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Ruby & the Rockits aired from July until September 2009 on ABC Family.
A young girl must struggle with teen life, her casino-night-singer father, living with her uncle and cousins, and the fact that her father and uncle keep remembering when they were famous rock musicians in the 80's.
A Review from variety
Posted: Mon., Jul. 20, 2009, 1:13pm PT
Ruby & the Rockits
(Series -- ABC Family, Tues. July 21, 8:30 p.m.) Filmed in Los Angeles by Shaun Cassidy Prods. in association with ABC Studios. Executive producers, Shaun Cassidy, Marsh McCall; producer, Al Lowenstein; director, Ted Wass; writers, Ed Yeager, McCall; story by Cassidy, Yeager.
Patrick Gallagher - Patrick Cassidy
David Gallagher - David Cassidy
Ruby - Alexa Vega
Audie Gallagher - Katie Amanda Keane
Jordan Gallagher - Austin Butler
Ben Gallagher - Kurt Doss
By BRIAN LOWRY
Beyond the "Hey, that little girl from 'Spy Kids' grew up" factor, there's nothing much to recommend "Ruby & the Rockits," which races through all kinds of business in its fuel-injected pilot to establish the template for this music-based, family affair of a series. Shaun Cassidy -- mostly associated with dark dramas since graduating to showrunner status -- teams with Marsh McCall and Ed Yeager on this multicamera sitcom, which stars his brothers Patrick and David as onetime pop idols now at very different stages of their lives. "Ruby" is mild and harmless, but also pretty close to laugh-less.
Patrick and David Gallagher (played by the aforementioned Cassidys) were musical icons as the Rockits, as demonstrated by a spoof video showing them with really unfortunate hair. Now Patrick has grown up and moved on to domestic bliss -- running a car dealership, with a wife and two sons -- while David is still hanging onto the fringes of showbiz, playing Indian casinos, stumbling home at dawn and bedding a variety of women.
Enter Ruby (Alexa Vega of "Spy Kids"), a teenager who bluntly informs David she's his heretofore-unknown daughter. Without so much as a paternity test, he quickly delivers the kid to his slightly estranged brother, saying that his wild lifestyle doesn't lend itself to looking after a child -- even one with a sweet singing voice (naturally) who might be a little too attractive to her slow-on-the-uptake cousin (Austin Butler).
Vega is appealing enough to become the next Disney merchandise-moving teen star, but in terms of the pilot, all these machinations occur so rapidly, with so little protestation and so few complications, as to feel borderline ridiculous. One suspects the show will settle into a rhythm -- Ruby adjusting to her new life, with dad David dropping in for comic relief -- but if the premiere is any indication, it's all going to be fairly banal.
That's a shame, since having the Cassidys associated with a project exploring the aftermath of such youthful stardom -- without straying into the usual "E! True Hollywood Story" territory -- certainly has both comedic and dramatic potential. As is, though, the channel was likely more excited about the promotional value of the program's autobiographical origins than about the material itself.
So while there's a genial enough beat at "Ruby's" heart, based on the pilot, the prospect of regularly watching the show is enough to make you "Da Doo Ron Ron" for the hills.
Camera, Jim Roberson; production designer, Michael Hynes; editor, Peter Beyt; music producers, Eve Nelson, Jay Gruska; casting, Barbara Stordahl, Angela Terry. RUNNING TIME: 30 MIN.
A Review from The LA Times
'Ruby & the Rockits'
David Cassidy, Patrick Cassidy and Alexa Vega star in a new pop-related ABC Family sitcom that feels surprisingly ordinary.
July 21, 2009|ROBERT LLOYD, TELEVISION CRITIC
Back in the year 1970, which is to the year 2009 as 1931 was to 1970, a young man named David Cassidy starred with his stepmother, Shirley Jones, in a show called "The Partridge Family," about a family pop band and its multicolored, refitted school bus. "I Think I Love You" was its actual top 40 radio hit. Cassidy went on to become a bona fide teen idol, followed by his half brother Shaun, who also became an actor and then a TV writer and producer ("American Gothic," "Cold Case," "Roar").
Now, Shaun has created "Ruby & the Rockits," an ABC Family sitcom that premieres tonight and stars David and Patrick Cassidy (Shaun's brother, David's half brother) as feuding siblings who in the late 1980s had a successful synth-glam band called the Rockits. (They keep their own first names here but are now surnamed Gallagher.) Also starring a singing Alexa Vega ("Spy Kids") and Austin Butler ("Zoey 101"), alongside Katie Amanda Keane and Kurt Doss -- in the Danny "Partridge" Bonaduce role of little wise guy -- it partly represents, I suppose, the network's bid to get into the pop-related teen-com field alongside Nickelodeon ("The Naked Brothers Band") and Disney Channel ("Hannah Montana," "Jonas"). But it is more of a standard family comedy -- that is, the parents are not merely appended to the kids. In any case, it is not especially good.
In tonight's pilot, the eponymous Ruby (Vega) shows up at the Florida casino where David is flogging the tail end of his legend to announce that she is his daughter and has come to stay. Apart from calling for a little rum to be added to his fizzy water, he takes this with remarkable equanimity, not even asking for proof of paternity.
David Cassidy, who will turn 60 next year, plays David Gallagher as a version of the show-business egotists his father, Jack Cassidy, specialized in. Younger readers may imagine Nathan Lane.
"You're my daughter," he says to Ruby. "It's like a dream come true."
"How do you think I feel," she replies excitedly, "meeting my dad the famous rock star?"
"That's what I meant."
As a man whose Keith Richards Lite lifestyle does not suit the presence of a teenage girl, he takes Ruby to live with Patrick, who has become successful selling SUVs in a parallel universe where "my business is doing so well that I'm thinking of opening another dealership in Tampa." There is only the briefest hemming (not even hawing) before she moves in with his family and makes them happier than ever, rewriting her cousin's songs of teen depression into market-ready hymns of positivity and giving her aunt (Keane) someone to hug. And before the pilot is over, David and Patrick will reunite onstage. (There are some well-realized pastiches of '80s pop for them to sing. "Chunnel of Love" is especially good.)
Given the dark flavor of Shaun Cassidy's adult TV creations and his own experiences within the music machine, "Ruby" feels surprisingly ordinary and uninformed, put together out of scraps from the old sitcom drawer. Nothing bad matters long here; comfort is quickly restored.
"Since you've come here, my boys are happy, my wife has a new accomplice and David and I are closer than we've been in 20 years," Patrick tells Ruby. "What I'm trying to say is, I am on to you." But he is only joking, unfortunately.
A Review from the New York Daily News
'Ruby and the Rockits'
Alexa Vega brings a bit of the 50s back in 'Ruby and the Rockits'
Tuesday, July 21st 2009, 2:11 AM
If the signal of a '50s sitcom had gotten lost in space and bounced around for a half-century before returning to Earth, it might look like "Ruby and the Rockits."
Which isn't totally a bad thing.
The main differences are that along the way it picked up a little infusion from "High School Musical," and its nuclear family isn't entirely traditional.
The title character, Ruby (Alexa Vega), is the teen daughter of faded rock star David Gallagher (David Cassidy). As soon as Ruby - who never knew her father - finds this out, she buys a one-way ticket to live with him.
Realizing his on-the-road lifestyle isn't ideal for a high school student, David immediately tries to hand her off to his brother, Patrick (Patrick Cassidy). Patrick, who does have a classic nuclear family, runs a car dealership, is married to the loving Audie (Katie Amanda Keane) and has two sons. While they're wise guys, they're also as wholesome as Wally and Beaver Cleaver.
The catch is that back in the 1980s, David and Patrick were a hot pop band called the Rockits. They split up and have spent 20 years sniping at each other, and oh yes, Patrick secretly wishes he were still a rocker.
Now Ruby thinks it would be the cool if the Rockits got back together. Did we mention she's a singer, too?
If you think you see where all this is going, you do. You always saw where '50s sitcoms were going. The point was the ride.
"Ruby and the Rockits" serves up an endless stream of jokes about the rock star life and their self-absorption, yet keeps it all remarkably clean and wholesome. Thanks, ABC Family.
What makes it all work is the good time the Cassidys, especially David, are having in these roles. In the end it's contagious. Shakespeare, no, but clever enough to be good 'tween fun.
To watch clips of Ruby & the Rockits go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ruby+%26+the+rockits
For more on Ruby & the Rockits go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_%26_the_Rockits
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdKKfLXVM6Y
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Keywords: Ruby & Rockits Cast