Pssst! Wanna see a used-car show?
WHERE are our TV shows about used car dealers? It’s not like there aren’t stories out there. We all know people. We’ve all bought cars, or seen cars, or I mean, I know a guy myself, he’s dodgier than anyone on this show we’re going to talk about in a minute, he does this thing where ... actually, probably not the right venue. The Big Steal, Ben Mendelsohn, 20-odd years ago, that’s the only one I can think of and it’s a film and it’s not really what I’m talking about anyway.
Call Me Fitz is set in a used car business. Now, if that doesn’t speak to you as a concept for a television show, tell me what does? The main dude in it also has a touch of the Californications about him. Californication: the series where David Duchovny plays a dog-off-a-lead middleaged writer, now a by-word for doing whatever you feel like.
I have no way of knowing, but I imagine Richard Fitzpatrick— the Fitz of the title— is a vehicle plenty of 40-year-old has-beens in Hollywood would’ve done anything to get. Such as sell a Mustang to a woman in a coma, the way Dick Fitz attempts to in the first episode tonight. And it needs a degree of desperation to play it. (And just another reason why used car salesmen are such a beautiful fit with the Australian television industry.)
Call Me Fitz’s lead Jason Priestley always had steady work after he left Beverly Hills 90210. Just hardly ever the right work.
I’m not sure what 90210’s reputation is now, I think it’s perhaps been clouded by its hotter (better) spin-off Melrose Place, but it was one of the first series in the world about teenagers. There had been shows with teenagers in them, but they were part of the family, really only an incidental thing. There were breakout teen stars, but they were splinters off the tree. It doesn’t matter what its reputation is anyway, its influence is almost immeasurable.
But don’t worry: Jason Priestley (pictured) is nothing like Brandon Walsh in Call Me Fitz.