For those who missed it, last night was FX’s season premier of The Riches, a show about a family of traveling con artists who are very good at what they do, and for good reason. The best way I can describe it is that it’s almost like this romanticized idea we have of gypsies. Except think Southern U.S. (namely Louisiana) instead of Southeast Europe. You all live in these great big camps that can be moved if they need to, but there are generations of people living in this one area and you learned everything you know from all of them. There’s this whole mafia/Godfather side to it all too, and you learn that Minnie Driver’s character, Dahlia, is the daughter of the patriarch of this entire network. Her husband, Wayne (Eddie Izzard), is as witty as he is charming and gets himself into a sticky situation almost as fast as he can get himself out of it. They’ve got three children, Cael (Noel Fisher) who you can already tell is going to be the root of a lot of conflict, Di Di (Shannon Marie Woodward) who is showing early signs of being not only the beauty, but the brains behind a lot of their shenanigans, and Sam (Aidan Mitchell) who’s speaking volumes in unspoken dialogue.
Dahlia’s just been released from prison on parole and through a series of quick and a tough decisions, the Malloy family ends up moving into a swank, bubbled, guard-gated community (very Desperate Housewhore-y) under the identity of someone else (The Rich Family), more specifically a hot shot attorney and his wife who are new to the area (Literally, a rich family). And it becomes quite apparent that Wayne and Dahlia are new to this lifestyle, too.
The show is marketed as a “dramadey” and while the laughs are simple and chuckle worthy at best, what the show lacks in side-splitting wit, it makes up for in the fact that at the heart of this whole masquerade, it’s a tragic and sweet. The sadness and painfully brutal honesty about who these people are stings bad. And yet, Wayne’s devotion to his family and his wife who has barely got her feet on the ground, is ever present, and it’s probably the main thing that rescues this show from being a too far-fetched train wreck.
It’s got its faults, for sure, but I’ll keep coming back, because I like to believe that people can do extraordinary things and that they’re much better than we give them credit for most of the time. So I’ll stick around for a bit, see what kinds of riches we can dig up here.