Shopping Fop

April 4, 2013
muse-selfridge

Fans of the vulgarian “Entourage” and admirers of the aristocratic “Downton Abbey” would seem to have little in common. Yet both types of viewers may wonder: Should I tune into “Mr. Selfridge”? (PBS, premiered last Sunday at 9 p.m.)

The star is Jeremy Piven, in his first series since playing obnoxious “Entourage” superagent Ari “let’s hug it out, bitch” Gold. Now he’s obnoxious Harry Gordon Selfridge, a Chicagoan who opens a London department store that aims to revolutionize early 1900s shopping by letting customers paw the goods.

We all know he’ll find success. Check out Selfridges.com. So much for dramatic tension.

Piven, meanwhile, should fire his agent for setting up this gig. Wearing a beard that makes him look like a beaver, he barks boring lines like “to work is elevating, to accomplish is superb.”

I miss the wicked wit of Ari Gold: “We’re going to hell, so bring your sunblock.”

P.S. A far better shopping drama occurs in the TV ads for Macy’s. Store manager Harold topples off a ladder and falls into Taylor Swift’s eager arms.

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Fiona Zublin · April 4, 2013