5.0

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll Review: "Doctor Doctor"

(Episode 1.05)

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<i>Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll</i> Review: "Doctor Doctor"

Following Gigi’s announcement that the whole band would go through some serious therapy sessions in last week’s episode, I had some new-found hope for this show. What better setting to give the SDRR crew a little more depth than by laying them down, one by one, on the Doc’s couch? But alas, I’m afraid that we’re not getting any closer to learning something real about Johnny, Flash and co. The only member of the band who takes this whole therapy malarkey seriously is the one who suggested it in the first place: Gigi. In her first session with the neo-hippy, therapeutic shamanist (Griffin Dunne), she admits to acting tough on the outside, while being plagued by fear on the inside. Ava has only one thing on her mind, namely “the vagina on Steven Tyler’s face” and Flash can’t stop obsessing over his looks, constantly asking the Doc for reassurance that he looks no older than thirty. It was obvious that Johnny and The Assassins wouldn’t find just any regular psychiatrist, but what on earth made them decide to go with Doctor “The Egg and I” is beyond me. While Dunne is brilliant as ever in his role, his quirky techniques feel like yet another desperate attempt to make SDRR something that it is not: funny.

We already know that The Heathens/The Assassins are more fucked up than Aerosmith, Kings of Leon and Metallica combined, but we’re still not any closer to sussing out the real root of their individual problems. The Doc suggests that a band is similar to a family dynamic and in order to create a new bond, there are two key factors they all need to work on: communication and forgiveness. He believes that “a box of yesterday’s rain will heal today’s spiritual wound,” but Johnny’s not having any of it:

“I’m sorry, this sounds like some creeped out Grateful Dead bullshit to me”

Rehab agrees until he realizes that the Doc is able to prescribe drugs and herbal remedies— including “kick ass peyote buttons.” In order to get the healing journey started, the Doc speaks to each of the members individually. Gigi is ready to dig deep into her soul and even Bam Bam opens up about his issues with food and growing up with three dads—two of whom were alcoholic druggies, and the third was a cop who arrested his former two dads. Various members of the band and other musicians have described Johnny as an egomaniac, and he proves them all right by showing up to his therapy session wearing a t-shirt with a print of his own face on it. They briefly discuss his Jonah Complex before Johnny falls asleep on the couch mid-session. In an attempt to better the band’s trust and bonding issues, the Doc introduces an exercise referred to as “The Egg and I.” Six eggs meant to represent each individual band member are cradled in a lovingly prepared nest, in the centre of the Doc’s praxis space. The idea is for each person to pick up another person’s egg and carefully pass it around the circle before returning it back to its nest without breaking it. But even in this exercise, the band is incapable of leaving their egos at the door, complaining about the eggs’ differences in appearance.

Having failed this exercise miserably, the Doc moves on to a more musically focused practice, in which he asks Ava, Bam Bam and Rehab—“the less powerful of the tribe”—to express their feelings through music. Bam Bam shares his emotions through a drum solo titled “Dad,” Ava puts on a cringe-worthy show on roller skates, whilst playing the ukulele and Rehab….well, his chaotic bass performance is actually quite cool, but it’s the intense, slightly psychotic stare he directs at the Doc and the rest of the band that really makes it awkward. During their final therapy session, the Doc invites them all to “an open and clear conversation” where each member of the band gets their moment on the soapbox. Ava asks the band to vote for or against the ukulele, Bam Bam wants his concept of a “drum song” to be recognized and Johnny asks Flash for forgiveness for sleeping with his wife and, within no time, they’re all at each other’s throats again. At this point Ava steps in with a few wisdoms:

“This ain’t no democracy, Okay? This is a dictatorship. Always on the verge of a military coup—‘cause that’s how rock and roll bands work. That never-ending struggle—Mick vs. Keith, Joe vs. Steven, Johnny vs, Flash—it’s that struggle, that’s what makes the magic!”

Bam Bam tries to calm the situation by agreeing with the Doc that they all desperately need to change. After all, it seems to have worked for him, what with the new no sugar, no carbs diet. But when the pizza delivery boy blows his cover, the Doc finally loses his cool:

“I can’t take it. That’s it! I’m out! I mean you people, are the worst. You’re like a symphony of narcissism… You are all, truly, the most fucked up band in the history of rock and roll!”

And with that he walks out, leaving the band to celebrate their status as history’s most fucked up rock and roll band. Instead of trying to fix the unfixable, Johnny and Gigi decide to take their chosen family for what it is: a bunch of vain, egomaniacal, insecure assholes.

With a new sense of acceptance and determination, they make their way into the studio to play a song about as uninspired as this episode.

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