May 25, 2024

Palm Royale Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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Palm Royale Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

A bit Desperate Housewives, a bit Mad Men, a bit Big Little Lies – this glam drama about 60s high society has everything its star needs to shine. If only her character were more likable … You can see so clearly what they were trying to do with Palm Royale. Its setting in the pivotal summer of ’69 lets them include period detailing like Mad Men did. There’s a soupçon of Big Little Lies and Mean Girls, with its outsider-v-queen-bee-and-wannabes setup, and a large measure of the glossy camp escapism of Marc Cherry’s (never-bettered) Desperate Housewives.

All the right ingredients are present. Kristen Wiig (finally with a proper outlet for her talents, which extend beyond comedy) stars as Maxine, a former Chattanooga beauty queen who longs to join the exclusive club of the title and become a member of Palm Beach high society. Her first attempt is by brute force. Up and over the unguarded back wall (literally a social climber – thank you, I’m here all week, try the veal), she inserts herself as soon as possible into the private conversation of the crème de la crème. This comprises the aggressively philanthropic Evelyn Rollins (“I am one humble volunteer!” she cries on receipt of her ninth annual award), who is played with menacing brio by Allison Janney. Then there is second-in-command Dinah Donahue, married to an ambassador but banging her tennis instructor (Leslie Bibb), and the widowed Mary Jones Davidsoul (Julia Duffy).

The crudity of Maxine’s entry somehow does not put them all off for ever, but gives her an in. It’s the first of many false notes that prevent Palm Royale from either taking flight as a piece of escapism or being taken seriously, as it seems to want to be at times. Then-president Richard Nixon is shown on Maxine’s television every time we are in her hotel room (lies can go right to the top, you see!). Laura Dern plays second wave feminist Linda Shaw, keen to raise Maxine’s consciousness at her local sessions in the bookshop Our Bodies Our Shelves (this line can stay), because women, too, are caught in a lie about their very own condition! That Shaw’s language and concerns are much more aligned with modern feminism than with late-60s ideas is another dropped ball.

The most striking of the false notes and oddities in the show is the fact that Maxine has a genuine claim to social status: she is married to the estranged heir apparent to the Delacore fortune, Delacore being “in plastics and mouthwash”. It is one of the many lines that should be a piercing commentary on the madness of how money can be made, but just misses the mark, the dissonance between plastics and mouthwash not being immediately obvious enough. “You should have led with that,” Dinah tells her much later on. Well, quite.

It is her marriage that gives her access to an apartment belonging to her husband’s comatose aunt Norma (played by Carol Burnett – yes, the Carol Burnett), and with it her jewels (duly pawned for membership fees and an updated wardrobe) and Gucci handbags. But when Norma dies, Maxine’s husband is due to inherit everything. You can’t help but wonder why she doesn’t just wait a few months and not put herself through all this stress.

The idea seems to be that a life of poolside lounging is enough to drive any gal mad with desire. Even, apparently, one as lively, attractive and modern-seeming as Maxine. She just wants it, and we are supposed to want it for her. But even escapism needs a decent engine, and this is a coughing two-stroke at best.

If Maxine was a sociopath, clearcutting her way to glory, things could be fun. But she barely develops much more finesse than when she first jumps over the wall. She causes a fender-bender to get chatting to Dinah again, and discovers a secret that she then uses to blackmail her, but even that only results in limited success. She doesn’t have the wiles to keep as many plates spinning as the programme needs, and she isn’t likable enough to have the audience rooting for her all the way. When Evelyn unearths part of her past, you can easily hope that the majestic Janney will just squish the annoying bug and move serenely on.

If the programme works on a deeper level, it may be as a meditation on social status and how the mask can eat the face if you stay desperate enough for long enough. I suspect it’s meant to resonate with our Instagram era – had she been born 60 years later, Maxine would have tried to become at least an influencer, if not a true celebrity – but the parallels aren’t drawn clearly enough between, say, the intangible social stock as it rises and falls around the members’ pool and the likes and reposts that the Maxines of today live and die by.

Palm Royale Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online