Episode Reviews – Drama – "Claws" Complete Season 1

Complete Season 1 Review

(Taken from Wikipedia)

Five manicurists at the Nail Artisan salon of Manatee County, Florida enter the traditionally male world of organized crime when they begin laundering money for a neighboring pain clinic.

I had been wanting to watch “Claws” for a bit of time, mainly because I have a secret crush on Niecy Nash. I don’t mean like romantic or sexual, more like OMG I will watch her in ANYTHING type of crush! She is a phenomenal actress. I finally decided, since I saw it was on Hulu, to watch it. 

The show focuses in on Desna Simms (played by Niecy Nash) and her nail salon. We discover very early on that the nail salon is a front for a money laundering situation. I won’t go into too many details on that since I don’t wanna spoil all the fun along the way of this series. This show is quirky as hell. I mean that, really really quirky. In one scene we have the main manicurist girls dancing to “Lady Marmalade” and in another scene there is a mafia boss watching synchronized swimming in his pool with his transgender side piece. If this didn’t show that it was quirky as hell, there is a fight scene between 3 grown men to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston while Desna Simms just watches frustrated. I won’t tell you when each of these moments happen, but omg these scenes made me laugh so hard. These scenes allowed this show not to just be another drama, but moved it squarely into that dramedy category that many shows are doing. Some are successful and some are not at this blend. “Claws” is successful at blending comedy and drama perfectly. They know when to remove the comedic aspects to heighten the drama, but also know when in the drama to add a bit of comedy when it feels like it is getting a bit heavy. The writers behind this show and the actors have created a perfect picture of a world of crime that sometimes I forgot that I was watching a television program and not a true crime reenactment. That is how well-done “Claws” is. 

The reason “Claws” is so well-done, to me, is because 2 of the actresses I loved going into the show already. I already discussed that I love Niecy Nash. She was in “Scream Queens” as Denise Hemphill and I fell in love with her there for sure. I had seen her acting in other things, such as “The Soul Man”, “The Mindy Project”, “Do Not Disturb”, and as I looked through her IMDB I realized probably almost every single one of her one-off guest appearances before she was big. In other words, I have been conditioned to love Niecy Nash! The other actress I loved before “Claws” was Carrie Preston. I watched Preston in “Crowded”, the episodes I have seen of “True Blood”, the films “Doubt” & “Transamerica, and others throughout her career. In “Claws” Preston became my favorite character as “Polly” though. This is because she is an eccentric character that acts like others, instead of dealing with her own life. When the true Polly shines through though it always made me laugh hysterically. The biggest laugh came from a moment where Polly tells fellow manicurists that she will cut a bitch for Desna. There is more hilarity during this particular scene, but again SPOILERS. These two actresses playing off each other would make any show worthwhile, but then you add in the other three actresses that play off them the most. These are Jenn Lyon, Karrueche Tran, and Judy Reyes. Each of these other three actresses add layers to the storyline, but also appear to be very easy to act off of. Each of these five actresses get their own time to shine in the spotlight with various storylines. It was nice to see a show that understands women can have a multitude of things happening in their life and not just be a prop for a man. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t sex or romance within the series, but these women have other things going on in their life at the same time as all this. For example, Desna has the salon and a brother she takes care of that has autism. It shows the struggles of helping a family member with a disability. Don’t get me started on some of the other storylines within this show for these women, you have adultery, murder, setting people up for crimes, and just about anything you can think of. Someone in this show seems to do it!

Now obviously this show is a crime show, so you need to know that there is a lot of violence. People die ya’ll and sometimes you don’t even know who it will be. Also there is sex. Lots of it. People have that you know? Well it happens here and sometimes it doesn’t seem like the most consensual thing on the planet, specifically when we get near the end of the season and discover a massive secret. For a few episodes there are some rather rough scenes to get through, but once that storyline wraps up (and it does, it isn’t a backstory for a character or anything like that) it doesn’t go down that sort of dark road. The crime though is throughout every episode as it is the primary focus, but as mentioned earlier this show has done a very masterful job of blending in comedy when it is way too heavy. Sometimes, however, the show recognizes the audience needs to sit in the heaviness for a second or not in that particular scene to have relief, so then the next scene usually will start dramatic, but end with some laughter when they feel like you have stewed in the heaviness long enough. 

When I hit the end of episode 10 last night (yes, last night before this review is going live, I finished the ten episodes of the season), I realized I had been talking and screaming at the television for the last 2 episodes. I also screamed OMG! at the semi-cliffhanger ending of the season. For me to have an emotional investment to scream at a television screen takes a lot. I have only ever done the screaming thing one other time during an episode of “Melrose Place” where a character was revealed to be alive and I screamed “No! that b-word is dead.” I obviously used the curse word, but I’ll be a bit PC on it here. For me to have that same type of engagement lets me know that this is going to be one of those shows that I love for awhile and that I continue to watch until it is untimely canceled by people that don’t care if I want to watch this until the year 2050. 

The second season recently premiered! I intend to watch it when it is added to hulu.

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