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"Money is the root of all evil."

A Prime Time Soap.

Nick George grew up with the Darling family, the "first family of New York," because his dad Dutch was their family lawyer. As a teenager, he dated/proposed to Karen Darling, who apparently said no. Now as an adult, his dad's been murdered and he's been lured into being the Darling family lawyer himself. (And as it turns out, he's related to one of 'em.) He's the guy that gets to sit at the fancy table...and then gets sent out to clean up the mess when someone throws a plate. Screw the Rules, I Have Money might as well be the family motto.

Main characters include:

  • Tripp Darling: head of the family. Seems way, way too fond of Nick.
  • Letitia Darling: Tripp's wife, mother of five children. Had an affair with Dutch for forty years, which led to a Luke, I Am Your Father situation with one of the kids. Is currently suspected of killing him.
  • Patrick Darling: the requisite kid who has to go into politics. Kinda sweet and ineffectual. Having an affair with Carmelita.
  • Ellen Darling: Patrick's wife, who at first tries to deal with the Carmelita situation in a relatively reasonable manner, then loses it entirely.
  • Karen Darling: Rich Bitch who's gone through many husbands and still conspicuously PINES for Nick, the only guy who presumably loved her for herself.
  • Brian Darling: Jerkass Sinister Minister who gets kicked out of the ministry and goes to work for Tripp. The Unfavorite. Has an illegitimate son he was forced to take care of and claimed he was a Swedish orphan, but who he later got attached to. Taking the Kids happens to him a lot. He's also the son of Dutch and Letitia.
  • Andrea: Brian's babymama, a Granola Girl. One of the most reasonable people on the show, despite her love for Brian. Has cancer.
  • Jeremy Darling: The Charmer. Sweet and kinda earnest, but with a short attention span.
  • Juliet Darling: Put On An Island due to Real Life Writes the Plot.
  • Nick George: our beleagured hero.
  • Lisa George: Nick's wife, Clingy Jealous Girl, for good reason thanks to Karen's blatant pushiness. Is very sick of the Darlings.
  • Simon Elder: Arch Enemy of the Darling family, gets romantically involved with Karen, both of them knowing why they're doing it to some degree.
  • Carmelita: Patrick's Transsexual girlfriend.
  • Nola Lyons: a lawyer who was originally prosecuting Leticia for Tripp's murder. Gets involved with Jeremy, which screws her law career (as Leticia intended), then talks Patrick into giving her a job as his chief of staff. Is being blackmailed by Simon Elder, who kidnapped her brother.

Examples of:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: done by both Karen and Nick as their plane is about to crash. After it doesn't crash, they ignore the whole thing.
  • Betty and Veronica: Nick between Lisa (Betty) and Karen (Veronica).
  • Big Fancy House: which gets blown up
  • Briefcase Full of Money: $2 million in cash for bail, anyone?
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Didn't go there!
  • Calling the Old Man Out: lots of these moments
  • Cheryl Blossom: During an episode with heavy focus on the Karen/Nick/Lisa triangle, Nick ends up going out with Wren, a young woman the family took in after hitting her with a car.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Karen. It solved all her problems with Simon and fixed things with Nick.
  • Death by Falling Over: Ellen
  • Easy Amnesia: Jeremy who faked a case of it as a method of trying to figure out how to help his ex-girlfriend Nola.
  • The Fun in Funeral: nothing livens up a funeral like the cops coming.
  • Fur and Loathing: Juliet wore furs, but was largely a ditz.
  • Jerkass / Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Brian.
  • Idiot Ball: Jeremy and Patrick share it, but Karen gets to hold it a few times too.
  • Inter Class Romance: Ultra-rich Jeremey Darling meets a beautiful woman named Sofia while temporarily working as a valet in one of his family's business. He falls in love with her, then pretends to be a starving artist to prove to himself he can win her over without disclosing his real identity as (essentially) an Upperclass Twit. The story doubles up on this trope because Jeremy was the poor boy going after the rich girl, when it was the girl who was the poor (well, okay, comparatively poorer) one all along.
  • Lady Drunk: Letitia, Letitia, Letitia. Take a drink every time you see her with a martini.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Karen wants a baby and Nick, the love of her life, agrees to be the baby daddy once they get back in a relationship. Just as they start dating she finds out that she's pregnant with ex-fiancee Simon. Nick's conflicted and Simon refuses to leave her alone now. And then it's all subverted due to an extremely Convenient Miscarriage.
  • Let's Have Another Baby: Nick and Lisa.
  • Me Love You Long Time: Jeremy and Nola
  • Missing Mom: Nick's mother Claire abandoned him.
  • Parental Substitute: Tripp believes his is this to Nick. Letitia actually is, since his mother abandoned him.
  • Pretty in Mink: Juliet's furs were still glamorous.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Brian and Andrea
  • Stealth Pun: The shows initials are DSM. The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual" is the standard-issue psychiatric textbook for mental disorders. Sounds about right.
    • Let's hope they get to make two more seasons, then they can package it as "DSM IV"
  • The Other Darrin: Notable for this occuring in the pilot with Patrick's wife. She's Kiersten Warren at the funeral, but becomes Bellamy Young by the engagement party.
    • Kiki George, who went through three actresses. She was played by Elle Fanning in the Pilot, Chloe Moretz during season 1 and Darcy Rose in season 2.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Patrick's wife, all of Karen's ex-husbands, and one presumes that Dutch's wife fell into this category. Brian's (ex-)wife, Mei Ling Hwa, is somewhat more complicated; initially she was presented as a frigid ballbreaker, but her scenes with Brian (and his breakdown after she leaves him) shows that there is at the very least a lot more mutal passion there than in any of the other examples. If anything this greater depth to their relationship might have backfired on the writers a little; more than a few fans have been frustrated that she was Put on a Bus so early.
  • Upperclass Twit: Karen, and sometimes Jeremy and Juliet (who at least dabble in employment).
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: In the end, Nick and Karen
  • Wedding Day: twice. The first season features the shortest marriage ever. The second season has the bride abandoned at the altar and her brother and his girlfriend stepping in to get married instead.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Simon and Karen
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: See one of the spoilers of Wedding Day.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: "The Facts" is apparently made up of every single cut subplot from the show that never made it in earlier, aired at a point where the viewer would be all, "Hey, aren't Karen and Simon broken up by now? and things like that.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: which one of Leticia's kids is Dutch's and not Tripp's? Brian
  • Woman Scorned: Ellen
  • X Meets Y: Arrested Development played entirely straight.
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