On this week’s episode of Young Rock, titled “My Baby Only Drinks the Good Stuff,” presidential candidate Dwayne Johnson reflects on the importance of second chances by sharing another tale from his days as a 15-year-old making all the wrong decisions. The story dives into the aftermath of “Fine Ass Karen” being stood up by Johnson (in episode 5), but while trying to win her back, Karen asks to have dinner at Johnson’s house, which is a far cry from the rich home that Johnson supposedly has. Last week, Young Rock dabbled in the over-the-top style of comedy, and its story was lacking, while this week, the series shows its range with more subtle use of humour and more detailed storytelling. However, it does lack a certain spark that previous episodes have had.
The episode opened with present-day Johnson learning that he’s about to head into a hostile environment outside a Philly’s Prize Cheesesteaks van. We discover that the Philadelphia public is outraged due to Johnson ordering a cheesesteak, “protein style.” Although the snapshot of Johnson taking a big bite out of a breadless cheesesteak is amusing, the opening is arguably the weakest one thus far. It lacks the enthusiasm of Randall Park, and we don’t have the entertaining dynamic of Johnson and General Monica Jackson. It does, however, continue the theme of creating a comical PR disaster and fortunately gets to the flashback relatively quickly.
“My Baby Only Drinks the Good Stuff” does shine when it comes to how well-constructed the story is. Unlike last week’s episode, the creative team focuses more on the intricate details of storytelling. In Johnson’s quest to win back Karen, we focus on elements that ultimately set up a feel-good conclusion. From Rocky Johnson being adamant that he take his son and Gabe to school in his beloved Lincoln Continental, Ata’s constant concern with the family’s finances, and the first tease of football in young “Dewey’s” life. The set-ups are seamless and don’t feel forced, allowing them to beautifully tie back into the episode’s conclusion when discussing the life message of second chances.
Although the humour is dialled down, this episode still has a nice injection of comedy to not only keep you entertained but also enhance the story. The first football tease comes in the form of Johnson walking past the football field. It is accompanied by the visual of one coach after another trying to recruit him. However, instead of approaching him “normally,” the coaches hilariously use various pickup lines. Also, Joseph Lee Anderson’s consistently great portrayal of Rocky Johnson continues as the egotistical side of ‘The Soulman’ allows him to be a consistent source of comedy for this episode. From flexing for the creepy-looking dolls during cleaning duty to not allowing Gabe to sit while inside his Lincoln Continental, Anderson’s Rocky Johnson tickles your funny bone and eventually touches your heart.
The episode concludes with a lot of heartfelt moments that once again hit home another one of Young Rock’s life lessons. However, it also allows characters like Karen to showcase a more emotional side to powerfully highlight Johnson’s mistakes. But even with the meaningful conclusion, this particular Young Rock narrative doesn’t possess the same fun energy of some of the previous episodes. It is missing the iconic wrestling personalities that pop off the screen, and the creative team’s desire to lean towards a less in-your-face style of comedy does mean the energy levels of the characters are a little more toned down.
Overall, while there are a lot of positives in “My Baby Only Drinks the Good Stuff,” audiences have become accustomed to seeking a little more of a spectacle from Young Rock and, of course, Johnson in general. As a result, it’s possible this week’s episode will possibly fly under the radar when we reflect back on season one of Young Rock.
Young Rock is created by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Nahnatchka Khan, and it airs on Tuesdays on NBC.