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Roadies

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Roadies TV Poster Image
Half-baked take on roadie life caters to more mature fans.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's a clear message that music is an art form and that musicianship has meaning. Other themes explore the tension between love and friendship, gainful employment and meaningful work, and artistic expression and corporate values.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The central characters come from wildly different backgrounds but manage to form a makeshift family on the road. With few exceptions, most younger characters are rooted in principle, while the older characters have made more calculated concessions. That said, all characters are flawed in some way, whether or not they realize it.

Violence

Slapstick visuals like a pie in the face, plus a character who pulls a gun and fires it, played for comedy.

Sex

Simulated sex with bare breasts and buttocks, plus simulated sex acts such as masturbation and oral sex -- with a microphone.

Language

Unbleeped language includes "f--k," "s--t," "piss," "damn," and "douche bag."

Consumerism

Bands like the Head and the Heart and Reignwolf make extended performance cameos; other bands like Pearl Jam, Taylor Swift, Lynrd Skynrd, and Tom Petty are mentioned by name; each episode also has a song of the day that includes the artist and song title printed on-screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking with occasional drunkenness; references to drug use; a main character is a recovering alcoholic with two years' sobriety.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Roadies follows members of the fictional Staton-House Band road crew on the ups and downs of a national tour. You'll hear a mix of great music highlighted via regular band performance cameos and an episodic song of the day that displays the artist and song title. But you'll also hear strong unbleeped language (including "f--k") and frank sexual talk (including descriptive terms like "come"). Sex is simulated with bare breasts and buttocks, and there's a semigraphic scene in which a character simulates masturbation and oral sex with a microphone. Characters also drink socially, though one who abstains is a recovering alcoholic.

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What's the story?

A motley crew of ROADIES on tour with the Staton-House Band has to roll with the punches when a bean-counting financial adviser (Rafe Spall) shows up to cut costs. Among them are tour manager Bill (Luke Wilson), production manager Shelli (Carla Gugino), sound engineer Donna (Keisha Castle-Hughes), electrician Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots), and her twin brother, Wesley (Colson Baker).

Is it any good?

If nothing else, Cameron Crowe's surprisingly shallow take on road life has one killer soundtrack, as we knew it would. But it also has some problems, among them two leads who lack palpable chemistry. This wouldn't necessarily matter -- platonic relationships can (and should) be equally compelling -- except for the fact that the script so desperately wants us to see them as an item, a plot development that, while it would give the series some much-needed direction, doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.

With Crowe at the creative helm, you might assume that Roadies would handle the lives of rock's unsung heroes with the same reverence that Almost Famous used for music journalists and the bands they followed. But instead of affecting and memorable television, you get an odd mash-up of workplace drama and romantic comedy, a bit like The Office with a much cooler wardrobe and a fraction of the laughs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how close Roadies gets to capturing the realities of life on the road. What are the pros and cons of working behind the scenes in the music business? Are there downsides to every dream job?

  • Does Roadies challenge any commonly held stereotypes about the people who make their living on the road, or does it merely reinforce the "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" mantra? Who seems the most authentic? Which characters surprised you?

  • What role does money play in the music business, and how accurately does Roadies reflect that? How does the business aspect of music affect the products we see and hear?

TV details

For kids who love music

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