Looking for a 80s throw-back show that won’t take you to the underworld or make you sleep with the light on? Look no further than the Amazon original series, Red Oaks.
Take Me Back To The 80s
You’ve got Jennifer Grey, star of the 1980s smash hit Dirty Dancing (“Nobody puts baby in the corner!”), 80s TV Dad and funnyman Paul Riser (My Two Dads; Mad About You), and the ever-popular Richard Kind (American Dad; Inside Out; Spin City). What more do you need? How about a cast of young stars and a plot line that makes you want to watch Caddyshack all over again?
It’s a coming-of-age story that actually makes sense without being overly gregarious – even with a body-swap episode that pays tribute to the body-swap movies of the 80s. Oaks does it with the right amount of panache and this could be due to the fact that 80s hit-mater Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Clueless) directed the episode.
The Perfect Country Club Setting
The series is set in 1985 suburban New Jersey as 20-year-old David Meyers (Craig Roberts of 21 Jump Street and Neighbors) takes a job as a tennis pro at a local country club to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. Of course, his parents (Grey and Kind) try to push and pull him into a future of stability and seriousness. Taking advice from older people who have been in his shoes, and others who are in shoes much like his own, it’s a story about David’s quest to “figure it all out”.
Though season one was really the stereotypic tip of the iceberg, season two went into deeper territories and realizations as well as expansions of the cast members. That makes is something that can resonate with everyone, making it a coming-of-age for more than just the 20-somethigns. Exploring deeper meaning-of-life concepts while still keeping the endless-summer vibe can be tricky, but Oaks pulls it off well. The montage usage keeps us smiling in true John Hughes fashion, and the romantic-comedy elements give us a break from the intensity of other shows out there right now.
The generation-X supporting cast as David’s and Skye’s parents and associates make this show a true gem, but the younger members delight as well, including Oliver Cooper’s Wheeler who balances the stoner-kid-looking-to-score with a depth and heart. Alexandra Socha’s Skye is the perfect mix of sophistication, mystery, and an ability to throw a monkey wrench into anyone’s romantic future.
Red Oaks takes away the mundane and gives you throwback gold. What starts as a coming-of-age tale for Myers ends up a coming-of-age for everyone, including the viewer. For that, it’s worth getting caught up and ready for the third and final season due this year.