Two of my favorite comedians had new shows premiere this week. One, Jim Gaffigan, already had his show premiere and I wrote about it. The other, just had his happen on Thursday. I was a day behind it because of my pesky job keeping me busy. Again, I blame you folks for not making me rich with our below average website staffed with bad writers who have no access and no clue. Anyway. The other comedian I love who has a new show out is Dennis Leary. His new show is on FX and it’s called Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
I went in to the premiere of this show with very low expectations. In fact, I had only set my DVR to record the first episode because I thought I would watch the first episode and be done with it. The previews for this show looked so so so terrible that I felt bad for Dennis Leary even being involved with this show.
Then I watched the premiere. Maybe it’s because I had such low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. By the way, we are going to have to come up with a different name for this show if it survives it’s initial run. I get what they were trying to do with the title but it’s really a pain. They need to cut that thing down or something like this, SDRR.
SDRR stars Dennis Leary, the guy from Rescue Me, as aging rock “star” Johnny Rock who had a brief taste of fame 25 years ago but never really made it. He has been hanging on for 25 years grinding out in the business still trying to catch his big break. That premise in the previews did not look like it was going to be good. It looked like it was going to be an excuse for Leary to play an old guy who gets to bang young hot actresses on his show. That is not entirely true (but it is somewhat true).
The premiere episode spends most of the time setting up the back story for Johnny Rock and the rest of the band. It’s totally necessary and they do a good job with it. There are cameos from the Afghan Wigs and Dave Grohl discussing their love of Johnny Rock and the band and how everyone is amazed that on the day their big album is released, they break up. The band members lives take different directions over the next 25 years eventually bringing them all back together in the premiere.
What is good about this show? It’s not really the music, because that doesn’t come off as very good. The songs sung by Johnny Rock and the band do not sound like the kinds of songs that would make someone a rock legend anywhere other than on TV, but it’s not about the music.
What I like so far about SDRR is Dennis Leary and his interactions with everyone else on the show. It does have a bit of a Rescue Me feel to it because Leary is Leary, but I liked Rescue Me a lot. His interactions with the other characters on that show were what made it great.
The best part of this show is the direction it started to take towards the end of the premiere. You thought during the whole premiere that this was going to be a show about trying to make Johnny Rock famous. It sure seems that way for most of the show, right up until we are introduced to Johnny’s daughter he never knew about, Gigi (Elizabeth Gilles).
She’s in her mid-20s now and has never met her nearly famous father. She is angry at him for sure, but she also knows she can use him near fame to get her what she wants, a music career of her own. At first Johnny wants nothing to do with her, until he finds out she has money and a way for him to possibly get his band back together. Getting his band back together would involve getting Flash (John Corbett) away from his gig playing in Lady GaGa’s band.
Johnny thinks that this is a possibility through Gigi. Gigi wants to get Flash and Johnny back together to write songs for her so both sides are attempting to use each other. It is clear that only one person is going to come out on top of this and that direction is what makes the show interesting.
At the end of the episode, Gigi gets the band together to rehearse some of their old songs. They all feel that this is a waste of time because Gigi likely won’t have any talent. Johnny thinks that he can string her along on a music career and use her for her money. Then she sings and you see the light bulbs go on above everyone’s heads and the light bulb meant different things to each person.
To Flash, it meant the opportunity to work with a potentially big young star. For the rest of the band, it meant the chance to possibly be relevant and to grab that fame that each of them had been seeking for 25 years. For Johnny though, you see it in his face when he hears her sing, he knows immediately that he will never be the one to be the star of the band. The moment Gigi started singing, he knew that he was going to be on the back burner forever. His name would be used to get Gigi famous and that is all he would be good for. Johnny knew it immediately.
This is just the pilot of course so we don’t know how all this is going to play out. I am sure that Johnny is a messed up enough character and enough of a narcissist that he will not just go along easily with making Gigi a star unless he is going to have some kind of a huge benefit as well. How this will all play out though is going to be funny and it’s going to be interesting enough to watch.
Like I said at the start, I went in to Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll with very low expectations but I was very pleasantly surprised. I’ve added this show to my regular DVR and I’ll now be watching it weekly.
If you are unfamiliar with SDRR, here is the trailer from FX
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Trailer
SDRR airs on the FX network on Thursdays at 9:00. It’s worth your time to check it out.