Dark comedy Claws dazzles audiences

2017-09-03 00:00

Johannesburg - The first season of comedic drama Claws has just ended in the US after 10 successful episodes with the second season scheduled to air in 2018.

The bold and wildly entertaining show follows five diverse manicurists who work at a nail salon in Florida. But a lot more is going on besides manicures and pedicures as the women get involved in the traditionally male world of organised crime – laundering money.

The strong-willed and hilarious women are played by an excellent mix of actors including Niecy Nash (Reno 911), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Karrueche Tran (The Nice Guys) and Jenn Lyon (Justified). The first season – filmed mostly in New Orleans – has clearly struck a chord with audiences in the US, attracting new viewers each week.

What new followers will enjoy about Claws is how it portrays the systemic economic struggles faced by people such as this group of flawed women. A clichéd rebellion leads to criminal drama, feuds and violence – you might find yourself confused about whether to laugh at Claws, or even whether to laugh at all.

The talented Nash plays the character of Desna, the owner of the nail salon, who dreams of moving to a different and more up-market location. For her to accomplish this and be able to take care of her autistic brother Dean (Harold Perrineau), she has to launder money from the pain clinic a few stores down from her salon. But only long enough to get money to finance her dream and then she’s out.

Well that’s the plan.

I can’t deny how much I enjoy the shots of freshly done nails – long, bedazzled and as sharp as knives. The nails are feminine, showy and capable of cutting deep – which is very much the show’s vibe.

Desna and Polly (Preston) are the most layered characters. Desna is bossy and ballsy, but also maternal, mentally exhausted and at her wits’ end. One of my favourite scenes is where a funeral procession for one of the characters is being held through the streets, and pole dancers twerk not too far behind the casket. It’s rather absurd but very entertaining.

To avoid spoilers I won’t say too much about what happens to Desna, but the show has a strong focus on solidarity among women and family, and sacrifice. While Claws is thrilling and entertaining, you might have seen a similar plot somewhere else, the texture drops towards the end of the season. It’s almost as if someone realised right smack in the middle of filming that the storyline needed to be adapted to accommodate the extension.

But if you like trashy with a dash of pretty, then watch Claws.


Watch Claws every Tuesday on Vuzu Amp (DStv 103) at 21:00.

(Photo: Supplied)

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