After its third season aired, Young Rocksitcom based on the life of actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock, has closed its doors. NBC has decided to cancel the show due to the continued decline in ratings; however, that doesn’t take away from that Young Rockwhich had simply come to an end in a completely natural way, has left its mark. The road of the biopic is tortuous and complex, and the success depends for a good fifty percent on the life of the protagonist, as well as on a good dose of writing and ability to adapt reality to imagination. Dwayne Johnson, in this sense, is really an excellent starting point: his life deserved to be told, not only because of his belonging to one of the most influential families in the history of wrestling, but above all for what The Rock has had to face to get to the top of the mountain where he is now, being one of the highest paid and most famous actors in the world. In narrative terms, Young Rock it was really a pleasant surprise, and in the following article we pay homage to it by explaining why.
The man in the arena
Young Rock is a brilliant sitcom that tells the most hilarious and representative events in the life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, former professional wrestler, one of the most important in the history of the disciplineas well as one of the most famous and paid actors in the world, protagonist of some of the best known “Blockbusters” of the modern era. But who is, or rather, who was Dwayne Johnson before The Rock was born? Young Rock recounts the career of the actor starting from when he lived in Hawaii with his family, who were in charge of promoting wrestling matches for the local public, passing through his aspirations in the world of American football, up to the decision to follow the his destiny, a choice that brought him into a vortex of successes and victories that is still moving. Dwayne Johnson comes from one of the most important and influential families in the history of wrestling, the Anoa’i family, originally from the Samoan Islands and still today breeding ground for the main faces of the WWE, always the main company in the world when it comes to wrestling. In Young Rock, the most important members of the Anoa’i family represent the backbone of the series: grandparents Peter Maivia, progenitor of the dynasty, his wife Lia Maivia, and the parents of The Rock, Ata and Rocky Johnson, legendary Canadian-born wrestler; but Young Rockwith an interesting alternation between the various eras of wrestling, which coincide with the main phases of the protagonist’s life, features some of the best known names in the discipline, including Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and many others.
Beyond the single interpretations, the result of a screenplay aimed at recreating a comedy and positive atmosphere, it is very remarkable the way in which, through the eyes of Dwayne Johnson himself, the various interpreters called into question each represent a moment, a phase or a vital piece of the puzzle that brought The Rock to prominence: in Young Rock, everything seems exactly in its place, as if by some kind of divine will. The series is set in 2032, the year in which the protagonist (in the flesh) is presidential candidate of the United States; and through interviews, electoral rallies and simple chats with friends, he tells the fundamental steps of his existence. The decision to imagine Dwayne Johnson as a possible president of the United States is by no means obvious: beyond the fact that his possible political aspirations have been talked about several times, this office represents the total extremes of what a character like The Rock represents. Dwayne Johnson is the modern personification of the American dream, his electrifying career in sports, entertainment and cinema is proof of this. Yes, one can assume from this description that Johnson was predestined, since he belonged to a family already well established in the world of wrestling, but in Young Rock all difficulties emerge that the protagonist and his family had to face, given that, in the eighties, being a wrestling superstar (we’re referring to his father Rocky) didn’t necessarily mean earning billions. Dwayne Johnson is, for all intents and purposes, The Mana boy with a cumbersome dream in his drawer who, through a thousand vicissitudes, managed to find his own way and ride the wave of success, managing to get up after every fall, drawing lessons from each one and building his own character by himself.
Young Rock it is not just the usual “recipe for success”
American dreams and stories of the predestined aside, the NBC series was really a pleasant surprise. The narrative pretext is decidedly spot on, given the caliber of his character; while, beyond the smudges that actually prevented its renewal (which doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a rejection), he told a well-known story in a very particular way: Young Rock follows the point of view of its protagonist on three timelines, showing the life of Rock as a child, a teenager and, finally, a successful man. All three phases alternate in harmony, without ever stumbling into moments of difficult understanding, and all three exploit different types of language, from a more “childish” one to a more mature one, without ever untying each other and embodying growth of the protagonist from a professional and, above all, human point of view. Young Rock it is not the usual “recipe for success”, on the contrary, it is a much more human series; in fact, one of the winning aspects of the sitcom is that manages to frame the various “failures” in a more meaningful way of The Rock’s life, reserving instead a more celebratory and less flashy tone to his successes. Dwayne Johnson was, before becoming the man he is today, a child with dreams and heroes, a bewildered boy uncertain about his future, but also a failed football player and, until he decided to be himself, also a near-miss from wrestling. Young Rock is the story of how to learn from your failures, accept them and understand that there is always a way to get back up, understand that there is always a right path.
Ma Young Rock is also the daring story of how Dwayne Johnson, the protagonist, managed to change forever the course of the history of his dynasty, which had always been closely linked to the world of wrestling, but had never managed to go so far, until at the top of the number one company. The family context is the main theme of the series; the character of Rocky Johnson marks the narrative times better than anyone else: always characterized by a positive (and childish traits) spirit of an Eighties sitcom, he develops a relationship of mutual collaboration with his son, which leads him to grow humanly, at least in the eyes of the protagonist who describes him over the years. Young Rock ended its run rather naturally and, in our opinion, represents a good example of a comedy biopic, characterized by a very light comedy and a fast pacedefinitely able to amaze.