Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs season 1





Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Life can be a real drag. Dark clouds and rain and all that miserable stuff. Costello Jones seems to know that better than most. 

Currently, she and Iris, her 10-year-old daughter, are being evicted from their flat because Costello can’t seem to bring in enough money from stripping, scratching lottery tickets and odd-end jobs. She knows that an unstable life breaking into cars to sleep and eating gas-station sandwiches isn’t what she wants for her daughter, but she can’t seem to kick her bad luck. 

If that’s not enough, her gay best friend, Selby, is finally out of prison for beating someone to a pulp. That should be good news for Costello, but Costello and Selby are a toxic pairing. When they get together, nothing good comes of their long history and obvious need for intensive psychotherapy. 

But they do both care for Iris deeply. Costello needs help in the worst way, and Selby comes from the sort of family that uses dollar bills to clean up spills. But is his help really what both Costello and Iris need?

You Ain’t Done ‘Till It’s Almost Over, And Even Then

Stories about moms fighting for their children usually elicit a tear or two. As they should. Who doesn’t love to watch good intentions win out? 

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me as I watched HBO’s latest British series, Rain Dogs.

This TV-MA show is a bit of a weird combination. It’s a dark dramedy that entices viewers to feel sorry for Costello and, on some level, sympathize with the terrible life choices she makes. And to some extent, the show’s successful. It’s clear that Costello loves Iris and will do absolutely anything for her to keep a smile on her face. 

Unfortunately, Iris often sees just how far that “anything” extends. And although Costello works hard to shield Iris from most of her choices, including her knowledge that she’s a stripper, it’s impossible to fully do so. And it doesn’t help that Costello’s best friend, Selby, is a wretch.

After getting out of prison, where he makes it clear that he’s lived up to his sexual identity and promiscuity, Selby comes to help Costello. But I wouldn’t always call it “help,” and neither would Costello. There’s a tension as she wants to give Iris a better life while staying out of Selby’s. Yet, the show is formed from the notion that the two just aren’t possible. 

And with that comes an insane amount of profanity,  including British vulgarities, brief nudity, sexual perversion and promiscuity, violence, new age beliefs and poor life choices that could easily make any viewer a bit more depressed than when they started.

Episode Reviews

Mar. 6, 2023 – S1, Ep1: “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City”

Costello tries to find a place for her and her daughter, Iris, to sleep at night after getting evicted. Selby, Costello’s gay best friend, gets out of prison and tries to get back in contact with Costello and Iris. 

Selby’s prison mate reminds him that the only reason he’s leaving prison unsullied (that is, avoiding being raped in prison) is because of his protection. Selby performs oral sex on an elderly man (we see movement under a door and hear sounds). Selby tells Costello prison was filled with (for him) a gratifying number of male genitals. Costello makes a joke about someone enjoying “poverty porn.” We see a man’s bare rear from the side as he urinates. 

Gloria, Costello’s friend, walks about in a revealing outfit. Costello wears a revealing top and goes to the strip joint she works at, asking for a shift so she can make more money. 

Costello takes a man up on his offer to sleep at his home one night after she and her daughter are left homeless. When she gets there, the man expects her to put on a nightgown and exchange her sleeping situation for sexual favors as he undresses and reveals himself to her (we only see his upper torso). He tells her that he prefers “kissing to penetration.” She denies him, calls Selby, and Selby rescues her by punching the man and then nearly punching Costello for putting Iris in a dangerous situation. 

Costello jokes with her daughter, telling her that she has the ability to connect with the spirits and talk with a ghost about their housing situation. A woman tells Costello she should take a chance at working a “psychic webcam.” 

God’s name is misused twice. The f-word is heard about 20 times, and the s-word is used five times. Other profanity and British vulgarities include words like “b–ch,” “h—,” “tw-t,” “w-nker,” “a–,” “p-ssy” and “a–hole.” A man calls Costello a “cheating cow.”

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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