Updated: May 18, 2019
Released on January 16th, the YouTube original was advertised as a 16-year-old Dirty Harry; and they weren’t wrong. The protagonist is a fearless, tender-hearted hot-head with an unfaltering moral compass that goes on a very bloody and action-packed coming-of-age adventure with his new friend (and love interest), Del. The story follows the duo from Massachusetts to Florida on a mission to retrieve a Trans-Am that was stolen from Wayne’s father; so, get ready for some unforgiving, thick-ass Boston accents.
Despite good critical and audience reception, absolutely no one I know is talking about Wayne. It got %100 on the Tomatometer, a 3.5/5 from Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall, and an A- from IndieWire’s Ben Travers; and after watching the entire first season, I agree with them, it’s gold. The teaser/cold open leaves much to be desired, but that’s exactly the point; to peak your curiosity.
This first few minutes capture the calm chaos of Wayne’s world beautifully; the thing is you don’t find that out until you watch the show. If you were left wondering “why?”, Wayne might be for you. If you’re not convinced, here’s 5 reasons you should watch Wayne.
Chivalry is NOT dead
Wayne is more than just blood and violence; it’s also charming and heart-warming for those who aren’t fans of graphic brutality. Wayne is the ultimate, sadistic gentleman. There isn’t anything he won’t do to defend a woman in need, including putting a bike lock around a guy’s neck and locking him to a rack while he beats the shit out of his ride. And that’s just for strangers. When it comes to his girl Del, Wayne will do much, much more I don’t want to tell you about here to avoid spoilers. Let’s just say he’s crazy enough to bite a guy’s nose off for her.
Wayne doesn’t just fight for Del, he goes after her; He constantly goes after the woman he loves whether the scuffle was his or her fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a fella doesn’t deserve to be chased too; Del actually goes after Wayne several times. But I can’t help but swoon when I see a tough guy (male, female, or non-binary) put his pride aside in the name of love. Of course, Wayne and Del don’t get it right from the get-go. Like any good adventure story, they meet eccentric and interesting characters along the way that help them reach essential realizations and, consequently, take the correct courses of action, like when Wayne wins Del back John Travolta style.
It’s the perfect combination of sour and sweet
Think of Wayne as a human Sour Patch Kid intent on righting the world’s wrongs; in every episode I laughed, turned away in horror, and enthusiastically exclaimed “aww.” It covers all the emotional bases without getting cheesy and makes creative use of the stereotypes and clichés it does embrace. The thing is, Wayne doesn’t do anything without good reason. Of course, he takes things way further than any sane person would (we wouldn’t care about him if he didn’t), but the bottom line is he’s out to defend the defenseless.
The characters attitudes and personalities match the shows almost 300-style gore. These Brockton natives are foul-mouthed, street-smart brawlers in every sense of the word preferring violence to communication. But behind every insult and dismissive word is a painfully honest face expressing the character’s true feelings. Even the person you believe to be the biggest villain has a soft spot and everybody knows that what makes the most compelling villain is a smidge of humanity.
Some characters and plot points of the show are predictable; but as film theorists, scholars, and critics have maintained, a certain amount of predictability is essential in the success of an entertainment text that strives for mass appeal. Of course, originality is just as if not more important to maintain the audience’s attention and respect. Wayne is formulaic enough to not frustrate viewers, and unique enough to keep them interested. Yes, coming-of-age revenge stories have been told, but not quite like this; if the plot doesn’t manage to catch you off guard, the characters will.
The music is red-hot
Including the likes of the Misfits and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wayne’s soundtrack is off the charts; half the fun of the show is watching Wayne hulk out to bitchin music. It’s no secret that music goes a long way in heightening viewer experience, but rarely is music matched to the subject so well. Here, let me show you.
The dope-ass theme song is taken from Wolfmother’s “Apple Tree”
Here’s one of Wayne’s final showdowns to the sound of Sleigh Bells’ "True Shred Guitar"
And if rock isn’t for you, there’s even a fight to Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles;" that one song you definitely know from White Girls.
Promising new comers and solid supporting actors with established careers
Wayne is played by promising Irish 23-year-old actor Mark Mckenna. With only five acting credits on IMDB Mckenna doesn’t seem to have been in much; John Carney’s Sing Street (2016) and Julius Avery’s Overlord (2018) seem to be his biggest projects. However, if Wayne is any indication, McKenna has much more to come. He portrays the character of Wayne perfectly; so perfect, in fact, he has the potential of becoming a Cary Grant or Marilyn Monroe, inseparable from their on-screen personas.
Twenty-two-year-old American actor Ciara Bravo plays Del and is just as good as McKenna at bringing her character to life. Bravo’s acting career has been a bit more extensive than McKenna’s with 27 acting credits and a decently prominent role in Disney’s Big Time Rush franchise. She is the perfect Bonnie to McKenna's Clyde; both actors easily pull off being bad-asses and have amazing chemistry. That is not to say Del needs anyone to take care of her. The truth is Wayne and Del take care of each other.
There’s also a solid set of established actors in the mix providing the show with a bit more legitimacy, for those perhaps skeptical about unfamiliar actors. Known for his voiceover work, Stephen Kearin plays the compelling Sergeant Stephen Geller. I never knew goofy and badass could coexist in such a perfect and hilarious manner. Geller's character begins closer to goofy, but as the show progresses, he slowly starts revealing not only his competence, but also fearlessness and, eventually, insane fighting skills.
Veteran actor Dean Winters plays the role of Del’s father; you may know him as the guy that plays Mayhem in all those Allstate commercials. Known for his roles in Chad Stahelski’s John Wick (2014), Richard LaGravenese’s P.S. I Love You (2007), Tina Fey’s 30 Rock (2006-2012), and Dick Wolf’s Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit (1999-2019), Winter has had prominent roles since the 90s. His character in Wayne is arguably one of the most transformative both in terms of character development and what the viewer gradually discovers about why he is the way he is.
Del’s father and Sergeant Geller are thus characters that throw your expectations for a loop; in fact, some of the funniest moments are brought to us by Geller, Del’s father, and his goon twin sons.
The most recognizable actor is arguably Mike O’Malley who plays principal Cole. A Boston native, O’Malley is perfect for the role of the seemingly pathetic and helpless principal of Hagler High School. Hagler High is portrayed as a rough school that is rampant with low-life bullies and requires metal detectors. Upon being introduced to principal Cole, the impression we get is that he’s in way over his head; the school and students are out of control. Nonetheless, through is initial conversation with Wayne, it is also immediately obvious that principal Cole truly cares about his job. Like Geller and Del’s father, principal Cole goes through a transformation of his own while on a quest to help Wayne; however, it is not as surprising as theirs.
With the help of Wayne’s homeboy and fellow student, Orlando (Joshua J. Williams), principal
Cole is able to find motivation, change his pessimistic attitude, and get closer to helping Wayne and, eventually (we assume), Hagler High. Therefore, it is not surprising that aside from the sentiment provided by Wayne’s and Del’s individual and combined stories, much of the show’s heart comes from principal Cole and Orlando.
Wayne is the non-super, non-rich vigilante we all wish we could be
Before I found out the show was written by the writers of Deadpool, it was obvious from the combined inclusion of vigilante-style justice, violence, dark humor, heart, and excessive blood. What these writers have truly done is create a more realistic vigilante we can all relate to. Interestingly enough, the show and its protagonist share a name with one of the most recognizable vigilantes to have graced American pop culture: Bruce Wayne, Batman himself. Batman is an especially dope vigilante because he does not have super powers. However, he is a genius billionaire which allows him to become stronger and more deadly than arguably any human being. Wayne is neither super, nor rich and, while he is not stupid, he’s also no genius. All Wayne has is fearlessness, an unfaltering moral compass, and good heart which he always goes too far to appease. He’s also a terrible liar and practically impervious to sarcasm, something Del helps him with during their time together.
In the end, you’ll never know if it’s for you unless you give the pilot a shot. Another bonus of Wayne is that the show doesn’t take long to get going. Even Emmy-award-winning shows sometimes take a while to hook an audience; personally, it took me a few episodes before I became obsessed with Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad (2008-2013). But that’s not the case with Wayne; everything you need to get hooked is in the first episode. Plus, if Breaking Bad taught us anything, it’s that everyone loves an underdog. So, what hell? Click below; give it a shot and let us know what you think.
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