Cox plays the editor of the popular fictional tabloid rag, Drrt (yep, that’s how it’s spelled). She’s a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners ball-breaker with just a hint of humanity. Her magazine exposes the seedy underbellies of celebrities at play. Although the beginning of the pilot actually made it seem as though tabloids are just determined truth-seekers, the second half of the episode painted a very different picture. Drrt lived up to its title as Cox and her gaggle of slimeballs systematically blackmailed celebs into becoming sources for dirt on their peers.
Cox and her schizophrenic paparazzo pal actually paid a woman to entice a married basketball star into having sex with her so they could get incriminating photos of the encounter. These are not nice people. One of Drrt’s stories even drove a starlet to suicide. (That may have been a little over the top — you think?)
Believability aside, Dirt (the show, not the fictional magazine) has two things going for it: A solid premise and Courteney Cox. Like so many recent series, Dirt is extremely stylized, using fast, sweeping shots to get from location to location, and a top-notch lighting scheme to showcase the über-hip Hollywood parties and clubs. The style can be a little distracting at times, but it never quite ruins the action.
The biggest challenge for Cox, who also produces the show, is to make sure it doesn’t try too hard. The subject is juicy enough that little exaggeration is necessary to get jaws dropping. The next biggest challenge will be whether Cox’s character actually develops over time. She’s painted herself into a bit of a corner on this one. She can’t get too evil, because then she won’t be sympathetic to viewers. If she loses her nastiness, her character will be out of a job. We’ll just have to wait and see if a happy medium truly exists.