Pilot Reviews The Client List

The Client List 1×01 – The Rub Of Sugarland

"This job is all about flexibility."

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Almost two years ago, Lifetime released a made-for-TV movie called “The Client List”. The premise, that of a woman who takes on an unorthodox career, coupled with the association of Jennifer Love Hewitt: an actress I’ve loved for years, intrigued me enough. The movie itself wasn’t the greatest. In fact, it felt cheap and sloppy, nevertheless I still enjoyed it primarily due to Hewitt’s charm.

Strangely enough, Lifetime & Hewitt have partnered again for what they hope will be a long-term series incarnation of the show. And again, Hewitt saves what would be an otherwise cheesy production.

I still find the premise very compelling, and while the pilot didn’t do the greatest job of selling the idea, I have a feeling the show might succeed in convincing me with a few episodes under its belt. I like the notion that Riley actually forges a relationship with her clients and might actually help them in the process (much like Hewitt’s character on Ghost Whisperer once did).

The cast is charming enough. I really can’t stress enough how much I love Jennifer Love Hewitt and how underrated I think she is. She carried Ghost Whisperer; a show that really didn’t deserve to live past its pilot for five seasons and she did it all with class and a multifaceted range that routinely flies under the radar. The highlight of the hour was undeniably Riley’s breakdown when she finds out her husband has walked out on her (of course Angus and Julia Stone’s masterful song “Hold On” greatly helped). Jennifer just sold the hell out of that one. She’s really one of those rare actresses who perfectly epitomize sweetness and charm so I’m really looking forward to seeing her back on my screen every week (and the multitude of sexy lingerie scenes undeniably help). Talk about a marketing campaign that lives up to its promise (see above image).

As for the rest of the cast, Cybill Shepard is a good fit but I’m much more fascinated by Loretta Divine who is excellent on Grey’s Anatomy and who I feel will be simply superb on this show. The role of a madam feels tailor-made to her and she carries it with ease (although her dialogue is a bit heavy-handed at some points). Moreover, I enjoyed her chemistry with Hewitt as an ironically more appropriate mother-figure.

Speaking of chemistry, there’s an effortless charm radiating between Hewitt and Collin Egglesfield so let’s hope that relationship proves to be entertaining as it evolves. The added complication of Kyle calling as they have their moment and the episode ends was a welcome one. I really didn’t expect us to hear from him until at least the finale so perhaps this show might have a few tricks up its sleeve? I look forward to finding out.

All in all, this wasn’t the strongest or most remarkable pilot, but it was an amusing enough effort with a secret weapon: an endearing star who just might save it. I’ll be sticking around for a while that’s for sure.

 Oh, and is Riley’s GMC supposed to be a poor girl’s car? Because that scene fell flat on its pompous face.

Nad Rating
C+

7 comments

  1. HAHAHAHAAH Agreed on that last line.
    Actually agreed on freaking everything. I decided that i like this pilot when i recognized Angus and Julia stone' Hold on. There's really no point in me repeating what u said, as u basically took the words out of my mouth yet again. I like the cast: that girl from october road, that guy from something borrowed, that other guy from privileged, Cybill Shepard (minus the Christine Baranski jealousy issues), the divine Loretta Devine (i really reinvented the wheel with that pun.) and of course, JLH. I'm a huge fan of hers. And what u said about ghost whisperer is pure wisdom y'all. I do have a problem with her southern accent who made quite a few disappearing acts only to return in the next scene. But other than that, she's the secret weapon. And I'm so in for next week.
    This pilot has a lot of places it could go, from the dynamics within the group of masseuses to those between Riley's immediate family to the inevitable love triangle… i just hope it doesn't squander them away in an attempt to make JLH fall within what Lifetime's idea is of a woman: She should be either crying, in lingerie, or making preachy outlandish statements. JLH is really all about the grey areas and subtle acting, let's not squander her away, mmkaaiii Lifetime?

  2. Hahah the divine Loretta Devine. You sure have a talent with puns (the echo one comes to mind).
    I have a feeling we're going to love discussing this trashy escapism of a show every week (keeping track of the accents alone should be hilarious). Let's hope they keep things entertaining because when this show gets boring we're going to have a problem!

  3. Oh and I'm glad to see another avid supporter of JLH. I swear this girl has to be one of the most lovable and endearing actresses out there!

  4. Btw i totally knew you were gonna choose that quote for the review the minute i heard it 😛
    I'm all for trashy escapism… hell i cited 2 other tv series in this post alone that noone else watched on account of them having a ratio of romantic-comedy-soap-opera/reality that's skyrocketing.
    Btw did you happen to catch her spin-off Party of five “Time of you life”. That was my first JLH experience, dubbed in french no less. It was a felicity-wannabe that never really went past 8 episodes…

  5. Honestly there wasn't a single other quote worth using and this one encompassed what the show was all about pretty well!
    Nope I never saw “Time of Your Life” although I've read about it a lot over the years. I discovered JLH through Party of Five as a kid but more importantly the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” movies! And she's awesome in “Heartbreakers” and a very cheap yet entertaining TV Movie called “Confessions of A Sociopathic Social Climber”. You should try to watch the latter (I assume you've seen Heartbreakers)

  6. I'm a massive JLH fan, and stuck with Ghost Whisperer for it's run, so I might consider checking this out at some point. She has remarkable leading-lady charisma, and the premise is encouraging enough to get me into it. I'll be popping it onto my summer list I think (Revenge is at the top, FYI! Can't wait to read your reviews as I watch).

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