What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main characters (including the children) in this darkly comic cable drama are professional con artists and thieves. The show's premise relies on the fact that they deceive those around them. Husband and wife argue frequently, sometimes in front of their kids, and conflicts often include throwing objects. One character recently left prison and fights drug addiction. Viewers see her holding a needle to her arm, about to inject herself with drugs; she also drinks cough syrup and takes prescription drugs frequently. The oldest teenage boy smokes cigarettes and is a master computer hacker, while the youngest son prefers to wear girls' clothing (this is handled sensitively). Language is explicit, and occasional sex scenes are realistic, with a little bit of nudity.
What's the story?
In mature, darkly comic cable series THE RICHES, a family of traveling con artists steals the identity of a wealthy family and lives in their home. After a car accident claims the lives of the titular Riches while they're on their way to their new home in suburban Baton Rouge, husband and wife grifters Wayne (Eddie Izzard) and Dahlia Malloy (Minnie Driver) and their three kids move into the deceased couple's home and take over their lives. Wayne talks his way into a job at a law firm while Dahlia tries to act the part of rich suburban housewife, a role sharply different from her freewheeling, carnivalesque lifestyle. The fish-out-of-water theme makes for some funny moments -- like when Dahlia microwaves some store-bought cookies and places them on a silver platter to bring to the neighbor in hopes of procuring some Valium. The ever-present tension surrounding the charade -- will the Malloys ever be found out? -- creates some great moments as well, as when the next-door neighbor invites Wayne to play golf after spotting the real Mr. Rich's clubs, but Wayne breaks the tension by hitting a soaring hole-in-one.
Is it any good?
Though viewers might sometimes forget that The Riches isn't a mainstream network primetime drama, scenes of Dahlia trying to kick her heroin addiction and glimpses of Izzard's bare bottom during a sex scene will remind folks that they're in cable-land. It's definitely not for younger kids, but this unique take on the family drama might lure mature teens -- though parents may want to preview episodes to see just how much edge they want their kids exposed to. With the underlying deception involved in the plot, as well as drug use and cursing galore, The Riches don't make the best role models. But deep down the characters have heart, and their quest for love, stability, and acceptance for who they are make them just like the rest of us.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the show's underlying themes. The Malloys are thieves, but are they bad people? What are they seeking by living this alternate life? How are they different from and similar to your family? What commentary does the show make about the Riches' lifestyle? Would you ever consider living a traveling lifestyle? What would be the benefits and drawbacks of that kind of world?