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August 30, 2015

Dirt: Dirty Slutty Whores

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Mar 9th 2008 11:01PM

Courteney Cox as Lucy Spiller and Elisabeth Harnois as Milan Carlton
(S02E02) "Let's just figure out how her Daddy's gonna use his money to get his little girl off... did I just say that? Huh, oddly aroused." - Lucy

At first glance, Dirt may not look all that original to a new viewer. Granted we're only two episodes into the new season, but bear with me for a second. In the most noticeable departure from last season, these first two installments have relied heavily on recent tabloid headlines. It was something we saw in season one (such as Rick Fox's portrayal of a basketball star based loosely on his former teammate Kobe Bryant), but not as much. The fun this season comes from seeing where the tabloid headlines end and the creativity of Dirt's writers begins.

Think of it sort of like Law & Order -- there are two distinct half-hours in each episode. The first thirty minutes sets up the character using everything you already know from waiting in the supermarket check-out line and glancing at the magazine rack. The rest of the episode is where it gets interesting.

The one unfortunate casualty to this new set-up for the show is the lessened relevance of the main characters. Don's role on the show has been significantly decreased as has Lucy's. The show no longer revolves around them, but rather around the celebrities they're attacking. I'll repeat what I've said in the past though: it still works.

This time around, the victims were an Alec Baldwin/David Hasselhof hybrid named Jimmy Darby (played by Tom Arnold) and a Paris Hilton rip-off named Milan Carlton. Euro first name and hotel last name -- simple enough to figure out. All the expected storylines were used. Darby had a publicly released embarrassing phone call to his daughter (Baldwin) and a YouTube video where he ate food off the floor in a drunken stupor (Hasselhof). Milan had her day in jail just like Paris.

All of this was fun to watch, but at the same time it was nothing new. The twists are what made them memorable -- Darby being screwed over by his own daughter to get signed for a reality show and Milan ending up in some nondescript Asian country for "charity work" only to be nailed by the police for cocaine possession and lashed with a cane three times by some government official.

Beyond the celebutantes and washed up sitcom stars, I do have some questions regarding the Dirt Now staff. For instance, what happened to Brent Barrow? He was in the premiere for about two scenes when Lucy returned and that was it. I'm assuming Jeffrey Nordling's commitment to season seven of 24 is what got in the way of this, which is too bad. I was really hoping for some more awkward fallout from his pseudo-relationship with Willa. However, his character was definitely one of the oddballs from season one. So I can see how he might not fit into the new storylines, but it looks like he's back in some capacity in next week's episode "God Bless the Child."

Speaking of relationships, are we going to get any serious development on the Lucy/Holt front? Or is it going to be five more episodes of awkward phone calls and schoolgirl crushes? Something tells me the days of those two screwing into the night and Lucy recalling it all with her vibrator are gone.

The one relationship that does seem to be going somewhere is Willa and Farber. I still see no point to his character, other than to give Lucy someone to "teach." He and Willa are clearly being put together though as a sort of Dirt Now sleuthing team. They're nervous around each other, Farber is miserable with his current girlfriend, and Willa seems to be willing to open up to him... sort of. There was one brief moment where she gave the impression that her father hit her.

And how about this -- when's Leo going to be back? I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of police report indicating paint chips on Julia's corpse and those chips being tied to potential makes and models of cars. There has to be something to this. You don't just have the brother of a show's main character kill someone and then forget it ever happened. That's what tabloids are all about though. Digging up stuff just like that. It'll come out.

Who's been your favorite celebrity portrayal so far?
Milan Carlton (Paris Hilton)62 (50.8%)
Jimmy Darby (Alec Baldwin/David Hasselhof)17 (13.9%)
Sharlee Cates (Britney Spears)25 (20.5%)
Martina Lynn (Anna Nicole Smith)18 (14.8%)

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Hmm i havent really made up my mind about this season yet.. Its a lot different then season 1. What i really liked about season 1 was that it had an overlying story and, for lack of a better word, was more dirty with the lighting and even the music. It showed how ruthless the gosip world really was. So far theses "ripped from the headlines" stories are just not doing it for me, becaus instead of haveing a great drama story, its just makeing fun of celebrities

March 10 2008 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This new format kinda works for me but I still miss the old Dirt. Maybe it was the edginess and darkness. I also miss Don's voiceovers at the beginning of each episode; those were always fun.

The twists to the celebrities' stories are well done, but Lucy and Don should not be pushed to the side. I want to find out more Lucy's dad's suicide and whether Don'll remain on his meds.

And why couldn't Willa still be a threat to Lucy? What about Leo? It's almost like the writers decided to forget they had a first season, except for Lucy being stabbed.

I agree with Eileen above. FX might have ended up alienating the show's core viewers with these changes. And moving it to Sunday was stupid. Why not leave it on Tuesdays? I don't have high hopes for a third season, unfortunately.

March 10 2008 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like it. It works for me at least right now. While a part of me wisher for bigger story arcs and what not, it still feels like Dirt to me, but perhaps that's only me. Of course it isn't as dark, but it still retains a bit of the 'feeling' of season one in it. Which i'm glad for, if it just randomly switched it would be horrible.
I like that i actually know the tabloids that are being talked about haha. Last season i didn't quite cacth some of them but this season i'm getting a few. (I'm not one for tabloids much, lol.) But yeah... either way i like it.
Oh and i for one like the new character, Farber. He kind of feels like Willa in the beginning of season one, new to the whole thing. I think he is interesting and I see his character developing over the course of time.

March 10 2008 at 4:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think it works at all. I liked the stories from last year much better. It had depth then; it's plastic now. And seeing Lucy and Don taking lesser roles just makes it worse.

Apparently, a lot of people agree because their numbers are way off.

March 10 2008 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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