For the first time, Vinyl actually roped me in. I liked watching the Nasty Bits turn around a pitiful label tryout by abandoning their Kinks cover in place of a snarling original number. I felt every bit of raw emotion that came out of the scene between Richie and Lester Grimes, the blues artist he used to manage. And, as a writer, I loved the rueful comedy that went on between Richie and the head of his PR department as they tried to find a positive spin on his decision to renege on the deal with Polygram. But for every peak on the show, there was an accompanying valley. Here are the lowest of those depressions.
1. Olivia Wilde’s acting
We’ve talked about this already, but it continues to pose a serious problem for Vinyl. Outside of one small, intimate scene between Devon and Richie in bed together back in the early days of their marriage, Wilde constantly looks like she’s trying so hard to wrench some genuine emotion out of her person. But when faced with talents like Bobby Cannavale and John Cameron Mitchell, she looks more often like she’s drowning. To see what I mean, point your DVRs to the early scene when she dramatically, defiantly swigs a bit of white wine, while she stares down her onscreen husband, and see if you can watch it without snickering.
2. Bobby Cannavale’s flashback mustache
The most terrifying thing to air on HBO since Joe Buck’s attempt at a talk show.
3. The generation gap
What’s worse than an hour-long drama constantly pounding its viewers over the head about The Importance Of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Shoehorning in a scene where members of the older generation hear some newfangled music and just don’t get it. Cue an actor playing DJ Kool Herc, cutting between old funk records as he lays the foundation for hip-hop, while two grey-haired gents bemoan his efforts while advising him "to learn how to play a guitar or something." Whatever, grandpa!
4. The terrifying re-enactment of an England Dan & John Ford Coley recording session
The mustaches. The terrible wigs. The denim. In one three-minute scene, the producers of Vinyl render the entire Blue Jean Committee saga of Documentary Now! completely irrelevant.
5. Joe Corso insists his lady friend can "fuck like a dolphin"
What does that even mean?! She chirps and squeaks and flops around while gasping for air? Is that what was going on when Nomi got it on with Zack in Showgirls? Am I not looking at the right adult websites?
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor toPaste. You can find more of his writing here;.