As people who have almost no social lives outside of work, my girlfriend and I are always looking for new shows to watch on Netflix to pass the time.
Last week, one of her co-workers suggested “The Client List,” a show on Lifetime that lasted all of two years, featuring some of the worst acting and storylines you’ve ever seen played out on TV.
The idea for the show came from a Lifetime Original Movie of the same name that aired in 2010.
The show first aired in 2012, and lasted for all of around 25 episodes before being canned.
It starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, and was a blatant attempt at the classic, “Show for women that has lots of boobs in it so your man will watch too,” type of show.
Here is an example:
Seriously, JLH is dressed like this for approximately 75% of the show, even when she’s not “working.”
For those who don’t know, JLH plays a married mom of two whose husband suddenly up and leaves her, and she has to figure out a way to make ends meet so she and her kids can keep living in their giant house in some rich suburb of what I believe is Houston.
So JLH’s character gets a job working as a masseuse at an upscale massage parlor, and two episodes in she finds out that they’re basically discrete hookers, providing “services” to the men that come in, all of whom are rich and good-looking, of course.
Well, JLH, because she’s a mom and the alleged “hero” in this series, wrestles with the idea for all of 10 minutes before giving in to make the money she needs to keep living the good life. All the while she is still married. I guess you can put a price on love.
The storylines only go more off the rails from there.
At one point in the series she must decide if she wants to have sex with a client for $50,000, so she can pay her now returned husband’s legal fees, as he is now in jail for attempting to steal a truck full of copper, as well as the fees for special testing to determine if her son has a learning disability.
That all happens in one episode. Read that last paragraph again and soak it all in. That’s one episode.
SPOILER: She does it, because of course, but then must wrestle with her morals after sleeping around with another man despite still being married, albeit to a man who ran off, came back, and then went to prison. What a hero.
Other storylines that go on during all of this includes her mother being a pill-addicted drunk needing rehab, her going on dates with one of the other dads at her daughter’s school, and her best friend almost helping a teen girl give birth to a baby they want to adopt inside a hair salon.
Not one word of the previous four paragraphs is a lie.
SPOILER: The show ends in some weird plot where some powerful man gets ahold of her “Little Black Book” (of course) that has all of the famous clients they serve and all the things they prefer when they are “serviced.”
So JLH poses as a stripper, because the bad guy of course owns a strip club, and breaks into his safe where he keeps the black book, steals that and a gun, then somehow burns the black book and a whole bunch of other stuff while saying, word for word, “I can explain!” to her husband in the series finale.
It’s an amazing roller coaster of bullshit over the couple dozen episodes the show lasted.
And if those amazing storylines weren’t reason enough to stop watching, the acting was even worse.
You know how people sound when they try to make fun of southern people and their accents? Imagine that for more than 24 hours television programming and you’re somewhere in the ballpark.
Here is a live action sample of some of the award-winning (NOTE: Not true) acting that went on in this show. In fact, let’s make it the final scene of the show so you can see how this all ended.
Holy. Shit. It’s even worse than I expected, because it got so bad I couldn’t make it to the end, while my girlfriend stuck it out the whole way. What a trooper. Again, what you just saw was how the show ended. HOW CAN YOU LEAVE US ON THAT CLIFFHANGER?!
So yeah, it’s easy to see, even in that 2:30 clip how this show only last two seasons.
Per the show’s Wikipedia:
An expected third season renewal for the series was put on hold after the announcement of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s pregnancy in June 2013. Hewitt reportedly wanted/insisted the real father of her child, co-star and fiancé Brian Hallisay, to also be the father of a fictional baby to be born by her character in the third season, while the show’s executives and writers wanted Colin Egglesfield’s character to be the father. Lifetime was undecided, which led to a renewal delay that lasted into October 2013. Due to creative differences between Hewitt, Lifetime, Sony Pictures Television, and ITV Studios America, the show was officially canceled on November 1, 2013 after two seasons.
Amazingly, the show did pretty well for ratings on Lifetime, it average around 2.5 million viewers per episode in Season 1, and around 2.05 million per episode over Season 2.
Oh and the show also pissed of actual massage therapists, who didn’t like being portrayed as hookers for some reason. A group, and I swear this is real, called “Massage Therapists Against The Client List” sent out this statement before the show aired:
The Client List is a series that perpetuates the misconception that Massage Therapy includes inappropriate sexual contact. Massage Therapists are trained healthcare professionals and in most states are licensed and regulated by state medical boards. They adhere to a code of ethics and in some cases are under higher ethical standards than other healthcare professionals – because of these very same misconceptions. Many therapists are now working in doctor’s offices and hospitals and providing valuable therapeutic services. The Client List is a huge step backwards.”
So yeah, long story short, the Client List is terrible, but if you like watching bad acting, worse stories, and women walk around in lingerie for hours at a time, it’s the perfect show for you.