TNT has explored the drama genre in its original programming for over a decade. It’s been the last several years that the network has upped the ante with well-written, edgy fare like “Animal Kingdom,” “Good Behavior” and it’s latest hit, “Claws.” Led by Niecy Nash, the show tells the often wild day-to-day lives of the nail artists of the Nail Artisan of Manatee County shop. From the pilot-when salon owner Desna (Nash) has very *ahem* enthusiastic sex with her boyfriend Roller midday-the viewer knows this isn’t just about gel, silkwraps and acrylics.
Desna leads a work hard/play hard lifestyle and her nail techs follow suit. Silent Ann (an expressively quiet Judy Reyes), ride or die BFF Jenn (Jennifer Lyon), preppy convict Polly (Carrie Preston) and can’t quite be trusted newcomer, Virginia (Karrueche Tran). The dream is to take the salon to the next level-next level being a larger, more sophisticated shop in an upscale part of Palmetto. Next level takes money and that is a commodity that Desna and crew don’t have. Enter: The Dixie Mafia.
Desna-in the interests of her crew, her career and her high functioning, autistic brother Dean (an excellent Harold Perrineau)-agrees to help launder money for the local big boss, Uncle Daddy and his idiot nephew, Roller (her sometimes bae). Dealing with the washed funds through a sketchy clinic that doles out oxy and vicodin like candy, Desna and her shop take on a ton of risk for the reward of a $20,000 payout. When her last money laundering run culminates in a “bonus” of only $3,000, Desna is not well pleased.
My close personal friend, writer extraorinaire and all-around goddess Shannon Miller (@Phunky_Brewster) wrote of the agency that the writers of “Claws” have given these characters, saying:
“I can’t help but feel optimistic that Barrios and company want to create an environment which truly honors all if its women.”
I agree with that sentiment to the very core of my being. It’s not just about the money and the endgame. The vision that Desna has encompasses her friends and her family and that’s a special thing to see a: person passionately advocate for their crew. “Claws” outrageous moments (i. e. strippers on the pole at a funeral) balance its wit and its heart. I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.