Don’t start playing ’70s pop ballads and progressive rock around Denis Leary — it might just start a fight.
Leary, the tough-guy comic who serves as creator and showrunner of FX’s dark comedy “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll,” can’t abide music he thinks is namby-pamby.
“I play Cat Stevens in my trailer and he wants to snap my neck,” co-star Elizabeth Gillies, a pop singer in her own right, told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association TV press tour in Beverly Hills.
He added that Gillies will “[expletive] taunt me” with snippets of songs by the Carpenters and Gilbert O’Sullivan, whose anthem of self-pity “Alone Again Naturally” was a No. 1 hit in the early 1970s.
Prog rock is another of Leary’s pet peeves, and that one goes back to his days growing up with his brother in Boston.
“My mom wasn’t aware of what we were doing, but we fought all the time,” Leary said. “My brother was into prog rock in the early ’70s, which was the [expletive] worst music in the world, and we only had one little stereo system to share.
“I melted his records,” he said. “He beat the [expletive] out of me.”
'The Americans': 7 Reasons to Watch the Breakout Emmy Nominee (Photos)
The show is built around the dynamic between Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, who became a real-life couple over the course of the show). Their relationship is complicated by disguises, the sex they have with strangers to steal their secrets, Phillip's marriage to another woman, and the fact that they got married for country, not for love.
2. The Family Drama
Yes, we know the real Americans won the Cold War. What we don't know is whether the Jennings or their two children survive it. That's the central drama of the show.
3. The Spy Drama
These are legit spy stories that would work even without the family dynamic. We have bugs, blueprints, toxic warfare, wigs... without any James Bond theatrics.
4. The 80s
"The Americans" wears it setting lightly, never succumbing to gimmicks. People have bad haircuts and eat frozen French bread pizza -- the kind of '80s foods we ate before carbs were blacklisted. But there are no silly jokes about President Trump or Governor Schwarzenegger or other awkward winks at the modern-day audience. It just feels like you're in the actual '80s, when nuclear apocalypse felt like a viable possibility.
The Jennings' daughter (Holly Taylor) is the show's secret weapon. A born-again Christian, she's torn between her parents (and the KGB's interest in recruiting her) and her belief in American-style social justice.
5. The Neighbor
The Jennings have the misfortune of living across the street from an FBI agent. A smart one. Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) is a perfect foil to the couple, always perilously close to catching them.
6. The Pace
Season 4 of "The Americans," the most recent, revolved around whether a church youth leader would rat out the Jennnings as Soviet spies. Those kinds of small, interpersonal dramas power the show, and they play out like emdless Iron Curtain chess games. The more closely you pay attention, the more fascinating they are. What's that knight trying to do? And did you catch that pawn before it became a queen?
8. The Realness
Sometimes storylines on "The Americans" just end, hopelessly, with no one learning any lessons. It's devastating.
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