Last Friday, as
Paris Hilton took another spin through the detention facility turnstile and TV-news crews swarmed, a lone plane flitted across the sky above, toting a banner:
"We Love Paris - the Darling Family"
Meaningless and/or misinterpreted to many, it was a joke appreciated by the (growing) few familiar with Dirty Sexy Money, ABC's new family sudser starring Peter Krause as the de facto consigliore for the Darlings, an ironically named brood populated by the headline-making likes of Paris herself. Donald Sutherland is the Trump-like patriarch, Jill Clayburgh his well-preserved wife, there is a flighty actress daughter, a hard-partying son.... It's storytelling by way of Access Hollywood.
And that's precisely why the plane banner (and the similar full-page ads appearing in a handful of major dailies) was a perfect fit. Paris, not despite but because of her flaws, would feel terrifically at home bearing the Darling name.
Would ABC risk the association, the whiff of capitalizing on a fallen celeb's misfortune, if we were actually "in season"? Maybe not. But give them props, huge props, for acting fast to seize the moment and take advantage of a massive media op in a way that nary another, let alone an established and "safe," series could. Like it or not, many eyes were on the Paris story last week, with the media dissecting every adjacent and peripheral aspect of it. The circus was in town, and ABC stole a second in the center ring.
"Who are these Darling people?" the about-to-be-initiated may have asked, and now, perhaps, they know. And come the fall, when that pilot starts getting around, they will want to party with 'em. To quote a certain blonde, they're hot.