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David steps aside at Red Oaks’ “The Wedding”

Ennis Esmer as Nash in "The Wedding"
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“The Wedding” is an odd episode because it puts David on the fringes, revealing nothing more about him that we already know — he’s a movie buff, he’s got the hots for Skye, Karen is a drag. But “The Wedding” pushed a few of the other characters further along, namely Nash and Getty. It’s a double edged sword — Nash and Getty are my two favorite characters at this point — but it also demonstrates how much Red Oaks doesn’t need its main character. Is it because David is a guy we’ve seen so many times before? The suburban kid with an artist’s soul who yearns for something more than he already has? Craig Roberts is an affable performer, I like watching him onscreen, but he hasn’t set me ablaze yet or given me a reason to really root for this kid to get out of North Jersey and into the idealized city. Granted, we’re only three episodes into Red Oaks, but “The Wedding” is pretty early in the series run to cast away its main character for an episode. All in all, it felt like a lower stakes episode than even the previous two, which is fine but at some point there needs to be something on the line.


The more I watch Red Oaks, the more I’ve enjoyed Paul Reiser as Getty. Since “The Wedding” did not have to focus much of its time on David and his affinity for Skye, it allowed for a different perspective on Getty. He’s becoming so much more of a human than just the guy who barks orders and demands his tennis pros be able to beat him or risk unemployment. For one, it’s odd to see a like Getty — rich, powerful — actually in love with his wife (Gina Gershon, who seems to have the lounging hot middle-aged wife on lock. See: Netflix’s Staten Island Summer). It’s become such standard operating procedure for a guy like Getty to hate the woman he’s obligated to stay married to. But, it was almost refreshing to see that they liked each other: joking about Gershon’s character’s eventual facelift, kissing each other when they parted ways. But the sweetest scene thus far has been Getty stopping to tell David that he used to caddy and do whatever other job necessary to get into the city. They may not have the same goals, but they come from the same place, even if the stars were different back then.

Getty is not the only character who feels deepened in this episode. Just as Getty becomes more of a human, Skye softens her edge a little bit too. She and David have a conversation that’s not completely clouded by her own desire to be dark and mysterious. I’m still not enamored with Skye, but her Holden Caulfield veneer cracked just a little bit in this episode, a necessary character development before she became totally insufferable. But more so than Skye, I much prefer Nash’s growth. In “Doubles,” Nash seemed unaware of the gulfs that existed between his status and that of the club members. But in “The Wedding,” that class difference is becoming abundantly clear. He may get invited to the wedding but he’s always going sit at the kids’ table. Ennis Esmer is wonderful as Nash, registering anger and disappointment expertly.

I’m officially uninterested in the Wheeler-Misty subplot, even though “The Wedding” gave their corner of the show the highest stakes of any of the plots going for it. Wheeler has decided the only way for a guy like him to bed a guy like Misty is to become super rich, in part because he sees himself in a wedding guest/drug dealer (The Knick’s Jacob Speight). Selling dimebags is small time — even if you’re supplier’s mom is hot — when coke-hungry club members are ready to have their money taken from them. But he feels so entirely separate from David’s orbit. The cliche is that Wheeler is the low-achieving comic relief to David’s everyman eventual-hero. But if anything they are passing acquaintances, two guys who are excited to see each other at a party (Wheeler didn’t know David got the gig during the pilot’s employees only soiree) but won’t necessarily call each other on a Saturday night to hang out. Wheeler is supposed to give another side of the club, but he and his affair with Misty are so dissociated with anything else in the plot that it’s hard for me to care about them.

Stray observation

  • He’s really a non entity but everything Richard Kind says makes me smile: “This isn’t the Western section! Then why are there saloon doors?”

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