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Cashmere_17Well, at least there wasn’t a voiceover.

Sunday’s premiere of “Cashmere Mafia” exuded smarm, and about the only thing that could have made it worse would have been to have some Sarah Jessica Parker/Ellen Pompeo-style monologue wax profound about the most obvious situations.

Nevertheless, we still spent the first hour of this series with four characters who were almost all style, no substance and almost wholly unsympathetic. (Not exactly “The Wire.”)

When Mia (Lucy Liu), the go-getter who will stop at nothing to succeed, loses her fiance, who happens to be another go-getter who will stop at nothing to succeed …

When Zoe (Frances O’Connor) is too stupid to realize that the saccharine, sorority-girl nanny who is making demands for premium cable channels in her room is probably going to be a problem down the line …

When Juliet (Miranda Otto), the COO who is all facade, learns that her husband is cheating on her, and decides to fight back by openly planning to cheat on him …

… are we supposed to feel bad, much less surprised or entertained?

Cashmere_2_17Now, there was almost a real moment in the pilot. Career heterosexual Caitlin (Bonnie Somerville) has just had her first kiss with a woman (Lourdes Benedicto). Catilin gets in her car, trying to make sense of what just happened, and cackles. The cackle feels a bit contrived, but at least it projects some aspect of excitement about the unknown, of a journey toward self-discovery (on a level perhaps one step above “Rochelle, Rochelle“).

And that kind of journey really represents the only hope, faint as it is, for “Cashmere Mafia,” because every storyline seems ripped from the headlines of Superficial People Magazine. Without stripping away the characters from their prototypes and examining what makes them the way they are, the show has little chance of becoming watchable.

— Jon Weisman