Last week on Young Rock, we traveled to the future and caught up with Dwayne Johnson on the campaign trail to be the next president of the United States. In order to show the American people that he’s not an out of touch Hollywood celebrity, he participates in a series of interviews talking about his time growing up. These tales of his adolescence also allow him to address some of the skeletons in his closet and the questionable activity he participated in.
In “On the Road Again” the presidential hopeful revisits his old high school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where the library is named in his honor. He then reflects on the hard financial times his family faced his freshman year and how he turned to shoplifting to ensure he had the trendy clothes to impress the ladies. He takes his crush on a date to watch his father wrestle but he soon finds out the setting isn’t as glamorous as Rocky had described.
Joseph Lee Anderson’s performance once again personifies the superstar in the twilight of his career. He spends more time regaling fans with stories of past accomplishments rather than attend to his responsibilities. Young Dewey can’t hide his shock and embarrassment when he finds the venue is an outdoor flea market.
However, once Rocky Johnson steps into that ring, he is immediately placed in his element and whether it’s a sold-out Madison Square Garden or a handful of spectators at a swap meet, his performance is so exhilarating. The back-and-forth shots switching between his various main event bouts show how lost he gets into his matches and the intensity he brings. His look of satisfaction after winning over his son’s date seals the entire scene.
Although it’s the shoplifting that leads to the flashback, it’s the parallels between a young Rock and his father that stand out. They both rely on hyperbole to hype themselves up and to project a certain image in order to impress. Who can’t relate to wanting to catch the eye of their crush and the nervousness of wanting a date to be perfect? It’s Dwayne’s understanding that he is his father’s son that makes him forgive his dad’s embellishments. Also, he’s willing to choose family over romance in this instance in a tender moment and he’s rewarded with his faith in his father with a great first date.
Ata’s subplot finds her working hard under a new client for their cleaning service business. Though the relationship has a rough start because of her client’s need for companionship, they become friends. Because Young Rock is written by the same people from Fresh Off the Boat, it’s hard not to see similarities.
Most of the time this works with regards to the humor and flashback period settings, but in this case, Ata’s new friendship is a rehash of Honey and Jessica’s with the same vibe – wealthy white woman helping minority woman learn about pop culture. At least Ata is inspired to seek the little joys in life and finds a clever and funny way to hide her non generic creamer from her son.
“On the Road Again” draws insightful parallels between Dwayne and his father through the lens of a first date that shows the importance of family.
Young Rock airs Tuesday nights on NBC.
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