Amazon Originals: Red Oaks Reviewed

David (Craig Roberts) with girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly)
David (Craig Roberts) with girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly)

Of the four pilots I’ve watched so far from Amazon Original’s pilot season, Red Oaks sits out among the front of the pack for it’s witty coming-of-age story-telling set in the 1980’s.

Clark Gregg pretty much got it right when he said on twitter “If Dirty Dancing and Caddyshack had a baby, it’d be the awesome Red Oaks” Of course he’s got a bit more invested in the series than most with his wife Jennifer Grey, she of Dirty Dancing fame, being one of the stars.

So we have 20 year old David (Craig Roberts) who is spending his summer vacation avoiding having to work with his dad Sam (Richard Kind) who also happens to want David to one day become an accountant like him. The opening scene between father and son set up the coming-of-age story-line nicely when Sam has a near fatal heart attack and lets slip some hard truths about his unhappy marriage to Davids mother Judy (Jennifer Grey) leaving David unsure about what path he wants to take in life.

Working as an assistant tennis pro under the guidance of Nash (Ennis Esmer) David quickly learns that what he has now may not be want he wants later on in life.  His girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly) is edging for them to move in together, his best friend Wheeler (Oliver Cooper) is a pop-culture obsessed stoner who valets at the same country club.

There’s some great character set-up to be explored if this pilot is moved to series by Amazon especially that of Country Club owner Getty, played by Paul Reiser who may or may not turn out to be the father figure David may need in this stage of his life.

Red Oaks is a little bit Wonder Years and a little bit The Goldbergs yet Red Oaks has enough potential to stand on it’s own two feet. Created by Joe Gangemi (Stonehearst Asylum) and Gregory Jacobs (Criminal), Red Oaks boasts Academy Award-winning Steven Soderbergh as an executive producer and David Gordon Green (George Washington, Pineapple Express) as the pilot’s director.

Watch Red Oaks pilot episode here and if you like it, make sure you vote to have this moved to series!