Tuesday, November 03, 2015

TV Tuesday: Red Oaks

Many of my reviews of new TV shows the past few weeks have been focused on suspense, thrillers, and drama. So how about something more light and fun?

I have been watching Amazon Prime's new original comedy series Red Oaks on my own at lunchtime, and I am really enjoying it. Set in 1985 suburban New Jersey, the show features David Meyer (played by Craig Roberts), a college student at NYU who is spending his summer at home working as an Assistant Tennis Pro at the local country club, Red Oaks. Many of David's friends from high school also work at the club as parking attendants, lifeguards, etc. His girlfriend, Karen, works there in true 80's fashion as an aerobics instructor. The members of the club are from a different (wealthy) world, including club President Mr. Getty, played by Paul Reiser (from Mad About You and Married). Adding to the fabulous cast are David's parents, played by Jennifer Grey (from Dirty Dancing - my all-time favorite!) and Richard Kind (from Spin City), who is always hilarious.

Red Oaks manages to tackle some serious issues, while also being funny. David is ambivalent about the career his dad has chosen for him - accounting - when his real passion is videography and film, something his dad refers to as his hobby, even when he gets paying jobs in the field. Meanwhile, he and his girlfriend are drifting apart, though neither seems ready to admit that. This summer is something of a turning point for David and many of his friends, as they struggle on the brink of adulthood to figure out what they really want out of life. Meanwhile, David gets plenty of advice from his parents and various characters at the club, including Mr. Getty, whose gorgeous & rebellious daughter seems attracted to David (and vice-versa). One recent episode featured a Freaky Friday-like switch between David and his dad which was hilarious!

One of the fun things about this show is its 80's vibe - the clothing, the excess, the big hair. I was actually in college in 1985, so I am loving the nostalgic feel. Lest you think they overdid the 80's fashions, I actually wore outfits to aerobics classes almost identical to the ones David's girlfriend, Karen, wears on the show! Actually, I think they got the look spot-on: it's not everyone in neon or looking like Madonna, the way some shows and movies depict the 80's but more realistic. And the music! I am loving the music. I had "Love is Like Oxygen" in my head for days.

All in all, it's a fun, nostalgic romp, and I am thoroughly enjoying the ride. If you enjoyed John Hughes' movies in the 80's, you will love Red Oaks.

Red Oaks is available for free (and exclusively) on Amazon Prime.

What new shows are you enjoying?

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