Roadies S1:E1 Life is a Carnival Recap

Roadies cover

I am so excited that Showtime has released the first episode of Cameron Crowe's show Roadies, I have been looking forward to it FOREVER. He is one of my top two directors (the other has fallen off the last few years, but there's always a chance that giant brain will stop making dick and fart jokes and live up to Chasing Amy again) and I can't wait to see what he does with alla his rock 'n' roll knowledge. You KNOW the music is going to be insane. Rolling after the break!

We open with a quote:

"I think the general public has no idea what Roadies do. Bless 'em all. I just play the songs. They make the show happen." - Tom Petty

And moaning of the obviously faked variety. Bill (Luke Wilson) is making Kimberley (Cissy Ly) with the pierced nips caterwaul like a wounded Emu, but room service is throwing a wrench in his best plans. Holy shite, she's crazy young looking, ick ick ick all the icks, but she totally digs that he was the oldest person she ever f*cked. Yaaaayyyy? AARP badge? Awww, she calls him an old lion at the chatter is not the wheelhouse of the extremely young.

He finally gets to the door while she tinkles, but gets more than his chocolate lava volcano. He asks Hospitality Worker Expecting A Tip how old he looks, we go from "Fif...28, 29, around there" as Shelli (Carla Gugino) from across the hall takes this opportunity to come on over.

I love it when the script lays absolutely everything out for us nice and tidily; Shelli and Bill are discussing the lead singer's demonic child (who has moved into teethwork territory, two bites so far), requiring another new nanny that evening, and then they introduce themselves to Kimberly: Shelli is the Production Manager (married to another Production Manager, who sounds more successful, works for Taylor Swift, or once removed?), Bill is the Tour Manager and oh, by the way, nekkid Kimberley puts on jeans (WHEN did pubic hair become persona non grata in society? When??) and tells them she's the Philidelphia Promoter Rep's daughter. Ron Bank is gonna LOVE these guys!

We're on the tour bus with Gooch (Luis Guzman - I LOVE Luis Guzman!! For so many shows) and Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots) listening to Bob Dylan, who Gooch drove for in the past. Kelly's on her way, though, she's going to film school and she needs structure. Gooch tells her we only need two things in life: "Oxygen and family. Everything else is dessert."

We're in New Orleans with Rob White!!! Yay!!!! Here he's Phil, but he will always be Tater Salad to me. I know everyone probably calls him that but I don't curr. He's giving an inspirational speech about NoLa, the town nobody can kill; born in fire! Shelli's phone buzzes during, drawing Bill's attention.

It was Preston on the phone, Management calling this early can't be good. I do love how they are stating very clearly to the camera who everyone is and what their roles are and explaining in exact detail what everything means, but at some point there will be more show than tell, right? This is just to make it easy for us for the first episode?

Milo (Peter Cambor)'s been eavesdropping, he's already nervous. Also rocking the Madonna fake-English accent, so there's that.

Roadies doing their thing; Kelly Ann riding around on a skateboard, very stylish but meh. Seen it, heard it, left it behind. She has an intriguing upper lip, though, I dig that. Milo calls her on the radio as she's being lifted on something unsafe-looking (with a harness on, so Imma let it pass this time. OSHA on speed dial, motherhumpers); nobody believes she's leaving.

Okay, Kimberley is 22, she only looks extremely young, she's studying to be a paleontologist! She knows so much about bones! Shelli and I would like high fives for our taking of the highest of roads just then. She's worried that he's having some kind of crisis.

Shawn, Shelli's husband calls, she lets him know she's having a "heckin' good time out here" at the "Asscrack of dawn." He lets HER know Bill's 5 am fling with the 22 year old paleontologist Kimberley has led to some unfortunate social media posting and I would once again like to thank Thor and the sweet baby angels that there was no such thing back when I was a drunken arsehole 8 days out of 7.

They also can't get a nanny yet, but maybe Kelly Ann can stay on another night. She'll do it for Bill, whom she idolizes, down to mimicking his mannerisms. Shelli don't like her cuz Kelly Ann took the job knowing she wouldn't complete the tour with the Staten House Band, and she eats off people's plates. I'll have you know that's not weird at all! Hubs used to find it charming, in fact! That must be why they showed Kelly Ann eating all of Gooch's fruit on the tour bus, I thought that was the world's smallest sharing platter.

Shelli stops and says "I love you" while staring directly into Bill's eyes and I'm starting to feel a little queasy now. There's a moment while he tries to figure out if that's to him, or her husband, whose on Bluetooth, it's all shenanigans.

The day proceeds apace, there's a fun poster backstage with a picture of a girl who looks like a drowned rat, NATALIE SHAYNE: DO NOT LET IN. KEEP LAMINATES SAFE. Man, what'd she DO???? Ah I see more of it, it says 'STALKER'

We meet Puna (Branscombe Richmond - dat NAME!), band security straight out of '86 with his mullet, arrowhead necklace and black turtleneck combo: think Maori Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse. Imma need a minute.

Bill's taking the local extra help through what's expected; one is wearing a t-shirt covered in pictures of Bill's mug shots from the time he spent 9 days in jail.

I really, REALLY want to like this show, but Luke Wilson could not be more miscast. Neither could Carla Gugino, whom I adored in Son in Law and Sin City, but she's about as rock n'roll as Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. He's coming across as a mid-level manager at Starbucks and she's about to ask me where the colour photocopier is. It is no bueno.

He's about to lay down the law as to what they absolutely cannot EVER NEVER ask Tom Staten when Shelli comes and grabs him, it's that important he has to leave mid-speech. Management Preston is not coming on tour, blaming his kiddo, but sending a new financial manager in his place. Shelli freaks, that's it, she's getting fired! Why are his ears turning red? WHAT'S GOING ON?? She knows something's arp. It's got something to do with Phil, I'm sure they will explain it fully with Venn diagrams and flash cards shortly.

Harvey (Finesse Mitchell) wanders up just then; he's gonna go check on his storage units, after commenting on the non-replacing of Kelly Ann and their (completely non-existent) smokin' hot chemistry that they are in denial of. I mean.

Phil's picked up where Bill left off with the locals; Tom Staten absolutely cannot abide firecrackers. "If you see it, seize it." There was a Des Moines incident... just take his word for it.

Tall Ginger knows from Phil's history; Phil's toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd! Phil brings out a pendant, tears in his eyes, he got it in 1972 (a good year!) from Ronnie Van Zant, he's into it now but is brought up short by a hipster dorag in the front asking who "Robbie Van Zant" is. Philistine. Storytime is over!

And don't smudge the pianner.

Puna's stalking all over the arena, checking for vibes, saying "it won't happen tonight" and seriously, if they don't get Luke Wilson offscreen, Imma throw something. He is very, very bad.

Kelly Ann's up high wiring something when Wesley (Machine Gun Kelly) calls; he's been fired by Pearl Jam and he cries and cries, he fcuking LOVES Mike McCready. It's her last day, though, don't come there! As much as everyone's been on her ass this entire show to stay so far, she doesn't feel accepted by this crew: they barely gave her a nickname. Kell. "That's not even a nickname, that's a shortening!"

He still doesn't exactly get the movie she made on her way to a partial scholarship, but it was fcuking powerful. He can't understand; how can she leave her band???

Phil and Kell visit, she needs to find her own voice but he likes being an Indian rather than trying to be a chief. That's probably not very culturally sensitive, Phil, but I get where you're going with it. She doesn't connect with the music any more, it doesn't feel like hers. She has no faith in the music and she thinks the band's given up too, that's why she's really leaving. She'd stay an Indian forever if...still not culturally appropriate.

I love Ron White playing Ron White, if you know what I mean, but I still like to look at him. Musically inclined portly gentlemen with giant melons and intriguing accents are a specialty of mine.

Shelli's careening towards the big dressing room; it's guarded by Ron Bank (unnamed in IMdB) who, as mentioned earlier, will NOT allow the band in, the local basketball team has declared it off limits. Nothing to do with Bill corrupting his daughter. She knows, though, she knows they covered the pelican with a rug for Taylor Swift and she saw his daughter naked. She's not good with compliments, or a hugger, but bring it in, Ron! Get in there! He cries and latches on, shouting "get the rug!" and I think we have liftoff!

Wesley's disregarded Kelly Ann's please to NOT COME THERE please, he's there! Everyone seems to know him, yakking away about Pearl Jam as stalker Natalie Shayne (Jacqueline Byers) gains access to the back of the stage.

Wes knows Donna (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and plies her with gifts; The Replacements and Sleater Kinney; they're close enough that she tells him she's planning a baby with her girlfriend, but won't give him access to Kelly Ann just yet. He moves on to Milo, giving him Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde outtakes and asking about Kelly Ann. He comes with his own espresso machine!

Oh. Apparently Milo and Kelly Ann were dating, not Kelly Ann and Wes and now we don't know what's happening with him. Bill's back on screen, yay. Next there is this very hard to believe conversation that is almost verbal slapstick, but not as fun. You know what would be more fun that watching them pretend to have this conversation about who's getting fired? Poking myself in the belly with a pointy stick covered in bacteria. I'm seriously thinking about finding one such stick right now.

Song Of The Day Time! I Wish I was Sober by Frightened Rabbit plays as Milo rearranges Mr. and Mrs. PotatoHead action figures and the opening band arrives! Hello The Head and The Heart! Phil runs point while one of the dudes STARES at Kelly Ann like he knows her. Unless he's the money guy?

Natalie is creeping around backstage, approached by Local Security guy Tall Ginger. He's gonna call it in, but she makes him a better offer. That was the creepiest O-face EVER, Natalie, but nice bewbs. Why so many nekkid women and no nude dudes? And not just warty-cocked ones like Game of Thrones neither! I'm also pretty sure that the cost of not blowing the whistle or access to backstage is blowing someone else's whistle, not whatever she was doing.

Kelly Ann comes up to Shelli and Bill, NO she can't nanny tonight, she has a plane ticket and hey, Bill watched her movie! It was hella symbolic; running and blah blah cheated out of their dreams blah motivation blah, I dunno, I'm pretty sure it was just to set her up and sooooooo existentially deep while clueless as to reality. She also eats off Shelli's plate and that ain't right, man. If you aren't sharing bodily fluids on a regular basis, you shouldn't eat their food.

Kelly Ann spies the slick dude standing next to the stage; he's with The Head and The Heart! She loves their music! And tells him about the sweet spot on the stage, as he disappears into thin air without saying a word.

I bet this is actually Financial Dude, and just arrived at the same time, especially since Bill and Shelli are freaking out about FD being late. The Head and the Heart are all mad about Milo, they want to sound check!

Turns out slick dude is Reg (Rafe Spall) and the reason he didn't speak earlier is that then we'd have figured out he is the English "doucheboy" a bit sooner.

Reg doesn't want to see Bill OR Shelli, he wants to start with Phil. It gets ugly FAST, and the crew watches, waiting to see if the hat comes off....and it does. We have a long combover, folks, I repeat, a long combover and an apoplectic Phil: when you're looking at him, you're looking at rock 'n' roll in America. It gets spitty

Oh shite, Phil's under federal investigation for selling things left in storage lockers by Hurricane Katrina victims, which must be what Harvey was yakking about earlier, and Phil is FIRED. And armed! He pulls out his gun and it's impossible to not think of Orlando right now. Those poor people, I'm so sorry.

The Head and The Heart is really good, they have a Lumineers vibe, I will look up after.

Reg is doing a speech for everyone, this is beginning to have an Empire Records feel, and it's Rex Manning Day! He's three things: 1) English 2) Cheap and 3) Unsparing. He's also a Mumford and Sons fan, which makes everyone snort. How can you be TOO hipster for Mumford and Sons? *mind=blown*

It's about as bad as it can be; Reg doesn't know who Pink Floyd is, he doesn't know what Phil really did (heart of the crew, ubiquitous picnic snack), he doesn't even like music. Wesley, unable to bribe him with tasty cuts of un-findable music is shook AND aghast at the same time.

Ah, Wesley is Kelly Ann's twin brother, not ex-bf, that makes somewhat more sense, besides the part where she wasn't answering his calls.

Kelly Ann gets up and does a speech about how you stay true to the music or you get the fcuk out and hey! Isn't she getting the fcuk out this evening? Bai Plucky Stereotype!

Reg is carrying on; he needs to talk about how to manage this brand. This music is disposable, the band is disposable; everything feels like it last forever. He likes that so much that he shouts it again, this time into the microphone. Then he plays dead. CULTURE.ASSASSINATION.

I mean.

Kelly Ann is again the unlikely heroine stepping forward, red-faced and spitting she tells him to enjoy his temporary success; she lives to destroy everything he stands for. He thanks her very much as she stomps off-stage.

Shelli and Ben are arguing; he knew about Reg coming and she didn't. He has a retainer and she doesn't. She's married, but her husband is never there. He picks up women who either are 18 or look creepily like that. I know I'm supposed to comment on their smokin' hot chemistry, and I swear to all that is holy, I can see Carla Gugino try, but Luke Wilson's EveryGuy With Rueful Smile is just.not.working.

Bill was with someone named Lorraine, when she left, that's when all the KindyTrolling started, but we must not spaketh her name, apparently. That's it, Shelli's off to join Planet Swift, she's had enough. He gets mad, his laid-back schtick is who he IS, damnit! And they fight and it's about as fun as you would think, watching people fight.

Kelly Ann's leaving, she mumble-snorts into Bill's coffee mug as a goodbye. It is too bad she has the lockjaw, she's a pretty girl. And don't worry about Phil, he's already working for Planet Swift at twice the pay and free legal, which he will need, since he's a felon who has killed two people in this lifetime.

Unexpected cake time! But no, it's a pie, and Bill slams it directly onto her pie hole, awww, does that mean she's part of the crew now? Does she get a real nickname?

She runs into Reg on the way out, one tiny smear of pie on her face after having an entire PIE.DUMPED.ONTO.HER.FACE, just enough for Reg to have an opening, she's all embarrassed and vulnerable with that one single smear of pie on her face AFTER SOMEONE SLAMMED AN ENTIRE PIE ONTO IT.

This right now, this eye-cuddling between Kell and Reg? This is so very Reality Bites with Winona Ryder and Ben Stiller. She's an artist, he's the corporate shill, it's all awkward because their genitals don't know they're supposed to hate each other. Yeah.

He would really like her to stay *intense eye cuddles* but she's out, on her edgy skateboard and completely clean hoodie and one more declaration of war "there are so many secrets about this band and this crew that you will never know." Deuces, doucheboy.

Natalie's smelling band clothing and fondling a special microphone in the dressing room, she is so gonna fcuk that, and just before the tights are breached, buzzkill Kelly Ann walks in. They know each other! And that microphone was given to Tom by Bruce Springsteen, so...hand it over, Stalker. First she displays her deep throat skills and why isn't Kelly Ann TAKING the precious microphone back instead of talking to Natalie like a recalcitrant toddler? "No no no *baby lockjaw voice*!" I mean

Shelli walks in then, distracting Natalie enough for Kelly Ann to grab the microphone (antibacterial wipes, STAT!) but Natalie snatches it back and makes it out in her half-price leopard shoes! Kelly Ann's got the skateboard, though, and a body double with mad skills, grabbing the microphone before going shoulder-first into a concrete pillar. Natalie flies into Bill's arms and it's all over.

"See you in Atlanta" Natalie croons over Puna's shoulder as she's carried out.

Wesley's gonna Manny the child for Tom, yay! Shelli's so excited, giving her half-arsed compliments (he DOESN'T look like a prevert to her! Any more!); he's everything Shelli expected from Kelly Ann. And no, she hasn't watched Kell's movie neither.

We're winding up the longest fcuking goodbye party in recent history, with Kelly Ann making it to Gooch, she said she'd miss him most of all...He says "I already forgot you" and I fcuking LOVE Luis Guzman.

She stops by the door to do one more weighted look around, surely they could drag this out slightly longer? Have her sing a song with an acoustic guitar while a lock of hair falls fetchingly over one eye and she mourns this half-tour? Someone get back to me on that.

Winston, the adorable child of the lead singer Tom is as obnoxious as expected, when asked what he's into: "weapons and sex." Yeah, he's ten or so. He's still not a patch on Zach from The Strain, now there was a kid who made you want to punch something hard, just by seeing his face. He tests some boundaries right away "you're FIRED, hipster asshole" which just makes Wesley love him all the more. It's a Manny / kiddo relashie made in heaven.

Oh no! We're NOT done the Kelly Ann is leaving as slowly as possible tour; she's out in the parking lot now, being stopped by presumably Tom Staten (Catero Colbert). Phil told him everything she said about the band earlier, because I'm sure that's EXACTLY what someone being arrested for felony grand theft is thinking about, what some wannabe film auteur with six months experience on the tour had to say about the band. I may be wrong on timeline, but I think I have the gist of it.

It made Tom think, though! There's a new set list and everything! They're even gonna open with Janine and including something about a love letter, which they've not played live, and a bunch of old songs and if the Staten House Band sucks tonight, it's her fault, yo.

Shelli finally watches Kelly Ann's movie, and as advertised, it's a lot of people running. In "real life", Kelly Ann runs too, oh my goodness, is she not leaving after all?? Pearl Jam plays as Shelli laughs; she gets it! She really gets it! Kelly Ann cries and bangs on the door; she wants her job back! This show.

Showtime! Kelly Ann and Reg eye-cuddle and the lights come up and it's all very exciting! I love live music! Oh and Shelli's staying, too, of course. They bump hands and then retreat as firecrackers go off. WHAT??

So. I don't know if you picked up a vibe throughout the recap, but I didn't like this show as much as I was hoping. I disliked it so much that it made me question if I still like Cameron Crowe's original work that I loved so much; I may have to re-watch Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire to make sure. I think there were good elements, it's hard to put on a BAD show about live music, but the cast...perhaps they just need time to gel. And completely redevelop their strategies. Imogen Poots is just...struggling with a cliched storyline and a caricature for a character. Carla Gugino is the best thing innit, and she's still working with an evil, evil amount of dreck. I can't say anything positive about Luke Wilson, not one. I don't think I will pick up this series for recapping, but I may watch 10 minutes of the next episode to be sure. If you had a different experience with this show, lemme know in comments! Maybe I missed something! Until next time, keep your pianner clean and eyes cuddling.

  • sandybrook

    Roadies=not funny and not good. I’ll give it 1 more shot. OTOH Ray Donovan ruled.

    • It was just…not good. Like at all. Maybe if they re-wrote everything and scrapped Luke Wilson and whomever played the English bad guy…I was so disappointed

      I STILL haven’t seen Ray Donovan! I really liked Liev Schreiber in Spotlight tho

      • sandybrook

        Then Ray would have to be a binge watch to catch up. I think this is season 4 now. Roadies just didn’t make any sense at all. I didn’t think they could do a music based show worse than Vinyl was, but voila!

        • Right??? Vinyl was uneven, but it had some good parts (as long as Scorcese kept his mitts off the camera), I really thought Roadies was what I was waiting for. The music was better in Vinyl too

          • sandybrook

            Scorcese needs to hire non-Italians actors for a change. Ray Romano didn’t belong in Vinyl. And Bobby Cannavale plays psychos well, but that really shouldn’t have been a psycho he played.

          • Scorcese just made his parts too long and stare-y. I thought Bobby Cannavale was fine, but he was directednso poorly. He’d have gravitas, then he’d be jokey, then pathetic, instead of complex it came off as disjointed. Ray Romano was trying to be anything BUT Ray Romano and it rarely worked