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August 28, 2015

The Riches: Operation Education

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 27th 2007 1:01AM
The Riches as missionaries(S01E03) Things are starting to settle in for the Malloys, and their new lives as the Riches, and this is where the fun starts. As I watched the first two episodes, I was waiting for the series to get into a routine and show the Malloys faking and conning their way through life at Eden Falls. I just felt during these cons we'd see the lighter touches that the show's casting and premise indicated would be there.

And this third episode doesn't disappoint.

We see one con after another this week, as the Malloys actually try to become upstanding members of society, all under Wayne's direction. The social security con was especially funny, as the kids were able to cop a form of gibberish that was close enough to Indonesian to be convincing. Of course, we had Wayne faking his way through his welcome speech at Panco, which he made soon after screwing Dahlia in their rented Mercedes. He even managed to incorporate the rock he used to make his briefcase look realistically weighed down. "We're rocks, all of us are rocks." When someone chimed in that together they make a mountain, we know that the buy-in on the part of the buffers has begun.

But you wonder how Wayne is going to actually do his job, considering he knows nothing about the law. He probably realized he was in deeper than he thought when he looked at the files and didn't even know a relatively straightforward term like "eminent domain." Heck, he even found it tough to fire the person whose place he was taking, momentarily getting conned himself (the guy said he had 12 kids, even though the pictures were cut out of a catalog). We know he's going to utilize the paralegal as much as possible, but that's only going to get him so far. And Panetta may be an asshole, but he's not a stupid asshole; he'll find out eventually that he hired a fraud. There's a reason why Wayne hasn't held down a job for more than a couple of days at a time.

The big con, of course, was Dahlia's efforts to get the kids into an exclusive private school after the headmistress, Jane Fedley, dismissed their entry. To be honest, as condescending as Fedley was to the Malloys, it's almost understandable. This family comes in, not knowing anything about the process of getting the kids into this school, and asks to have the kids enrolled immediately.

Cael and Dehliah don't even want to go to school anyway, thinking it's just "buffer bullshit," as Dehliah put it. But you can tell Sam wants in, as you almost seriously believe that he knows how to read Shakespeare in French ("Just the soliloquies," he tells Fedley during the con). Now, how does he want to do it, as a boy or a girl? Dahlia loves the kid the way he is, but knows he has to make a choice. I wonder if we're going to find out that Sam has more in common with his half-breed father than just a desire to steal the American Dream (in what episode do we see Eddie Izzard in a dress? I'm guessing episode 10).

For a woman who was "scared of school," as Wayne said, Dahlia sure tried her hardest to get the kids into that place. That's what happens when you cross Dahlia Malloy, I guess. Anyway, putting one over on the headmistress, kidnapping her parrot, then pretending to find it in order for her to "owe them one," didn't feel as satisfying as it should have. I think it was because, as condescending as the woman was, she was an innocent victim. And that's going to be a problem with The Riches. The audience still hasn't completely sided with the Malloys just yet, so even when they pull a fast one on unsympathetic folks like Fedley or Panetta, it's still hard for the viewer to feel good about it.

That's probably why we have the specter of Dale hovering over the family. Dale is pure molten evil, and the way he got Tammy to manipulate Cael to the point where he's on the verge of showing Dale where they've been hiding, makes you think that he's going to get close to Eden Falls sooner than you think. He's the one guy that no one roots for, making a good counterpoint to the grey world of both the Malloy family and the phony buffers in the world of the well-to-do. Actually, I'm surprised Cael fell for Dale's scheme so easily; he seems to be the one in the family who has his head screwed on straight. Maybe he knows what's going on, and we won't find out about his reaction until next week.

Good performances all around; I'm intrigued by Sam, and am looking forward to seeing more of him. He seems to be an expert con artist already, and his penchant for dressing like a girl can only help that. I'd imagine we'll see more scenes of Minnie Diver sucking down cough syrup or shooting meth, but for now, she's content to just swipe pills from her neighbor Nina. And that stoner musician dude who Dehliah met? I'm sure we'll see him again. Anyway, as the scenes FX showed us at the end of each episode illustrate, the poop is going to hit the fan, making it harder for Wayne to keep things together. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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I was going to nominate Di Di for most straightened head, but agentmichaelscarn beat me to it.

Not that I'm complaining, because I've enjoyed your reviews (and Brett's) so far, but if Bob was doing Riches write-ups, he would've caught that part of this episode was straight from the pilot of Newsradio. Dave Foley shows up on his first day as news director of WNYX only to find that he has to fire his predecessor, played by the great Kurt Fuller. And Dave feels bad for the guy at first, but eventually learns that he's a jerk and fires him.

But oh well, I still enjoyed the episode. The rock speech was great, but I really liked the neighbor lady talking about all the schools before finally admitting that her kid went to the evil elitist lily-white private school.


March 28 2007 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do believe that we saw a Little Bit of the Eddie we all know and Love during "The Rock" .. I Love this Guy.

March 27 2007 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tv junkie

I did not enjoy this episode....
While I'm still very much loving the concept of the show, Wayne constantly getting by so easily is getting repetitive. Remember, the Malloys have never been part of the country club riches before, can Wayne really pulled the same crap he does all the time?
Just how stupid are those people at Panco? He pulled out a rock, and they got the symbolism for no reason? Come one. I was hoping the paralegal woman would catch up with his nonsense, but she ended up being his best pal in the office? We need conflict for Wayne in the office a.s.a.p, otherwise, seeing Wayne fooling everyone with his random speeches is going to get old really fast (judging from the preview, i hope Hugh caught up with suspicions soon.)
As far as operation education goes, it was another fun little con job for the rest of the Malloys. As long as they keep things interesting, I'm fine with it. and yes, I'm surprised Cael was so easily fooled by Tammy, but he's a kid, so I guess he didn't see the scheme yet.
One of the stoylines that I still don't quiet get is with the pregnant Jaime Pressly-lookalike (seriously, every time i saw her, i thought, Joy from Earl) ...I'm not interested in the whole family feud back at the home camp beside the missing money problem.
My favorite part of the episode is when Dahlia tells Sam she's fine with whatever boy/girl Sam choose to be....so sweet. Sam is definitely an interesting character to explore, so nice to see a TV series where the kid is actually part of the family and not just pop-up in some episodes crying and whining.

March 27 2007 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In my opinion, the only person who really has their head on straight is Di Di. She's old enough to know the circumstances yet young enough to feel free to explore her new life and learn how to prosper from it. She was the only child to willingly choose to live in the mansion with her father the first night and would have been forced to marry that weird guy had she stayed in the clan.

Cael on the other hand won't accept his fate as a "buffer" -- which he always says in a distgustful manner. He is the only one who still makes contact with those from the clan and was naive enough to believe that they [the clan] would forgive the family if they just returned the money in the pilot episode. He's parallel to Dahlia for the least head-on-straight member of the family.

As for Sam, obviously confused due to his age, yet is able to adapt quicker because of his lack of questioning the situation. His only real problem is whether or not he wants to live in male or female garb. I wonder if this is a refrence to Eddie's choice to become a famous actor/comedian by giving up dressing in women's clothing. He looks much better in a suit by the way.

Loving the show by the way. F/X has always done a good job with thier programs, regardless of whether I watch them or not. Quality is a hard thing to find these days.

March 27 2007 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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