Tony Soprano has sung his swan song and people were wondering what will give them that HBO fix now that the mob crew is no longer a factor on the network. Well, they didn’t have to guess for long. Quickly on the heels of The Soprano’s big series finale Sunday night followed a new show that will be causing waves (excuse the pun).
“John From Cincinnati” is about a guy whose name really isn’t John and he doesn’t come from Cincinnati. In fact, nobody knows where he comes from or who he is. He just popped on the beach one day exclaiming “Mitch Yost Must Return!”
And, who is Mitch Yost? He is the aging patriarch of one of the most dysfunctional families to come along since Archie and Edith spawned Gloria. However, this family is set in Imperial Beach, California and loves to hang 10. One of my favorite actors, Bruce Greenwood, stars as the aging, once great surfer, Mitch. He is father to Butchie Yost (Brian Van Holt), who is a drugged-out, used up ex-superstar surfer always looking for the next con. Mitch is also grandfather to Shaun Yost (Greyson Fletcher), an aspiring surfer with great potential. Mitch doesn’t want his grandson having anything to do with surfing, but grandma Cissy Yost, played by the still beautiful Rebecca De Mornay, pushes to have her grandson be the next great Yost surfing pro. Mitch simply doesn’t want him to end up like his father Butchie.
I just realized how old I am getting when Bruce and Rebecca are now playing grandparents to a young teenage boy.
John, portrayed by Austin Nichols (“Surface” & “The Day After Tomorrow”), just pops in from out of nowhere and utters unconnected sentences like “There are things I know, there are things I don’t know!” He appears on the surface to be this half-wit, but there is an undercurrent to his character that makes the audience realize that he is not just some idiot in search of an idea. He has a purpose and it is all tied in somehow with the Yost clan.
In the pilot episode, as John just appears on the beach one early morning and Mitch is out rippin for old-time sake, he meets up with John as he comes to shore, exchanges a few words and the next thing Mitch knows he is levitating about a foot off the ground. He thinks he is having a brain tumor and imagining it until a few hours later in a heated discussion with his son Butchie, he does it again and Butchie freaks out. Mitch looks at his son and says something like, “Well, I guess this rules out a brain tumor!” Pure surfer vibe – you gotta love it.
“John From Cincinnati” has a lot of potential and with a supporting cast like Ed O’Neil (“Married With Children”), Luis GuzmÃ¡n, Luke Perry and Willie Garson it’s off to a good start.
Is it SF, dramedy or just one of those whacky HBO mixes of everything? The answer is Yes, which is why I’ll be watching it just to see where the writers plan on going with it.
Based on the pilot episode this week I will give “John From Cincinnati” a wary 3 on the Uncle Sam scale of 0 to 5 Stars. As my old surfer buddies use to say back in the day — let’s hope this one can carve and stay on point.