housewives), and Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Knight and Day).  As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.  Premiers Wednesday, June 29th

USA: Suits – The new legal series

Instructed by a partner to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate for his Manhattan law firm, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht from Whiteout and Love and Other Drugs) recruits a brilliant new associate, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams from Friday Night Lights and many other cameo appearances on popular television shows).  But, Mike has a huge secret – he never graduated college, yet alone law school.  The two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s a dilemma, right?  Premiers Thursday, June 23rd

Unfortunately, many of the summer shows on the basic cable channels don’t fare well; however, there are a few that return this year including Rookie Blue (ABC) and Flashpoint (CBS).  The USA network, on the other hand, ROCKS the summer broadcasting, and I’m personally looking forward to their new shows this summer!

What shows are you looking forward to checking out this summer? Do you prefer sex, dating, and  marriage comedies, medical dramas, legal series, or sports-themed television?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #2 – This one? Or that one?

This one? Or that one?

Do you ask yourself these very questions if and when you have a free hour to watch television? 

I realize that most people don’t watch (or DVR in my case) four to ten hours of television a night — so, I am here to help you! 

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation versus CSI: Miami versus CSI:NY

My #1 – CSI: NY.  The addition of Sela Ward this season really helps make up for losing Melina Kanakaredes, and Gary Sinise is always great.  I feel the ensemble cast of NY wins against the other two CSI shows, and New York City is a wonderful supporting cast member.  I also like the NY storylines a bit more than the others CSI shows — the crimes appear to be a bit more believable.  I do hope the remainder of the 2011 season brings more of David James Elliott’s guest appearances as a FBI agent.  Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I have a small crush on Carmine Giovinazzo (Danny Messer). 

 

My #2 – CSI: Miami.  I love the bright colors and shots of Miami throughout the episodes; however, Horatio Caine, his sunglasses, and his one-liners drive me nuts!  Honestly, if it wasn’t for Horatio, Miami may rank above NY.  I must admit though, Horatio and his sunglasses have become a staple for the show.  I love Calleigh Duquesne, and I applaud the show’s attempts at covering Emily Procter’s pregnancy since they chose not to write it into the storyline.  I can’t wait for next season when Calleigh has more scenes, and hopefully the show re-explores the Calleigh/Eric Delko relationship.  Major kudos to Miami for bringing back Adam Rodriquez’s character, Delko.  I liked Eddie Cibrian, but it just wasn’t the same. 

My #3 – the original, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  The Vegas edition has been through a lot in its 11 years on the air.  The original cast has dwindled: Grissom is off the screen even though William Peterson is still involved with the production; they killed Gary Dourdan, aka Warrick Brown, and he was probably my favorite.  The show has tried to redeem itself with the addition of Lawrence Fishburne, and that did help.  The show also brought Jorja Fox back after a brief hiatus.  But, unfortunately, the storylines too often reach far beyond the norm making it last on my list — but then again, it’s Vegas, baby!  You may now think I’m stranger than you once thought, but a part of me watches to support my fellow Red Raider: Guns’ Up – George Eads, aka Nick Stokes. 

The Law & Order franchise – Law and Order: SVU versus Law and Order: Criminal Intent versus Law and Order: LA

My #1 – Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  NBC dropped CI a few years ago, but the USA network picked it right up.  They’ve waffled a bit with characters: Chris Noth, Jeff Goldblum, Annabella Sciorra, Saffron Burrows, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alicia Witt — all big names, but still not the originals – Vincent D’Onofrio (Goren) and Kathryn Erbe (Eames).  CI returns this May for its final season on USA.  Goren and Eames may be on my top all-time partner list along with Booth & Bones (Bones), Crockett & Tubbs (Miami Vice), and Maddie Hayes & David Addison (Moonlighting).  Goren & Eames’ partnership works, and I’m glad they’re back to close out a solid show. 

My #2 – Law and Order: SVU.  SVU has another great ensemble cast, but showcases gut-wrenching storylines.  The Special Victims Unit works assault and rape cases led by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), and her partner, Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes they take actions that we as viewers wish we could see more of on television (in other words, they’re not always by the book).  The main characters are joined by Tutuola (Ice-T), also not by-the-book, and Munch (Richard Belzer), who adds a small comedic touch to the otherwise dark story.  SVU loads the guest stars into each season.  So far in the 2010-2011 season, the show has featured Jeremy Irons, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Marcia Gay Harden, Debra Messing, Rose McGowen, and many more.  Warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

My #3 – Law and Order: LA.  NBC rushed LA to make up for the fact they cancelled the original Law & Order without much warning after 20 years.  I shelved my frustrations, and I looked forward to the new cast led by Skeet Ulrich.  NBC aired a few episodes this fall, and then bam, it was gone.  After more than a 4 month hiatus, LA returned last night with a BANG.  Yea, they really did kill off Skeet Ulrich.  I don’t mean to ruin it for anyone, but it aired last night.  A small redemption: former Law & Order cast member Alana de la Garza (also formerly of CSI: Miami) has joined the LA cast.  Now the show is led by Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, and I’m quite sure they can hold their own.  I’m not giving up yet, but as it stands now, LA is the low-Law and Order on my totem pole.   

Do you battle with This One or That One?  If so, who do you choose?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tune in to Tele-Tuesday these upcoming weeks for more: Criminal Minds versus Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior; NCIS versus NCIS: Las Angeles; Archer versus Family Guy; Hawaii Five-O versus Blue Bloods; Rizzoli & Isles versus Body of Proof

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