Because it’s fun, okay? Glad we could have this little talk.
Honestly, if we could get away with just throwing two dozen screencaps at you without writing another word, we’d do it in a second. Not because we’re lazy (no, really), but because that really is the main reason to watch this show. It’s just a big slice of juicy, summer TV fun. And maybe a couple of eye-popping images could be enough to convince some of you to give it a watch, but we think the show deserves a little bit of T Lo Love.
What’s it about? Ladies who work in a nail salon. But it’s as much “about” that as Mad Men was about secretaries with ambition. In other words, there are ladies, and they work in a nail salon, but there’s a whole hell of a lot more going on than buffing and shining.
What it is, if you really need an elevator pitch, is a fun summer crime caper series starring Niecy Nash as Desna, the manager of the Nail Artisan in Manatee County, Florida. Desna, like Claws itself, is many things. Manager, businesswoman, sister, caretaker, lover, mother hen, HBIC, employee in good standing of what she calls “the Dixie Mafia,” serving as a money launderer for local hillbilly crime boss, Uncle Daddy.
This is not a show that’s going to paint its tale in subtle shades, full of nuance. If there’s any painting to be done, it’ll be done in high-gloss acrylics, thank you very much. The colors are bright, the dresses are tight, the heels are sky-high and the nails are all gorgeous, fierce, maaaaaaybe a bit tacky-ass weapons of mass destruction. The twists and turns come fast and getting increasingly ludicrous, and the show manages to find a ton of outrageous comedy to go along with all that sun-soaked, day-glo Florida realness. It is, to put it succinctly, a hoot.
The funny thing is, to describe it this way is to do it a bit of a disservice. You might go into it thinking it’ll be a loud, trashy southern-gothic crime dramedy – and it is that – but in a lot of ways, it’s a surprisingly quiet show. Yes, there are dead bodies, loud music, and drugs galore, but Claws is a lot less about the over-the-top intrigue of a Florida family crime empire and more a story about the friendships of a tightly knit group of women who are all trying desperately to hold on to something. No, really.
We’d rather let the story of the ladies of Nail Artisans, who are described in one meta moment as a “multi-ethnic Steel Magnolias,” unfold as you watch, but suffice it to say, Niecy as Desna is holding down the fort for a bunch of different women facing a bunch of different problems and obstacles in their lives. Their stories might occasionally take some pretty wild and even silly turns, but in every instance, it all comes down to how much they rely on each other to get themselves through and how much Desna is the queen of their crew, whether she wants the role or not.
And Niecy just happens to be the actress who can straddle all of those demands. She’s got that one quality that all great TV stars have: she’s eminently, easily watchable. Sometimes, you just let a scene unfold in front of you so you can watch her navigate and react to it. She made her name as a sometimes over-the-top comedic performer, but as she’s matured, she’s settled into a soulful, world-weary acting style that comes off relatable and likeable, even as you watch her make some highly questionable life choices.
We definitely don’t want to oversell it. It’s just a fun, entertaining caper that doesn’t ask too much of the audience, yet it’s anchored by some touching performances and believable character friendshops. If we could compare it to anything, Claws is the equivalent of fun beach read that you want to share as soon as you’re done with it.
It’s well into its first season on TNT and airs on Sunday nights, so if you want to binge some day when it’s too hot to go outside, you could do a lot worse. Any other kittens following this show?