tek's rating:

The Riches, on FX
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streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: potential spoilers.

Well, I checked this out mainly because I've always been interested in the concept of Travellers. And I've stuck around so far because the story and characters are reasonably interesting. Anyway, in the first episode, Wayne Malloy (Eddie Izzard) welcomes his wife Dahlia (Minnie Driver) home from prison, along with their kids, Cael, Di Di, and Sam. Dahlia got busted a couple years ago for a credit card scam the family was running, though actually Wayne is the one who should've gone to jail. So they've got some problems, but they do love each other. And then... well, larger problems are caused by Dale Malloy, the new head of the clan, who's really a terribly nasty guy that no one seems to like. Another Traveller who makes trouble is Ginny Dannegan, who wants Di Di to marry her brother Ken (who is slow-witted due to a fever he had years ago, but he's a good guy, unlike his conniving sister). Dale has approved the marriage as head of the clan, and even though Di Di doesn't want to marry Ken, I guess Traveller custom won't allow her to refuse. So Wayne steals some money from Dale, takes his family and runs away. When Dale sends some people after Wayne, an innocent couple named Doug and Cherien Rich end up getting killed.

So of course, Wayne decides that he and his family should assume the Riches' identities. They've recently bought a new home, via the internet, in an affluent, gated community called Edenfalls. No one there knows the Riches, so no one knows the Malloys aren't them. So... it's interesting seeing how this family of con artists pulls this off. Doug Rich was a lawyer, and Wayne doesn't know anything about law, but he has to pretend to be one. He ends up getting a job for a guy named Hugh Panetta, who's rather an ass. But he's rich, and he runs a major company called Panco, for which Wayne/Doug is the new in-house lawyer. And it can be fun watching him constantly put on the spot... he often has to come up with bullshit in a hurry, but he's good at thinking on his feet. His spiels may start out somewhat cringe-inducing, his speech just flailing around wildly, but by the end, he somehow always manages to sound very convincing. But he'll also covertly receive some help from a paralegal on his staff, named Aubrey.

Meanwhile, Dahlia/Cherien befriends a neighbor, Nina Burns, though that seems mostly because Nina gave her some prescription pills, and Dahlia has a problem, having started doing crystal meth while in prison. Her husband Jim is a former engineer who now raises alpacas. It will eventually be learned that there is a problem with Nina and Jim's marriage, however. I won't say what.

Well, so. There's the constant threat of the neighbors (and the authorities) learning the truth about the "Riches," as well as of Dale trying to find them, and there's a certain degree of conflict even within the family. And then there's just trying to fit in with "buffers," which I guess means anyone who isn't a Traveller. And the kids have to start going to school (albeit a pricey private school), which is something they've never done. Though Wayne went to school, because I guess he was raised as a buffer. I dunno. There's definitely backstory here that I haven't figured out yet, and there are secrets. I guess. Anyway, the kids are interesting, too. Can't really think of anything to say about them in particular at the moment, except that Sam is quite bright, and likes cross-dressing. And Cael and Di Di often argue with each other about everything from whether they should be trying to fit in with buffer kids, to whether they should trust their dad's "plan." Anyway... not sure what else to say right now, except that at the end of the first season, the shit really hits the fan, and it's difficult to imagine the Malloys could go on pretending to be the Riches....

Well, here is where I really will start with some spoilers. See, the thing that happens at the end of season one is that a guy named Pete Mincey shows up, looking for his best friend, Doug Rich. So the Malloys have to spin a lie about why they're pretending to be the Riches. But by this point, Dale has also found them. And as the Malloys are about to flee Edenfalls, Dale confronts Pete. As season two opens, Dale accidentally kills Pete, and Wayne finds out, and helps cover it up. And he doesn't tell his family, so this secret will lead to greater strife within the family. Meanwhile, they go back to pretending to be the Riches, because Hugh has a land deal for a development called Bayou Hills, which is worth $150 million, and Doug's cut would be $13 million. Once they get that money, they plan to finally leave.

Dahlia gets more distressed by all the lying they all have to do, so she ends up going to a parole officer to say she's broken parole. This gets complicated, and leads to her having to get a job and apartment, and she can't tell any of this to her family. Meanwhile a private investigator shows up looking for Pete. And Cael gets kicked out of school, and is sick of the way his father's been acting, so he leaves. Gets picked up by some fellow Travellers, including a girl named Rosaleen, who it seems he'll start a romantic relationship with. Also, Hugh marries a stripper named GiGi. And Di Di gets involved with a young security guard named Ike, who works in Edenfalls. And Nina gets closer to the Malloys, who she learns the truth about. She also is upset because of the trouble with her marriage. And later, Jim dies, which is of course even more troubling for her...

Another major development this season is that a Traveller named Eomon Quinn gets out of prison. Apparently he did some terrible things in the past, and people don't trust him, but he claims to have changed. He received a college education over the internet while in prison, and now he has a grand plan for the future of the Travellers. And they start trusting him. He seems to have an interest in Cael, who doesn't fully trust him yet, but Rosaleen does, so Cael will come around. Meanwhile, Dale gets involved with a group of Travellers including a man named Riley, who want to get a construction contract for the Bayou Hills project. Wayne/Doug refuses, which leads to trouble. But there's also a group of Russians with their own plans... I didn't follow that bit very well, but they want Doug to betray Hugh, and will also help out against Riley's people. Oh, and Doug wants Hugh to run for mayor, because of some legal difficulty over the whole project....

Yes, it's all very complicated and I tend not to remember everything from week to week. And um, the second season, I should mention, was shortened due to the writers' strike. And later, it got cancelled, so I'm rather disappointed about not getting to see how everything would have turned out....

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