The pickings must be pretty slim for Farrah Fawcett. That has to explain her attraction to CBS’ “Silk Hope,” a phony and flimsy look at new beginnings and love among the yokels. Burdened with a wafer-thin script and a surplus of aw-shucks hayseeds, Fawcett giggles and hair-twirls her way through some very unexciting situations. Bumpkins who are into state fairs and pickup trucks probably will like this, but city folk with diplomas certainly deserve better.
Fawcett is Frannie Vaughn, a vibrant floozie who returns to her Gumpish hometown of Silk Hope, N.C., unaware that her mother has died. Her practical sister Natalie (Ashley Crow), upset that Frannie has been out of touch, announces that she’s going to sell the house and marry her banker boyfriend, Jake (Scott Bryce).
So Frannie puts up a fight. Not used to being responsible, she decides to change her image, sway her doubters and keep the farm. She gets a job at the local textile mill, tries to settle down and even buys a few piglets in order start a ranch.
But what really changes her outlook is Ruben Mason (Brad Johnson), a hunky foreman who takes to Frannie’s lively spirit; after some hard-core flirting, they date and fall hard for each other. Frannie proves her loyalty when she sticks by Ruben’s side after he loses his arm in an industrial accident. Lost limbs are so romantic.
All of this “Hee-Haw” behavior is harmless, but there’s a disturbing lack of substance lining the narrative and its execution. Director Kevin Dowling does what he can with the shallow material, but Dalene Young’s teleplay (based on Lawrence Naumoff’s book) is chock-full of empty lines from empty people. The Eye web showed much more artistic and emotional appreciation for country livin’ earlier this year with Sidney Poitier’s “The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn.”
And it sure doesn’t help that Fawcett acts like an airhead. While she is supposed to portray a misunderstood strumpet without much brain power, she takes her role a bit too far, tittering and sulking at every turn. And the supporting characters are only ho-hum: Johnson is a very dull stud, and Crow isn’t always effective as Little Miss Perfect.
But the piggies are terrific.
Tech credits are fine, with a nod to production designer David Ford’s attention to small details.