'Wayne' on Amazon Is a Cinematic Action-Comedy Series Worth Binge-Watching

The YouTube original series hits Prime.

wayne tv show
YouTube Premium

There's a scene in Wayne where one of the protagonists, a teenager named Del (Ciara Bravo), pulls the needle out of another girl's arm at a high school blood drive, turning their gymnasium into the Overlook Hotel, all because of a bitchy comment. There's another scene in Wayne where the titular character, a defiant, truant 16-year-old (Mark McKenna), bites the nose off Del's father so they can run away together. They're a match made in heaven: She got a foul mouth and he throws rocks in people's windows, chokes them with bike locks, and stabs himself for shock value.

It's safe to say that the brutal action-comedy series, about Wayne's motorbike road trip from Massachusetts to retrieve his father's stolen 1979 Pontiac Trans Am in Florida, isn't for everybody. Your ability to become numb to the ultraviolence may vary by how much you buy Wayne's justification that the carnage is simply a way to get by and make the world a more just place. Under the premise's rugged exterior, the show, which was created by Shawn Simmons (Now We're Talking), with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick among the producers, has a heart of gold. Now that Wayne is streaming on Amazon Prime, it's worth checking out whether you'll be won over by its enjoyable ridiculousness.

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Wayne has actually been available for some time, having made its debut on YouTube Premium back in January 2019. Not only was it well-received by critics—still holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes—the premiere episode available to watch for free without a YouTube Premium subscription has racked up more than 41 million views so far. With YouTube moving away from scripted original content, Wayne is now also available to watch on Amazon, where hopefully more people will find it, like they did when Cobra Kai's first two seasons hit Netflix.

Then again, this is a far darker series than Cobra Kai, as Wayne sets off to get his dad's car as a sort of rash, escapist decision after his father loses a long battle with cancer, and he burns their home to the ground. He's also got to steal it back from his mother who walked out on them. It's a hyperbolic show, too, though, where villains have pet alligators, you can get chased cross-country by not only your girlfriend's scary father and her goons-for-brothers but the cops and your school principal, and sometimes you end up at random high school formals where you break out in a dance to "Tipsy" by J-Kwon. It's similar in plot and pitch black tone to Netflix's The End of the F***ing World, but in Wayne, they turn up the vulgarity, violence, and absurdity to the max, and let the sentimentality trickle in as you warm up to the bad boy underneath the bike goggles and his snarky accomplice.

Wayne figures himself somewhat of a barbarian—ruthless and without a home—and he'll scour the Earth until justice is served to those who've wronged the downtrodden, be them his family or someone he meets in a convenience store. That's partially why he turns to doing things like striking nails through strangers' hands or choking them with a bike lock, but as someone eventually tells him, "Everything you do, it's done out of love." Because of that, you root for his over-the-top expedition in search a Trans Am the whole ride through. It's a cinematic, at times mindless binge that puts you in a headlock until the very end. If you give it a watch, you'll feel that intensity until the final shot—but you might get some release, because if it performs well enough on Prime, the streaming service might bring it back for well-deserved Season 2.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She's on Twitter at @mssadiebell.