I’m catching up on all the new summer TV that has come around in the last couple of weeks. Most of it seems to be on HBO. A new show that HBO hyped quite a bit premiered recently starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called Ballers.
You may remember Ballers from back in the 90s on HBO when it was called Arliss because it’s basically the same show. Well, not totally the same show. I would say that Ballers is Arliss if the guys at Arliss ever met the clowns from Entourage.
It’s not awful but it’s not great either. It’s…ok. I don’t have a problem with ok though since it stars a couple of people I really like. First, I’m a big fan of The Rock. I was never a fan of him in wrestling, but I love his work in the movies. That guy is just good at everything he does. He plays Spencer Strassmore a recently retired NFL player who is looking to make a career change.
Instead of being a sports agent like Arliss, they flipped the script a bit and have made Spencer a money manager. It’s a more updated version of a sports agent I guess since it seems that professional athletes are unable to manage their money. Spencer’s goal is to sign players to work with him and allow him and his company to manage their money. That brings in the other guy in this show that I really like, Rob Corddry.
Corddry plays Spencer’s boss at the financial firm. He did Spencer a favor giving him a job but he seems to be more of a star chaser than a guy who is really interested in helping Spencer start a new career. He believes that Spencer will give his company access to new NFL players and their millions of dollars of money that they can manage then and make big money themselves. Rob Corddry just kills me. I know he annoys a lot of people but I think that guy is hysterical. He’s funny to me in this show too. After two episodes, he’s the highlight to me. He outshines The Rock at this point.
I’m sure this is how it all plays out in real life because it feels very dirty and watching millionaires complain about not having money on this show is very much how it is watching real millionaire athletes complain about their money on ESPN.
Also starring on Ballers is John David Washington as disgruntled NFL player Ricky Jerret. John David is the son of Denzel Washington and this show is pretty much his acting debut. Pretty much every actor I’ve ever known has gone out to Hollywood and landed their first part on an HBO show starring opposite one of the world’s biggest stars right out of the gate just like John David Washington. I’ve heard people talk about what a grind Hollywood is and how hard it is to make it, but those are just the complainers. All you have to do is have a dad who is a famous actor, and you too can be a star. It’s really not all that hard.
Ricky Jerret is there to be the type of NFL player that we all are familiar with and that we all hate. He’s got talent and plenty of attitude. He is playing a character that is probably modeled after Terrell Owens although really, there are plenty of NFL receivers to whom this character can probably be compared to.
What are they going for with this show? It’s got an Entourage feel about it so I think they are trying to do something like the Entourage of the sports world. This show isn’t going to be critically acclaimed for it’s writing or for it’s acting performances but I think it’s going to have it’s fans. Entourage wasn’t good in any way shape or form yet people seemed to love it. That show proved that you can just put a bunch of dudes on TV and throw women at them and people will watch because it’s all a fantasy.
That is what we have with Ballers. Sports fans can watch the show and get two sides of their sports love satisfied. On the one hand, they can see all the glitz and glamour that comes along with being a millionaire athlete. Everyone loves that stuff. We all like to imagine the things we would buy if we had that kind of money. Then on the other hand, we get to see the negative side that we all secretly hope is happening to the entitled athletes. We get to see what it’s like when they screw up their money and they blow it all. We all secretly love those stories about the excesses of pampered athletes leading to them being broke and friendless. We get to see that process a bit as well on this show.
Ballers is not going to be anything high-minded or cerebral like True Detective or anything but if you are a sports fan, it’s not a bad watch. You can certainly do worse than Ballers for summer entertainment. If nothing else, you get to see The Rock and Rob Corddry work together because those two have a funny relationship and that alone is enough to watch the show for.
If you are unfamiliar with Ballers, there is the trailer from HBO.
Ballers – Trailer
Ballers airs on HBO Sundays at 9:00. It’s only a 30 minute show so it doesn’t take a huge commitment from you to watch it. If you are looking for some easy entertainment, add this to your DVR. If you aren’t a sports fan though, definitely avoid this because you will hate it.