I’d like to imagine that the roach we see crawling around the jail cell at the beginning of this week’s episode of Vinyl is something like the rat that pops up at the very end of The Departed: a not-so-subtle reminder that we’re in the company of some pretty despicable people. Alas, I think this show reveres these knotheads just a little too much. Particularly the ones that are making the songs that made you cry and the songs that saved your life. Even if that song is some silly disco pastiche that clears a dancefloor. This one’s for you, Indigo.
Making light of the trials that many former and current drug addicts are going through is never a good thing. But I don’t think Vinyl’s portrayal of such a thing is any better. There’s plenty of truth in watching someone look like they’re coming out of their skin with cravings for a hit. When it’s Bobby Cannavale overacting his precious little heart out, right down to scratching at his gums… that’s when the involuntary laughing starts.
What would a show about rock music set in the ‘70s be without a little ass-kissing to one of the biggest artists in the game who got his start in that decade? It took them nine episodes, but they found a way to drop to their knees and declare The Boss as a soulful throwback and an “approachable Dylan.” Be still our hungry little hearts.
Apparently there are bats in the Chelsea Hotel. Bats that like to fly around apartments in the daytime and spook lovelorn British photographers. Who knew? I’ll be spending the next little while trying to piece together the symbolism involved in this little scenario and enjoying the sight of Cannavale swinging around a racquetball racket with such abandon. So that’s how he stays in such good shape.
We had to wait a whole two weeks before we got another triad on the show. I was starting to think that the writers had forgotten about the laws of rock ‘n’ roll excess. Well, we got a nice smattering of it tonight as we watched Jamie and the two guitar players for the Nasty Bits getting it on. Well, maybe you were watching. I was doubled over in laughter when Jamie and Kip both gave the other guitar player those smoky-eyed come hither glances.
When it finally dawns on ol’ Zak that it was Richie who took their $90,000 and gambled it away, that’s when the fists started flying! Pow! Down goes Finestra! Worst. MMA. Fight. Ever. This must be heaven on Earth for Ray Romano. In nine short weeks, he’s been snorting blow, having threesomes, and throwing punches like a ‘roided up welterweight. Far cry from Everybody Loves Raymond, unless there was an episode I missed where Ray and Robert did key bumps and tag-teamed Debra. I’ll just let you shudder your way through that thought for the next week.
I just learned about goosebump walkaway this week as I tried to get caught up on New Girl. The idea is to say that one great line to a person, and then get moving—leaving us all with goose flesh. Unfortunately, the attempt here was a tearful confession of murder by ol’ Richie and his accompanying relapse into drugs that was enough to leave Devon in tears, and apparently ready to forgive her ne’er-do-well hubbie. But, whoosh… too late, girlie. Richie’s gotta step. The promised land awaits. And a tying up of loose ends that will leave us all smiling and rocking out next week to the tune of the Nasty Bits’ Greatest Hits.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can find more of his writing here.