'Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll' Star Elizabeth Gillies Is A Rock Star For A New Generation
When Denis Leary creates a show, you know it’s going to be funny and weird and good. What I didn’t expect from Leary’s new show on FX, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll , is that one person would steal the show away from Leary himself: Elizabeth Gillies, who plays Johnny Rock’s estranged daughter, Gigi. I mean, you have industry vets like John Corbett and Elaine Hendrix, and still the most watchable person on the show is a gal who is just getting her start in grownup television (Gillies once starred on Nickelodeon’s Victorious with Ariana Grande and Avan Jogia).
Here’s the gist of the show: Johnny Rock is the lead singer of The Heathens, a super-influential (Dave Grohl has a cameo in the pilot talking about how there would be no Nirvana if there were no Heathens) 1990s band that broke up the day their first album was released, mostly because of Johnny Rock’s crazy ego. 25 years later, Johnny Rock still wants to be a star (and he’s trying to live like one, which is sad) when his estranged daughter, Gigi, approaches him. Gigi wants to sing, and she wants her dad and his aging band mates to help her get famous. She’s also got a ton of cash, and Johnny and the guys oblige, albeit reluctantly. Turns out she can sing, and she wants Johnny to be the principle songwriter while she warbles.
Truthfully, the show treads some well-worn territory with Leary as the aging rock star and Corbett as his sleazy band mate — there’s nothing noteworthy there. Gillies’ Gigi, though, feels fresh and new. She’s a badass, to put it simply. Gigi knows what she wants, knows how to get it, and goes right after it — no holding back. While it is possible that Gigi and Johnny Rock will have their daddy/daughter moment sometime in the first season, I don’t know that I’d count on it. Gigi just isn’t that character. She is cognizant of the fact that her dad wasn’t there growing up and wouldn’t have been a good father if he was, anyway, and she’s come to grips with it. She’s over it. She’s a grownup now. But, Gigi also knows that Johnny owes her, and she’s not afraid to collect.
Gigi is also magnetic as hell when she’s on stage. Though we only hear her sing at the end of the first episode for, like, a minute, Gillies is an obviously seasoned performer. I hope that Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll really gives Gillies something to chew on here — she has such a strong character in Gigi that I don’t want it all to fall off into the easy tropes of “girls with daddy issues” or “women who can’t love because of their childhoods.” So far, though, Gigi is a tough, smart girl who seems well-rounded enough to chase her dreams, what her father says be damned. We need more of those types of women on TV. She also said she’d sleep with Flash, the Heathens’ guitarist, and who could fault her for that? I think her character is going to bring us some great things this season.
Images: FX; Giphy (3)