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    Friday, February 26, 2021

    Smark TV: A Young Dwayne Romantico On Blast In Young Rock Episode 2

    It's Migz Llado checking in, and we're continuing our coverage of Young Rock by delving into its second episode, "On The Road Again."

    From my last review, I enjoyed the premise and the format of the show while also pointing out how confusing the sudden jump in timelines was. Surprisingly, this episode fixes that issue by focusing on a specific time and instance in Dwayne's life—his high school dating years.

    Before all that, let me just point out that Randall Park's segments in this episode were very charming. It's the little nuances, expressions, and side comments he makes that were very funny to me and had me grinning and chuckling with delight. (I found Sandy, the character who was on the receiving end of Park's taunts, hilarious!) With the show opening once again with Dwayne's tell-all interview (this time at the Dwayne Johnson Library), the actual episode's segues were very fluid. 

    Wrestling fans will be happy to know that two big names were featured in this episode as Dwayne discussed how big his father was in the 1980s. We get treated to tales of Rocky Johnson's matches against Ric Flair (1982 in Eugene, Oregon) and Rowdy Roddy Piper (1984 in Landover, Maryland), so as far as wrestling appearances go, these callbacks go a long way towards getting more attention on the show from fans of the squared circle.

    The majority of the episode focused on Dwayne trying to land a date with his classmate, "Fine Ass" Karen, as he grapples with his family's financial struggles. Rocky Johnson was portrayed as your typical past-his-prime wrestling star who still believed in his mind that he was still a big draw despite only being booked in small flea market shows and earning the small bucks. On the other hand, Ata Johnson was seen in a more relatable light—struggling to handle the family's finances and taking on a blue-collar job to make ends meet.

    Rocky Johnson's delusions about still being a big star in the industry despite his age is a familiar trope. His exaggerations in his stories weren't really on the cringe levels although the mailman scene proved that he didn't really care what others thought. He still believed himself to be a star. In a sense, it's quite sad to see the Soul Man desperately clinging to his stardom, even when he was no longer on the same level as Ric Flair or Roddy Piper, who were still headliners towards the late '80s.

    As a character, he's not really as obsessed with keeping his shining star, but it's more of him trying to look like a hero to his son. Whenever he dishes out his advice and stories, it's mostly always for his son's admiration *insert "I did it for The Rock" meme here*. In fact, the whole premise feels like it's "things my father taught me" and maybe that's the real reason he's so hung up on his fame—because he wants to be the father that his son is so proud of.

    On the other hand, Ata's struggles to help control the family budget ended up with her working for a rich woman. Hearing her boss nag about first-world things while she is worried about putting food on the table is something that all of us can relate to. At the end of the day, she was still apologetic for the little outburst and that was a true highlight of her character. She wasn't perfect, but she recognized where she went wrong after looking into herself. That makes her human. Don't we all wish to be like Ata in our everyday lives?

    Meanwhile, Dwayne's pretend persona as "Tomas" was the source of most of the comedy this week. As he was trying to impress his high school crush, he subtly crossed into darker themes. Sure, it's comedy at its finest, but seeing him lying and stealing just to catch Karen's attention made me want to ask him why he's even bothering with this girl whose whims he won't be able to sustain. (Editor's note: He was a teenager who didn't know any better. That's why.) Towards the end, though, he was forced to make the choice of letting his dream girl go or disappointing his father. Obviously, he still picks his father and from there, you can see just how much The Great One loves his family.

    Young Rock is shaping up to become a great feel-good dramedy for the family and, while it doesn't really break new ground, the execution is very well done, and the wrestling references will make any fan happy. At the core of it all, the show is about family, and Dwayne's family definitely has an interesting story to tell.

    My only big gripe with the episode was how it ended. Sure, the epilogue was funny, but I was left wanting more. It felt like a big scene that would lead to something, but instead, all we got was the credits. Maybe it was there just to insert the "Wrestling is not fake" line, but I thought it would've been better done in a different episode. Perhaps, we'll see the repercussions of the epilogue next week.

    Episode Grade: B+

    Screencaps taken from Young Rock


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your resident Young Rock reviewer here at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) Instagramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz), and streaming videogames on Twitch (@the_migz) while he pursues his musical career via his YouTube channel (Migz Llado) and courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxGarageRock). You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE 2K (or any PS4) skills.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark TV: A Young Dwayne Romantico On Blast In Young Rock Episode 2 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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