Something happened to me last weekend.
It’s called The Client List, and if you’re in the market for a new guilty pleasure, THIS is it.
Riley Parks (played by the eternally underrated Jennifer Love Hewitt) is a small town suburban mum whose life revolves around her husband, Kyle and their two preschool-aged kids.
Then one day (around 11 minutes into the first episode, to be exact), Kyle up and leaves with nothing but a note. Cue Riley falling to the ground in despair and job hunting to support her family. From there she ends up working at a ‘happy endings’ spa over an hour away from where she lives (not practical), and things start to unravel, and fall into place all at the same time.
Please note – this show is not new. In fact, it would be accurate to describe it as old. 2012 old.
“Oh yeah, I watched that show, like, four years ago,” a colleague took pleasure in telling me when I mentioned I’d just watched all of season one in 48 hours.
Good for you Keryn, but for those of us who are very, very slow on the uptake, the good news is there are 25 40-minute episodes to binge instead of going out and socialising with other humans.
Another note – The Client List is quite lame. It’s terrible, actually. But that’s what makes it the ultimate fluffy show to chuck on when you want to eat snacks and not think.
If you’re still not convinced, here are some of the reasons I was able to consume so many hours of The Client List in such a short period of time:
The problematic premise.
Fundamentally, this TV show is problematic.
Mainly because the entire plot surrounds how a mother-of-two gets into prostitution to keep her family afloat after her husband walks out. It's the logical thing to do, right? NO.
It's almost so unreasonable, so unlikely, that choosing to work at a spa called The Rub that provides hand jobs and back massages with seven-inch heels still somehow makes more sense as the episode goes on.
The Rub is also set in a town called Sugar Land. It wasn't until literally two seconds ago that I realised Sugar Land is an actual real-life town in Texas, and not a euphemism.
The spa's name, however, most certainly is a euphemism. One that you can appreciate with a raised eyebrow.
The supporting characters.
Everyone knows it takes a village to raise a child, which is why Riley's support system of friends, family members and frenemies are pure gold.
There's Lacey, Riley's childhood friend who pretty much lives at her house, is really great at pouring glasses of yellow wine (probably chardonnay) and gives perfectly timed advice. And Riley's mum, Lynette, a hairdresser who has been married five times, which makes her wild.
At The Rub, Georgia is Riley's boss/pimp. She's wise, feisty and no-nonsense. Just what one needs from their pimp. Her co-worker/frenemy Selena brings the workplace drama, and is a scandalous woman because... she likes sex?
Best of all is Evan, Kyle's earnest, gentlemanly and extremely attractive brother. The twisted, semi-incest-like love triangle between Riley, her husband, and her husband's brother is too bloody good.
The inherent sexism.
Like the pink, short, busty outfits the female massage therapists have to wear to work. And again, the platform stilettos. What massage therapist worth their lotion would willingly wear stilettos for nine-hour shifts day in and day out?
Don't they know what that would do to their circulation? And what about occupational health and safety?
And the family gender roles. All the manly talk of 'providing' while the women 'put their children first' and style hair is kind of annoying. And almost every man that comes into contact with Love-Hewitt comments on how darn pretty she is. And her breasts. Literally every man.
Oh, every woman also must be protected by a man at all costs. Heaven forbid she holds down her own job, which she walks to her car from alone at night, to support her own family.
BUT the fact you pick up on it all makes you feel smart and 'woke', so you let it slide.
The Southern accents.
This is self-explanatory.
Now go binge all two seasons of The Client List on Netflix now. Enjoy.
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