While compared to The End of The F***ing World, Wayne proves itself to be more than a distant, working class, American cousin.
|Genre||Comedy, Drama, Young Adult|
|Good If You Like||Vulgar Teenagers Who Come From Dysfunctional Backgrounds|
Supporting Characters Who Grow On You
The End of the F***ing World
|Isn’t For You If You||Don’t Excuse Bad Behavior Due To Someone’s Background or Upbringing|
Are Expecting A Hilarious Comedy
|Wayne Sr.||Ray McKinnon|
|Del (Delilah)||Ciara Bravo|
|Sgt. Geller||Stephen Kearin|
|Tom Cole||Mike O’Malley|
|Orlando||Joshua J. Williams|
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16-year-old Wayne, from Brockton, Massachusetts is described in varying ways. Some would call him a menace or a psychopath. Others may refer to him as kind, a person with a slightly warped sense of justice, or someone who just needs someone to break through to him. The reason for the stark contrast is because Wayne operates by trying to punish people who hurt the ones he cares about. Now, hurt in what way? Well, let’s say the boy was willing to set his own home on fire, with his dead father in it. What do you think he’d be willing to do to a stranger?
But, noting his dead father, that is the catalyst for Wayne’s journey. Before his dad died, who he was close to, by the way, he mentioned a car he wanted Wayne to have that was taken when Wayne’s mom, Maureen, left him, his older brother, and Wayne’s father 11 years ago. The car is now assumed to be in Florida so with Wayne having nothing in Brockton, he heads down south. However, he doesn’t take this journey alone. A young girl, Del, full name Delilah, comes with Wayne despite her only knowing him maybe a few days.
This triggers other people joining their journey, but not necessarily in support of Wayne. Two cops, Jay and Sgt. Geller, go after Wayne for he committed arson and Del’s father, Bobby, goes after him as well for he accuses Wayne of kidnapping Del. Lastly, there is Wayne’s high school principal, Tom Cole, who is pushed to do something by the closest thing to a friend Wayne has, this kid named Orlando – who pays Wayne to be his bodyguard.
Together, they all head down to Florida and during this journey, which has blood, scandal, and lots of vulgarity, they come to know Wayne, and themselves, more.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Will we meet Wayne’s older brother?
- Did Maureen have any family in Brockton? Did they ever check on Wayne or know about him?
Wayne & Del
What McKenna gives us with Wayne is a pitbull. One which has seemingly given up on life yet, any time shown a bit of kindness, you seem him light up again. It’s very endearing and makes watching McKenna give you the violence that you find yourself craving, considering who he beats the hell out of, and also this emotional performance. One which, on occasion, may include him flipping out, but it is often in one or two sentences dealing with Wayne’s abandonment issues that McKenna tugs at your heartstrings. It’s being told how Wayne’s life became after Maureen left and seeing both the willingness and fear in loving Del that gets to you.
I think the best way to explain Wayne I by quoting the movie Big Fish: “[…] most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely, and lacking in the social niceties.” In the end, you learn that was all Wayne needed to smile more and be happy. For when it came to the violence he pursued, it was never really to defend himself. It was to win someone over or show he could have some value in their life. Hence relating Wayne to a pitbull for like a dog, Wayne’s goal throughout the whole season was finding someone who firmly is his, whether or not he is whooping someone’s ass for them. Since, in the long run, the goal was always to dispel the idea he is easily disposable.
In comparison, while Wayne is a pitbull with a bite, Del is similar but more bark than bite. Yet, with her too, you can see a sense of yearning to belong. We get to see that in action in episode 5, in which Bravo takes the reins of the show, and we get to learn about her relationship to her mother, Donna. A person who, by death or leaving as Maureen did, drastically altered the trajectory of Del’s life. Leading her to go from a shy kid who cares about people, but is kind of awkward about it, into a foul-mouthed girl who did have one friend in Natalie, but at home had no real comradery with anyone.
When it came to her brothers, they had each other and competed for the attention of Bobby. As for Bobby, her dad? As seen in Del’s episode, and when we initially meet Del, he wasn’t equipped to raise a girl and has an issue tapping into his emotions. Heck, the whole kidnapping thing and bringing Del home seems to be more about ego and maybe having some semblance of Donna around than the girl herself.
But what has to be noted when it comes to Bravo, like McKenna, is how the little gestures we see push you to realize how much forming certain relationships matter to her. Wayne alone, who she outright says she needs things to go slow with, Bravo builds with McKenna the kind of relationship which, even under its strange circumstances, you get. There is an undeniable connection neither understand, and because of that, there is a sense of caution there.
Something that, on Del’s side, exposes her own abandonment issues but then comes in Wayne trying and this leads to their relationship evolving.
Wayne & Del’s Relationship
One of the main reasons you may see people compare Wayne to The End of the F***ing World is Wayne and Del’s relationship. That is truly the only comparable thing there is for Wayne is a madman while James had ideas and intentions, but hesitated when it came to harming another human being. Wayne beats people within an inch of their life. Then, when it comes to Del, she and Alyssa are two different people. Del is 15, a bit bratty, and may have a mouth on her like Alyssa, but they are both, for lack of a better term, damaged in unique ways.
Making the main thing you can compare is how sudden the relationship is between the two leads and how necessary you see the leads find each other. One of the prime examples are you seeing Wayne’s willingness to change and adapt. Though it taps into the pitbull commentary noted above, you have to also note that Wayne was learning how to compromise and be part of a unit. When it came to Wayne’s relationship with Orlando, he was a hired bodyguard who became a part-time friend. With Del, he had to learn what it meant to be a friend, do things he didn’t enjoy because he liked someone’s company, and be reliable beyond his abilities to whoop someone’s ass.
Then with Del, considering her relationship with men from her father, to brothers, and these boys who tried to blackmail her, she had to learn how to trust a guy she didn’t know. Much less, trust a guy who wasn’t necessarily an open book when it came to his feelings, but at the very least put in some form of effort. Which, when it came to Del’s relationship with her father, we saw, again in her titled episode, how that wasn’t the norm for her.
When it came to Donna leaving, dying, what have you, Bobby dropped the bomb of Donna being gone and told Del she couldn’t cry, didn’t offer a hug, nothing. So I want you to imagine how much it meant to Del, especially after a woman named Tracey pointed it out, how Wayne was trying. For if it wasn’t him drinking coffee, despite him hating it, it was him getting over buying feminine products, dancing in public, and coming with her to the hospital.
All of this may seem minor to some, but when you live lives like Wayne and Del, the little things count so much more since you have such a hard time remembering when someone went out of their way for you. Which is what makes you fall so hard for these two. For even though the relationship seems one-sided sometimes, similar to James when it came to Alyssa, you realize with Del pushing Wayne out of his comfort zone, she is opening him up. Not just to new experiences either, but understanding, even beyond her, he can have a place in people’s lives. Also, he doesn’t have to always fight each battle he is in, physical or otherwise, thinking he is alone and backed into a corner. People are more than willing to stand by his side and maybe risk their own safety for him.
Some Of The Characters Grow On You
When it comes to Principal Cole, Orlando, and Sgt. Geller, while you recognize their importance as supporting characters, at first, they may irritate the hell out of you. Principal Cole’s dialog is mostly him whining, Orlando’s desire to help Wayne, protect him, seems to be sourced in him getting his ass whooped, and I could go on and on. However, as these characters open up, you come to appreciate the unique things they give outside of telling us their views of Wayne.
Orlando is probably one of the best examples for we learn that one of the reasons he hustles is because his older brother and parents don’t contribute to the household. On top of that, he is responsible for his grandmother who has dementia and isn’t just the man of the house by default, but has the responsibilities as well. It is with hearing these stories that you get past the often hit and miss comedy and begin to get, beyond Del and Wayne, characters who you find ways to connect with. Whether their story relates to your own or not.
Actors To Look Out For
Believe it or not, this is only McKenna’s 4th role. After two movies, Sing Street and Overlord, and the mini-series Redwater he has found himself in a lead role which he handles like a pro. But what makes him someone to look out for is his ability to, with Wayne, bridge the look and persona of someone heartless, who seems indifferent to the world, yet also present himself as someone with their guard up.
But, as much as Wayne seems prepped for the worst, you have to love that he is consistently willing to trust strangers and assume they’ll see something in him. Not to go off on another Wayne praise tangent, but I think about Wayne and Ramon, when Wayne was a day laborer, and how Ramon looking out for Wayne led us to see the usually expressionless Wayne open up. He talked about what he was going through, was able to connect to someone who wasn’t only a stranger, but of a different culture, but because he was kind Wayne didn’t have a tremendous amount of apprehension. The way McKenna displays Wayne as someone who is willing to see the good in people until they prove it isn’t accessible to him, or all they wish to do is put out cruelty, makes you wonder how he can bring that talent to other roles.
While familiar with Bravo through Red Band Society, I don’t think I’ve seen or heard about the projects she was in since then. However, seeing her as foul-mouthed Del, especially when she was given the opportunity to shine in episode 5, it forces you to take note of her. This baby faced, 5’4 actress went toe to toe with an actor who had everything he needed to make her character just his love interest yet she never ended up in his shadow. They were equals, and while you could contribute that simply to her being the female lead, many actors are given roles that, on paper, should be equal, but they end up getting eclipsed.
But what sealed the deal was episode 5, especially when you saw Bobby break her. Her mom died, left, whatever, and that didn’t change him. He was still callous, and certainly not the father she needed. However, it changed her in that exact moment. The one thing which pushed her to care about others, be different than the majority of the members of her household was gone, and we saw in Bravo not letting herself cry, but one tear, that Del was lost to the world from that point until Wayne.
The issue with Jay is you can see he is supposed to be a funny character, play up the eccentricities of Sgt. Geller, yet his jokes fall flat. Then, as the rest of the characters develop and reveal touching pasts, Jay’s moment is more so a flash in the pan than a sign he’ll grow as a character. For after revealing his dad beat him and his sisters, this isn’t followed up with us getting to see why he has such a close relationship with Sgt. Geller. He remains someone who thinks Wayne is a menace and what perhaps was meant to be comic relief on the show.
It’s Not As Funny As You’d Expect
While The End of The F***ing World is mentioned as something to compare this to, you may also think, comedy-wise, we’d get something of the ilk of the US version of Shameless. After all, we got a lot of working-class people, debauchery, a crazy alcoholic dad, dead or deadbeat mothers, and highly eccentric characters. Yet, only a handful of characters tried to push a comedic take on this show and while they gave a good effort, they don’t deliver consistently.
Take Jay, as noted above, who is one of two characters who mostly lean towards being comedic. Even though he has quirks which could be used to coax laughters social media prowess, he is rarely funny. Then when it comes to Reggie? You can tell he is supposed to play on stereotypes and get some kind of reaction out of you, besides being annoying, but that never comes to be. He is just someone you wait for Wayne to whoop the ass of and that’s it.
Then, when it comes to the rest of the cast, while some have their moments, there isn’t that one consistently funny character. Someone who you know, if and when they appear on screen, is guaranteed to make you laugh. Instead, most of the cast, especially the ones who develop over time, their jokes are like the dramatic moments that lead you to like them. Nothing which will hit you hard, but enough to produce a moderate reaction. The kind which maintains the idea this show doesn’t wish to be seen as a hilarious comedy or a tear-inducing drama.
On The Fence
Bobby & The Twins
When it comes to Bobby and the twins, there is a slight desire to judge them to the same issues Jay has. However, thanks to Carl and Teddy having far more screen time than Jay, you get to the root of their madness, and it leads you to understand their crazy. When it comes to the twins, while them being as idiotic as they are is to bring a sense of comedy, them always being up around their father, sometimes repeating what he says, it’s because he to them is what Donna was to Del. The only difference being, Bobby never spent time with his boys.
In fact, Carl points out to Teddy how bad of a father Bobby is. He even brings Teddy to have the same opinion for Bobby forgets their birthday. However, with Del sending them a birthday text, you begin to see why they are on this journey, beyond to support and win favor with their dad. For while we don’t see the boys and Del interact much, she gives them that sense of family Bobby has never reciprocated.
Then with Bobby, while he is consistently an ass****, even when Donna is around, we’re reminded how, in what may have been the turning point of the show (considering how often it is mentioned), during episode 5, Bobby does have a heart. With him recognizing how isolated and alone his kid is, he never minds the idea of costs for materials, so Del could run for class president, and becomes supportive. Thus leading you to realize that as much as Del needed Donna, so did Bobby. She did more than put up with him but gave him life, pushed him to see the world outside of what his blinders allowed, and while she didn’t push him to be kinder to the boys, she at least was able to help him recognize Del needed a father more than someone who paid bills.
Yet, as soon as she left, what happened? What was keeping his heart warm, or thawed, left, and he became a cruel alcoholic. Making you understand why Del would join a stranger across the country. But, as for understanding why Bobby went all out, there comes a point when you realize it isn’t just about ego, but because he remembers he is her father. Maybe not the most loving one, but there is the desire to keep her safe. Especially since, considering what may or may not have happened to Donna, he failed to keep her safe and alive. So failing twice? That would be too much.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
While the show isn’t perfect, and its comedy is hit and miss, it’s the character development throughout the ten episode season that hooks you. It’s seeing these characters, either in a moment or little by little open up, learn to trust, even to love again, which will have you in your feelings, hoping for the best, but also prepping for the worse. Add in Wayne whooping ass, blood splatter, and seeing him fall in love? You get a little bit of everything with this show.
Hence the positive label. While Wayne may seem like a working-class New England version if The End of The F***ing World, it is a thin comparison. What Wayne truly is, ultimately, is a showing of how having the basic foundation of loving people in your life can change you. How, being able to be a kid, have the space to grow, and a soft place to land when you fail, determines whether you can be free and happy, as we see the kids in Richmond Hill, or you end up like many of the people we see in Florida and Brockton. And the way Bravo, McKenna, and most of the cast take on exhibiting why having just one person in your corner is so important and considering the season’s ending, you’ll be clamoring for an additional season. You may even find yourself willing to support the making of a second season by paying for YouTube Premium vs. just making a new account for a new trial.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Not yet
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|Season/ Episode||Synopsis||Director, Writer, and Introduced Actors||Topics & Focused Characters|
|Season 1/ Episode 10 “Chapter Ten: Buckle The F**K Up” [Season Finale]||Reggie and Wayne finally fight, and we learn whether Wayne and Del get to have a happy ending or not.|
|Season 1/ Episode 9 “Chapter Nine: Thought We Was Friends”||Del comes to realize Wayne had his eye on her past when she came to his door. Also, Geller and Jay come face to face with Calvin and Reggie.|
|Season 1/ Episode 7 “It’ll Last Forever”||Wayne and Del hit another milestone in their relationship as they barely miss Jay and Sgt Geller.|
|Season 1/ Episode 8 “Chapter Eight: Musta Burned Like Hell…”||We meet Wayne’s mom this episode, and the man who has distracted her for 11 years, as well as learn a few things about Orlando.|
|Season 1/ Episode 5 “Del”||The reigns of Wayne are given to Ciara Bravo, and she takes control in such a way you could forget she isn’t the title character of the show.|
|Season 1/ Episode 6 “Who Even Are We Now?”||The question of where and what to do after Wayne eventually gets his car is asked, and Wayne may have found one option.|
|Season 1/ Episode 3 “Chapter Three: The Goddamned Beacon of Truth”||While things remain a bit of a bore in Brockton, Wayne reveals something which helps Del realize how screwed up he is.|
|Season 1/ Episode 4 “Chapter Four: Find Something Black To Wear”||As Wayne gets his first job, Del decides to live vicariously through a family she came across. Oh, and it is the twins birthday.|
I’ve come to realize that Wayne is the American equivalent of The End of the F***ing World but with more off-kilter characters.
Wayne may very well be the first show that makes you want to have YouTube Premium.