Where in the world has Dwayne Johnson been? He was barely featured in last week’s episode of Young Rock, and before that he was a no-show at the Royal Rumble contrary to plenty of speculation. I guess being at the Grammy Awards kept him busy enough.
Now, it’s back to business in this week’s episode titled “Know Your Role” as Johnson relates to Randall Park (he’s back, too!) how hard he’s taking his failure to broker a coffee deal in fictional Gjelghiughm in 2033, all while Uli Latukefu portrays Johnson in his WWF prime in 1999, ready to take on a new challenge.
Vince McMahon (Adam Ray) suggests to Johnson that he help promote WWF across new demographics by accepting a role in a TV series called The Net, which was based on the Sandra Bullock movie of the same name and ran on the USA Network from 1998-1999. Dwayne is eager to give acting a try, but not half as eager as his grandmother Lia (Ana Tuisila) is to have him get her an autograph from Bullock.
Dwayne arrives on set and gets his notes from the enthusiastic director, but as we transition to him and his family watching the episode at home, there’s a feeling that it wasn’t much of a debut, with a convoluted script and one-note part for Dwayne (and worst of all: no Sandra Bullock).
Vince, however, loved it, and reminded Johnson that no-one is paying attention to his acting, they’re just watching The Rock do his thing. There’s a little more banter between them about the director, Peter DeLuise, with Vince encouraging Dwayne to keep an eye on him as he’s going places. In real life, DeLuise continues to this day to enjoy a lengthy directing and acting career since that episode of The Net, but I don’t see any special connection to anyone from Young Rock or the WWE to warrant singling him out.
Vince already has Dwayne’s next role set up on Star Trek: Voyager, which has Johnson pumped up to join the storied franchise, though he actually knows very little about it. As Dwayne calls home from Des Moines after a Thursday night SmackDown, Dany asks if he wants to say hi to Rocky (Joseph Lee Anderson), to which Dwayne curtly passes, getting a surprised reaction from Dany. It’s another quick nod to the up-and-down relationship between father and son.
After Dwayne finishes studying up on Trek lore (only realizing much later on what the hotel worker meant by “Live long and prosper”) and practising his lines with Bruno (Ryan Pinkston), he finds himself at Paramount Studios and eager to offer some ideas for the character, only to have his newest director politely remind him that as A.O.T.W. (Alien of the Week), there’s really no room for input on the script. His rehearsal with Jeri Ryan proves that the director doesn’t expect much from him, but Ryan, a big fan, is very appreciative of how prepared he is.
He then moves on to a role as his father in an episode of That 70s Show, which Rocky thinks is brilliant, and then gets a phone call that will really put his new career aspirations in gear: Lorne Michaels (lending his own voice to the episode) asks him to host Saturday Night Live. Dwayne accepts the honour, but does stand up for what he wants by asking to not to play a wrestler in any sketches. This bit of confident negotiating brings us back to 2033 where Johnson is newly inspired to settle this coffee trade deal once and for all.
A funny entry in the series, one which uniquely allowed show co-creator and writer Brian Gewirtz to speak from his experience in both the wrestling and television worlds. There’s plenty of comedy from Adam Ray’s McMahon, including what I can only presume is a legitimate belief by Vince that a half-hour comedy featuring nothing but people stepping in dog crap would make for great TV.
Stay tuned to SlamWrestling.net for reviews of future episodes!
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and family story archive
- Slam Wrestling’s Young Rock review and interview archive
- NBC’s Young Rock page