“Amazon Prime and chill” isn’t yet interchangeable with Netflix in the sense that viewers don’t immediately associate Amazon’s entertainment streaming service with a euphemism for seduction. But the platform’s original series are a step in the right direction. In addition to the critically acclaimed comedies “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle,” both of which bolstered Amazon’s case for creative validity, the service/studio debuts the new series “Red Oaks” today. A coming-of-age comedy set at a suburban country club in 1985, “Red Oaks” is enjoying a favorable reception, advancing Amazon’s sphere of influence as a name for original entertainment and *gulp* comedy.
Toledo-native Oliver Cooper, who’s gained notoriety playing (and making) memorable characters in both 2012’s Project X and Californication’s seventh season, enjoys another solid role in “Red Oaks” as Wheeler, the country club’s valet attendant. We came up with a few questions for Oliver, who talked to the City Paper via phone about his latest release, “Red Oaks.”
In your own words, what’s the show about?
It’s a show about a kid, David Meyers – played by Craig Roberts – who’s working as a tennis instructor during his summer home from college, trying to find himself. The show has a lot of great characters who all have their different little story lines that overlap.
Who’s your character and what’s his M.O.?
I play Wheeler. He’s a valet parking attendant who basically is harboring a crush on Misty, the lifeguard played by Alexandra Turshen. He’s kinda goofy, smokes on the job, ends up chasing the lifeguard girl around. He’s trying to figure his own life out too.
What was your favorite part about working on this show?
The best part about working on the show was that I got to work with some great people. David Gordon Green directed the pilot episode; he directed Pineapple Express. Amy Heckerling, who directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, also directed a few episodes. So many talented people. I got lucky to work on this show with a ton of amazing people.
When they have you smoking weed on the show, what are you really smoking on set since it can’t be weed?
It’s an herbal blend… some kind of herb. I’m not really sure.
So you don’t know what you’re smoking?
No. [laughs] I trust them.
Look out for Oliver Cooper as Wheeler on “Red Oaks.” Watch the sufficiently binge-worthy full first season of “Red Oaks” on Amazon Prime today.