‘Wayne’ Is the Righteous Rage We All Need Right Now
It’s no secret that pandemic life has increased our stress and diminished our emotional wellbeing. We’re broke, scared, anxious…and downright angry at times, and it’s hard under current restrictions to find an outlet to release those pent up emotions. Let’s face it, we all want to punch something or someone on some (or most) days, but our responsibility and logic step in and stop us just before we put that hole in the wall we’ll later have to patch.
It’s that unstable and uncontrollable landscape that makes “Wayne” the perfect escape. The bloody masterpiece is the perfect antidote for the seething rage we’re pretending not to feel.
The show, which Amazon Prime picked up after it was cancelled by YouTube Premium, offers up just one season so far, but what a season it is. From the opening scene, we get to live vicariously through the eyes of a fucked up 16-year-old Boston kid with a strong tendency to turn violent when he sees a wrong that needs righting, though he takes as many hits as he throws.
Wayne McCullough (Mark McKenna) is set up to fail in life and yet he somehow maintains a virtue most people have let slip away — he can’t lie, and he can’t sit by and watch when others are being victimized. Despite, and in spite of, his own horrendous circumstances, Wayne has an unshakeable handle on right and wrong. His methods of serving justice would land anyone else in state prison for life, but there’s something to him that draws empathy and compassion from authority figures. They feel for him, and know that all the brawls and destruction he leaves in his wake essentially come from a place of love.
Without giving too much away, the story basically begins with a crush on a foul-mouthed, equally messed up girl, his father’s death and a mission to retrieve a gold ‘79 Trans Am some dickhead stole from his father several years before.
He and Del (Ciara Bravo), the 15-year-old kleptomaniac who’s stolen his heart, set out on a journey from Boston to Florida on an old motorcycle, leaving the embers of broken homes and dreams in the rearview mirror. The intense and awkward pair make their way on not much more than a wing and a prayer, finding unexpected allies and enemies, and leaving plenty of broken bones along the road.
Each character introduced in the 10 episodes is whole and interesting, and often very weird. But, such is life. Right?
The story created by Shawn Simmons is beautiful in it’s brutality and full of life even when that life feels helpless. For every bloody beating and nose bitten off (you heard right), Simmons dishes up equal doses of love and loyalty, reminding us all of our humanity, excusing some of our anger. “Wayne” taps into a deep set angst and cathartically smashes our hearts with brilliant writing and character development. The show allows viewers the space to feel and to cheer on a good fight, and that’s something we all desperately need right now.
If you can stomach some seriously intense gore, the show will handsomely reward you with laughter and touching moments of genuine love without the cheese.