QUAY: Shane Gillis’ Netflix Show ‘Tires’ Is A Masterpiece Of Post-Woke Comedy

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Grayson Quay News & Opinion Editor
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Comedian Shane Gillis’ new Netflix series “Tires” premiered on May 23, and in just six short episodes it set a new standard for the post-woke American sitcom. 

The show revolves around a struggling auto repair store that’s part of the small Valley Forge Automotive chain in rural Pennsylvania. Gillis, who grew up in Mechanicsburg, knows exactly how to make that setting feel real. The bathroom is filthy, handwritten signs are taped up everywhere, the staff swap crude jokes that make patrons uncomfortable and one of the show’s first lines of dialogue points out the omnipresent and overpowering smell of fresh tires. At times, I could almost smell them myself. 

Gillis plays Shane, a dead-end, mid-30s former high school football player who now spends his days fixing cars, drinking too much beer and teasing Will, his cousin. Shane has no real ambition to accomplish anything else. This bothers him sometimes, but not enough to spur any significant changes. He has enough money for rent and beer and a small captive audience that enjoys his wit. In a society where the cultural and economic foundations of family formation have collapsed, it’s the best life millions of men can hope for. (RELATED: SCHILLING: To Rebrand As Pro-Family, Republicans Must Embrace A New Economic Vision)

The show’s low status, un-PC characters are superficially reminiscent of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but with a crucial difference. The “It’s Always Sunny” showrunners make it painfully obvious that they view their characters as “the most horrible people alive.” You’re not really supposed to empathize with Dennis, Charlie, Mac, Dee and Frank. The closest you can get to real empathy is an infantilizing progressivism that refuses to hold them responsible for their moral degeneracy because “society failed them first.”

Gillis doesn’t hate Shane. When Shane cracks jokes about Asians and black people, makes loud sex noises or tells a group of skanks that the upscale clientele of Epstein’s island would want nothing to do with their stinky genitals, the point isn’t that he’s an ignorant bigot. It’s that he’s a funny guy. Did Shane vote for Trump? You bet your ass. So did all the other employees at the shop (except Will). It doesn’t matter. Gillis is a bit cagey about his own politics, but you can tell he’d love to hang out with these guys.

@thehappy_project Im literally cracking up😂 #fypage #foryou #shanegillis #funny #netflix ♬ original sound – thehappy_project

Will (Steve Gerben), whose dad owns the chain, manages the shop and is full of half-baked ideas he picked up in college. In the first episode, for instance, he tries (and fails miserably) to establish his male feminist credentials by making the store a safe space for women. He even invites a reporter from the local newspaper — another ambassador of elite urbanite wokeness in deep-red rural PA — to write a puff piece about it (“Fake news!” Shane scoffs). Will is insecure and a little effeminate, visibly uncomfortable with the horseplay that pervades the shop, even as he longs to take part in it.

This failson never secured his spot in the class he was educated to join, and feels out of place among his blue-collar employees. They constantly needle him about it, but Shane and the other employees also genuinely care about Will. Their open-hearted populism can embrace him and even learn from his perspective as he attempts to straddle two worlds. But that doesn’t go both ways. Respectable types (like the journalist or the female executive from a rival chain) who stop by the shop are appalled by Shane and company. But, unlike in “It’s Always Sunny,” the meddling scolds don’t stand in for the right-thinking viewer. The viewer is meant to identify with the shop employees and, like them, to view the intruders as sanctimonious killjoys.

Even the casting provides clear evidence of the show’s post-woke bona fides:

First, you’ve got Gillis himself. This is the guy who got fired from SNL before ever appearing on an episode. The guy who calls things “gay” and “retarded” during his specials. The guy who says he’d rather have a Fox News dad than an MSNBC dad. And, perhaps most notably, the only Trump impressionist whose performance doesn’t seem to be motivated by pure seething hatred. (RELATED: SNL Tried To Pivot. It Failed Spectacularly)

Then there’s Andrew Schulz, who nearly got canceled over a bit (correctly) blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China, joked about women who get abortions going to hell and even appeared on Jordan Peterson’s podcast. Schulz plays one-half of the Italian-American duo who work at the car dealership across the street. The Valley Forge crew casually refer to them as “the wops.”

Rounding out the cast is comedian (and Daily Caller superfan) Stavros Halkias. Now obviously (at least to anyone who clicked that link), Halkias is a leftist. More specifically, though, he’s part of what was known as the “dirtbag left,” a collection of Trump-era podcasters who embraced vulgarity and political incorrectness to spread their Bernie-esque socialist message. Halkias rose to prominence on a podcast called “Cum Town,” which formed part of a hip NYC milieu that has since drifted toward the dissident right. 

Give us a Matt Rife cameo in season two and we’re set! Maybe throw in Theo Von as well … (RELATED: Matt Rife Sees Fanbase Explode After Failed Feminist-Led Cancellation Attempt: REPORT)

And there will be a season two. The show was renewed even before it premiered, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If “Tires” goes on to achieve real cultural prominence, it could help widen our peephole-sized Overton Window by skewering our holier-than-thou elites, humanizing low-status red-staters and teaching Americans how to laugh together again.

Grayson Quay is an editor at the Daily Caller.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.