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Series / The Crew (2021)

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The Crew is a Work Com co-produced by NASCAR and Netflix. It was released on the latter service on February 15, 2021.

Bobby Spencer Racing is a NASCAR Cup Series team that, after several years of success, is now struggling to keep up with the midfield. With their driver Jake (Freddie Stroma) having crashed out of the first lap of the most recent race and the team starting to run low on funding, their future doesn't look very bright. However, after celebrating his 70th birthday, the eponymous team owner (Bruce McGill) decides to retire to Hawaii, and passes control of his team down to his young genius daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller). The series deals with former driver and current crew chief Kevin (Kevin James), office/finance manager Beth (Sarah Stiles) head engineers Chuck (Gary Anthony Williams) and Amir (Dan Ahdoot) and aforementioned driver Jake as they navigate Catherine's attempts to modernize and reorganize the team in hopes of bringing it back up to the top.

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Not to be confused with The Crew.

Tropes found in this series:

  • Bad News in a Good Way: Kevin tries to break the news of Ed's firing in the lightest way possible. Subverted when he plainly tells Ed, who takes it well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The last episode ends with Beth leaving for New York to check out condos with her fiancé before Kevin can confess his feelings to her. On the bright side, he and Catherine save the team from bankruptcy by setting up a truck series team for Jessie to race in to get her experience and windfall of sponsorship dollars, which allows Jake to stay in the Cup car.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Jake vs. Jessie as the team's driver debate between Kevin and Catherine is this. Kevin rightfully points out that Jake is the superior driver and gives the team the best chance to win. Catherine retorts that Jessie brings in more sponsorship revenue and makes the team more profitable.
    • Kevin and Catherine's relationship falls here generally. As a former driver and long-time crew chief, Kevin has a much better feel for the actual, day-to-day operations of a racing team than Catherine does. But Catherine is right that the team has gone years without winning and needs to modernize its business practices to stay competitive. Most episodes are careful not to paint one or the other as completely in the wrong when they butt heads.
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  • Brainy Brunette: Catherine, who went to Stamford.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Jake is as dumb as a box of rocks about almost everything except driving.
  • Butt-Monkey: Amir is constantly insulted and made fun of by just about everyone in the garage.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Kevin suffered one sometime between his lone win in Darlington 1994 and the start of the series.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Jake can't seem to figure out how to talk to women without making them feel uncomfortable.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: After Ed forgets to replace a tire properly costing the team a good finish:
    Kevin: He didn't forget to put it on, he...forgot to attach it to the car.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Chuck is not that old, but he is the oldest member of the team and cantankerous as all hell.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Catherine is an antagonist for most of the season, but she does take her job seriously and cares about her teammates more than she lets on. When she actually takes time to explain why she's being so strict (namely, that the team is bleeding money and needs a drastic overhaul to stay afloat), Kevin sees her point and works to improve their relationship.
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  • Last of His Kind: Kevin. His old school methods of managing the team are on the way out, as is acknowledged In-Universe by several characters. Further, his lack of formal qualifications for management makes it hard for him to find work outside of Spencer, forcing him to stay with the team despite his dislike for Catherine.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jake, who is very much aware of it.
  • Only Sane Woman: Beth is generally the one who keeps the office on an even keel and smooths out conflicts with her coworkers. In some episodes, though, she's Not So Above It All.
  • Passing the Torch: The series starts when Bobby, the team owner, hands control down to his daughter.
  • Pet the Dog: Although Jessie is a smug Jerkass most of the time, she is concerned when Jake suffers a concussion and hides it from the team, enough to tell Kevin. Granted, she admits that she'll benefit from it, so this could fall under Pragmatic Villainy.
  • Those Two Guys: Chuck and Amir, who are almost always seen together cracking jokes or working on the team's car.
  • Verbal Backspace: In regards to Catherine preparing to hire Jessie to replace Jake:
    Kevin: She's not allowed in the building.
    Catherine: She's in the gym right now.
    Kevin: After today, she's not allowed in the building.
    • Kevin ends up doing this quite a bit.

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