The art of being a man is nothing short of genius. Men see the world, and without a doubt, we know with just a little bit of effort, there are always answers. It’s simply a matter of amassing the certainties we’ve already arrived at and applying the knowledge to the problem at hand. So lucky for all you non-men out there, the Adam Rodgers web series Turf Valley lays out the blueprint, and starting with the 6 minute pilot called The Duke, you too could be on the way to painting your own life masterpiece.
Turf Valley is a suburban community just like the next, and the rote radio news report lets us know not to expect much beyond the ordinary. The safe smooth jazz score reinforces the normalcy and so does the interior setting of the laid back domicile.
Fitting right in, Jimmy (Charles Mann) rides the couch, and immersed in a book called Periodical Cicadas, he is clearly the master of his domain. He’s not even bothered by an off camera request from his wife to check for an Amazon package at the mailbox. Mann simply digs down, conveys his due diligence as a husband and happily resigns himself to the doldrums.
Why not, this is Turf Valley, and now we can dive in. A guitar riff sounding like it was written to get a modern dad in gear, puts a pair of fathers at the bus stop to get their kids off to school.
Good work if you can get it, the dividends really pay when the bus pulls away. Time appears to be on their side and Tyler (Vince Eisenson) and Jason (Phillip Chorba) can engage in and around “The Duke.”
The NFL Authentic Wilson Football, Tyler has just received his copy from Amazon. Damn the hefty price tag for a mere logo, we’d expect no less. But even if Tyler got the junior size ordered, the crucial banality would still have ensued.
Sorry, oxymoron is just a made up word, and the man-child is only a negative connotation because women just don’t get it. Of course, Eisenson and Chorba do all they can to shed light on the process. The actors jibe back and forth like they actually do this avoid-being-a-grownup dance every day, and even though there’s no drum, they got this beat down.
The completely still and sedate background of the Richard Chisolm cinematography emphasizes their mastery at the art of senseless musing. Superimposed over the scenery, Jason and Tyler come across as the sole occupants of the Earth, so obviously their humorous, yet frivolous travails matter above all else.
In keeping, they might just be right, and soon enough, our overgrown dads start to make jokes about the oppressive nature of their maternal driven homes. Of course, in no rush to take on the day, why not fantasize about playing professional football – even though they’ve never played organized sports on any level.
But the would-be athletes do know a good football when they see it. “Deep pebble grain, stitched inseam, a prolate spheroid, it’s so perfect you can practically smell the autumn,” Chorba elevates the discourse to an art form.
The heights hit, there’s no reason the boys can’t digress. Jimmy emerges to check on the package, and Jason and Tyler can’t overlook his athletic six foot eight frame. Their deeply flawed inquisitive nature sees a connection to a real life professional athlete, and Jimmy is nothing short of a dream come true.
Mann’s domesticated response does little to derail the adolescence, though, and the contradiction lays fertile ground for the low-burn comedy to continue its ignition. But don’t lament the credit roll.
Episode one runs right into episode two on YouTube, and for as long as men like Jason and Tyler have access to the certainty of their wisdom, there’s no mountain the sages of Turf Valley will be unable to scale.