LA Festival: Trash With Money, by Jennifer Gulbrandsen

9fc55c0b10 posterMoney can’t buy you class, but it can get your ass in a lot of trouble. Trash With Money is a half hour scripted television dark comedy that follows the escapades of the Del Principe family, who have more money than they can spend… and too much time on their hands. The series centers around the adult children of the deceased Antonio Del Principe, the “Gentlemen’s Club King of Chicago,” and the mess they manage to make of their lives while remaining a fiercely loyal family.

Michael, Joey, Angela, Gina, Nicky, and ‘Baby Dominic’ range in age from 42-27, and have lived their lives totally indulged by the family money, and are prone to hijinks. Set in the tony Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, the Del Principe’s trashiness has been legendary since they were kids.

From family brawls at funerals, children conceived through jail cell bars, affairs between cousins, murdering a neighbor’s chickens, strippers at children’s birthday parties, a lack of tasteful landscaping, and poor country club manners, the residents of Hoffman Estates have been calling the Del Principe tribe, “Trash With Money” for the last 30 years since the patriarch moved his family to town richer than all of them from his ‘smut emporium’ as local meddling widow, Muffy Epstein, likes to put it.

The glue of the family, and the protagonist of the series, is the middle sister, Gina. Unofficial matriarch of the family after the death of their mother eight years ago, Gina is the one sibling everyone listens to and seems the most gentrified of the clan. Her goal in life is to have one peaceful day without a major family embarrassment. Though her outward appearance as a recently divorced high level public relations executive with four boys makes her look like everyone else in Hoffman Estates, she too can throw down with the family and isn’t above some light intimidation, murder coverups, and perhaps a little gentle money laundering for her family. Though some of the siblings aren’t talking to each other, they all talk to Gina, and without her, everything would crumble.

While the Del Principe family is mostly a train wreck coming apart at high speed on the surface, the true hero of their story is their heart, loyalty, and ability to put their differences aside in order to stick together. Every episode of the series begins with a flashback to pivotal live shaping moments in order to set the stage for the story of the week. Through these flashbacks, we see how being outsiders, the children of first generation immigrants, and the pressures that come with growing up in a wildly dysfunctional family, shapes them into who they are today. It provides insight into why Michael is a serial entrepreneur, why Joey is obsessed with fame, Angela’s inherent need to keep secrets and sabotage Gina, the reason Gina feels so obligated to keep her family together, Nicky’s struggle with his sexuality, and ‘Baby Dominic’s’ issues with drug abuse and addiction.

The flashbacks also provide the viewer with context with regards to who Antonio and Veronica Del Principe were as individuals, their demons, and how it made their adult children who they are today. There will be times Veronica will lament that her family would have been better off had they remained middle class on the South Side of Chicago or back in Italy.

Through mistakes, misadventures, tragedies, and the occasional accidental murder of a neighbor’s chicken, the Del Principe love each other fiercely and always show up for one another when the chips are down. Nobody ever loses their sense of humor and, “Gina fixes everything.”

This is a series instead of a feature, because there is a lot of ground to cover in the story of Gina and her siblings, that can go on for many years with several twists and turns. Every episode begins with a flashback from their parents that shaped the kids into who they are today, and the episodes end with the family around Angela’s dining room table for the mandatory Sunday night family dinner.

 

Writer Biography

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Jennifer Gulbrandsen is a Chicago/Atlanta based writer and the author of ‘The Secret Life of Lies’ and ‘Some Die Just To Live.’

Author: pitchstory

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