The Client List was a series that ran on Lifetime for two seasons starring the incredibly talented (and incrediby sexy) Jennifer Love Hewitt. She plays a housewife named Riley who’s husband abandons her and her kids. To support her family she takes a job at a massage therapy boutique where she quickly learns there’s a small fortune to be made servicing her male clients with ‘happy endings.’ Sounds hot, right? And it is – for the first 60 seconds of each episode that we get to see Hewitt strut around in various sexy outfits and whispering provocatively to the men on her table. The rest is an hour of typical Lifetime melodrama. I’m not knocking that, though. It’s pretty good storytelling. And If you peel back the thick layer of progesterone, you just might find some feminist and girl-power messages.
It also subtly adresses concepts like polyamory, adultery and slut-shaming. Can our lead really love two men while getting paid to jerk off dozens of others while avoiding the judgement of her family and friends? (Sorry to be blunt but that’s exactly what’s happening here.)
But for a show who’s ratings often surpassed HBO’s Girls and AMC’s Madmen, you’d think the producers would have felt empowered to push the envelope a little more. Admit it – part of what makes today’s cable TV series so popular is their easy embrace of sexuality. While there is a lot of that teased, viewers never get the ‘happy ending.’ But maybe that tease is the real charm of the show. Like with her clients, we get a sexy hand job but the whole woman is always just out of reach.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is an amazing actress, sliding from the good and faithful wife and the vixenish libertine with ease. Smart and sexy, it’s unfortunate for viewers Hewitt and the cable channel couldn’t agree to terms for a second season. There was more to this story to tell.