Everything you need to know about Shane Gillis' Netflix show 'Tires' (including its Philly references) (2024)

PHILADELPHIA — Mechanicsburg-born comedian Shane Gillis is back on Netflix with "Tires," a new comedy series set in Pennsylvania which premiered on the streamer last week.

Gillis, who initially made a name for himself in the Philadelphia comedy scene, self-funded the project. It arrives on the streaming service about a year after his hit stand-up special "Beautiful Dogs" — and five years after he was fired from "Saturday Night Live" following clips of him using racist and hom*ophobic slurs on his podcast came to light online.

Gillis has since bounced back from that debacle, even hosting "SNL" earlier this year, where he briefly addressed being axed from the show and jokingly begged unfamiliar viewers to not Google the affair.

With "Tires," Gillis is branching out into a scripted series. Created alongside collaborators Steve Gerben and John McKeever, who previously worked with Gillis on the sketch series "Gilly and Keeves," the self-funded sitcom happens to have a little local flavor, thanks to its setting at the fictional Valley Forge Automotive Center.

But if you’re a Philadelphia-area viewer expecting a more raunchy, irreverent version of the mainstream ABC comedy "Abbott Elementary," this isn’t it. Here is what you need to know:

What is 'Tires' about?

While Gillis is the big name attached to the series, the show is more focused on Gerben’s character Will, a newly minted manager of a location of his father’s flagging car repair chain, Valley Forge Automotive Center. Gillis plays Shane, Will’s wisecracking, bro-y cousin who ostensibly also works at the shop, but really spends most of his time torturing his would-be boss.

The series’ six-episode first season follows Will as he learns to manage the shop, and attempts to drum up business amid falling revenue. Most of those attempts come in the form of incomplete ideas for business promotions, like an ill-thought-out ad campaign targeted at getting female customers in the door, or, conversely, another in which the crew sets up a bikini car wash.

Throughout the show, Will’s dad mostly remains an off-screen presence, save for the final episode of the season. Instead, he reports to district manager Dave (played by comedian Stavros Halkias, the other big name in the cast aside from Gillis), who appears to be equally ill-prepared to be in his position.

For the most part, the episodes are slice-of-life, mockumentary-esque views on what daily life at the shop is like. The big conflict, though, is that Will’s dad is considering selling off the business, forcing Will, Dave and Shane to ultimately come together to save their jobs.

How Philadelphia is 'Tires'?

Unlike co-creator and director McKeever’s previous project "Delco Proper," "Tires" is significantly less rooted in the Philadelphia area — which, given that it made it to Netflix, makes sense. It feels more less reliant on its setting, and perhaps more appealing to the (many) potential viewers who don’t reside in the area.

But, that said, we do get a few local references. Throughout the series, we find out that Valley Forge Automotive Center has a number of locations in the Philadelphia area, such as Wayne, Springfield, Belmont and West Chester — the latter being where the series takes place.

And, to the show’s credit, it was filmed locally. Filming took place primarily in West Chester at Tires Etc., a real-life tire shop on Gay Street. Though, maybe that shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the pilot for the series was titled Tires Etc.

The show’s real Philadelphia-area roots, however appear mostly in the casting: The supporting cast is fleshed out with Philly comedy scene veterans including Mary Radzinski, Kilah Fox, Chris O’Connor, Tommy Pope, Chip Chantry, Tim Butterly, Mike Rainey and Gillis’ podcast co-host, Matt McCusker.

Off-screen, the show featured casting by Heery Loftus. The Classic Diner, which has locations in Malvern and West Chester, did the catering.

But Philly culture? Not so much. There’s no Wawa or Eagles pandering to be seen — although there is one scene in which Gillis chows down on a hoagie, and there is a single mention of Route 202.

And given that so many actors are local, the accents are great.

What are the reviews?

So far, early reviews are fairly lukewarm on "Tires."

Variety wrote that the show “spins its wheels,” and serves as more of an “audition for a second” season rather than a stand-alone show. The Washington Post called the show “fine.”

The Hollywood Reporter was less kind, noting that the series follows protagonists who are “stubbornly one-note” and features a a supporting cast of characters that are “even less distinctive.” And due to the essentially single-location setting, its “universe feels claustrophobically tiny.”

While the show may not be groundbreaking, it more or less plays to Gillis’ audience — so, if you’re a fan of his stand-up, you’ll probably like the show. As Roger Ebert critic Brian Tallerico put it, "Tires" isn’t a show that “really breaks the mold of what fans of Gillis will expect and will give just enough fuel to his detractors.”

Regardless of whatever those detractors might have to say, however, we’re going to see more of Gillis and co. in "Tires." The show, Netflix announced a day ahead of its premiere, has already been renewed for a second season.

©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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Everything you need to know about Shane Gillis' Netflix show 'Tires' (including its Philly references) (2024)
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