Wednesday, February 24, 2016

HBO's 'Vinyl' Belongs in the Used Bin


Over the weekend we decided to check out "Vinyl," HBO's high-profile new series about the music business set in 1970s New York City. With Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger on board, and critics' tongues wagging, the show seemed like it was guaranteed to be gritty, accurate and compelling. Instead, its aggressively macho point-of-view -- where the only people the series cares about are straight white men who are on the brink of punching someone at less-than-a-moment's notice -- and cliche-by-numbers story-lines (cocaine-on-demand, mobsters, sleazy promoters, hookers, hangers-on) makes it feel like a "Mad Men" retread, minus any of the style, nuance or charm. Bobby Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, a record executive trying to resurrect his label, American Century. Richie is Don Draper, with -- surprise! -- a perfect wife and children in the suburbs that he just doesn't appreciate ... only Bobby Cannavale is exposed as not really being capable of carrying a show, leaving the viewer not really caring why he acts so erratically. Turns out, Richie's harboring -- surprise! -- a dark secret, that colors everything he does.


Olivia Wilde is Richie's wife, Devon. She's a -- surprise! -- former actress/model (who was part of Warhol's Factory scene), cum Betty Draper. She lives in her Ice Palace (as my friend Tim so perfectly put it), and clearly wants more than her suburban life is giving her. (Yawn.) Juno Temple plays Jamie Vine, an ambitious assistant at American Century's A&R Department. Jamie doesn't like being treated like a second-class citizen because she's a woman, so is steadily looking for ways to move into the boys' club. Jamie is Peggy Olson. The archetypes go on and on, but the show's writers give none of the characters anything special to work with -- and perhaps as a result, they overact what little they're given. Each scene just reeks of something we've seen before, yet the subject matter leaves you frustrated because surely THERE IS a compelling story from this business at this place and time. (And why does Scorsese's New York City now look like a soundstage?) In a nod to how much the network is standing behind the show, HBO has reportedly already renewed the series for a second season. But ratings have been dismal even by pay-TV standards, and this time it's not because the show is "too genius" for the masses to get it. This is "Vinyl" you want to skip.

5 comments:

Adam said...

Cannavale did show his dick in episode two though...

Funbud said...

I think you're onto something with Carnavle. When he first started appearing (I remember an episode of "Law & Order" where he played a contractor having an affair with a wealthy socialite. Her husband ends up dead, natch.) he was attractive and compelling. But I think he's been over-exposed and I'm not sure he really has the chops to be a leading man.

Nigel Harrison said...

Just terrible. Not any New York I remember!

Blobby said...

I've tried to get into this, but it's a no-go.

Nigel Harrison? GET OUT! fuckin'A man.....love you.

stoney8 said...

I Love the era so I want to Love this show. I had to watch the 1st one in parts as I couldn't take it. The second one's saying grace was Andrew Dice Clay we all know that if he can make a nursery rhyme funny then he's funny! Also he did kiss Bobby, too bad Dice doesn't look as Hot as he did in his hay day.

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