It is time to check into ROOM 104 and we are really looking forward to it. Just like GETTING ON was this series is tucked away to the after primetime hours. I never could figure out why HBO, with all the other nights of the week to fill, likes to place certain shows at 11:30pm. We have already announced this latest foray from Mark & Jay Duplass before and are now finally ready to review it for you. Just count it as one of those little shows that are worth a look besides the big Sunday @ 9:00pm crowd. So settle in for our look at the anthology series which examines all the possible stories that could unfold in one ordinary run-of-the-mill motel room anywhere in the good ole USA. First, get up to speed with a look at the space we’ll occupy.
The interior side of the room’s door fails to have much on that little plaque with the obligatory rules posted, so just so we get the premise down of what the show offers here are those Rules. Then I promise we will jump into the review of the premiere.
Follow the various characters who inhabit a single room of an average American motel in HBO’s riveting new anthology series ROOM 104 starting with the Series Premiere –
Clearly, from the title, we go into this half hour wondering who Ralphie is. And, what do you know, but by show’s end, we still don’t really know. What we do know is just how this Room is going to play with us and is it ever. But first a simple set-up. Bradley (Ross Partridge) has called Meg, played by Melonie Diaz, to babysit his son Ralph (Ethan Kent) in the room while he is out on a date. She was to order whatever to eat on him and have Ralph to bed by 9 and he’d be back by 10. Sounds simple enough, except Ralph won’t come out of the bathroom.
Notice the bit of a quirk yet? The lad’s name is Ralph the title is “Ralphie” so what’s going on here? A bit of wonder builds as Ralph doesn’t come out of the bathroom right away. Is something wrong with him? And then out pops a cute but eerily odd boy. He seems normal enough until he speaks of Ralphie who is still in the bathroom. Then the watcher, and perhaps Meg too, thinks that this kid is toting around an imaginary friend. Okay, odd but common enough. Suspense builds as we wonder about Ralphie who turns out to be quite violent when Ralph enters the bathroom to deal with him.
This is when your mind if you are truly engaged in the tale, starts to play out what might be going on. It surely frightens Meg that this lad appears crazy. But is he? Is there really someone or something else in the bathroom?
The audience soon finds out the truth, sort of. Is it something real or something imagined or something not of this realm? Regardless, a fight breaks out with Meg getting the brunt of the assault at first. She’s the girl with the busted lips in the promos! But in a twist, by the end, one lies dead and it isn’t Meg. Is it Ralph or Ralphie? And at whose hand did the victim die? Was it Meg or Ralph or Ralphie? Ahh, you’re not going to get that answer from me, but by episode’s end Meg is left facing Bradley once more as the bathroom door slams shut… leaving us to ponder what just took place in Room 104.
Episode Two – “Pizza Boy”
Pizza delivery is certainly a common enough occurrence at any motel. And the delivery person has no idea who they are going to meet on the other side of the door or if they’re even going to get a tip out of it.
Our focus is what happens to the poor schmuck who knocks on Room 104. His name is Jarod, played by Clark Duke and he runs into James Van De Beek and Davie-Blue’s Scott & Jennifer. And as the sneak peek indicates he is going to wish he never went to work that night. Check it out.
Yeah, the moment Jarod enters the room you know he is being set up for something. Scott seemed to be a bit disappointed by the pizza guy’s look though. And there is something about that bathroom too. For lingering in there this time around is Jennifer who is willing to give Jarod a peek of her breasts. Scott leaves the room to get to an ATM so he can pay for the pizza leaving his wife and Jarod alone. Uh oh. She strikes up a conversation and turns on some music and tells Jarod that they don’t plan on eating the pizza. So why did they order it he wonders out loud.
Okay, this isn’t the first time in the annals of history that a pizza boy gets lured into sex play, but he seems totally clueless that he is getting set up. She even is laying it on thick by mixing “serving pizza” with “servicing her”, right? She wants his pizza now! Oh, brother – an attempt at witty wordplay from writer Mark Duplass. It’s not working for me.
He almost sits beside her and Scott bustles in. Step two of the con commences, but what are they getting out of this? We don’t know yet or might never. Scott then plays his role and drops, just subtle at first, the accusation. “Did you deliver the Meat Lover to my wife on the bed?” Oh, stop, will ya? The whole scenario plays out with Scott tying Jarod with the phone cord, doing his boot-scootin’ boogey from the promo and fighting with Jennifer over the incident (which never happened) to a fever pitch all so they could be turned on enough for orgasmic sex? Yep!
So, the con is evidently played to its climax and then Jarod is free to go? Yep, but there is a twist naturally. One that won’t be revealed here. Let’s just say a bit of role play goes a long way.
There you go. Feel free to talk with us about it in the comments below and come back for the next review. We need to figure out what the hell a “Knockandoo” is.