Ordinary Joe


The first time I saw a commercial for this new NBC series. I said to myself, "This is going to be like This is Us" and my instincts were on the money about that. I just watched the pilot for this new NBC hour long drama about the road possibly taken that will definitely appeal to This is Us fans. The show opens at the 2011 graduation ceremony at Syracuse University, where we meet Joe, late for the ceremony who meets Amy, and confesses to her that he aspires to be the next Billy Joel. We then meet his on again off again girlfriend Jenny, who invites Joe to her parents' beach house. Joe's narration then introduces us to his BFF Eric and his mother and uncle, who have always wanted Joe to go to the police academy, in the tradition of his deceased war hero dad. The show then flashes forward and we are introduced to three different versions of Joe's life: Rock star Joe is living with Amy, a budding politician who he is trying to convince to have a baby; Nurse Joe is married to Jenny and the father of a handicapped child, though Joe and Jenny are on the verge of divorce; Cop Joe is introduced saving the life of a political candidate and Amy is his campaign manager and becomes involved with Joe. I think I got that right. Like This is Us, this show is going to require a scorecard to keep up with exactly what is going on with Rock Star Joe, Nurse Joe, and Cop Joe because the same events and characters flow in and out of each of Joe's life. There was actually a totally surreal scene in the pilot where Nurse Joe walks into his high school reunion and Rock star Joe is onstage performing a song he wrote for the reunion, though Rock star Joe is off camera. If I had a complaint about the premise, Rock star Joe's life seems awfully tame for a rock star but that could change. James Wolk works very hard to make all three Joes work, though I'm not really buying Rock Star Joe yet. Loved Elizabeth Lail as Jenny,. Charlie Barnett as Eric, and Adam Rodriguez as the slick politician, but it's a little too similar to This is Us to find a real audience and I will be impressed if it makes a full season on the air.

Just finished ep 2, which came off as trying to cover a little too much territory as we found the three Joes in the midst of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. As ep 2 closed, I'm finding Nurse Joe to be the most realistic life that we're being presented thus far. Felt his pain about getting up to that podium and reading his father's name. I was impressed that Rock Star Joe isn't going to get to meet his son instantly just because he wants to. Cop Joe seems to be headed toward resenting his father's shadow. Speaking of Joe's father, I really didn't think the flashbacks to Joe and his father added much to the proceedings. I understand the purpose, but this show is already challenging to follow without the flashbacks to Joe's childhood. And I'm pretty sure that Jenny going to law school is going to be the straw in the camel's back for Nurse Joe's marriage. James Wolk is working very hard at being credible in these three roles, but for some reason, as I watched this episode I kept picturing another actor who really could have been wonderful in all three of these roles. Jake Gyllenhaal would have been incredible in this show, but I'm going to keep watching anyway.

Well, ep 3 kept me interested enough in the show to want to keep watching, despite the fact that I'm finding one of the three lives depicted more compelling than the other two. The story of Nurse Joe is the one that is really keeping interested...his determine to fix his marriage is genuinely moving and it might finally be starting to work. It looks like Rock Joe's obsession might ruin his marriage as she has officially thrown her hat in the political ring and wants to be more than the wife of a rock star. Loved when Rock star Joe found himself on the phone with Rock Star Jane's husband. I love the way some elements of each of Joe's interlock and how the supporting characters have different jobs in each of Joe's life. For example, Rock Star Joe's Best friend Eric is his manager and is dating Jenny; in Nurse Joe's life, he's a gourmet chef who's dating Amy, and in Cop Joe's wife, he is a married pizza delivery guy waiting on the birth of his first child. Loved that moment in the hospital where Cop Joe is talking to DA Jenny and she gets a phone call from Nurse Joe and Christopher wishing her a happy birthday. There's a whole lot of suspension of disbelief required here and only one of the three lives (Nurse Joe) is really working forme, but I think I am going to keep watching for awhile.

Just finished ep 4 and Nurse Joe is still the only story that is keeping my attention. Rock star Joe is too self-absorbed and Cop Joe's heart doesn't seem to be in what he's doing. Like that their adding some dimensions to Adam Rodriguez' Congressman Diaz. Another thing crossed my mind while watching this episode. Since I really don't see this show lasting an entire season, I was wondering if the writers are allowed to write a proper finale for the show, will we find out that one of these lives is really the path Joe took and the other two unrealized dream/fantasies?

LOVED the big reveal in ep 5 that Joe's best friend, Eric is bisexual and I wondered why they waited until the fifth episode for the reveal...maybe because it officially makes him the most interesting character on the show and his character is not really where the focus is supposed to be. Charlie Barnett is doing exemplary work in this deceptively complex role. I have to say that I'm really starting to hate Rock Star Joe and Bobby Diaz, all three versions of him. Rock Star Joe is just obsessed with completely uprooting Chris' life, he's moving way too fast. He doesn't seem to care that Chris is happy and doesn't seem to care about the fact that Chris learning who he is might not be the best thing for Chris. Glad that Nurse Joe and Jenny were able to work things out so that Chris can be in Guys and Dolls...looking forward to that. Hating the fact that every word of Bobby's mouth seems to be a lie now and there was no justification for him having Rock Star Joe followed. The only thing about Cop Joe that's working for me is that it's the only life of the three where Jenny and Amy actually interact with each other.