Daisy Jones and The Six
Some people just can’t handle their fame. The Six’s early taste of it turns everyone giddy except Billy. Even just a little bit of fame makes Billy (more) miserable.
The fourth episode opens with Daisy Jones & the Six’s attempt at re-creating that whirlwind moment from That Thing You Do! — the one with Liv Tyler running down Main Street screeching gleefully as the Wonders make their radio debut. In the Daisy Jones version, the geeky band boys chase down a carful of girls they overhear playing “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)”; when the song comes on the diner jukebox, Daisy cartoonishly drops the plates she’s meant to be bussing. Karen — the cool one — helps a kid in a music store with the last few dollars she needs to afford the record, and Billy — ever the jerk — switches the radio off as Camilla and Julia attempt to jam out over breakfast. He hates the song now that Daisy’s transformed it into a “celebration of doubt,” a bad take he’s still peddling to the camera two decades later. Well, if you hated it so much, Billy, you shouldn’t have made it sound so catchy. I’ve been humming the song formerly known as “Honeycomb” since I first heard it last week.
But even Billy can’t hate his first royalty check. Six hundred dollars apiece because, as Billy explains, he magnanimously split the publishing among the band despite writing all the songs himself. Can you seriously believe this guy and the limitless depths of his ego? Graham buys a Gerry Lopez lightning-bolt surfboard (not exactly a starter board, but a nice splurge nonetheless); Eddie buys amps; Warren gets a fur; and Billy rents Camilla and their little girl a house to call home, just the three of them in a cabin in the hills.
The song’s radio play is just the start — serious momentum is growing around the Six. They’re invited to play at the 1975 Diamond Head Festival on Oahu (incidentally, the home of Gerry Lopez). They have one hit, and suddenly they’re sharing a bill with Steve Miller and Cheech & Chong. Billy, of course, can’t enjoy paradise either. He’s visibly uncomfortable with the drinking that goes on around him on tour, and he’s upset when he’s away from his family. But mostly, Billy doesn’t like sharing the stage with Daisy, who is increasingly a package deal with the Six. So synonymous with the band is she that the Six look confusingly like five without her up there.
The plan is for Daisy to join the band onstage just for their big song, but she can’t help herself. She claims a mic early, then refuses to leave it once they’ve played the hell out of “Honeycomb.” Even 20 years later, Daisy insists to the camera that she kept singing because the crowd wouldn’t “let” her leave. Can you seriously believe this woman and the infinite abyss of her ego? Every time they meet, it’s easier to see why a front man like Billy feels bruised, but it’s also undeniable that they sound fantastic together. Standing cheek to cheek in the hot, dusty crater, fighting to be heard on the same mic. And they look great together — young and beautiful, hungry and electric.
The crowd is frothing. The band is ecstatic. And Billy is … peeved. In a post-performance quick hit, he embarrasses Daisy on TV by insisting there are no future plans to record together. They’re both assholes, really. He shouldn’t hog credit for “Honeycomb”; she shouldn’t insult every other song in the Six’s catalogue. Karen is likely right when she counsels Billy that the band needs Daisy to become stars, but Billy isn’t wrong to doubt whether the band could survive the hurricane of Daisy’s self-obsession. Not even Teddy, who needs the Six to break big, is willing to force the volatile duo together.
Back on the mainland, Daisy is rudderless, struggling to write her album and soon to be bereft of her only friend. Depressingly, Simone’s worst fears about the music business come true this week. That sleazy producer whose lap she didn’t linger on in episode three? He’s stolen her voice. On TV, she and Daisy watch three women lip-sync to a recording that Simone made. It’s completely outrageous (and reminded me of Kesha’s part in Flo Rida’s “Right Round” — for which she claims she was paid $0 — being mouthed by an array of females in the 2009 music video). Daisy blames the sleazebag, which is 100 percent correct, but Simone half-heartedly blames herself.
With Daisy’s support, Simone makes the game-changing decision to move to New York with Bernie, whom she’s been talking with since they met. It feels like a watershed moment for her character. She’s finally taking a step toward earning the “disco pioneer” chyron she gets in the documentary. It also leaves Daisy all alone in Hollywood. She moves into the scene-y Chateau Marmont, which would likely be a bad idea for most people but seems especially dangerous for a pill-popping rock ingenue.
It takes approximately 24 unchaperoned hours for Daisy to land in serious trouble. She’s arrested for breaking into her parents’ house, which, heartbreakingly, doesn’t belong to her parents anymore. What’s most interesting, though, is that two decades later, she denies it ever happened. Some truths hit too close to the bone; some hurts even time can’t heal. Her parents cared so little for Daisy that they weren’t concerned she couldn’t find them. Frankly, she seems poised to spiral out of control until Camilla successfully plays matchmaker.
Unfortunately, not for Karen and Graham, whose will-they-won’t-they is growing increasingly flirtatious. When Graham eventually goes in for the kiss, though, Karen pumps the brakes. But Camilla does invite Daisy to their housewarming to broker a peace. Billy trusts Camilla. Following her lead, he’s moved to half-heartedly apologize to Daisy for how he acted after the show in Hawai’i. But Camilla can’t move mountains. In the end, it takes an act of God, or at least a failure of the power company, to bring the band together.
As the party rages into the night, a blackout cuts the music and somehow wakes up baby Julia. Daisy’s the first to hear her. Oblivious to the modern demands of show-no-love sleep training, she boldly goes into the nursery (I gasped), comforts her, and brings her to her grateful daddy. Meanwhile, Karen sits at the piano to fill the silence. A candlelit vibe is building before she even starts singing “Ooh La La,” which apparently came in No. 246 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs; I would have thought that too high for a Faces song before this episode, and now I wonder if it’s high enough. “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.” Could an idea be any clearer and sadder and more universal? Billy and Daisy spontaneously share the verses, and the whole party takes the chorus.
It’s the end of Billy’s resistance. If his wife can embrace Daisy (though she does get in one slyly delivered “back off my man” speech) and his daughter can be soothed by her, maybe Billy can at least tolerate becoming one-half of one of the world’s best-ever vocal duos.