Thursday, March 26, 2009

TV Review: "Rockville, CA"

I watched the first six webisodes (less than 10 minutes long each) and they weren't half bad. The series, created by the legendary (to "O.C." lovers) Josh Schwartz, is set in a bar where various characters interact, from music lovers to band scouters to just plain drunk chicks. The real draw of the series, however, was said to be the real-life bands that would play in the background and get heavily name-dropped. "The O.C." was known for setting the standard in new music. It single-handedly launched Rooney into stardom, gave Death Cab for Cutie a reason to live, and made Phantom Planet's "California" a classic. So it's safe to say that this web series will deliver musically, but I wouldn't place a bet on it blowing any minds narrative-wise. While it's a little intriguing to see the budding relationship between Hunter and Deb, despite her obsession with Syd and his obsession with Callie, it's sort of jarring to get three 6-7 minutes of semi-romantic interaction and then have to wait till next week for more. It's like watching a soap opera where nothing is really happening over a long period of time. I applaud Schwartz for wanting to give these bands a venue to flaunt their stuff, but I feel like he's spreading himself too thin. I mean, he's working on NBC's "Chuck" and The CW's "Gossip Girl," all while developing a "GG" spinoff set in the 80s. This certainly isn't some of his best work. But at least it's a good place for young actors to showcase their talent after their series gets canned, i.e. Ryan Hansen ("Veronica Mars") and Natalie Morales ("Middleman")--a sort of spring-board to bigger and better/televised things.

"Solo Act" (Episode 1): After watching this I thought "This will be the first series that teenagers actually stay to 'watch' the credits," since each webisode's killer band plays them out of the scene.
Band: Newcomer Nico Stai

"The Douche" (Ep. 2): We are unnecessarily introduced to the douchery that has encompassed Hansen's career.
Band: The British indie rock band The Kooks

"Into Me" (Ep. 3): This was pretty funny, because of its awkwardness. Hunter is very much a Seth Cohen-type dork, who knows everything about a specific topic (Seth = Comics, Hunter = Music), but nothing about all.
Band: The American power band The Broken West

"Shoegazed" (Ep. 4): I didn't really like this one because it made girls seem like they dress to impress guys, when a majority of the time we're just trying to not look homeless next to all of the other girls in the bar. But I did like the line one of the girls spouted after seeing a hot guy from across the bar: "Woa! Major! Name and band please?" That's such a groupie slash musician-banger thing to say.
Band: The British rock band The Duke Spirit (which reminds me of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

"D-List" (Ep. 5): Chambers gets shut down in front of a couple of hot, vapid, fame-whoring chicks, and while that's pretty hilarious in general, it's nothing new from this actor. Must he always play the douche?
Band: American ectro band Passion Pit

"Two Bathrooms" (Ep. 6): They were trying to cross-cut bonding moments between Hunter+Syd and Deb+Callie, where they talked about romance while they were in the bathroom. Syd apparently laid down some serious knowledge that Hunter was devoid of, and the bitterly dumped Callie suggested that Deb was destined to hookup with Hunter. Oh and did I mention that the girls--and not the guys--were smoking pot in the bathroom. Yes, all very risque. But interesting? Not really.
Band: British indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs

I'd say just sit back and get musically schooled. You could actually skip the webisodes and just watch the performances. Enjoy!

WATCH the web episodes now!

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