Z-Rock: Season 1

Z-Rock: Season 1
Trumped up in the promotional material as "a (kinda) true story," IFC original comedy series Z-Rock follows the formulaic exploits of Brooklyn trio Z02, a weepy post-grunge band moonlighting as children's entertainers. That Z02 are a real band, and that the hackneyed, hand-me-down Nickelback stylings of Paulie Z (guitar and vocals), David Z (bass) and Joey C (drums) may be some high-concept, Kaufman-esque hoodwink, may account for some of the show's excessive cheesiness but it's not enough to distinguish it from a slew of post-Curb experiments in televised docufiction. Season one's overarching plotline has Z02 grappling with whether or not to sign a record deal offered by Blues Traveler front-man John Popper. The catch, of course, is that Popper is more interested in the group's kiddie-band incarnation: the Z Brothers. Along the way, the boys butt heads with rivals Kidtastic, run afoul of music bigwig Harry "Fucking" Braunstein (comic Greg Giraldo) and cross paths with a flock of B- and C-list celebs (Dave Attell, Gilbert Gottfried and most prominently, Joan Rivers). There are enough jokes here, mostly at the expense of second-string rock royalty like Popper, Dee Snyder, Dave Navarro, the Spin Doctors' Chris Barron and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, but for the most part, Z-Rock muddles around in the same sort of creative mediocrity that plagues its titular, Ed Hardy-attired rockers. Besides buying into the myth that musicians can act (even if playing fictionalized versions of themselves), Z-Rock mostly rehashes jokes about blowjobs, band infighting, docile rock debauchery and the Z02/Z Brothers tension over the course of its ten half-hour episodes. The DVD special features cement the program's purpose as little more than a canvas for celebrity cameos, offering a "Behind the Mayhem" making-of that seems little more than promotional, an excessively shrill "Advice From Joan Rivers" featurette, a Z02 music video and some other behind-the-scenes bonuses. (Anchor Bay)