Roadies: Carpet Season – Phil’s Return (Review)

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After last week’s attack by Janine with its residual blowout the tour continues.  This episode sees Phil’s return,  Christopher’s iPad goes missing as does Janine’s yearbook.  Kelly Ann confesses to Bill that maybe not all the eggs were broken. Roadies “Carpet Season” also has the band being photographed by Kelly Ann’s idol, Abby Van Ness.

Bill is undergoing a bit of a shaky patch. The Janine debacle (with her confession of having sex with Bill while she was dating Christopher)   causes Chris to fall off the wagon and he is drinking again. Bill goes to an AA meeting at Seattle, the next city on the tour.

Somewhat annoyingly Phil returns during Bill’s vastly improved circle meeting.  Preston (Brian Benben) tasks Bill with finding the missing items and to make up with Phil. It is Shelli’s birthday and Reg is less than pleased to see the man who pulled a gun on him return. 

Things are a bit tense between Double D and Phil initially and Bill has to intervene.  Halsey is the musical open for the band this week.  Wes, who is a huge fan, gets to spend some time with the artist.

Photographic diva Abby Van Ness, and her obsequious (and annoying) assistant turn up for the photo shoot.  Shelli and the diva immediately butt heads. Abby, as the “up her own arse” photographer to the “stars,” makes ridiculous demands on the crew and the band. Shelli spells out how it will really happen and neither woman is impressed with the other.

Kelly Ann is beside herself with excitement over the chance to meet her idol. Later, as Abby and her assistant Bethany set up for the shoot she meets the photographer.

It does not go well.

The young grip is overawed and Abby acts like a b*tch. She insults the younger woman and  makes references to her parents. The photographer then attempts to continue her bullying but Kelly Ann strikes back.

Shelli is furious and she confronts Abby. She tells the diva that if she speaks to any one else on her crew that way Abby will have her head shoved up her arse, by Shelli.  Abby is intrigued.

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Carla Gugino as Shelli in Roadies

Meanwhile, Bill, Phil and Reg learn that the band archivist, Mike Fingers, took the iPad and the yearbook. After getting the address from Puna (Branscombe Richmond) the three men go to collect the items. 

Wes clicks with Halsey and she asks him to join her tour. Winston (Ethan Michael Mora), the devil child, overhears the offer and is upset at the thought of losing his “manny.” Later, the guest artist learns that her tour budget will not cover Wes joining up. He and Halsey then “stage” a moment for Winston who is pleased to have his manny back.

Phil, Reg and Bill confront Mike Fingers and end up getting the stolen items back and enough things to complete the band’s boxset.

The photoshoot is a disaster. Abby tries bullying the band into submission and it does not work. The breaking point comes when she rubs Janine in Christopher’s face,  Rick snaps and the band follows suit.

The band members begin destroying the props set up by Abby and Bethany. As the photographer and her assistant stand by in shock, Kelly Ann calmly walks up and takes  “the shot.”  It is, of course, brilliant. Abby and Kelly Ann share a look.

By the end of the show Reg and Phil have sort of made up but Double D is still upset about Janine.  Shelli  celebrates her birthday…with Bill.  Kelly Ann is left alone at the bar and she sees the couple leave together. She smiles.

In this episode of Roadies “Dead Sex” is mentioned, at least twice, and not seen – no David Spade this week.  The men discuss it briefly on the way to Finger’s house, “It’s a metaphor,” and Wes brings it up as well.

Halsey’s musical numbers are brilliant as is her performance.  Anyone not a fan of this beautiful and talented artist before will become one after this episode.

Rosanna Arquette ruled as the b*tch photographer and Lyndon Smith was spot on as the sycophantic assistant.

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Rosanna Arquette as Abby Van Ness

The curse, even though both Bill and Kelly Ann state that they do not believe in such things, paused slightly in this episode. However, the preview of next week’s Roadies seems to show that the unbroken egg is still causing problems.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime. Stop by for the soap opera of the show and stay for the music and the guest stars.

MAIN CAST:

Guest starring Rosanna Arquette as Abby Van Ness and Lyndon Smith as Bethany Ian-Crouch. 

Musical Guest:  Halsey

Roadies: Lost Highway – Janine Attacks (Review)

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The budding romance of Reg and Janine comes to a screeching halt in  Roadies this week. While last week’s episode made Christopher’s former lover seem like perfection on two legs, “Lost Highway” removes the facade completely.  Seems that unbroken egg in is indeed causing problems for the tour.

Janine did seem too good to be true. Sadly, Reg’s innate social awkwardness and perhaps his very Englishness, kept him from seeing any deception.  It is easy to see just why Christopher was so destroyed by this woman.

The band’s problems do not stop with Janine. Kelly Ann loses her laminate and has to wear the “turkey hat of shame.” Bill does put up a half-hearted defense for the rigger but is voted down by Shelli.

Rick, with Natalie Shin in tow, has been misbehaving (calling the governor’s wife and professing his love) and he brings a personal intervention specialist Marc Maron.  Rick’s antics last week had Lucius ready to file a lawsuit as well.

Double D tells the crew that he has  Jack White  set up to open for the band. They do not really believe him as one points out, “He opens exclusively for The Rolling Stones.”  Later it turns out that Reg spoke to Jack Black’s manager and Jack turned down the gig. (It did not fit Tenacious D‘s esthetic.)

Wes and the Devil Child, aka Winston (Ethan Michael Mora) have a massive falling out after Tom’s son spills a health drink on John Mellencamp’s Woodie Guthrie guitar.

Milo and Donna’s band get the nod, once again, to open. Rick’s friend Marco, however, is chosen by the bassist to open instead.  A disastrous decision as he does a 45 minute comedy routine that throws everything off.

Outside of all these peripheral problems, there is the unveiling of Janine as “woman scorned.”  Far from being the earth mother type she presented to Reg, she has declared war on her former lover and Bill.

In short order she reveals that a “tell-all’  book is on its way, that she kept everything and that Bill, Christopher’s bestie, had sex with her. Reg is beyond dismayed as he sees his perfect woman turn into a fire breathing Boudicca.

Shelli and Bill have decided that their sex session has to be  a “one off” and by the end of the episode, she is talking to Sean.  This may not end well for anyone as Bill and Shelli still seem a bit too attached.

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Amusingly, Kelly Ann is forced to do “her man’s” laundry for his big date with Janine. The crew and band still believe that Kelly Ann and Reg are an item.  (On a sidenote, Double D’s socks have banana’s on them. Is this an in-joke about Bananas In Pajamas? This Aussie kids show was very poplar in Rafe Spall’s home country. Answers in the comment section below, or on a post card please…)

It seems that Phil (Ron White) and his warning about ensuring all the eggs were broken was a good one. One egg was left intact as the bus drove away and Kelly Ann saw it. In many ways the gripper’s return, after starting to leave for film school, has been bad thing. 

Reg and Kelly Ann seem to have brought a ton of bad luck to the tour. Although it does look like the rigger fits the role of Ishmael in this scenario. If things keep going so pear shaped for the tour, this may well be Kelly Ann’s new nickname.

Looking at next week’s previews, it appears that someone else recognizes that the tour is in trouble and Phil is brought back. It also appears that Wes’s instinctive mistrust of band archivist Mike Fingers was spot on.

Guest star Joy Williams killed it as the angry ex-lover.  Her transformation into a vitriol filled  shrew was splendid.  Rafe Spall with his reaction to all this was priceless.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.

 

MAIN CAST:

Guest Starring:  Jacqueline Byers as Natalie Shin, Joy Williams as Janine Beckwith and Marc Maron 

Musical Guest – John Mellencamp

Roadies: Episode 2 – What Would Phil Do? (Review)

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Roadies continues this  week with everyone reeling from Phil’s sudden departure. Double D (Rafe Spall) fired him on the pilot episode and  “What Would Phil Do” sees the roadies banding together in their dislike of Reg, aka “Double D.” Bill (Luke Wilson) is undergoing Phil withdrawal and struggling to fill the void.

The opening act The Head and the Heart are pranking the roadies, emboldened (says Milo) by Phil’s absence.   Shelli (Carla Gugino) insists that Bill sort the opening act out. He does and they quit. He now needs to find a new opening band. 

Phil helps out from the Taylor Swift tour by bringing in the blues rock band Reignwolf. Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots) is regretting her decision to come back, although she did not make it out of the parking lot. 

Reg tells Bill that another person has to go to make the budget and Double D makes the remainder of the crew explain what they do. Donna (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is mighty with her diatribe about her first band crying when she left. She also hysterically baffles Reg with her “Even my girlfriend who can make me come without touching me, does not know what I do.’  Brilliant. 

After speaking with everyone the English financial expert is struggling to find someone to let go.

Kelly Ann is put in charge of the teleprompter, much to her disgust, and she has to speak with Christopher (Tanc Sade about what songs to include. He offers her a raisin and she declines after doing into a long winded explanation as why she does not like them. Chris decides she is speaking metaphorically bout Reg and believes Kelly Ann has suggested he be fired. The singer moves to terminate Double D.

There is pressure to get rid of the “kiss-finger” gesture by Preston and this causes Bill even more anxiety, over and above the morning circle issue.

(Although Preston is not listed on the credits so far, he looks  like Dream On star Brian Benben. If anyone can verify this please do so down in the comments.  Brian was a personal favorite back in the day when “Dromen,” as the series was called in Holland, starred in the quirky show.)

Bill’s growing pains slowly abate, after a health scare, and he begins to  settle into becoming the new “Phil.”  Reg manages to save his job and blames Kelly Ann who explains that she really was talking about raisins and not him.  The financial expert is disappointed in their lack of friendship but he does tell Kelly Ann that he had the WWPD t-shirts made to bring the crew closer together.

Reignwolf step in and do so well  in rehearsal that Bill welcomes them to the tour. He then learns that they are only there for the night. Reg forces Milo (Peter Cambor) to drop his faux English accent and manages to meet the budget  without firing anyone else. 

Roadies is entertaining even though the second episode lacked the fire and the pace of the season one opener.  With the loss of Phil (Ron White) and the lack of stalker Natalie Shin (Jacqueline Byers) “What Would Phil Do?” makes for a less exciting installment. 

Regardless of the more relaxed pace and lack of pathos the show focusses on Kelly Ann and Reg with a peripheral interest in Shelli and Bill, as potential couple.  There are some things that are puzzling though.  Such as why Double D spurns all human touch for example.

With a slight drop in popularity the show will need to pull out all stops. While the music is a plus as is the use of real bands as the opening  acts, the pace really needs to  pick up.  The writing is clever and funny however and this will help somewhat.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime. Tune in and see what you think.

Roadies: Showtime – Rock & Roll, Sex and Firecrackers (Review)

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Written and directed by show creator Cameron Crowe “Roadies” with its pilot episode has a  polished big screen feel to it, as well it should. Crowe has written a number of feature films, including “Almost Famous” and “Jerry McGuire.”  This new  television series about the backstage goings-on of fictional band Staton-House is sharp snappy and looks brilliant. It is all about sex, rock and roll and firecrackers and features no drugs at all, so far. 

Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots) has a partial scholarship to a New York film school and is planning to leave the group. Luke Wilson is Bill, the tour manager who has a taste for the younger ladies and has history with Shelli (Carla Gugino) the production manager. These two, despite the teen sex, feel more married than most married couples do. 

Phil (Ron White) is a pistol packing member of the roadie’s who is paid to keep everything running smooth-ish and make everyone feel good.  Rafe Spall is Reg Whitehead, the English hatchet man sent in by management to cut corners and lop off the fat. 

At the start of “Roadies” in “Life is a Carnival”  Bill is having sex with the 22 year old daughter of the promoter.  Shelli declares the young woman a teenager and the  coitus at the beginning causes all sorts of problems.

There is a stalker, Natalie Shin (Played with a delightful goofy madness by Jacqueline Byers.) who sneaks into the venue when Kelly Ann’s brother Wesley (Machine Gun Kelly) comes to cry on her shoulder. Wes has been fired from Pearl Jam by Mike McCready himself. 

At this juncture there is a need to address the soundtrack, not only is it spot on in terms of adding ambiance to a scene it matches the action perfectly. A case in point is the entrance of Natalie Shin, who shoves her foot in the door that Wesley has just opened, and waltzes in unnoticed by the backstage technicians.

The music that accompanies her journey, which includes manically shagging one of the backstage crew for his laminate is “Get Free” by Major Lazer.   The music is a perfect fit for the obviously free spirit of Shin who also has little to no inhibitions in terms of getting what she wants.

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Rafe Spall as Reg Whitehead in Roadies

There are, however, some things that do not count as top notch storytelling. We know, for instance, just how Kelly Ann’s dilemma will resolve itself.  On the same side of this irritant is the fact that she and Spall’s character Reg are obviously meant to be an item. Add to this the clear love triangle that will develop with faux Brit Milo (Peter Cambor) and it all  becomes a little too predictable.

The end of the first episode was also signposted early on but to keep from entering spoiler territory it will remain a mystery for now.  But trust us, you will pick it out from the moment it is mentioned.

Just as the clear attraction that exists between Bill and Shelli, who apparently have a past, is also a bit annoying. The main difference here is that the two already function as a sort of man and wife facsimile. Appointing nannies to look after the lead singer’s child adds to this illusion.

There are quirky characters and a mutual love of the band that they, the roadies, support.  The implication being that one does not tech for a band that one does not adore.  It is, according to show creator Crowe, the ultimate fanboy or fangirl job.

“Roadies” comes with a great cast and Crowe does a capable job directing the pilot episode. The combination of soundtrack, interesting characters and great acting fills in many blanks and makes for an entertaining open.

Stand-up comic Ron White as Phill is all OTT attitude and “good ole boy” charm.  His portrayal is brilliant right down to his “heartfelt” advice to Kelly Ann where he calls her by the wrong name partway through.  So too is his melt down when confronted by Reg Whitehead.

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Ron White as Phil and Imogen Poots as Kelly Ann

Rafe Spall is, as always, a pleasure to see in anything.  A more than capable actor, Rafe can do it all, comedy, drama and American television.  The son of Timothy Spall, who worked in all three of the “Cornetto” films is proving that the acorn does not fall far from the tree at all.

“Roadies” is a fun show to watch and the quality of the cast makes it all the more enjoyable. Airing Sundays (starting June 26) on Showtime this will quickly become  favorite so rock on.

Wayward Pines: The Friendliest Place on Earth (recap and review)

Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) in Wayward Pines
Last week on Wayward Pines in Betrayal, Ethan’s race to find all the bombs ended with Ted’s truck blowing up and injuring Ben and Amy. The Friendliest Place on Earth begins with the two children in hospital and Ben has a concussion. Pilcher is furious and Pam tells her brother that they should do something good for the townspeople. Eric is dying from being penned between the dumpster and the truck. Kate is reliving her first days in Wayward Pines and her dealings with Dr. Jenkins. In her flashback she is convinced that the town is a “Potemkin village;” not real at all.

In Kate’s flashback Nurse Pam gives her an injection to calm her down. She wakes, the memories of her and Jenkins came while she was sleeping in the jail cell, to the sound of sweeping. The town is clearing away any signs of Ted’s destroyed truck. Ruby, one of the insurgents who left the woods early so she would not be late for work, comes into the coffee shop to the sounds of speculation. The people are not buying the gas leak explanation.

Pilcher notices that Ruby is late and goes back to the control center to see where she was. Her chip says she is home at bed, which David knows is not true. They check her home and the camera reveals that there is no one at home. David tasks the team to see who else is “home in bed.”

Ethan tells Kate that Ben almost died from one of Harold’s bombs and he blames his former partner. She tells Sheriff Burke that there is a reason that he was chosen to be the town’s law enforcer; he follows orders. She reminds Ethan that he made the same mistake before and he replies that he is just trying to keep anyone else from dying. He asks her what happened and why she does not trust him. Later more flashbacks show that Kate fought a vigorous form of brain washing and lied to Dr. Jenkins to be left alone.

Pilcher tells Pam that Ruby is one of the insurgents and he tells his sister that they need to do an in-depth security review of all the surveillance camera operators. She learns that one, Reggie, is troubled when he observes citizen’s questioning policy and the wall and their fear. He admits that he blurs or wipes video footage when this happens. “It’s human nature to ask questions isn’t it,” Reggie asks and Pam agrees.

This interaction is observed by her brother David and Pam, not knowing that he saw the interviews, lies and says no one is being slack in their duties. Ben wakes up and Megan Fisher stops by to use her skills as a hypnotherapist again, to turn Ben against his parents. She emphasizes Harold was let go by Ethan because of his friendship with Kate, Harold’s wife and that Ben would never have been hurt if Harold had stayed in jail.

Fisher also convinces Ben that as he has survived a “terrorist attack” he is a hero and people will want to know what he thinks. She also presses home the importance of “clear and severe” rules and punishments. It is clear that Fisher is a real danger to Ethan Burke and anyone else who questions the status quo. Later when Theresa warns the teacher to stay away from her family, Megan checks to see if the moment was caught on camera.

Ethan shuts down the Wayward Pines festival and tell everyone the truth about the explosion and that several of the insurgents are missing. He urges them all to go home and keep safe. Pilcher is not happy with the sheriff for shutting down the festival or for telling them the truth. Burke stops by to see his son and Ben confronts him about letting Harold go and about his friendship with Kate.

Theresa comes in and tries to make Ben stop and Ethan explains that he can ask whatever he wants. The sheriff tells his son that he would have done the same thing regardless of who it was. Ben’s mother figures out that it is Fisher behind her son’s actions. Amy comes in to visit and the parents leave.

Amy is still focussed on Ben and the two visit in his hospital room. Ethan tells Theresa about the bombings and how his “following orders” led to over 641 innocents being killed. He could never tell her before because it was classified and he explained about having to use Kate as a sounding board as she was his partner and privy to the information. At the end of their talk, it looks like Ethan and Theresa are closer together.

Harold and one of the other insurgents plan to take Eric’s body, he died from his injuries, outside of the fence to bury him. The two men steal a 30 foot dump truck to smash through a gate and Ethan is on their trail after getting a call about the theft of the vehicle. Jenkins stops by to see Kate and they talk.

He accuses her of being a fanatic and Kate reveals that she knows he is really David Pilcher. The self imposed savior tells her everything in Wayward Pines is a question of safety versus freedom. Later, as Pam serves her brother a cup of tea and a piece of pie, David has Reggie picked up by security. He tells his sister that the man is a traitor and will be dealt with.

Pam volunteers herself for punishment, “Kill me,” she says and David replies that they will not do that any longer. Reggie’s penalty for treason is to be put back into the cryogenic stasis pod. Harold backs out of crashing through the gate and Ethan catches up with him. All that Burke learns from Kate’s husband is that he is too late.

Harold’s friend crashes the truck through the fence and drags Eric’s dead body out of the vehicle. Holding Eric, the man begins to laugh and says, “We made it buddy.” Suddenly several naked Nosferatu looking creatures converge on the man and Eric’s body. They attack and one of the monstrous creatures looks at the gate and roars.

Anyone watching Wayward Pines who has not read the books that the series is based on will be eagerly following each new episode and perhaps asking just what the truth really is about the little town. Other questions that need answering are: What is the significance of Plot 33 and that metal thing under the ground? Is Boise the only town so perfectly destroyed by Pilcher’s “evolution” and is the rest of the world just like the city outside the fence?

Other questions deal with the choices that Pilcher made in terms of his residents. Each one was pre-chosen, for instance he apparently hand-picked not just Ethan Burke, but Kate Hewson as well, why? Considering the “late” arrival of Theresa Burke and Ben, why did Pilcher abduct the two way back in 2014 when he could not know that Ethan would be so adamant about his family that it could be a deal breaker?

On the face of things, it appears that Toby Jones’ character is one half megalomaniac and one half mad scientist. Ethan may believe his eyes, and therefore believe David’s assertion that Wayward Pines is an ark and the only safe place in the world, but Kate’s conversation with Pilcher seems to suggest otherwise. Is this a government test of some sort; she was warned of just that possibility before waking up in the town, or is the world really in some sort of futuristic post-apocalyptic wilderness where mankind has evolved into some sort of animal.

Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on Fox. Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon, Toby Jones, Hope Davis and Melissa Leo are working perfectly with the show’s creators to provide some quality mystery/thriller television. This is one of the network’s best shows on offer, miss it you will be missing some quality entertainment.