Last week on Young Rock, we received a college buddy action comedy. Dwayne’s experience working on campus checking emergency phones helps teach him the value of loyalty and never leaving anyone behind. He applies this lesson on the campaign trail when his running mate’s skeletons in her closet are revealed and the presidential hopeful receives pressure to replace her.
It seems as though the Rock can’t escape controversy. This time he angers the good people of Philadelphia and it is really affecting his polls. Who would have thought ordering a cheese steak protein style (with no roll) would cause such an uproar. It’s a weak and uninspiring way to begin the episode, but it leads to a story not too far from Philly when Dewey Johnson was a freshman in Bethlehem, PA.
Following the events of episode five, Dwayne is in the doghouse after standing up Karen. Drawing parallels to his son’s situation, Rocky is also in hot water with Ata when he was MIA during his child’s shoplifting and school issues.
“My Baby Only Drinks the Good Stuff” starts off slowly as it explains the Johnson family dire financial situation. It also ratchets up the tension between young Rock’s parents seeing that they’re losing their best client and Rocky and his easy-going spirit isn’t taking it as seriously as he should. He’s more interested in showing off his fancy car than finding ways to earn money.
Meanwhile, Dewey pleads for a second chance approaching Karen at home and school. There are some interesting tidbits about his crush and the whole twin gag is used to nice comedic effect and keeps him on his toes. Karen finally relents if she can come over for dinner with his family. She’s either parent meeting material or there’s no future for their relationship.
Dwayne is under a lot of stress since he doesn’t want his girlfriend to find out he’s poor. It’s so much that it makes him nauseous. Due to his size, he uses the faculty restroom to be more comfortable but gets into a heated argument with the football coach since he’s not supposed to be there. By the way, the flashback of him using the stalls in the student bathroom is equally awkward and hilarious.
The main theme of the episode is a person isn’t defined by their mistakes but how they respond to them. Rocky makes the sacrifice to sell his car to help raise money, which leads to your typical family sitcom feelings moment. Despite all his attempts, doubling down, and finally telling the truth, Dewey is unable to smooth things over with Karen. The scene along with Bradley Constant’s acting make you really feel the remorse and disappointment.
Young Rock throws the unexpected curveball with Coach Swick. The catcalling scene sets up the coach to be a good guy by saving Dwayne from the assistant coaches from harassing him. The whole inclusion of a play on catcalling is a failed, creepy attempt at humor and seems inappropriate and even tone-deaf considering today’s climate.
Despite that, the episode flips the script by having the argument in the bathroom be the mistake Dwayne responds to rather than all the relationship drama. It shows a moment with a high school young Rock taking responsibility and finding an admirable way to resolve his problems the first time without any of the hijinks.
“My Baby Only Drinks the Good Stuff” overcomes a slow and uninteresting start with improved story and jokes leading to a surprising origin story of how Dwayne got into football.
Young Rock airs Tuesday nights on NBC.
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