Lunchtable TV Talk: Roadies


I had no real intention of watching Roadies, and then I saw that Robyn Hitchcock would appear in an episode sooner or later. Naturally I had to watch. But how painful these hours have been. There is nothing- absolutely nothing – redeeming about this show. It drags along slowly. There is no story. It is supposed to evoke some reverence for music and life on the road and its gritty romance (it’s actually rough but, you know, you’re supposed to die and live in filth and give up your life to devote yourself to the band you love. It’s all about the music).

Somewhere along the line, while torturing myself with this dud, I saw a review someone had written; it hit the nail on the head:

All three episodes of Roadies feel, astonishingly, like they were written by someone who has never been connected to music or real people. No matter how many hip band shirts you toss on these characters or how many references there are to The Replacements or Pearl Jam, it feels inauthentic — like actual roadies would never live this life. “How is this a Cameron Crowe series?” is a question that kept popping up with alarming frequency.

I’d extend the “written by someone who has never been connected to music or real people” to the entire series (we’re still only at episode six at the time of writing). There is a real element of pretension trying too hard not to be pretentious here. There are some truly obnoxious characters here. And sadly it’s because of the writing and the meandering “story” that tries to make everything seem life-or-death important. But nothing about this is important.

Other recent shows that try to capture the ineffable magnetism of music and the people who make it happen (e.g., Vinyl, also a colossal failure, already canceled, despite a great cast and a few good moments) and that try to (comedically) look at the middle-aged has-been/comeback hopefuls who try to regain relevance (e.g., Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll, which degenerates into a lot of cliches but also is redeemed by Denis Leary’s humor).

Now I just wish I had the presence of mind and willpower to stop watching Roadies … because there is nothing for me here, and as John Mellencamp reminds us in episode 6, life is short, even in its longest days. It’s pathetic because it is not horrendous enough to be a passionate hate-watch; it’s sad because it’s just so fucking boring.

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