jmmason

This is the first time television viewers got to watch a real-life all-American California family implode right before our eyes. Did someone once say all rich families are alike? Well, these spoiled, self-indulgent people are dull, dull, dull. The main thing of interest about this cinema verite' series is eldest son Lance (18) who emerged as the biggest flaming queen on TV since Liberace. He was a natural on screen and commanded the most attention. Fortunately for us dyed-in-the-wool Easterners, Lance got the hell out of Dodge, California and moved East to the Chelsea Hotel. He eventually became a fixture over time of the downtown haute Manhattan monde, enjoying some minor celebrity before sadly succumbing to AIDS in the late 80's. The best moments in this series are when his super tight-ass mother Pat comes to stay with Lance at the Chelsea Hotel. While she's more fun than Bill the father, she does qualify as Bitch From Hell. When Lance or Bitch aren't on screen, this show just plummets into boring. The Dad and siblings are too bland for us to care about them. Today, Lance and Pat and Bill are all dead and none of this matters in the least. But at the time we came to care deeply about them and were devastated at the conclusion of the filming. Today this format is a cliche, but Americans never seem to tire of staring at train wrecks. And failed marriages.

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