HBO’s Ballers is a look into the glamorous lives of NFL players as told through the eyes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character, Spencer Strasmore, a retired star Linebacker turned money manager who uses his connections to current players to help build his financial empire. Each episode we follow Spence as he tires to sign new clients and keep his existing ones out of trouble. Kinda like a less-gritty Ray Donovan.
This show is bad. I really wanted to like it. I love the NFL and normally find The Rock charming, but there is something wrong here. The obvious connection is that the show is just Entourage with football. That seems like a winning combination but even with the NFL license, everything still feels off. Entourage works because Vinny and his boys were average Joes who became rich and famous. Ballers focuses on these privileged athletes inside this isolated bubble of Miami. There is nothing to relate to. After airing only 3 episodes, HBO picked up the program for a second season. So Ballers is here to stay.
Sure, there is a certain level of wish-fulfillment. I mean, who doesn’t want to do cocaine off some woman’s breasts while partying on a mega-yacht, but that can’t be the whole series. The NFL has tons of real-life drama to pull from but maybe HBO is scared to really push the envelope. The two companies have a long standing relationship, so maybe it’s an issue of not rocking the boat. Either way, this show needs to find some balls if it wants to hold my attention. There aren’t enough jokes and the drama isn’t deep enough. Hell, not even Denzel’s son, John David Washington, can save this show. It’s that perfect storm of soft performance. It makes sense they air this in the offseason because if real Football was on then NOBODY would care about this shit.
Ballers, at best, is Methadone for a much deeper addiction. Honestly, the worst part about the show is that I’m probably still going to watch it. I know it’s bad but the show is like the NFL’s girlfriend and you got to be nice to the NFL’s girlfriend if you want to hang with the NFL.
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