The Brilliant Insanity of ‘Claws’

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Photo courtesy of TNT

Last night, I took a break from binge-watching Season 1 of TNT’s “Claws” to watch “Game of Thrones.” After a perfectly fine episode of “Thrones” — and by fine, I mean one in which numerous ridiculous decisions are made by characters who are supposed to be leaders, as well as Arya being a total snot and neither she nor Sansa actually mentioning the name Littlefinger, which would TOTALLY clear up their issue — I went right back to “Claws.”

I actually started watching “Claws” because of actor Hunter Burke’s tweets about the show. Hunter plays Jew for Jesus Hank Gluck on the show. Who’s Hunter? He’s a multi-talented Hollywood type, but from Louisiana and, in an appropriately Southern connection, he’s my brother’s wife’s sister’s boyfriend. Or something like that. (Actress Teri Wyble, who’s currently in “The Sinner” and was in “The Walking Dead” and more, is my sister-in-law’s sister. Does that sound simpler?)

I figured I’d catch an episode or two over the weekend, but ended up watching the entire first season.‪ Why? “Claws” is like someone huffed three kilos of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen (and some coke) and then decided to write about a multi-ethnic group of women who work at a nail salon and are involved with the Dixie Mafia’s Florida chapter. And this particular chapter is led by a crazy, over the top, bi-sexual Catholic guy with rage issues.

I know Hollywood likes to describe a thing by comparing it to other things, so let me take a stab at this. It takes the best elements of “Dexter,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Get Shorty” and swirls it all together.

It’s entertaining as hell, completely bonkers and I don’t think there was a bad episode in the bunch. It’s funny, disturbing, sexy and even touching — I got misty-eyed by Harold Perrineau’s autistic character more than once. While Perrineau’s acting is great, the women are the ones who make this show. Niecy Nash is the leader of the crew that includes Jenn Lyon, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes and Karrueche Tran.

All of these people should be getting Emmy nominations, but I won’t hold my breath. Not only because it’s a really diverse show (that doesn’t make a point of yelling “We’re really diverse), but also because it’s classified as a drama. I guess if it’s an hour long, it’s a drama? Sure, it’s plenty dramatic, but it’s also plenty funny (apparently, it started off life as a half-hour comedy pitched to HBO).

But when it comes to marketing, execs like their labels and boxes, I guess. Even if humans repeatedly show that they not only can handle some mixing and matching, but actually love it.

I’d been told a couple times over the last two years that Elmore Leonard-type books are a hard sell for publishers these days. Which is sort of odd, considering half the good shows on TV (and there are a lot of good shows on TV, Netflix, etc., these days) seem like they’re based on Leonard-type books. But that’s just me. (And, yes, I have a Leonard-type book I’m trying to get published. Could you tell?)

At any rate. Go watch this show.

 

 

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