Red Oaks (2014–2017)
User ReviewsReview this title
It's a feel-good show with likable characters and consistently engaging plot-lines that drag you in until your emotions are undoubtedly invested.
Notable mentions go to Oliver Cooper, who plays drug-dealing valet and lovable rogue 'Wheeler', and 'Nash', a tennis-pro and ace with the ladies, hilariously played by Ennis Esmer.
The cast was flawless with many names worthy of praise, however the stand-out is unquestionably Craig Roberts. Known widely for Richard Ayoade's Submarine, Roberts provides us with a neutral perspective of the chaos unfolding around him.
Ultimately, this is a show that Amazon can be thoroughly proud of, with overwhelmingly positive reviews and an equal number of cliff- hangers in the final episode of the season that I'm sure will leave many fans eagerly awaiting a season 2.
Strong first season and a definite must-watch. 8/10.
P.s - Craig Roberts bears an almost uncanny resemblance to Rob Schneider at times...or maybe it's just me.
It's a shame Amazon doesn't appear to promote it as much as it could. It probably struggles to define what to sell it on. The first episode leads you to think rehash of Caddyshack but its not that or a gross-out comedy. Then you might think its a laugh at the 'crazy 80s' show like the Goldbergs, its not that either. My own view is its a very well-observed, well-acted, humorous (occasionally lol) coming of age tale that happens to be set in the 1980s, but I guess difficult to fit all that on promotional material.
The writing is excellent at balancing comedy, character development and the occasional emotional, heart-felt moments. The cherry on top is the soundtrack and rediscovering forgotten gems of 80s music - Talk Talk anyone? OK if you're cynical you might say the characters are cliché and could be distilled down to; the every-man, the stoner genius, the spoilt girl, nice but dim girl, the eccentric foreigner, the hard-nosed business man etc etc. But clichés persist as they tend to exist and when then they're this well portrayed all can be forgiven.
Anyway, I think demographics can help decide whether you'll agree with me or not 1) if you're late 30s or older i.e. you can recall a childhood without mobile phones 2)you're the kinda person who once in a blue moon reflects on your early relationships, your university or first job choices - did you really make the right choices? and 3) you just like well-written comedy and enjoy spending some time getting to know and give a damn about likable characters then give this show a go.
Like any good hug, you'll want it to go on, so all fingers crossed for a 3rd series.
As David's mom, the hardly recognizable Jennifer Grey character has the potential to be absolutely hilarious! Also, Wheeler the valet is reason enough to watch and vote for this series on Amazon to keep going. As the stoner with a brain, set amongst the 'doofus' parking lot crowd, he will surely be front and center in this comedy going forward.
Not all pilots are tight, and some classic comedies started out with downright horrible ones (i.e. Seinfeld), but this one sets the stage for innumerable plot twists to support this season and beyond!
Check it out and vote for it to continue on Amazon Originals!
In fact I have already grown to like these characters so much, as a viewer I am now able to sit back, relax and go pretty much anywhere the storyteller chooses to take me. A rare gift given to the audience of a sit-com.
Soderberg has broken my heart so many times before, presenting such wonderful material aired for just a season with an unanswered cliff- hanger.
I am fairly sure that this show is populist enough to keep its legs under it. I narrowly survived the cancellation of K-Street after one amazing season, so lets just green light five season now, shall we?
And with this as the center of the story, we get to meet some funny and interesting characters. David's parents, well played by Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey, have gotten bored with each other and are splitting up. Ennis Essmer does a great job as Nash (short for Nassar] the head tennis pro and top notch seducer of the divorcees and widows at ROCC, who becomes something of a mentor to David. David's best buddy is Wheeler, a dope-head who dropped out of college from boredom, content to work as a valet and then bartender at the club till he finds himself smitten with the charms of Misty, a long legged lifeguard at RO. the funniest denizen of RO is comedy veteran Paul Reiser as Getty, the club president and owner of a Wall Street investment firm. Getty is an absolute arrogant prick who is used to getting his way and couldn't care less what the others may think of him. He's a poor kid who worked his way to the top and needless to say he's not thrilled with the prospect of his daughter ending up with an assistant tennis pro.
As in any series, some episodes are terrific, others are clunkers. Enjoyed it so far, probably enough dangling plot lines to take this through 4 seasons.
In my opinion, what elevates Red Oaks to classic status are the directors involved in the show. David Gordon Green, Hal Hartley and Amy Heckerling direct the bulk of the episodes, and their experience as some of the best indie directors from the 1990s is clearly seen in Red Oaks.
If you want lighthearted entertainment I highly recommend that you watch Red Oaks.
I cannot praise the acting and production of these three (?) series high enough. My only gripe is it only really lasted 2½ series. Having said that the ending worked well and wasn't an anti-climax.nor did it feel rushed.
The actors were all well cast, with some stars of the 80's and the accuracy of the the clothing and sets was 100%
I think the highest praise I can give this series is when I watched it, it was like I was back in the 80's watching life as it was!
I'm not opposed to lugs, stoners, or horny dudes. In fact, I think the tennis pro was the funniest character in the pilot. But all the girls seemed alike. Whoever wrote this doesn't know anything about women, in fact no scenes exist with just the women characters--they're all seen through the eyes of the guys. That would be fine if this were Entourage (which I enjoyed for the first seasons) but isn't this supposed to be David's story? If he's the lead why don't "Girlfriend" (no idea what her name is, does it even matter?) and Wheeler get the same weight? The only time Girlfriend is without David is when she's with the sleazy Photographer (who was funny) on the green and once in a scene during which she doesn't even speak-- we're just watching her butt through the POV of that same Photographer dude. Okay.
The only non-attractive, non-sexually available woman was David's mom, and she took on a traditionally masculine role in leering at a woman. (Even the Asian Doctor was just hanging out looking seductive in David's dad's hospital room in one shot, as if waiting for him to get better so she could jump his bones. Doesn't she have rounds or something?)
There is ONE hot guy, who is a lifeguard and he is immediately dismissed as a cretin with barely the IQ needed to speak his very few lines. He's a cipher that only exists as an obstacle in Wheeler's pursuit of the object of his desire. The interesting guys--the 3D characters who populate the show--are normal looking and entertaining (if not altogether original). It would have been compelling to see the women get the same attention. Instead we get boobs.
The best joke came when the photographer tool is talking about his job at the club and how it "lets me pursue my real passion" and the kid interrupts with, "Magic?" This was followed very closely by his dad saying that when it comes to grades a C is a Jewish F. The Indian tennis pro is really good as well as his stoner friend and both are funny. I like where they were going with the theme of trying to do something other than what everyone else does and what everyone else expects of you.
I'd watch this if it gets picked up. I panned The Cosmopolitans in another review but I don't know how we're supposed to vote on these.
I strongly suspect nepotism is at play here as surely this wouldn't get commissioned off it's own back. If I'm being honest, It's simply boring. Whilst watching I started to drift. It lacks the wit, sharpness and compassion of That 70s Show and is screaming out for an element of empathy for the audience to latch on to.
To reiterate, It's simply not good enough. I'd like to say more but there is nothing more to say.