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'Filthy Rich' is the Silliness We Need This Year
September 21, 2020  | By David Hinckley

After all we've been through this year, the least we deserve is a few tasty empty calories.

Hello, Filthy Rich, which premieres Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

Among other things, Filthy Rich might be considered the default standard-bearer for the whole fall 2020 network TV season, which you may have noticed pretty much does not exist.

Filthy Rich is available because it was filmed before the pandemic. It was originally slated for spring 2020, but Fox held it back, maybe or maybe not suspecting that someday this sort of thing might be scarce and in demand.

The show itself carries on the tradition of DallasDynasty, and a modest crop of less-remembered prime-time soaps. It's a sprawling enterprise, full of high-drama plotlines that would seem dire if we didn't realize they're all being played with tongue deeply in cheek.

The show roughly revolves around Margaret Monreaux (Kim Cattrall, top), who, with her husband Eugene (Gerald McRaney, top), founded a lucrative Christian television network.

Naturally, the network sells itself as the home of family values, with a wide array of branded merchandise to reinforce the message.

As part of their TV package, the Monreauxs also sell their own two children: Rose (Aubrey Dollar), an aspiring fashion designer who has little use for the family or its business, and Eric (Corey Cott), a marginally competent nerd who thirsts to become Eugene's heir.

Eric also has an annoying wife, Becky (Olivia Macklin).

Then Eugene dies, under embarrassing circumstances, and it turns out the Monreaux family was larger than Margaret thought.

Eugene had three other children, by three other women, and he apparently thought it would be a nice surprise for everyone to include them in his will.

He was right. It is.

Antonio Rivera (Benjamin Levy Aguilar) is a single Dad and boxer who lives in New York. Jason Conley (Mark L. Young) lives in Colorado and grows weed. Ginger Sweet (Melia Kreiling) works in the online fantasy industry.

Needless to say, they aren't an immediate fit in the television Monreaux family, and Margaret's first impulse is to buy them off cheap and pretend they never existed.

This tactic might work except for Ginger, who may be the daughter of a cocktail waitress, but who has some sense of the leverage she and her new half-sibs could have in this situation.

Filthy Rich works every angle of this setup, including the irresistible programming on the television network, the ongoing humiliation of Eric, and some of the network talent's clumsy efforts to position themselves for some heavenly bounty.

Steve Harris is lots of fun as Franklin Lee, the practical and cynical lawyer who finds many of his billable hours devoted to damage control advice.

But the main reason to consider Filthy Rich as a guilty pleasure is Kreiling, whose Ginger quickly emerges as the most formidable challenger to Margaret and her oily plans to keep the empire rolling.

We don't dislike Margaret, exactly, at least not at first, but we definitely root for Ginger, who's smart and funny and a classic underdog taking on the machine.

Filthy Rich is over the top in a mostly good way, with the standard caveat. It starts at an adrenaline level that could be hard to sustain.

In any case, it's not caviar and fine wine. It's popcorn and a diet soda. Sometimes that's what we want.

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