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Series / Radio Free Roscoe

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Radio Free Roscoe was a Teen Drama that aired on The-N (now known as TeenNick) in The United States and on Family Channel in Canada. From Will McRobb, one of the co-creators of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, it was about the exploits of four teenagers who ran and DJ-ed their own pirate radio station in response to Cougar Radio, their school's radio station:

  • Robbie McGrath ("Question Mark") - RFR's lead host. A steadfast passionate guy who believes in the truth. He fiercely opposes Cougar Radio but eventually falls in love with Cougar Radio's DJ, Kim Carlisle. Played by Nathan Stephenson.
  • Ray Brennan ("Pronto") - An easygoing jokester, who has been in love with Lily since they were kids. Played by Al Mukadam.
  • Travis Strong ("Smog") - RFR's technical director. A mysterious, spiritual guy who is the son of a diplomat and he has lived all around the world. Played by Nathan Carter.
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  • Lily Randall ("Shady Lane") - RFR's music director. Despite her booming musical talents, she is insecure and self-conscious. She is in love with Ray. Played by Kate Todd.

The show ran for four seasons and of 52 episodes. While never quite touching the popularity of The-N's top show, Degrassi: The Next Generation, it is still a pretty good alternative as it's not as melodramatic.

Tropes used by this show include:

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Ray and Lily to each other at various points.
  • Adults Are Useless: Or completely evil.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: For a while, Lily felt an attraction she couldn't explain for the brooding Travis. Noticeably, her attraction fades as soon as the brooding disappears into clingy attachment.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster
  • Butt-Monkey: Ray, on and off-air.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The show became more and more focused on drama, relationships, and who will Lily fall for? Almost certainly as an attempt to try and compete with Degrassi.
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  • Confronting Your Imposter: After most of an episode spent wondering how to expose a classmate claiming to be Smog without revealing their own identities, Shady Lane hosts an RFR dance over the radio and prompts the crowd to have the fake Smog start mixing records live. When he fails terribly, Shady announces the real Smog is in the studio with her, and he proceeds to do a dance mix live over the air.
  • Character Blog: While the show was originally running, the radio station had its own real website, that was regularly updated by the characters. It's long gone by now though.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Parker
  • Conflicting Loyalty: In-fighting amongst the group usually leads to someone getting stuck in the middle.
  • Everyone Can See It: Ray and Lily
  • Dating Catwoman: Robbie and Kim Carlisle.
  • Dean Bitterman: Waller starts out this way, but gets better.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Ray tries it multiple times as a Running Gag in "Radio Wars." The first occurrence is when Kim Carlisle steals RFR's segment asking listeners to call in with complaints about their lives — Ray declares This Means War! and leaves around a corner. He soon doubles back and tells the group they were meant to follow him. Also a subverted Unspoken Plan Guarantee, as Ray assumed everyone realized they were going to find a private area and call into Kim's show as their RFR personae.
    • "Question Everything:" "That's... So deep!" When teenagers try their hands at philosophy, you get this. Face Palm.
    • Sometimes, the teens' attempts at being dramatic or deep are often met with derision from other members of the station, or the viewers. In the second episode, Ray stops Robbie's speech to complain about how boring it is.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Travis can hook up a fairly elaborate pirate radio station in an afternoon, and repairs anything from a snowglobe to a shattered walkie talkie in seconds. While still a relatively realistic portrayal, it's often Handwaved as a result of his previous loner, globe trotting life.
  • Garage Band: Lily's band, No Man's Land
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kim, who may not come around on RFR, but becomes warm with most of the main characters despite their status as freshmen. Principal Waller similarly has bonding moments with the students, notably Travis.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Robbie and Ray both have episodes where they become frustrated that their popular on-air personalities don't translate to recognition in school.
    • A number of school soap drama plots, where someone has to hide who kissed whom, etc.
  • Hidden Depths: A running theme in the series is how people often have a hidden side to them, often not visible to the rest of the world:
    • The hosts of the titular radio station live different lives as regular students.
    • Ray is a class clown, but he's also very sensitive and intuitive. Quite a few times, his maturity and thoughtfulness surprises people.
    • Travis seems like a mysterious, erudite, and strange figure. While he is philosophical, he's also socially awkward and geeky, and afraid that people won't like the real him.
    • Kim seems like a girl who cares only for herself, and regularly cuts down anyone who gets in her way. Beneath the Mask, she's very lonely, and hates the negative reputation she's earned at school.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Ray and Lily.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Travis.
  • Love Epiphany: In the finale, Lily realizes how strong her feelings are for Ray when she hears her band will go on a tour during the summer, and Ray (instead of River, her boyfriend) is the first person she wants to tell.
  • I Am Spartacus
  • Inept Aptitude Test: The subject of the first not-terrible radio show.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Principal Waller's "I. Am. Danger Man."
  • Pungeon Master: Ray
  • The Quiet One: Travis, especially under the Smog persona. Sometimes wishes he wasn't so quiet, as the others may assume he has nothing to say.
  • Really Gets Around: Lily had dated almost every male character on the show, except Robbie. And even then he got an episode where he thought she might have feelings for him.
  • Romantic False Lead: Grace, Ray's shorttime girlfriend and also River Pierce.
  • Rule of Cool: Could a local pirate radio station run by bored teenagers really have so much power in their area that they could actually host school dances in the very school they are devoted to bashing? Well, no, but it's awesome nonetheless.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Travis and Parker
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lily almost never wears a skirt or much makeup, but when she does, the results are pretty great.
  • Secret Identity: How the kids stay out of trouble when speaking their minds on the radio. Leads to a number of related plots, such as whether to reveal their identities or having to be in two places at once, which work surprisingly well outside of the superhero genre they typically belong to.
  • Smoking Gun: A cell-phone picture captured by Travis of Kim Carlisle attempting to frame RFR with "RFR RULES" graffiti. Sent directly to Kim so that she can make a Last-Minute Reprieve and convince Principal Waller to call off the resultant witch hunt.
  • Stealth Insult: Done in the first episode.
    (Lily is nervous about playing her song in front of an audience)
    Robbie: Did The White Stripes wait till they were ready [to play in front of people]? No!
  • The Stoic: Travis
  • This Means War!: Exact words declared by Ray when Kim Carlisle steals an RFR segment.
  • Token Minority Couple: It turns out that Robbie, the only black guy in school, starts having feelings for Kim, the only black girl in school.
  • Two Words: Added Emphasis: Used twice in "Radio Wars"; subversion of The Fool variation, as the speaker realizes and admits his mistake immediately. The first exchange:
    Principal Waller: Three words, Kim. Stick to the program.
    Kim Carlisle: Um, sir -
    Principal Waller: Yeah, I know. It was four words.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Ray finally getting with Lily in the end.
  • Voice of the Resistance
  • Will They or Won't They?: Ray and Lily both eventually admit to having feelings for each other, and are mutually attracted to one another, at the same time, and still hesitate to risk their friendship by dating. Other couples tend to get together after a few episodes of teasing, such as Robbie / Kim and a Lily / Travis arc.


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