John from Cincinnati

Season 1 Episode 1

His Visit: Day One

Aired Sunday 12:00 AM Jun 10, 2007 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
121 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

We meet Mitch Yost once a legendary surfer, but now a lonely figure. He has a son Butchie who used to be extraordinary surfer, but now a drug addict junkie, and a 13-year-old grandson Shaun, who may be the next big surfer. As Mitch rinses off by his station wagon; he levitates, and thinks he's having a hallucination. A stranger named John arrives at the Snug Harbor Motel; police arrest Cissy for getting snippy with a megastore employee; Shaun and Bill take a detour on the way to a surfing event.moreless

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  • "Lord, there goes a Buick forty-nine. Black sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line. We think there is a soul, we don't know...That soul is hard to find." - Joe Strummermoreless

    Indeed, soul is hard to find. Yet, from the mesmerizing opening sequence, a montage of mostly old surfing footage set to Joe Strummer's 'Johnny Appleseed', we are introduced to a show that has exactly that...soul.

    The pilot opens with Luke Perry's character, surfing promoter Linc Stark, driving up to the beach in the early hours of the morning to watch surfing legend Mitch Yost catch some waves. Mysteriously and out of nowhere, the title character, John, appears over Linc's shoulder. His message to Linc is simple, "The end is near." But for who, or for what? Of course, we don't really know, and there-in lies the draw. Much like other shows, such as Lost, John From Cincinnati uses mystery to keep the viewers interested and excited, but it never seems forced or cliche, and underneath it all lies a truly human story.

    Over the course of the episode, we are introduced to many dramatically different characters living in this small beach town of Imperial Beach, California. Most of them are portrayed brilliantly by their respective actors, but the overall standout is Ed O'Neill as Bill Jacks, the quirky, yet well-meaning ex-cop who is a neighbor and close friend of the Yost family. Rebecca DeMornay is also excellent as Cissy Yost, the queen-bee of the Yost clan, and Austin Nichols had me genuinely laughing with his portrayal of the humorously naive John.

    What makes these characters all so similar though, and indeed so interesting, are their flaws. This strange John From Cincinnati seems to have come to help these people overcome their flaws. But perhaps he's also come to show not just them, but the rest of us as well, that it's not too late. We can still make a change and have a positive impact in each other's lives.

    Because we all know, "that soul is hard to find", but this is a show that's full of it.moreless
  • Very strange episode. I had very high expectations for this show, but the pilot episode is nowhere!

    Definitelly, it needs to be reshaped, and I hope the rest of the series gets better. The characters were so underdeveloped, and the whole episode was f**k after every other word, or references about religion and God but with bad connotation, which I didn´t appreciate very much, not that I am a prude or anything, it´s just that if you are going to say something say it with some meaninng, not just to throw it in the air to "try to seem cool".

    The main plot was also kind of weak, and there were some characters, like Luke Perry, who only showed up once and never showed up again until the end... what´s up with him?!?!

    and finally, we come down to the famous John, who I assume must be from Cincinnati, who nobody seems to realize something must be going on with him because he doesn´t act very normal.

    I´ll give this show another chance, but the first episode got me very dissapointed, I expected a lot more from the network that brought us Carnivale, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Rome, The Wire and Entourage... those are GREAT shows, this one is just a so-somoreless
  • Strange show, weird even.

    The surfing is fun to watch. Bruce Greenwood is nice to watch. A lot of f-words in this show. Not used to that in american shows. A little too much for my taste. This is a weird strange world we get to watch. What is the goal, to save the Yost family for the boys sake, cause he is still unspoiled. Who is John and who are the watchers who said that Shaun was surfing. John seems like an alien who copies every word someone says, but has in his pockets everything you need at that moment, weird. I am not sure what this is all about and maybe something will happen that clearifies it soon. Or else this show will not last.moreless
  • Ensemble, Weirdness, Dysfunction

    Wow, what a dysfunctional family. And the premise of the show is so strange, and strangely alluring. We have no idea what this John guy is there for. I suspect it's to put the family on the right track, but where's he from? I suppose that's the question of the day. I really enjoyed this pilot episode, even though at this point it didn't make much sense. Obviously we have some pretty patented situations, we have the 'Patriarch' whose word is law, the 'messed-up' kid, and then the young party who is the most normal of the bunch. I really enjoyed the fact that they're circling all of the drama around surfing. Austin Nichols is doing an absolutely fabulous job as the quirky and mysterious John. I am certainly looking forward to the plot opening up. This is a fascinating ensemble cast, and the weirdness of the storyline just keeps me wanting more!!!moreless
  • It starts like it might become the next "Six Feet Under". But it's gonna take time.

    When the first episode of "John From Cincinnati" started, I was a little confused. Not because I had expected something different, but because it took a long time to understand the relationships between the main characters. In the typical HBO way, the show gave us little pieces, not the complete thing including rules on how to react. They gave us hints, as always on HBO, but left away the center piece. And that is something I really love about HBO. They don't tell you, someone just died, people are crying, so that's what you have to do as well. They say, someone just died, figure out what effect it has on everyone. The great thing about this pilot was that in the end it made sense. This show is not just about surfing, it's about this John, who seems to be from somewhere far, far away. This show is a major breakthrough for HBO. And even though I haven't started bounding with the characters yet, except for Ed O' Neill's character. But this one will be big.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • John always seems to have exactly what people want in his pockets:

      (1). Vietnam Joe wants $50 to give John a ride to see Butchie, he empties his pockets and $50 falls out.

      (2). Butchie asks for his $2300 back, and John pulls exactly $2300 from his pocket.

      (3). Butchie either thinks John is stupid or rich for giving him the $2300 back, he asks John for ID, he empties his pockets and a Platinum Card comes out, showing Butchie his name, and also making Butchie think he is rich as it is a Platinum Card.

      (4). Butchie needs to make a phone call, but doesnt have his phone, he asks John if he has a Phone and he pulls one out of his pocket.

    • Imperial Beach receives $750 for each day of filming.

    • For the preview for this episode, it shows a mysterious surfer floating in the air.

    • In the opening sequence, you can see illegals coming across the border while the action goes on in the foreground.

    • It was filmed in Imperial Beach.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • John: Some things I know, some things I don't.
      Vietnam Joe: I'll drop you off at Butchie's. He may know where Mitch is, get you your health insurance. Then I'm gonna roll a fucking fattie!

    • (Mitch has told Cissy that he believes he has a brain tumor as a result of his levitation)
      Cissy: Why would you think you got brain cancer?
      Mitch: I was hallucinating.
      Cissy: You been getting high?
      Mitch: No, it wasn't a hallucination. It's not like acid.

    • Vietnam Joe: Tell me something you know.
      John: The end is near.
      Vietnam Joe: Feel that way half the time myself.

    • Cissy: (To Security Guard, referring to Gary) This guy made a pass at me.
      Gary: I am a diabetic! I did no such thing.

    • (Bill and Shaun are riding together in Bill's truck. Bill is being passed on the road by drivers)
      Bill: (To the 1st car that passes him) Up your ass! (To the 2nd) Up your nose with a rubber hose. (To the 3rd) Fuck you!
      (Bill turns to Shaun)
      Bill: Excuse me, I lost my temper.

    • (Linc and John are watching Mitch surf)
      Linc: You know Mitch Yost?
      John: Mitch Yost should get back in the game.
      (Linc follows John as they approach Mitch)
      Linc: Couple of fun ones, eh Mitch?
      John: You should get back in the game Mitch Yost.
      Mitch: (To John) You should mind your own business.
      Mitch: (To Linc) Go fuck yourself.

    • (Mitch steps on a syringe in the sand)
      Mitch: God damn it. A syringe. Maybe it's one of Butchiee's.
      Linc: What's happened with Butchiee is one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
      Mitch: Yeah, well, now he's proven to the world he can fuck up just fine without a sponsor.

    • John: The end is near.
      Linc: Amen my brother.
      (Linc turns and sees a group of people walking)
      Linc: These illegals act like it's just another day at the beach.

  • NOTES (10)


    • Bill: Up your nose with a rubber hose!

      'Up your nose with a rubber hose!' is the 'famous comeback' phrase used quite often by Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta ) throughout the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, which aired from 1975 to 1979.

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