Chris plays himself as a low-key, nebbishy rock star fumbling sincerely with mundane neighborhood & bizarre rock god situations, with the help but more often, hindrance of his band & ... See full summary »
Chris plays himself as a low-key, nebbishy rock star fumbling sincerely with mundane neighborhood & bizarre rock god situations, with the help but more often, hindrance of his band & manager/ex-girlfriend (Kristine Dattilo). His TV band includes 3 of his real long-time back-ups (Hershel Yatovitz, Rolly Salley & his droll drummer Kenney Dale Johnson. Frequent music biz guest stars play themselves and jam with sharply-dressed nice guy Chris, such as Trisha Yearwood and Billie Joe Armstrong. Written by
The character of Mona is based on a real woman at the Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco known as "Dolphina". In the 1930s, a magician worked the joint and rigged up a series of mirrors that would project an image of anyone who was lying on a rotating table in the basement up into the fish tank located behind the bar. See more »
I see this on Channel 4 ( UK terrestrial ) where it goes out at about 4.00 a.m and they have the diabolical policy of putting out one episode every night of the week ( two on one ) every week until they run out. Having watched one episode tentatively for lack of anything else to watch, I was intrigued and went to it a second time. Now I am hooked and have to see every episode! It is similar to "Seinfeld" in that a real person is turned into a character and surrounded by actors with guest spots by other people playing themselves. Unlike Seinfeld there is no continuing plot line. But the big difference is that the production quality is much higher, it is shot on location and the stories are within the frame of reality rather than being off-the-scale ( such as when Seinfeld mugs an old lady for a bagel ).
Unfortunately, most of the guest stars are a complete mystery to an English viewer. Even that English one ( Gavin Rossdale ). Who the hell is Bob Cole? And Isaaks songs, although technically good are for the most part suicidally miserable. So I have taken to turning off the sound when he's at it. On the other hand, the interpolation of about three musical spots per episode works very well and the songs usually relate thematically to the plot as well as the performances playing a part in the story. It has to be said that almost no one in the UK has heard of Chris Isaaks ( I see he was on Top of The Pops twice in nine years ) and his kind of music has to be a niche appeal product, mainly, I suspect, for grannies and gays. He is, after all, as the theme tune states, the original "American Boy". And those jackets! Even in one episode getting a heckle from his mother!
That aside, the show is great, being at times truly hilarious. I especially like Jed Rees ( who, if I am not mistaken, was the lead alien in "Galaxy Quest", although I have not checked that, he sure looks like him ). Chris Isaak is great acting a version of himself and the chemistry with Kirsty Dattilo as his manager, intimate but non-sexual, is the back-bone of the scenario and totally believable. Ultimately, I suppose, it is the character "Yola" that drew me into the series: vapid and a bit of a blonde but cute and lovable. She also happens to be gorgeous from top to toe! My favourite episodes so far have been the one where they crash on a remote farm and the one where Chris competes for the affections of a woman with another woman and they both lose out to the "boring" guy dumped by Yola!
One thing I don't totally understand. Is the woman modelling the fish-tank supposed to be real or only in his head or are we not supposed to know? I think she poses an interesting "All American Girl" counterpoint to the Isaak style, but ultimately those scenes actually clutter the story unnecessarily and it might be better without them.
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