Paradise City is a new show produced by Sumerian Records and available on Amazon Prime. It is the sequel to the film American Satan, which I have not seen and do not intend to, though that may change if I am able to hold my breath long enough while diving deep into the sewer that is Paradise City, but I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, sometimes more, so I promise nothing. I do love shit, though; I adore it. I derive the perfect amalgam of misery and pleasure from smothering myself in it.
Sumerian Records has a decent roster of artists, many of which I include on my playlist I listen to on rotation daily, and even one from my hometown whom I’ve been friends with for years. The stars of both American Satan and Paradise City, Ben Bruce (whose character appears to do little except smoke cigarettes and overuse the word “cunt” to remind us that he is British) and Andy Biersack, are from two of their most lucrative bands, Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides. I never got into either of them; I was too old for their music/style gimmick when they started to blow up, but I admire their panache because the kids gobbled it up. Adolescents/teenagers are where the money is at for alternative musicians: Appeal to them, at the sake of your dignity and respect from the bands who make music for the pompous, elitist, craft-beer-drinking middle-aged-men who write for the snarkiest of review sites and yet seem to always be fans of wrestling (???), and you’ll be successful, comfortable, and without worry of having to eventually give up the dream and go work for Amazon. You might even get to be a fuckin’ actor!
I do have two memories I cherish deeply regarding Black Veil Brides, the first being when I saw them (sort of; we’ll get to that) in concert in 2010. They were playing with Sleeping With Sirens (who opened… what a time), Confide (what happened to Confide?), and From First to Last (who announced that this was the last tour where they would be playing any of their music from their first two albums, which prompted half of the crowd to audibly groan in unison and leave, and then the band got upset and started insulting the few of us who stayed, probably because they saw an Amazon interview in their near future.)
I went with my best pal Savannah and a few of her friends who I did not know well because they thought I was a raging bitch. One of the girls, WHO WAS 16, only went because she had been texting a member of Sleeping With Sirens, who was SURELY OLDER THAN 16. Also 16 at the time, I remember gawking at her when she told me, incredulous: You can just… talk to band guys? In that way? How?
(At almost 27, I am privy to the great secret that it is actually hilariously easy to talk to (and fuck) band guys; in fact, I find it to be significantly more strenuous to dig out a man from your hometown with a decent-paying, steady job and enough personality to make the idea of getting drinks and dinner with them for a couple hours seem bearable. I also now realize that the man from Sleeping With Sirens was a sexual predator. In fact, he may have been the exact one who was extricated from the band for being a sexual predator; I hope he was; I would have to ask around.)
Savannah had a friend Lauren who was very intimidating; intimidating people are good friends to have because you know you are safe and protected when you are with them. I was apprehensive of Lauren because she once wanted to beat me up, which makes an intimidating person really lose their ensconcing luster and potential usefulness only to be replaced with, you know, terror and intimidation. She no longer wanted to beat me up, but she was very drunk and wanted to go have a cigarette, so naturally, we took Black Veil Brides’ set as an excuse for a 30-minute break for some fresh (smokey) air.
Lauren, now my friend, but inebriated, was ranting to me about another girl she wanted to pummel. Her eyes were wide; she was wildly gesticulating, her lit cigarette repeatedly burning innocent passersby who always wanted nothing to do with the HotTopicCore band on stage with the lead singer who we saw crossing the venue earlier with a literal train of young girls following him; her voice kept getting louder and louder as she inched closer and closer to me. I was afraid Lauren would suddenly forget that she no longer wanted to kick my ass. I looked around nervously for Savannah, but she was nowhere to be found… A few members of the group we were with were hovering nearby, but as I said, none of them liked me and would’ve probably enjoyed seeing me with face smashed in…. Who would be there to remind her that I WASN’T A CUNT, I WAS COOL??? ROSE IS COOL!!! DOWN, LAUREN!!! HEED!!! NOT ROSE!!! ROSE COOL NOW!!!!
She tossed her cigarette aside and crushed it with her shoe. “….Anyway, that’s why if that bitch shows her face tonight, which would be a goddamn stupid idea, but that’s what stupid fucking bitches do, she’s dead. Done. Obliterated. Nothing. Out of my fucking face forever. Where’s everyone else? Let’s go watch the last five minutes of Black Veiny Buttholes.”
We walked back in and I glanced over at the stage to see Andy, their lead singer with the train of girls experiencing their first periods, now an “actor,” making direct, hard, intense eye-contact with me as he flipped me off in the slowest and most dramatic fashion, and that shit was funny then, and it’s still funny now! It is equally as funny as my second fondest memory of Black Veil Brides, which took place far more recently. I was ringing an order in at work next to another server.
“You know what I’ve been thinking, Rose?”
Neither of us glanced up from our computers. “Tell me, baby.”
“I think if I was a lesbian, I’d like girls who look like Andy Black.”
I snorted and immediately forgot which pizza my table ordered. “You know he’s a dude, right?”
She was silent for a few seconds. “Well, shit. He looks like a lesbian. A really hot one. I stand by what I said.”
Paradise City piqued my interest when it was described to me as being written like a god-awful fanfiction, and I fucking love a good, terrible fanfic, and once I realized that the “local” band on the show play my friend’s band’s music (they are not supposed to be my friend’s band, or even loosely based off of them; they just play their music…. Their studio-recorded music with all it’s intricate production tidbits that even they omit from their live sets…. I don’t even know), I was sold! I live to make fun of my homie: he must keep me around solely because I humble him, because our decade-long friendship has been nothing short of tumultuous and he has finally learned to immediately cease replying to me if I have ingested copious amounts of brown liquor.
Someone said in reviews that you need to watch American Satan before starting the show or else you won’t understand anything, but I found it really hard to believe that clicking “play” on the first episode would be anything like barging in on Game Of Thrones for the first time during a random episode in a later season, and I was right.
For introductory/clarification purposes, here is a brief summary of the movie based on the plot according to Wikipedia (that I totally skimmed through because it was exactly what I presumed): An emo band gets famous because of devil worship. Chaos ensues, including murder, substance abuse, rocky relationships, and the deflowering of a virgin because her mother insisted (???). I guess this is why many metalcore bands become ripoffs of The 1975 to finally start making more than pocket change; it’s probably a more peaceful process.
The first episode begins with Andy’s character gazing over the city from his rooftop pool while his boo plays the cello or obo or some big ass instrument like that. She pauses her totally casual sonnet to ask him when he is going to go back on tour — the band has been on hiatus for a year while he pieced together the shreds the Illuminati left his life in — first under the guise of being a hyper-supportive YOU’RE MADE FOR THIS, THE FANS LOVE YOU, THIS IS EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED, I HATE TO SEE YOU WASTE YOUR DREAM, YOU’RE SO TALENTED, BABY girlfriend, which is not only one of the most grating parts of the show because it is cheesy and she is a shitty actress, but because in real life, that gets you nowhere: Band dudes thrive only on encouraging compliments from strangers and dismiss those from their girlfriends/wives because they think they are morons that don’t know shit about shit.
(Plus, he cheated on her a lot, so it is pitiful to watch her fawn over him. It is like watching someone play me without all the bad words and toilet humor and overall delightful charm…. Terrible.)
Anyway, when that doesn’t work, and it was never going to work because, as I said, her adulations mean nothing unless she is gargling them out while sucking his dick, she starts to yell at him about bills. Apparently everyone in this show has a mortgage that they cannot pay; it is mentioned no less than ten times per episode. I am my only friend with a mortgage, which might indicate that my homies are losers, but… Look at the economy…
“Are you seriously complaining about being a rockstar?” She says to him, but they are supposed to have been together for years, and that is all band guys do. I find it hard to fathom that she has the gall to be surprised by it anymore.
Either to get her to shut up or because he felt bad that he was fucking all kinds of whores with the Devil’s lube while she stayed at home doing nothing besides loving him unconditionally and now they are behind on their water bill, he grabs his phone, quickly snaps a video saying, “ALRIGHT GUYS THE RELENTLESS [that’s their name, lol] ARE BACK AND PLAYING A SHOW NEXT WEEK,” and posts it.
This incites a chaotic uproar within their label/management team, while the rest of the band, who are doing precisely what you would expect from musicians who have been stuck at home for a year — smoking cigarettes, saying “cunt,” selling their clothes on Depop and pics of their dirty feet to pay for their outstanding rehab bills, and if you are the drummer, partaking in a threesome with girls from Instagram who have butt tattoos — go, “Oh. Word. We’re playing a show next week. Nice. I hope I can get the time off from Amazon.”
No one can get in touch with the drummer to organize his flight from the UK because he was busy fucking two girls from Instagram with butt tattoos. Instead of waiting for him to finally nut and check his phone (which surely wouldn’t take an entire week) or finding a currently unemployed drummer to fill in for one whole show (and surely, there are plenty), their manager devises a genius plan: He demands that Kellin Quinn, who plays an assistant/receptionist for the label (and I will declare was not the pedophile of the band who was sending photos of his demented schlong to my 16-year-old sort-of friend), to call in a bomb threat to the airport so they can use that excuse for his absence or a potential delay of the show. He puts great emphasis on Kellin Quinn wearing a disguise as he does this, but while he is at the payphone, he looks like a douche, so he looks like himself.
….I have no clue why they included this segment. Seriously.
Andy Emo agrees to participate in a candid interview to promote the show, and I say “candid” because this motherfucker overshares, sparing no sordid detail, throwing his band member’s nefarious deeds under the bus as he blabbers on. It’s really embarrassing, honestly: His band is a total mess. He admits to cheating on his girlfriend with their bassist (played by Bella Thorne, whose character I guess is supposed to be the one filled with “powerful” and “visceral” Bukowski-style witticisms about how life is shit and the industry is fucked and then we all die because that’s all she ever says), but reassures everyone that he only did it because he was fucked up on heroin (ouch!). He admits to deflowering the virgin because her mom wanted him to; he makes sure to include that while this was going on, the drummer was fucking the Mom, because a few days later, her husband finds out and he kills himself (???).
That stinks, but what stinks worse is when the camera pans to a girl who looks about 12-years-old, sitting on her bed with its childish, pink, floral-print comforter, a photo of fucking horses galloping across a sun-kissed field behind her, holding a baby, watching his interview. THE MAJOR PLOT TWIST REVEALED: THE HORSE GIRL VIRGIN GOT PREGNANT! He doesn’t know; he never talked to her again, as he says in the interview. The girl’s eyes welled up with tears as she gripped her bastard child and her mother (who they did very well to make look as insane as possible… frighteningly so, really…. ) comes in to bitch at her for not hitting him up for child support. We have to assume this is probably the 77th time she has done so that day, because the no-longer-a-virgin surreptitiously travels to Los Angeles, where she meets a cordial man at a bus stop.
The man is played by Hopsin, the rapper who tried to get famous by making fun of Tyler, The Creator during the height of Odd Future’s popularity, but clearly did not get very far with it because he now plays the most stereotypical black-man roles one could imagine for the shitty Sumerian Records cinematic universe. This is very painful to watch, even surpassing as downright hopeless they make the poor virgin bitch seem: What quickly follows is a drawn-out scene of her walking down what I presume is Hollywood Boulevard with the dumbass baby strapped to her chest, whimpering, cowering, looking so goddamn garishly out-of-place that I wanted to fast-forward.
She is heading to the venue; it is the night of the big comeback show. The drummer is there, so I still don’t understand the point of the bomb-threat. Andy Emo wants to propose to his dumbass girlfriend while on stage; everyone talks him out of this, which I was thankful for because the secondhand embarrassment radiating off over half of the main characters was really getting to be too much and forcing me to chug beers through the pain and I needed to be mentally present enough to take notes on how stupid this show was. They play an unreleased song that opens with the line “hopelessness is me.” Andy Emo’s girlfriend looks like she’d rather get her bike seat shoved into her pussy-bone as she runs over a big piece of gravel as she watches him pose for fan photos with the bassist he fucked. She sighs a lot in this episode because her boyfriend is a whore.
After the show, the couple walks to the limo (for an emo band?), hand-in-hand, smiling, waving to the huge crowd of spectators (for an emo band?) and paparazzi (for an emo band?). He opens the door for his boo, which is the least he can do for consistently betraying her trust and then humiliating her by admitting the wild, shameless plains in which his dick had traveled across on national television, and he turns to give one last dazzling Lesbian-Of-The-Year smile to his adoring fans, but who does he see?
THE AWKWARD ASS VIRGIN.
TOTING A FUCKIN’ BABY.
For a man who apparently organized deals with the devil or some shit, he looked really scared, and it was funny. I was totally hoping he would flip her off like he did to me when I was 16, climb into the limo, and then instruct the driver (probably a black guy with an exaggerated accent to suggest that he was from an island in the caribbean…. Played by Hopsin, of course) to run her over, but the episode cut off there.
In case you’re wondering where the local band who plays my friend’s music ties in, we were introduced to the vocalist as he smokes weed with his totally cool single mother right when we found out that the Horse Girl suffered the sad ass fate of getting pregnant the first time you had sex. (I used to always think that was an old-wives-tale to scare teenage girls out of having unprotected and premarital intercourse, along with symptomless Chlamydia, but we all know how that went for me… To All The Men Who Called Me Disgusting available now through Amazon…)
Anyway, another MAJOR PLOT TWIST is that the vocalist of the local band is the son of the head of The Relentless’ record label. He did not want the son; he apparently offered his mother $500,000 and to fully finance her music career if she had an abortion, but she told him to eat shit and die, and…. But…. Like….
….I mean, let’s be realistic here….
….The last time I was afraid that I was pregnant (and I was not, thankfully), my boyfriend at the time did not even have enough money to partially pay for the abortion…. I’m talking like, not even floating me a $5….
….I’ve only been accepted into one magazine that actually pays their contributing writers, but they never sent me my check for a whopping $75….
….My family neither believe in my talent, nor support it financially, let alone any man I’ve fucked….
….If one of those men offered to finance my career PLUS HALF A FUCKIN’ MILLION DOLLARS TO LIVE OFF OF IN CASE THE WORLD REALIZES MORE QUICKLY THAN I HAD HOPED THAT I AM NOT IN THE LEAST BIT TALENTED AT THE LOW COST OF TERMINATING MY PREGNANCY, I’d be un-pregnant so fucking fast that the entire clinic’s head would spin! I guess they included her in there to balance out the scary demonic Mom who fucked the drummer while her daughter lost her virginity against her will to Andy Emo because she loves her son and supports him fully and is really sweet to him, but why does a mom have to be a total fucking fool who sacrificed her wildest dreams to be rendered “good”? Am I just an asshole? I’m probably just an asshole.
Stay tuned for my episode 2 review.