Last week, high school young Rock was getting into all sorts of trouble. He was suspended for fighting a classmate and his mother found all the stuff he was stealing, including from one of her clients. The strong and admirable influence Ata had on her son made campaign Dwayne look for similar qualities in a potential running mate.
That transitions nicely into “My Day with Andre” as it begins with Johnson announcing his Vice-Presidential candidate, General Monica Jackson (Rosario Dawson). The gathered press is confused at the decision since Jackson endorsed his opponent causing Dwayne to share a story about how spending the day with The Eighth Wonder of the World as a child made him value unique people with a wildly different point of view.
Young Rock has done a good job recreating the likeness of various professional wrestlers, but this is the first episode where they dive deeper into who they are. André Roussimoff has always been an intriguing character and he’s been the subject of several biographical documentaries, books, and comics. The show and actor, Matthew Willig, capture the layered individual who is part gentle giant and part tortured soul. His imposing frame made him self-conscious and difficult to fit in. The levity and humor lighten the overall tone making it more sweet than bitter.
The events take place after “Forward Together” and Lia is planning a large battle royal despite a rival poaching her talent. The next on Greg Yao’s list is her own son-in-law. It’s fun to see the behind the scenes planning for a live wrestling show and the commentary from the athletes adds some smart aleck comedy.
Rocky’s flirtations with Yao seemed believable, but in the end, the series is about the importance of family. There’s a little sneaky and funny twist following Yao and the elder Johnson’s meeting but it is overshadowed by the more dramatic result of the battle royal which will surely affect the Maivia/Johnson family moving forward. You thought the Montreal Screwjob was heartless.
Meanwhile, Ata pursues her chance at fame and puts together an audition tape for Star Search. She quickly realizes the difficulty of standing out amongst the crowd and after some encouragement from her husband, decides to write an original song. It’s endearing how she drew inspiration for her song from an earlier conversation with Dewey and there’s a nice couple’s moment in the car when playing the song for Rocky. It also goes to show, no matter the era, there’s always an infatuation for stardom.
“My Day with Andre” turns an engaging personal experience between the Rock and André the Giant into a larger broader lesson of respecting and valuing those different from yourself.
Young Rock airs Tuesday nights on NBC.
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