The Arrangement tells the story of a small-time actress offered a multi-million dollar marriage contract to an A-List star who happens to be part of a collective that definitely isn’t inspired by something that rhymes with “guyintology.”
-Spoilers for first episode-
The second offering for E! scripted series I think this is the perfect fit for the channel. Although subject matter could be better explored on HBO or FX incorporating E! news into the exposition and the innate understanding of celebrity culture means the episode is cohesive in the workings of Hollywood.
Christine Evangelista plays Megan Morrison, a troubled struggling actress who lands an audition with megastar Kyle West. The first episode shows her speedy rise through the Hollywood ranks and to the attention of the Institute. Megan could easily be a flat and one-dimensional character but Evangelista brings a certain attitude and intelligence to her.
Josh Henderson is perfect as Kyle West the quintessential Hollywood star, there’s something very likable about his character and he’d look out of place anywhere that wasn’t L.A , although his relationship with his personal assistant is suspect.
The Institute of the Higher Mind is playing the role of the Hollywood cult, curating every moment of this man’s life including his new girlfriend. The Institute is already coloured with our initial perception of Hollywood ‘self-improvement’ networks and E! knows its audience will be able to pick up on pop culture quest without having them spell out.
Overall I really enjoyed the first episode, based on the trailer I was expecting a soapy drama in the same vein of The Royals. While it obviously still comes from the same ilk, there are some seriously beautiful shots and almost Fincher style score that elevates it above the cookie-cutter.
The Arrangement pilot does its best to set out its season in this first episode, Megan’s half of the story feels the weakest compared to the craziness of the Institute. The standout moment of the episode is with creepily calm cult leader Terence deciding to take care of Kyle’s therapist and her possibly going off the deep end.
I have a feeling this will be a sleeper hit for the channel in the same way unReal was for Lifetime. There are still more than a few mysteries to be unpeeled (for example where was Megan for fourth months) I’m excited to see how the first season plays out.