So you make a show about the lives of NFL agents/financial advisers, all the glitz, glamour and other shit, and then you top it off by making the star the Rock…it’s like a wet dream mixed with a chocolate sundae. This is something which oddly enough sort of describes the show, two good things which on their own are awesome but when mixed together it becomes a sticky mess. Rather than leaving you on that note, I’ll explain further.
There will be spoilers for Ballers season 1 so if you don’t want to know what happens to the Rock’s fine ass (which you do get to see) then I’d turn away now.
First off let me start by saying that I love the Rock, he is a great actor, is handsome and fuck me the guy has charisma to die for. I wonder where he would be in acting if it weren’t for the wrestling stigma still hanging over him; he is a draw and has screen presence that few can comprehend. Rocky is awesome in Ballers as the financially struggling ex-player trying to make it in the world of financial advice. He’s got the ol’ aches and pains, along with his money problems and he bounces from problem to problem like he’s running the dummies. The Rock is essentially the straight man in the show, he’s the dad and all the other characters are his kids, straying off and doing stupid shit which he has to fix, a role which he plays very well…oh and did I say about his charisma?
His sidekicks; Joe (Rob Coddry) who makes for an excellent comedy duo with the most electrifying man in all of entertainment, he has his moments in the show but as the most established comedic performer in the group I expected a bit more, Charles (Omar Miller) a lovable ex-player who looks super cuddly but got saddled with an iffy non-love triangle and Vernon (Donovan Carter) who was either a terrible actor or played the lost in the big lights role so perfectly you couldn’t tell the difference, I’m pretty sure it’s the former (god knows how he got hired). We also had Reggie who played the total dick role; you know the one where you want to slap the guy because he keeps creating problems, the sort of guy who deliberately takes ages to cross the road at a zebra crossing…total dick.
The standout performer in the show was without a doubt John David Washington as Ricky Jerret, dude delivered big time. It’s crazy to think that this is his first big acting role, he’s a total natural. Certainly Ricky was one of the funniest characters in the show and his antics are going to make him lovable, despite the fact he’s a total jabroni. If you were to imagine what a typical stereotypical skills player in the NFL acted like in real life, I imagine you would come away with Ricky Jerret, that Dez Bryant sort of behaviour.
The performances across the board were really top notch, and it was easy to become connected to the characters despite the fact that they were throwing money around like they were rich NFL players… Generally the comedy was pretty good in Ballers; the problem was more on the drama side.
The biggest issue with Ballers was that everything resolved itself perfectly, or even better than perfectly…you know…super perfectly. To name but a few; The Rock may have brain problems from concussions, nope he doesn’t. Vernon wants a bigger contract and is a dick about it, boy gets a bigger contract because apparently Dallas has cap space (something which never happens), The Rock and Reggie are at each other’s throat all season, until they hug it out in the last episode, Ricky hates his dad, only to forgive him after one conversation and probably the worst of all Joe gets the old heave hoe only for him to be reinstated despite the fact he fucked shit up.
The last one is the real killer for me, they had the chance to have Joe and the Rock go off and create their own business which would have set the next season up perfectly, only for them to basically take the money and be corporate slaves. I’m not saying I disagree with their choice personally, because if someone dangles a speedboat and $5 million in my face I’m going to be out in the marina by the afternoon with my factor 50 splashed on, however it doesn’t make for good TV, and it also doesn’t really make sense for the situation which they had found themselves in.
There are other issues which I think the show suffers quite badly from, most notably the way that female characters are portrayed. I’m no feminist or a woman for that matter; however the women in the show were essentially faceless vaginas who occasionally got fucked or nagged the more fun male characters to be responsible.
It isn’t that I hated Ballers, I didn’t it was above average, however for as many good things the show had going for it, there were equally as many bad ones. It got the comedy part right but ultimately failed on the drama side of things. What makes that failure worse is that the story threads which they started had some great potential but they ultimately wasted them with happy ever after endings over and over again.
The thing is I want to see my favourite characters win, however if they win all the time you begin to expect it and the show becomes predictable, and then when they do win it doesn’t have the payoff which it should. It’s tough to get the right formula, however a 100% strike rate isn’t the right one.
Ballers has a ton of potential because of its great cast, likable characters and good chemistry amongst them, however if it continues down the problem solved with no consequences endings which it had in season 1 then I can’t see it ever getting past being an above average TV show, and I really want and think it can be much more than that.
So what did you think of Ballers season 1? Do you think that the Rock is super handsome? What did you think of his butt? Isn’t his smile dreamy? Well leave a comment and maybe a picture of the Rock and share those feelings…and pictures…mainly the pictures.