The first official trailer for Netflix’s The Crew was released on Friday, and boy does it look bad. The show, which will debut on the streaming app on February 15th, follows a NASCAR race team as the team boss retires and places his young daughter at the head of the operation. Obviously there will be plenty of room in this show for lowest-common-denominator humor, including perhaps derision of a young woman working in an old boy’s club.
Clearly they’re going for a King of Queens vibe with random NASCAR shit in the background to look semi interesting. Look at that, an unmounted Goodyear, a weldy machine, and a engine lifty-majigger. Wow, it’s like we’re in a real NASCAR shop. Look at that, it says NASCAR right on the wall!
I don’t want to be too down on Kevin James. After an 8-episode recurring side-character on Everybody Loves Raymond, he managed to parlay that tiny character into nine seasons near the top of the bill on CBS’ sitcom roster. He has been typecast as an affable comedy buffoon, and he keeps taking the roles because they pay well. He’s Larry the Cable Guy for the thinking man. Which is a shame, because he was fantastic as a murderous neo-Nazi who gets his head runover by a lawnmower in the 2020 independent film Becky.
Then again, he has a habit of acting in projects which frequently use sexism and homophobia as punchlines. Obviously there’s a much larger Hollywood-sized problem going on there, but if the shoe fits, I suppose.
The premise of the show, based on the trailer, appears to be that a group of team members have to work together to somehow thwart the ambitious young woman taking over as team boss. Kevin James’s character is apparently the crew chief or something, making him the figurehead of this apparent mutiny. The new team boss is coming in to a failing team (which doesn’t have the ability to finish the season in the top 20) looking to make changes in order to make it more successful. For some reason the people on that team don’t want to be more successful, I guess? And for some reason they want to stick with a driver who crashed out because he was distracted by a cloud that looked like Abraham Lincoln.
With NASCAR working diligently to rehabilitate its ages old image as unwelcoming to women and minorities, I’m curious how this show will thwart any of these stereotypes. I fear that it will only serve to exacerbate the tropes surrounding NASCAR and its fanbase.
If your idea of hilarious is a minority character eating a rock, or a fish-out-of-water city girl accidentally shooting a baby deer, or more fucking premature ejaculation jokes, or one of the heads of a massive motorsports operation not understanding how technology works, then this show is absolutely for you. If you’re like me and your ears bleed when any show has a goddamn laugh track, then maybe sit this one out.
Based on the trailer, I can only hope that this show qualifies 43rd for the Daytona 500, runs three laps at the back of the pack, and saunters its way back to the garage to collect its participation trophy. It’s the same show Kevin James has always done, but wrapped in a NASCAR façade. I don’t often root for things to fail, but this looks like a wreck on par with the big one at a restrictor plate track.