Having lived his whole life with his father incarcerated, True Life's Austin is understandably excited and worried when he hears of an early parole. Both are unsure as father and son, their relationship hitherto limited to letter-writing and visiting hours.
The big day comes, requisitely tearful and touching, but the release is only the beginning for Austin and his dad. Tracy is eager for his son to accept him, to finally spend time with the boy whose life he missed, but Austin is unsure of what Tracy means to him. Forcing fatherhood to happen is impossible; the two can only be with each other and hope to grow together, warily waiting for some tenderness in each uncomfortable interaction.
Soft-spoken yet candid, Austin is a typical teenager. His room is messy, his clothes are sloppy, and his music's loud, but he's still a sweet kid. His parents just don't get him. Separated for so long, he doesn't get his father either. The show works as subtle commentary on the tragic effect the prison system has on families. Citing statistics early on, it claims that two million minors have at least one incarcerated parent. The reintroduction of ex-cons into the family unit seems like a psychosociological disaster waiting to happen. The metaphor of emotional walls replacing the prison's bars is obvious, as is the family's solution: as Austin entered into his dad's life once monthly for 16 years, maintaining any semblance of a connection he could, now Tracy must visit his son's world to be a part of it. To find his son and himself as a father, he must enter... the mosh pit.