I'm going to start this off with a shameless plug. No, not one for October Road (we'll get to that one shortly), but for Bryan Greenberg. If you know Greenberg, it may be because you watched him play Meryl Streep's son and Uma Thurman's boyfriend in the movie Prime. Or maybe you've watched him on the hit show One Tree Hill. Or perhaps you know him from what I call "the best new show," October Road.
Now you need to know him for his music. His "not totally modern... got a 'vintagey' quality" music, as Greenberg describes it. (His album comes out on iTunes this week, and in my opinion, it's totally worth buying. If you want to try it out first, check out his MySpace.) I'll embarrass myself now and admit that his song "Small Town" is my MySpace profile song. Don't go thinking, "Oh 'Small Town,' eh? Did he write that to hype October Road or vice versa?" He didn't. Greenberg wrote the song, which describes his own feelings about growing up in a small town, after returning home to Omaha, Nebraska for a wedding a few years ago...
...And that's what brings us to October Road. As Laura Prepon so perfectly embodies her character of Hannah, Greenberg knows Nick. He's been there. He's been in his shoes. Greenberg explained, "I can relate to that. I came from the Midwest then moved to New York City and then to LA. After that I can certainly relate to wanting to do more in life than wanting to be in this small town."
Greenberg added that October Road "spoke to me where I was at in my life at that time. Being the same age as this character and having some success early on, but not really being where you want to be at in life or not sure where you're going. Being from a small town I really related to the character."
In a show that is all about the characters, it's imperative that the characters feel real to the audience, and that the audience feels drawn into the characters' lives enough that they feel the need to know what happens week after week. If you stick with October Road, you'll see that it accomplishes that goal with perfection. It does take two or three episodes to lay the groundwork and to introduce viewers to the characters. But once that's done, you can't stop watching. As Greenberg put it, "It's not a context show. It needs time to warm up and have people fall in love with the characters."
In reference to October Road being a show about people, Greenberg admitted, "I knew that going into it and I was kind of worried at first because all the shows like Lost and 24 are highly stylized. It's the same even with Ugly Betty. It's kind of tweaked in style. This is just about normal people. There are no aliens or countdowns or CSI cases that have to be solved."
Because October Road is so character-centric, it's important for people to love, or at least understand, the characters. Some viewers think it's selfish of Nick to return home after ten years of no communication with his friends and act like life and his relationships are as he left them. Greenberg, who truly understands Nick, commented, "We talk about it in the sixth episode, and in the first episode he said 'Once I stayed away, staying away became the way.' What I chalk it up to is his mom died. He was 17. He didn't know how to deal with that. He took off. He had a lot of things inside of him... He kept in touch with his family and not necessarily his friends."
Greenberg feels for Nick. He knows what it's like to leave your small hometown and move away and then return. "I think there's a little bit of selfishness with Nick and the choices he chooses. The thing I like about Nick is he's not malicious. He has the best intentions. He doesn't want to hurt anybody, but he just acts so impulsively. In doing so he creates problems for himself and everyone around him, and he's constantly having to pick up the pieces."
One situation in which Nick is most likely going to have to pick up the pieces? His blooming relationship with Aubrey. Greenberg said, "I think the Hannah situation is pretty complicated considering she's with Big Cat and she's got a son and she's made it clear she doesn't want Nick anywhere near them. In the Aubrey situation he's very physically attracted to her, she can hang, she's very smart, she's got a unique perspective. He hasn't hurt her. She's new. She doesn't know him from the past. She's a very good sounding board. She's kind of wise beyond her years. He's kind of torn."
Once again, Greenberg isn't just spouting off about his character. It can't be reiterated enough that he knows Nick. "When you leave a town it does sort of feel like time pauses, even though it hasn't. I've had that feeling going home... You think it's the same but then these little things creep in and you realize time moves." Who better to play a character than an actor who knows what makes that character tick?
October Road is the type of show that has been sorely needed on television. And now it needs the viewers' help. So far six episodes have been completed by the cast, and only four of those are set to air. Viewers need to be sure to tune in and comment below if they love the show, so that we can help to have it stay on the air.
Greenberg added, "A lot of stuff does go down in the sixth episode that will have people wanting more. I, for one, think it can't be the last episode. There's too many stories to tell in this town. Everything starts heating up in Knights Ridge."
"Now that the characters are established and the storylines are so much more established, everything gets heightened," Greenberg asserted.
Even just episode four will leave you wanting more. I guarantee it ends with enough of a "whoa" moment that you won't want it to end there. This show has the possibility to go so many places with the stories of these characters. Once you start watching, you won't be able to stop.