One of my favorite shows of 2007, The Riches, returns to FX tonight. (Nutshell for nonviewers: family of Irish-traveler con artists comes upon a man killed in a car wreck on the way to his new house, assumes the identity of him and his “family” and moves to his high-class Louisiana subdivision.) That it was one of my favorite shows doesn’t mean it was flawless: always well-acted (as you’d expect from Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard), but one episode would be a brilliant, funny sendup of the dark side of the American Dream and metaphor for the lies we tell to get by, the next would be an over-the-top exercise in how-can-Wayne-and-Dahlia-lie-their-way-out-of-trouble-this-week.
The four episodes I’ve seen of season 2 are lovable and frustrating in the same ways. The Malloys/Riches deal with having been discovered by an old friend of the real Doug Rich and becoming ever more deeply ensnared in their own fraud (complicating the picture, Wayne now has a big secret from Dahlia, which I won’t spoil). It also continues to pile scam upon scam,potential discovery on potential discovery, and it sometimes loses credibility in its determination to constantly ratchet up the pressure on the family. If you can get past that, the show is still a rich pleasure.