Am I the only human on the planet still giving Roadies a chance?
No, not “Why isn’t anybody else watching this sad attempt at music biz time travel?” I mean, “Why am I watching?”
Can’t be for the writing – it’s cliched beyondeth any understanding. Things happen, but no stories are told. Instead, each episode is a ridiculous slice of life fiction on the order of the bullshit, unreadable fiction The New Yorker magazine used to publish back when reading it could give a high school kid some serious intellectual cred.
(For all yer friendly neighborhood munchikins knows, that pompous, dreary, anti-humor mag may still be publishing those meandering exercises in long-winded nothingness, but I ain’t in high school anymore and have better things to be bored by. Like, oh fuck it, you know, Instagram and FB.
But continuing on the subject of the writing on ROADIES. Not only are there no plots, there aren’t any real characters either. Just cardboard strawmen representing various rock-loving tradespeople (AKA roadies) who, while well-acted, probably would come across as more interesting if they were engaged in some activity or conflict or self-reflectiveness that actually matters to people these days.
Did I say “these days?” Did I say “sad attempt at music biz time travel?” I did, and as a result you may be wondering just what the hell I’m talking about. So here’s a brief explanation: Cameron Crowe of Almost Famous infamy has given us a series ostensibly about a contemporary (as in here on this world and in this timeframe) tour by a major but fictional of course rock band in which every event, attitude, and musical sound reflects the here and now not one single bit but instead takes us back to Crowe’s glory days – the mid-seventies in which Almost Famous is set.
Cam, baby, you’ve been there and done that. So have we. Why the fuck haven’t you and Showtime moved the hell on?
Oh, right. It’s because today’s rock touring is duller than your toenails, that’s why. All business…and, right, not really rock at all. Just that strange generic “music” that owns our iPhone playlists. Nobody would even be tempted to tune in a TV series about 2016’s Wonderful World of Homogenized Harmonies Sung By Girl Singers Who All Sound Like Marni Nixon. (The late soprano who used to dub in the singing voices of all the non-tune carrying actresses in Hollywood back in the second half of the 20th Century.)
Talk about bland…
But hark, what light through yonder window breaks? There it is, the answer to my question: The reason I am, in fact watching Crowe’s sad exploration of what he can still remember of his past.
It’s the the love, kids.
And the passion.
What keeps me coming back for more Roadies is seeing – and feeling because we’re talking about really fine acting here – the love every character feels for the music. The passion for life and art that music gives them, and that they return in kind. This could well be the most idealistic show on television right now. Maybe ever. It makes the Aaron Sorkin years of The West Wing (yes, there were non-Sorkin years but, fortunately, nobody watched them) look cynical.
Once upon a time, my fave video game was Sim Earth. I spent thousands of hours creating life and manipulating civilizations and learning, time and time again, as my societies waxed and waned and thrived and died out, that being a living, sentient being is – well, it’s fucking tough is what it is. Life is hard. The laws of physics and biology are merciless. There is no escape.
In Sim Earth, it was easy to make your people miserable, but bringing them happiness or at least contentment took a lot of thought and, I always liked to think, skill. Over time, I became the Master of Happy Civilizations by discovering one underlying truth: It’s art that makes life bearable. That allows beings like us to survive with at least an occasional smile.
So far in this, its freshman and probably only season, Roadies has demonstrated over and over and over again that art in the form of good ole rock ‘n’ roll is the true Second Coming. Bigger than Jesus! Out there waiting for us to find it and accept it so it can save our souls.
Thank you, Rock Jesus.
Thank you, Cameron Crowe.
Thank you, Showtime.
But don’t expect me to stick around and watch any more episodes of this execrable show. I’m taking action, kids.
It’s time for munchman to form his own band and hit the motherfucking road!
munchman is TVWriter™’s managing editor and scapegoat. Learn absolutely nothing more about him HERE