Erin Stevenson
January 10, 2008 AT 06:57 PM EST

The claws came out in the second episode of Cashmere Mafia, revealing there might be some fresh blood in the veins of this tepidly-received primetime soap-comedy. Lucy Liu (center) is at her best when she’s being a little catty and Liu’s Mia got her meows in a few times last night. She admitted to the group, albeit under her breath, that Miranda Otto’s Juliet is a “little bit” of an ice queen (which is like telling Britney Spears she has a little bit of a crazy problem). Later, she stepped up and fired her onetime mentor (Californication‘s Damian Young, left) while basically telling Caitlin (Bonnie Somerville, right) — whose am-I-gay-or-not? confusion led her to crash an art opening for Mia’s advice — to zip it. Bring it, Lucy! And she’s got the most fierce wardrobe of all the gals.

Another peek of frisky promise appeared when Frances O’Connor’s workaholic mom Zoe received a custom-designed “Working Mommy Bear,” complete with hands-free phone earpiece, from her kids. Too bad the writers had to take it one step too far with the bear’s “I can’t talk. I’m on a conference call” voice recording. The bear itself wasn’t enough of an insult? We had to be hit over the head with it, like we’re accosted by the show’s overbearing soundtrack, which seems to run behind almost every scene. Cue quirky score; there’s something ironic coming! Cue serious score; there’s a bit of drama! Turn up the quirky score; we’re moving on!

Over-writing and insulting gimmicks like that leave me wondering ifthis show’s worth my commitment. Especially whenhunka-hunka-burnin’-love Jeremy Sisto’s walking the beat with JesseMartin over on Law & Order! Speaking of which, the Mafia could use some more manly men like those two. Juliet’s cheating scoundrel of a husband Peter Hermann has the power (he’s a L&O: SVUalum afterall), but not bland Bobby, the business-school classmateshe’s pondering taking as her revenge-sex lover. And Zoe’s architect ofa husband, Eric, is Gossip Girl cute; I’m not quite buying Zoeand Eric as a pair. I’m also not not getting any vibe from Caitlin andher girl-toy. Am I the only one?

What I can buy after this episode is that, as the show’s creators and stars have said, Cashmere Mafia really isn’t trying to be Sex and the City.I can see glimpses that it’s trying to move beyond that with thestay-at-home mom vs. working mom storyline that came and went and willhopefully come back, and with Juliet pondering whether a bad marriageis better than no marriage at all. I think with the kooky score,picture-perfect stars, and soapy storylines, what ABC’s really aimingfor is a Desperate Housewives and the City. What about you all?Do you plan to give the show another date, or will you have to ignoreits calls? And as for the velour-track-suited mom who came onto Zoe’shusband and bought her children the bear, would you have let her offwith Zoe’s lame “Don’t hit on my kids”? Surely the money and the powerthese ladies are supposed to have could buy more than that!

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