Judge P.S. Colbert prefers to be on the "Do not call" list.
"No…No scary movies! If I wanted to watch two hours of torture, I'd have dinner with my mother."
The Client List: The Complete Second Season totals a mere fifteen episodes, but trudging through roughly half of this former Lifetime network programmer's sophomore run seemed like it might be the death of me!
Frankly, I couldn't imagine how this guilty-pleasure concept could go wrong: Former Texas beauty-queen Riley Parks (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jewtopia) is now the mother of two and a housewife forced to find a job after her ex-football star husband, Kyle (Brian Hallisay, Bottoms Up) wordlessly abandons his family for parts unknown.
Riley's massage therapist license enables her to get a job at a tony Sugarland spa called "The Rub," where she soon learns that, in order to make real money, she'll have to cater to the clients named on a super-secret list, all of whom require happy endings. Well, a gal's gotta earn, right?
I didn't catch any of the first season, but after reading Verdict Judge Dawn Hunt's wonderfully informative review, I'm confident that there's not that much updating required. There's also this: the series progresses at a glacial pace, continually hampered by characters reminding each other of what they said to each other earlier—apparently because the folks behind The Client List believe their audience is made up of either amnesiacs or dummies, incapable of recalling what happened a week earlier.
Thus, Riley continues teeter-tottering emotionally between her vagabond hubby, and his straight-arrow brother, Evan (Colin Egglesfield, Something Borrowed), who has been there for her ever since Kyle split. Where there isn't tortured dialogue, there are musical Montages, allowing maudlin melodies and obvious lyrics to jackhammer the plot points as ham-handedly as over-exposition otherwise would.
And where's all the hot sexuality promised by the show's "high concept"? It's been supplanted by the sniggery humor of junior high school virgins (for instance, when after a day of high-volume business, Riley complains of pain and tightness in her forearm, one snarky colleague diagnoses her condition as "Pecker-itis." Snort! Snort!)
What's more, the "client list" regulars are almost exclusively young and handsome beefcake slices with perfectly chiseled bodies. One would assume such studs could get a lot more bang for their bucks by springing for a few drinks at local hot spots.
Furthermore, their "peccadilloes" seem to have been invented by perverted Tiger Beat subscribers: One likes to have cream pies smashed into and rubbed all over his pecs and six pack, while another requires a box of tissues, as he breaks out in tears following every hand-job.
My favorite is the veteran politician that always arrives with a new pair of Louis Vuitton shoes (in Riley's size—her gift to keep) which Riley then puts on her hands and pretends to walk up and down his back with. Personally, I'm not convinced that this isn't actually a gay gentleman seeking relief for arthritis in his spine, but I digress…At any rate, The Client List is to erotica as Gilligan's Island is to the actual rigors of jungle survival.
Good news for those determined to make this part of their collection: Sony has dutifully transferred the series to DVD-R, preserving its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and matching it with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, so you'll see it just as you did during its network run. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for an equal to the first season release, you're out of luck. As I said, this time around, Sony's gone the DVD-R route, and dropped all bonus features, as well.
The more I age, the less judgmental I've become about "alternate" views on sexual gratification—as long as nobody's being hurt against their will, that is. By the same token, I mean to cast no aspersions on those who might find The Client List exactly to their liking: no worries, it's a big world, after all.
On the other hand, passing judgment on this release is my job, and therefore, even while taking into consideration that it's merely more commercial programming fashioned directly for a medium sufficiently low-brow enough to earn the nicknames "boob tube" and "idiot box," I hereby pronounce The Client List: The Complete Second Season a crime against inanity.
Guilty as sin.
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