Sunday, March 20, 2016

Vinyl Recap. Season 1. Episode 6: "Cyclone"

It's only rock 'n' roll but Richie sometimes doesn't like it.  

What Worked, Vinyl, Episode 6: 
  • The use of the Buddy Holly song (and Holly doppelgänger) "Rave On" in the opening and closing scenes.  Very effective and it highlights one of the strengths of the series: the imaginative threading of songs expertly edited into dramatic sequences.
  • Mixed-gender full-front nudity.  The show isn't bush league when it comes to equality in nude scenes.  
  • Zak's smackdown (verbal and physical) of Richie at his daughter's bat mitzvah.  It may have been the best scene so far in the series.  And Ray Romano has some serious acting chops.  He elevates almost every scene he's in.  
  • Andrea Zito's first staff meeting.  Once again, scenes that show the inner workings of the music industry work best in "Vinyl." Her comments about some of the company's challenges -- "The logo looks like a toilet bowl" -- seemed exactly like dialogue that you'd expect to hear in a record label meeting presided over by a new senior executive.  It was a squirm-worthy meeting made all the worse by Richie's annoying presence (as bosses are prone to be).
  • Zak listening to the bat mitzvah singer crooning Bowie's "Life on Mars." Whatever his mental state (in this case -- depressed), his ear is still tuned to great music.  Here's the big question of the night: was the singer a young Billy Joel?  It's Long Island.  It's the early 70s? He's a piano player.  Do the math people.
  • Ernst.  Seriously degenerate dude with no moral compass.  But was he a figment of Richie's drug-addled imagination the whole episode?
  • The car crash in Coney Island.  Beautifully staged.  

What Didn't Work, Vinyl Episode 6:
  • Richie.  Hyper-active acting by Bobby Cannavale plus writing with zero nuance equals a lead character who is hard to watch much less love.  I've said this before: enough with the coke scenes.  It's killing the series.
  • Sex in the company bathroom. Yes, I get it was meant to show how low Richie can sink (by doing "it" over the bathroom sink, I guess) but the scene veered into cringe-worthy territory.  Viewers understand that he's out of control.  We don't need to be smashed on the head every ten minutes with this message.
  • Devon's scene with Ingrid.  Boring.
Overall Grade for Vinyl Episode 5: (C)  Tonight's episode had some powerful and hallucinogenic scenes like the  Coney Island car crash.  And the music was brilliantly woven into the entire hour.  However, the over-the-top Cannavale ranting and snorting detracted from the strengths of the episodes.  

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