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The Client List Review: The Lure of Happy Endings

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Provocative and daring yet full of heart, Lifetime's new series The Client List starring Jennifer Love Hewitt walked a line few shows could navigate. By the end of the premiere, "The Rub of Sugarland" had me desiring more.

Hewitt plays Riley Parks, Texas wife and mother of two. Riley's life was far from perfect.

She and her husband Kyle were both out of work, the bills piled up and job prospects were slim. The stress had taken its toll on their marriage despite the makeup sex at a family party that I thought might just culminate on the kitchen table. Thankfully, they moved the private party away from prying eyes.

The Client List Premiere Photo

Riley had the makings of a true Southern heroine. She's as captivating as a cold glass of sweet tea on a hot day coupled with a steel core that would surprise those around her, maybe even Riley herself.

Kyle walked out leaving Riley with two kids and an unpaid mortgage. Funny how he did that right after she got her new job. Was having a wife as the breadwinner just too much of an ego blow?  Also, I would have loved to read exactly what he said in that note. Was he running off to look for work or completely bailing on his wife and kids. Either way, it's still a lousy thing to do to his family.

Of course, the surprises just kept coming for Riley.

Apparently the spa where she was hired, cheekily called The Rub, specializes in a little more than massages. She quickly found out that her new clients had a lot of extra tension in their hip area that they needed help with. Riley immediately balked at performing any extras for her clients. As she told her boss in this Client List quote...

Riley: I am married with two kids. That is not my idea of a happy ending. | permalink

What really sucked me in was that Riley's a good person. She wanted a legitimate job, then life threw some interesting challenges at her. Performing extras wasn't something she jumped at but her husband walked out, her kids just lost their daddy, the bank was coming after the house and she got desperate.

I'm sure many will judge Riley but her first instinct was to save her family. Despite her questionable methods, I couldn't fault her for that.

The show never explicitly detailed how happy these happy endings became and that's not a bad thing. I didn't need all of the dirty details to stay interested. It might even be more fun to draw your own conclusions.

And I liked that Riley continued to struggle with her decision. Her desperation to take care of her family warred with her conscience. I hope it continues to do so.

The rest of the cast was equally appealing. Riley's children, Travis and Katie were cute without being cloying as they deal with Daddy's disappearance. Cybil Shepherd, who has always been a favorite of mine, pulled off the role of Riley's mother perfectly. Lynette was straight-talking but supportive and quick to give her daughter advice even when she didn't necessarily want it, like any good mother. 

Then there was Evan, Kyle's brother who obviously has some serious feeling of longing for his gorgeous sister-in-law. Speaking of Kyle, he's not completely gone. I can't wait to find out what he has to say to Riley what she says back. That's a conversation I'd like to overhear.

The Client List did leave me with one serious question. Did you have to be gorgeous to be on the special list? Do only ugly people get regular massages?

There's certainly enough drama here to fill the first season. Will Kyle come back? Will Riley get caught and even if she isn't arrested, will her family and friends ever figure out why she's become so popular in her new profession?

Riley's a nice girl navigating desperate times and I'm rooting for her to find her own happy ending. I'll definitely be watching as she tries to find her way.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
  • 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (101 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Great show!!!! No one is shooting or murdering anyone else! Just enough is left to the viewer's imagination. I hope this show stays on for decades.

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I love Jennifer in "The Client's List" I miss her in the series "The Ghost Whisperer"....She is such a great actress. She has made me cry in "The Ghost Whisperer" many times...and now in "The Client's List" She gives her all, when she acts, she is very believable. She doesn't act all high and mighty because she is a celebrity. She is down to earth! The series doesn't go into the bad parts of the job, which, I would say is good since it is on a "Family show" I hope she is back next year! I look forward to it all the time....Thank you

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bravo jennifer , this show gives something to everyone , if your a critic , a fan , a professional , whatever your background , it delivers in spades , i am looking forward to the next show , good acting , great cast plenty of controversy , your a pro

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I'm sorry, but the happy ending men wouldn't look like the men in this series.

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Forgot to ask where the tanker-shipped illegal Asian, Russian and Latino sex workers are? And their misogynistic pimps? Again Meba: Maybe Riley is a "prostitute" in lower caps, italicized -- written smaller and prettier. Or maybe she is a "masseuse/prostitute" where you can either get a real massage along with some sexual favors if you pay extra. Honestly -- Would you want your man to visit a Riley on his lunch break or his day off to get some "work" done?

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Conflicting program about the sex trade. Where are the real ugly, creepy, perv guys who ask for pre-teen girls? Where are the hard core pros with issues? I am from the Northeast so I have to ask: Do southern women do school visits with their boobies bouncing around? Meba: Unless it's a doctor's visit, anytime you touch a guy's man parts, then its sex. Are you going to give your 14, 16 or 18 yeard old daughter the same advice when they start working? If a partnered (wife, fiance, girlfriend, sweetheart) man has issues at home but pays someone for any kind of sexual pleasure the issues remain and will only get worse. The only difference is that he is now happy having had his sexual satisfaction. If his partner did this, it would be the end of the world and she would be every bad name in the book. Like Pretty Woman, another guy's fairy tale with many stupid women buying into it.

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However must ADD that it's a tad bit unrealistic with the clients who are protrayed are not at all REAL the guys who are older fatter and not-hotter are the guys who really pay....trust me this part is false....and some other minor things but I don't expect any crazy real true relation to the real world its still only lifetime not HBO if HBO had this or a premium channel this show would be as big as the sopranos!

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This show is awesome I actually was not a fan of Jen until I watched this show I love her in this. SHE IS ON TOP OF HER GAME IN THIS SERIOUS AND IM SURE IT WILL BE A HIT!

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Only worth watching to see JLH semi-naked I suppose. I am suprised at all the positive responses, of this women struggling to survive and the difficult decisions and the pig of a husband. This women had a lovely newly renovated home, nice manicured backyard with expensive play structures, drives a new $40,000 SUV and had a mother that offered to help her with living and financially who she turned down. Not exactly a tale of "survival" as I understand it. Also, what with all the "legit" clients being hideious looking and suddenly a tidal wave of 30 year old, rich Underware Model clients appear when she gives happy endings. Really, all these guys are misunderstood and lonely and only can connect with a women this way. AND she SAVES marriages while give that personal touch massage. I will probably keep watching, maybe with mute on until I can't take it any more. Holding out for the first episode where one of JLH clients is a women (who will look like she works for Victoria's Secret, but is lonely and has a hard time meeting people). Give it 2 stars cause its better than a lot of other junk out there.

Marisa1983

I found the show has potential, but for me the principal weakness is actually Jennifer Love Hewitt. I don't know, maybe I watched Ghost whisperer for too long, but I find her annoying now. Always the same expressions and she overacts, like she tries too hard. Gotta love Sybill Sherphard and Loretta Devine, though, they're such great actresses. Even Colin Egglesfield got his southern accent on. I agree with the comments about the clients, they're too good looking to be true.