John From Cincinnati Wiki
Original Air Date June 10, 2007
Next Airing TBA
Written by David Milch, Kem Nunn
Director Mark Tinker
Next episode "His Visit: Day Two"


Mitch levitates; Linc wants to sponsor Shaun; John takes surfing lessons from Butchie; Barry buys the Snug Harbor Motel; Cissy throws toilet paper; Zippy returns from the dead; Teddy wipes out.


Tijuana Sloughs: It's morning on the Tijuana Sloughs at Imperial Beach. Surfing promoter Linc Stark finds ex-champ Mitch Yost catching an early morning surf. A mysterious young man, John Monad, appears behind Linc and says, "The end is near." Linc is trying to sign Mitch's surfing prodigy grandson, Shaun, and he's annoyed when he sees John approach Mitch, thinking that John is a competing promoter. But all John says is, "You should get back in the game, Mitch Yost." Mitch tells John to mind his own business, and tells Linc to fuck off.

Beach: On another part of the beach, Mitch's wife Cissy watches her grandson surf. A young blonde is also keeping an eye on Shaun.

Sloughs: Linc follows Mitch to his car, making a sales pitch, but Mitch isn't interested -- Linc was the promoter for Mitch's son Butchie, and Mitch holds Linc responsible for screwing up Butchie's life. Linc tells Mitch that Shaun is competing at Huntington Beach today. Mitch snarls that Linc is trying to get his claws into Shaun now, but Linc shows Mitch the "sponsor me" DVD that Shaun sent him. He says that it's inevitable; Shaun is going to get signed, and Mitch might as well trust the devil he knows.

The Snug Harbor Motel: Meanwhile, manager Ramon Gaviota and attorney Meyer Dickstein are preparing for the new owner of the Snug Harbor Motel to arrive. The motel has been falling apart for years, so there are a lot of problems to take care of. One of those problems is Butchie Yost, who's been squatting in cabin F for six months, without paying rent. According to Meyer, Butchie "revolutionized surfing" -- and Meyer, a die-hard fan, will do anything to help Butchie out during this troubled period. Butchie arrives at the motel, waves Meyer and Ramon away, and goes into his cabin. Tying off his arm, he prepares to shoot up the heroin that he just bought -- and finds that he's paid $2300 for quinine.

Sloughs: At the beach, Mitch loads his board into his car, and rinses off -- and then looks down, and realizes that he's gently hovering a few inches off the ground.

Near Tijuana: Vietnam Joe, a vet who spends his time ferrying Mexicans across the border, runs across John, who looks lost. Thinking that John's a "frat boy" who got lost in Tijuana after a wild night, Joe offers to bring John back to Imperial Beach for fifty dollars. John doesn't seem to understand. Joe asks John to turn out his pockets, and finds that he has exactly fifty dollars in cash.

Motel, Room F: Enraged, Butchie gets on the phone with his dealer, Steady Freddy, and screams that he'll get even -- he wants his dope, or his $2300 back. Butchie's rant is interrupted when his son Shaun arrives for a rare visit. Shaun tells Butchie about the competition, and invites him to go. Butchie spits that he'd never go back there, now that he's banned from competing.

Yost Boards: Mitch watches Shaun's "sponsor me" DVD on a television at Yost Boards, the family surf shop. Mitch barks at Cissy that she should never have allowed Shaun to send this DVD to Linc. Shaun shows up at the shop, and Kai, a shaper who works for the Yosts, brings Shaun into the back while his grandparents fight about his future. Mitch strictly forbids Shaun from competing at Huntington. "I understand," Cissy says. "The kahuna has spoken." Mitch ends the argument by telling Cissy that he has cancer in his brain, and leaves. Cissy tells Shaun to ask Bill to drive him to the competition.

Highway: Vietnam Joe drives John back into Imperial Beach. Joe tries to make conversation, but John can only parrot back phrases that he's heard, including, "Mitch Yost should get back in the game." Joe doesn't know Mitch, but he knows Butchie Yost, and he decides to bring the strange young man to Butchie's place.

Bill's house: Shaun comes to see Bill Jacks, a family friend and an ex-cop. Shaun asks Bill to drive him to Huntington. Bill's house is full of exotic birds -- and Shaun notices that one of Bill's parrots, Zippy, has died. Bill gets teary, obviously reminded of past losses. He takes a moment to grieve, and strokes the dead bird -- which suddenly comes to life in his hands. Bill says that Zippy wasn't dead after all, but Shaun is sure that the bird was dead. Bill vaguely tells Shaun that he'll understand better when he's older.

Yost Boards: Cissy complains about Mitch to Kai, who tries to dodge the conversation. Mitch's announcement about a brain tumor sinks in for Cissy, and she leaves to see him, feeling shaky.

Motel, Room F: Butchie leaves another angry message for Freddy, threatening to call the police if Freddy doesn't have somebody come with his $2300. Vietnam Joe arrives with John, and points him in the direction of Butchie's cabin. John knocks on Butchie's door, asking, "What do you want, Butchie Yost?" Butchie opens the door and says that he wants some dope, or his $2300. John looks in his pocket, and pulls out a roll of bills -- $2300 exactly. Butchie welcomes John in.

Clubhouse: Cissy comes to Mitch's backyard clubhouse retreat, where he goes to meditate when he's having a hard day. She asks him about the brain cancer, and he explains that he had a hallucination -- he felt like he was floating. She tells him to see a doctor, but he blows off her concern. They fight -- and then Cissy proposes "the healing power of sex."

Motel, Room F: Butchie gets off the phone with the dealer, who's denied any knowledge of John. Butchie is suspicious -- but he gets a lot friendlier when John turns out his pockets again, and a platinum card falls out. Butchie checks out the name on the card -- John Monad. Trying to figure John out, Butchie decides that he's a rich boy who's come to learn surfing from Butchie "the Beast" Yost. Parroting Butchie, John enthusiastically agrees.

Clubhouse: After having sex, Mitch tells Cissy that they should get a camera -- to take a picture if Mitch feels like he's going up in the air again. Cissy says that she'll pick one up at the store, and leaves. Mitch tests out whether his feet stay on the floor.

Yost Boards: Butchie brings John to the surf shop, planning to buy lots of equipment on John's platinum card. Kai smiles at John, and there's a flicker of interest between them. Butchie tells Kai that Cissy signed Shaun up at Huntington -- and then realizes that Kai already knew. He snarls at her for not telling him about it, and she snaps back that he doesn't spend time with Shaun anyway. Angry, Butchie storms out with John.

Outside: John says that he likes Kai, but Butchie's not interested. Butchie is furious, and calls Mitch on a phone that magically appears in John's pocket. Butchie yells at Mitch for letting Shaun go to the competition. Mitch says that he's forbidden it, but Butchie accuses him of pimping out his grandson to get more money for his "ashram". Mitch points out that Butchie's drug abuse doesn't make him a reliable guardian for Shaun either. Furious, they agree to meet each other at the motel and fight. Pumped up, Butchie drives John to the motel.

Store: Cissy asks an employee where she can buy a camera. The employee, a snippy diabetic named Gary, tries to make a pass at her. She blows him off, and he gets pissy with her. Irritated, she pushes some of the toilet paper rolls in his display. Gary alerts a security guard, who pulls Cissy aside. She resists, and is bundled into a police car.

Highway: Bill drives Shaun to his competition.

Motel: Ramon and Meyer welcome Barry Cunningham, the new owner of the motel, and notice that he's carrying a gun. Barry explains that he's the winner of the MegaMillions lottery, and therefore is trying to be cautious in his business dealings. He says that he's been living in Azusa for the last twenty years, but now he's returned to Imperial Beach for some unfinished business. First on the list is to level the motel. Ramon and Meyer are stunned. Just then, Butchie's van pulls into the driveway, and Barry recognizes Butchie. John sits and mumbles phrases to himself as Butchie gets himself worked up. Just as John says, "Deal with the kid's in the works..."

Highway: Bill's car gets a flat.

Motel: Mitch arrives at the motel. Barry watches father and son square off.

Highway: Shaun sees a police car go by, with his grandmother in the back seat. Bill decides that he has to pull off the road -- and into the driveway of the Snug Harbor Motel, where the confrontation is getting even more heated.

Motel: Butchie and Mitch curse at each other, preparing to fight. Increasingly uncomfortable, John squirms and mutters, "We are all frail vessels." To get everyone's attention, Barry pulls his gun and fires into the air. Butchie and Mitch hit the dirt. John, murmurs, "Butchie's mom hurt Barry's head." Barry rants: "Extraordinary! Even as I try to close the libros of this sordid edifice, write fini to the story of my deflowering at 10 in Room 24 --" ("Room 24 shall give up its dead, and the dead shall be forgiven," John says.) "-- I find characters from another chapter of my life intruding!" Still brandishing his gun, Barry announces that when he was 12 years old, collecting shells on the beach, Butchie beat him with a broom handle, an experience which left him with epilepsy. ("Where Ramon is from, they would build Mitch a shrine," says an increasingly twitchy John.) Butchie recognizes Barry -- he's "Barry the fairy"; they were in sixth grade together. Barry also remembers that when he was beaten, Mitch paddled in to see what was happening, and then turned and paddled back out. Meyer urges Barry to put the gun away. ("One good blow job rocks the Jew lawyer's world," John mutters.) Completely distraught, Barry puts the gun in his mouth. Bill jumps from his car, grabs the gun, and pushes Barry down. John catches sight of Shaun, and says, "Shaun will soon be gone." Bill admonishes the Yosts -- how can they be messing around when Cissy is in police custody? Meanwhile, John approaches Shaun, who smiles. John draws a stick figure in the ground with his shoe; Shaun copies him. John does a twirl, and Shaun does the same. They smile at each other, friends.

Police station: Bill tries to pull rank as an ex-cop, but the police aren't even pretending to be respectful towards the "senile old bastard". A starstruck Meyer approaches Mitch and tells him how much he admires him and his son; Mitch isn't impressed. Butchie tells Shaun that he's sorry Shaun missed his event. Bill tells Meyer to make sure Barry gets home.

Cell: Cissy fumes in her cell. A Mexican woman talks to Cissy in Spanish, and hands her something. Cissy doesn't understand Spanish, but she takes what the woman is offering. The sergeant lets her out; her bail's been posted.

Police station: Mitch takes Butchie into another room, and tells him about the brain tumor. Butchie says that he's "dope-sick", and that's why he was cranky on the phone. Listening from the hallway, Bill is shocked to hear that Mitch might be ill. Suddenly, Mitch levitates -- floating a couple inches off the ground. Butchie is amazed. Mitch settles back down on the ground, and Butchie quips, "Well, if that's a tumor, where do I sign up?" Meanwhile, Bill watches John and Shaun draw with their feet and spin. Suspicious, Bill tells John, "I got my eye on you." To Bill's aggravation, John repeats the same phrase back to him. Cissy is brought up from her cell, and faces Mitch. Feeling all of the tension of the day, Mitch has a big kahuna moment: "We oughta get wet." They head to the beach.

Barry's house: Meyer brings Barry to his big, empty new house, where he sits in the middle of the living room and stares out at the sea. Meyer asks Barry if he surfs; Barry smirks, and says that he doesn't.

Beach: The Yosts and John head to the beach. Worried that John will make him look stupid, Butchie coaches him to pretend he has a leg cramp. Butchie, John and Shaun head into the water. Standing on the beach, Cissy admits that she asked Bill to take Shaun to Huntington. Mitch admits that he doesn't have a brain tumor, but he doesn't tell her that Butchie witnessed his levitation.

Barry's house: Looking out at the sea, Barry makes his teddy bear pretend to surf. Teddy wipes out.

Beach: Mitch and Cissy watch as Shaun executes perfect moves on the waves. John watches -- and then follows Shaun's lead, nailing a wave. Butchie is thrilled. On the sand, Bill vows to check John out tomorrow. The blonde girl, standing on the pier, sends a text message to Linc: "Shaun Yost is in Imperial Beach." Linc gets the message; he's been waiting for Shaun at Huntington. Butchie, Shaun and John all get up on their surfboards. Cissy smiles as she watches her boys surf. The sun sets.



A running tally of the curse words used on John From Cincinnati. For the series total so far, see Series Tally.

  • "Fucking" : 74
  • "God damn" : 6
  • "What the fuck" : 6
  • "Fuck" : 5
  • "Ass" : 4
  • "Fruit" : 4
  • "Balls" : 3
  • "Fuck you" : 3
  • "Fucked up" : 3
  • "Give a fuck" : 3
  • "Shit" : 3
  • "Bone" : 2
  • "Cocksucker" : 2
  • "Fucker" : 2
  • "Fuckin' A" : 2
  • "Hell yeah" : 2
  • "Jesus fucking Christ" : 2
  • "Meet the fucking Jetsons" : 2
  • "Bastard" : 1
  • "Blow job" : 1
  • "Bullshit" : 1
  • "Cunt" : 1
  • "Dick" : 1
  • "Dickhead" : 1
  • "Fairy" : 1
  • "Friggin" : 1
  • "Go fuck yourself" : 1
  • "Half-assed" : 1
  • "Motherfucker" : 1
  • "Screw me" : 1
  • "Shitbird" : 1
  • "Shitbox" : 1
  • "Shithouse" : 1
  • "Shut the fuck up" : 1

John's catchphrases

  • "Doesn't ring a bell" : 5 times
  • "Some things I know and some things I don't" : 5 times
  • "The end is near" : 3 times
  • "I don't know, Butchie instead" : 3 times
  • "I got my eye on you" : 3 times
  • "Mitch Yost should get back in the game" : 3 times
  • "Shaun will soon be gone" : 1 time


  • The premiere aired after the finale of The Sopranos, which was watched by an average of 11.9 million viewers. John From Cincinnati averaged 3.4 million viewers, losing more than two-thirds of its lead-in. [1]
  • The theme song is "Johnny Appleseed", performed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.
  • The closing song in Episode 101 is "Sun Rise Light Flies", performed by Kasabian.



Guest starring




  1. "John From Cincinnati may not be the answer for post-Sopranos HBO", The Los Angeles Times, Scott Collins. June 13, 2007.


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