Friday, December 04, 2015

The Jerky Boys 'The Jerky Boys 2'

I have been the TV Guru on The Less Desirables podcast for several years. And every year I have cultivated a list of what this critic deems as the Top 5 Best New Shows of a given year.

Starting with the fifth television show that has made my top five best new shows of 2015… ‘Red Oaks’ from Amazon.

Amazon dropped all 10 episodes of this comedy back on October 9th.

At first, ‘Red Oaks’ comes across like all of the raunchy sex teen comedy films from the 1980s, the decade that the series is set in. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a coming of age story for main character David and a coming to terms story for his parents Sam and Judy.

Underneath all the bawdy sexuality lies the heart of gold and the exceptional writing that leads to a great comedy. They even take on the cliché of ‘personality transference’ where David (Craig Roberts) and his father Sam (Richard Kind) get to stretch their acting legs by taking a stab at pulling off the other’s mannerisms and the characters personalities. At first, that caused an “oh come on” groan from me as I thought they were going for the tired and overdone cliché story line. But the actors along with the great script and direction keep it from being the usual cheap, schlocky crap that these types of plot devices have become.

‘Red Oaks’ is flush with interesting and even distasteful characters. There’s the lovable drug dealing valet Wheeler (Oliver Cooper). There’s the conniving club tennis pro Nash (Ennis Esmer). There’s even the sleazy and Flock of Seagulls coiffed photographer Barry (Josh Meyers). The cast is near perfect and brimming with characters that will amuse.

Jennifer Grey is still looking fine as she portrays David’s mother and Paul Reiser’s tone and gruffness is perfect for Getty, the president of the country club.

Think of ‘Red Oaks’ as the rated R version of ABC’s ‘The Middle’ where family, friends, and doing the right thing are some of the most important things in life. ‘Red Oaks’ isn’t a riot of laughter, it’s so much more. It’s something to be enjoyed rather than just being watched. It’s a sly devil of a series that will surprise.

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