Tuesday, June 19, 2007

John from Cincinnati (or possibly Uranus)

NOTE: There may be SPOILERS here (as there are in pretty much all my posts. This is a recap site, after all). If you love this show and haven't seen the second episode yet, you should turn off your computer and go see your DVR.

There’s this new show on HBO: John from Cincinnati. It’s supposed to be the heir apparent to Deadwood, a “surf noir,” as it were, written and produced by David Milch. It’s about this completely dysfunctional family of surfing prodigies in SoCal: Mitch, the grandfather, injured his knee a million years ago and has allowed his subsequent bitterness to taint his whole life (plus he has begun to levitate); Butchie, the son – another brilliant surfer – ruined his own career by a smack addiction; and Shaun, the grandson, is potentially the most talented of the three … and by “talented” I mean with regard to surfing, not acting. There’s also a big cast of additional weirdo characters, including Rebecca DeMornay as the tough-on-the-outside grandmother, Luke Perry as someone shady, a Greek chorus over at the fleabag motel Butchie lives in, Al Bundy as a slightly demented ex-cop and the titular John who wears magic pants and only repeats back what people say to him first.

I’ve watched the first two episodes and, I gotta tell ya, I am supremely ambivalent about it. I find it difficult to identify with any of the characters (although Butchie has some small charm to him). The story is unbelievably nonsensical (and not in a this-looks-to-be-heading-somewhere-like-Twin Peaks way) and yet, at the same time, manages to be unsuspenseful: I could not have been less surprised when Shaun awakened from his coma, such event having been completely telegraphed in the previous episode. I have to scoff at the idea that any of these reprobates would be at all nice to a guy as bizarre as John. And, seriously, can someone explain to me what’s with the nasty focus on defecation? Does Milch have toilet-training issues or what?


  1. Love the tie: Uranus and toilet training. I'm with you, John from Cincinnati should go away.

  2. Right on, surfergrrrl! I'm so over JfC. BTW, the girl who works in the surf shop, Kai, is an actual pro surfergirl her own self. That's cool, I guess, getting real surfers to play surfers on t.v. Milch might have wanted to spring for some acting classes too, tho'.