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TV Review: Dirt – Even Sleazier Than The Name Implies

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Any reasonable human being might wonder why Courteney Cox would agree to star in a show glamorizing tabloid journalism. The answer became quite clear in last night’s premier of FX’s new drama, Dirt: This show is hardly a celebration of the world of gossip. In fact, it’s a scathing condemnation of tabloid techniques, and judging by the pilot, it might just have some promise. Emphasis on might.

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 Shot4_closeup0008b1_4cbecoming 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?)Courteneyinoffice_f

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.

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  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    The pilot honestly put me to sleep. Great job at playing a more sinister version of Gale Weathers….UNSUCCESSFULLY.

    I’ll give the show a few more episodes, but the writing was so mediocre I was WISHING there were commercial breaks.

  • Joe

    After being beaten to death by Dirt commercials for over a month I’ve decided to pass on this show sight unseen. The relentless marketing push ruined it for me.

  • http://blog.myspace.com/tinkie101 tink

    I got a little confused between the whole Now and Drrt magazines scenarios, at times Courtney’s character seemed to be living in parallel worlds.

    And it wasn’t just the pro on pro action between the athlete and the hooker…it was the type of action that was supposed to be so over-the-top, yes?

    I guess I’m feeling interested enough to at least catch Tuesday’s show…but doubtful as well.