The Client List Pilot Recap: "The Rub of Sugarland"

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Jennifer Love Hewitt — her fantastic form, and slow, southern draw are back for Lifetime’s new, scandalous series ‘The Client List.’

Just in case you didn’t see the movie that spawned this spinoff drama when it aired last year, the premise is simple: a struggling, single mother fromTexas, gets a job at a spa that discreetly specializes in happy endings. The movie was deliciously dramatic and Hewitt’s portrayal (which was fantastic as well) got her a Golden Globe nomination.

The TV show follows a similar plot with a very strong cast. Hewitt plays Riley Parks, whose unemployed husband has split amid their financial doom and left her to take care of their children. How nice of him to stick around until after he learns his wife has gotten a job at a spa, offered to her by Selena, a high school friend. Selena took one look at Riley: the gorgeous hair, the perky boobs, the tiny waist, shy smile and hired her on the spot.

Unfortunately, Riley didn’t realize that when Selena said she was working at a spa that helped afford a fancy car and lifestyle, it meant her friend was giving happy endings. Imagine her surprise the first day on the job. Between her financial problems, the harping of her mother (played by Cybil Shepherd), and worrying about her two children, Riley gives in to the extra demands of the spa. Her coworkers are an odd mix. One woman keeps it a secret from her fiancé. Another tells her fiancé every detail of her life. And one simply refuses to do the dirty stuff.

Soon Riley finds herself actually caring about her clients – what they do, what they want, what they need. Some are lonely. Some have problems communication with their wives. Some want silly things done for them, like having their toenails painted. The show is sexy without being explicit or sleazy. Candle lighting. Ripped abs. Toes curling. Riley in various kinds of lingerie. Not to mention that Riley is so damn adorable that it’s hard to dislike her.

You may have even felt sorry for her when she left work and found the word whore painted on the side of her car by the wife of a customer who knows what goes on. She later showed up outside Riley’s house, who told her that, “A man does not go looking elsewhere if he’s getting what he needs at home,” and realizes that the wife isn’t getting what she needs either. Why didn’t Riley study psychology? She could have been a couple’s therapist instead of a massage one.

Her brother-in-law, Evan, shows up on her doorstep, worried about how Riley is making her money and accuses her of having a sugar daddy. The two have a heated confrontation that basically oozes chemistry and now that Kyle has left her, Riley should just turn to her sexy brother-in-law. She blows up at him, likely because she thought she was busted, and it’s a little sad because Evan just wants to help her.

A couple days later, Evan apologizes and makes things right. He’s being the involved, dutiful man that his brother failed to be. He’s the first person to tell Riley he’s proud of her for holding it together (although he may not be proud if he finds out how she’s doing it, but that’s okay for now). My shipper heart is bursting here, folks. Except then Kyle called, interrupted their beautiful moment, and the episode ended.

Viewers will need to suspend belief and remind themselves that it’s a TV show. It’s meant to be fun and entertaining, like Showtime’s Weeds except with sex. And this show is just that – a little scandalous, a little silly and sweet, a whole lot of sexy, and very, very fun.

Plus Evan (Colin Egglesfield) is pretty easy on the eyes.

Did you watch? Let me know what you think below!

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