Tue, Feb 20, 2018 01:48 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-24 tracking life & times section
'Skin' good if it keeps momentum
Cletus Turner


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It isn't very often that I like a series that uses the old Romeo and Juliet theme. Let's face it, that formula has been done to death. Even worse, add producer Jerry Bruckheimer to the mix and I am not a happy person. Bruckheimer is the producer of Pirates of the Caribbean and American Gigolo and has produced CSI and CSI: Miami in the past. However, it gets a little tiring to see that name plastered everywhere.

In his newest effort, Bruckheimer brings us the unusual offering of Skin. It is a tale of politics, pornography, blackmail, love and longing.

Ron Silver stars as pornographer Larry Goldman. The porno king has built an empire and has money to burn. He shows his power on one occasion by threatening to buy a company and firing all its executives unless they do what he has asked. They sign.

Larry is married to Barbara, played by Pamela Gidley. Barbara works to get acceptance of the rich and influential people of the town, but her husband's business, and the source of their wealth, keeps hampering her efforts.

Their daughter Jewel, played by Olivia Wilde, is unhappy until she meets, by chance at a party, Adam, played by D. J. Corona. Adam and Jewel meet when Jewel gets angry at the boy she is with and he throws the keys to his car into the pool and tells her to go get them."

The crush of the party pushes both Adam and Jewel into the pool and they meet at the bottom, above the keys. When they exit the pool, Jewel's boyfriend tells Adam to back off. Adam pushes him into the pool and the new pair run to the soaked boy's car and drive away.

Adam and Jewel talk until 4 a.m. and Adam runs home. His parents Thomas and Laura Roam, played by Kevin Anderson and Rachel Ticotin, fight about his being out so late and go to bed.

Jump to an important drug and kiddie porn bust. The district attorney, who just happens to be Thomas Roam, finds out that the perpetrator has been downloading porn off the web and it points to a company owned by, you guessed it, Larry Goldman. Roam arrests Larry, but fails to realize that Larry RENTS the space on the web and has no control over what goes on the site. Larry is able to beat the charges. However, not before being embarrassed in front of a television audience. Roam decides he has to bring Goldman down and has him tailed.

Goldman meets with an old associate who threatens him and wants the porno king to launder money for him. Goldman refuses and Roam decides to use this to his advantage by getting Goldman to turn on his old friend. He plans to arrest the old associate and then leak the information that Goldman helped.

When the sting happens, Goldman is released and the old associate finds out. He puts a hit out on the porno king.

Why is this show not too bad? The acting certainly helps. Corona and Wilde put a lot of energy into their characters and actually seem to be in love. Silver and Anderson are perfect foils for each other. Their scenes are perfect because they really seem to have the animosity necessary to the plot. Every character is well-defined from the moment they hit the screen. We understand that Goldman and his wife crave acceptance. We understand that Roam and his wife, who happens to be a judge, are politically motivated and are out to "get" Goldman because of the public embarrassment. Jewel and Adam are the real victims here and are portrayed as such. They seem to be fighting their parents in the way normal teens do and that is important. The next question becomes whether Bruckheimer and company can keep the momentum going. Skin didn't perform well in its debut, but with solid shows, that might turn around for them.

Overall, Skin is an excellent show with good acting, directing and writing. It's only problem is the fact that the material is not really new. It uses plot devices that have a fresh coat of paint with no real difference from the plots in the past. What makes it fresh is the fact that you have defined characters that the audience can like or dislike. The actors go a long way toward making us interested and they are doing an excellent job of that.

Skin airs on FOX at 9 p.m. on Monday.

3 1/2 suns

Notes from the couch:

Can anyone explain to me why Whoopi has been given five more episodes? That show has to be the worst show on television, although Yes, Dear is a close second. NBC must really be desperate, really.

It's All Relative is one of the funniest new shows on television. Although it does use stereotypes, it has a good cast and the characters are actually funny. The situations are not too bad either. I think its sad that I got a friend of mine to watch it and it had a bad night. The show wasn't its normally funny self. Hopefully, they'll give it more than a passing glance. It airs on ABC on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

I love supersized comedies on NBC. Next week, Friends and Will & Grace will be supersized. Can't wait for Must See TV. I will be sad when Friends leaves the air in May.

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