Hey hey, it's the pilot of Lipstick Jungle, the show that — as of now — most of you are liking slightly less than its ABC counterpart Cashmere Mafia. I actually like it slightly more, even though the bar's not very high.
I've already shared some of my thoughts on the first episode, but as I rewatched the show last night, a few more things struck me — especially as I compared the show to Cashmere. At this point, the story of how these two shows came to be is pretty well-known (in short: Sex and the City collaborators Candace Bushnell had a fight and went on to make rival series), and it's all the more frustrating now, because I think the best parts of Lipstick and the best parts of Cashmere could come together to make one pretty good show.
From the start, I found the friendships in Lipstick more believable — and more interesting — than the ones in Cashmere. Cashmere has made a point of not showing the friends shopping together or doing other frivolous things, but you know what? I like seeing the superficial side to the Lipstick ladies' relationship. Talking tough and shopping are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, it makes it easier for me to believe that these women actually like each other.
This show might live or die by what people think of Brooke Shields as Wendy, so to see where I come down on that, just read more.
I'm not normally a huge fan of Shields, but I do like her in this role; I found Wendy surprisingly sympathetic. She's definitely not the ruthless, backbiting woman I was expecting. Instead, she's a nurturer, someone who "hugs and fires." I appreciate seeing a character who's both powerful and motherly, but will her story be compelling enough to hold the series together going forward?
I also liked Kim Raver's performance as Nico Reilly, but I had some big problems with her story, starting with the "Do you know how old I am?" line. (If Candace Bushnell were being hit on by a hot 25-year-old, would she really interject comments about her advanced age? Yeah, that's what I thought.) She's stuck in a loveless (or at least sexless) marriage, and the series certainly wasted no time jumping right into her first-ever affair. It might have been nice to have an episode of flirtations and second-guesses first. Also, how weird is it that her young lover instantly knew it was her first affair, as though his sole mission in life is bedding rich cougars?
Victory . . . now, that's another story. Acting-wise, I thought Lindsay Price was the show's weak link. She'd actually be a better fit on Cashmere Mafia, where the situations call for a more soapy persona. (Could I swap her for Bonnie Somerville?) That said, she gets to woo Andrew McCarthy, lucky girl.
Some other thoughts:
- Worst outfit: Victory's shimmery, '80s-prom-meets-baby-ballet-tutu getup.
- Was Nico's "Trojan war" reference supposed to be a sex joke? Why are all the sex references on these shows so gross and weird? Is it just the effects of being on a network and not HBO?
- I know we're supposed to be annoyed at Joe Bennett not doing anything for himself — including opening his champagne — but why was Victory so confused when he sent a car for her? I would think these women get picked up in cars all the time.
- Nico's husband is really so unobservant that he didn't notice the phone number scrawled on her leg in marker? Also, pantyhose don't just rip like that.
What did you think? Will you be back for another episode? And which character's story was the most interesting to you?
Photos courtesy of NBC