What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rake centers on the life of Keegan Deane (Greg Kinnear), a brilliant but flawed attorney who's allowing alcohol and his terrible gambling habit to ruin his career and his life. Deane regularly visits a prostitute; we see him drinking and gambling and staying one step ahead of loan sharks, who threaten him with violence. Deane also is a womanizer and picks up (much younger) women and takes them home. The camera pans up the bodies of women in a leering fashion, as well. There is some mild cursing and physical scuffling. However, the show tracks Deane's redemption, so parents may be willing to have mature teens watch his earlier stumbles to make the point that people can come back after making mistakes.
What's the story?
Keegan Deane, the titular RAKE in the new hour-long comedy directed by Sam Raimi, takes the cases no one wants: the losers who, like himself, have just about hit bottom. But, unlike some of his clients, there's something in Deane that won't quite let him give up, even on days when the loan sharks are chasing him for the $55,000 he owes and a client pays him in $15,000 worth of fatty tuna. He won't give up on his clients, either. Through hangovers and brushes with the law and conflicts with his impatient assistant (Tara Summers), his ex-wife (Miranda Otto), and the college friends he's crashing with (John Ortiz and Necar Zadegan), Deane muddles through and stays one step ahead of disaster.
Is it any good?
Three-word review: It's all right. You want to hear more? Kinnear is a pro at playing adorable jerks. See Nurse Betty and Mystery Men. The actor himself is so charming, with his crinkle-eyed smile and "Who, me?" facial expressions, that it's hard to dislike his Keegan Deane. But legal shows (and police procedurals, and shows in general about crime and punishment) have been so done to death in recent years that Rake comes across as not-so-fresh despite the great cast.
Not only that, but charming antiheroes with bad habits have become a modern trope. Why, hello, Don Draper, Walter White, and Frank Gallagher of Shameless! I believe we see your influence here. In short, redemption junkies, legal show completists, or die-hard fans of any of the excellent cast members should give this one a shot. Otherwise, see the three-word review above.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether Keegan Deane is a "good" or "bad" character? Is he supposed to be a hero or an antihero? In real life, are people all good or all bad? Is a character who's a bit of both more realistic? Is this a good thing?
Compare the way lawyers are depicted in Rake with their fictional counterparts in legal TV shows such as Law & Order and Damages. How are they alike? How are they different? Which seems more in line with reality?
How is the audience supposed to feel about Keegan Deane? Are we supposed to like him? To hate him? To relate to him? To laugh at him or to scorn him?