The Extravagant Fun in the TV Show Ballers

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Binge watching is how some of us get by. The banality of your job or the crippling anxiety that has destroyed your social life outside of a computer screen are both tough to overcome. People are not left with many options to self-medicate, and, I, for one, know that out of all the things I binge, watching shows is the lesser evil.

Of course, you can’t just binge any show. It’s like getting drunk off of cheap wine all day; it gets the job done, but the hangovers are brutal. And even if you don’t get hangovers from watching shows, the colossal amount of time you wasted is just as regrettable. So, I take it upon myself to try and sift out any gold from the streams spewing out in the internet. And, since I’m a Miami native, I would have to scope out any talent that’s filmed here, which brings me to my last binge...Ballers.

The show that follows Dwayne Johnson and Rob Corddry into their world of managing the finances of big contract athletes is not as bad as I expected. I love the casting, as well as the writers and producers, which mostly come from Entourage. The foil between Spencer Strasmore (Johnson) and Joe Krtuel (Corddry) is also nothing short of lovable. Their dynamic is a fun back and forth that leads from Spencer’s unrelenting charisma to Joe’s whimsical, drug-induced comicality. They’re definitely the show’s bread and butter, but they are still hoisted by some good supporting actors like Omar Miller, John David Washington, Troy Garity (his character on the show adds a lot of laughs), and Dulé Hill, whose phlegmatic role makes him an oddly appealing character.

All in all, it’s fun to watch, and the first season is definitely bingable. The show has a very clear focus on what season’s theme and rolls out the subplots pretty well to build it up, but there are more than a few kinks in the armor.

For one, they don’t seem to care about continuity as much as story. They’re willing to sacrifice the story line a little or, at least, where characters have left off with one another, just so they can move the story and make it more compelling. Like when Alonzo Cooley (Antoine Harris) makes up with Ricky Jerret (John David Washington) and later on the next season starts to dislike him again in the next season for no particular reason. Yeah, Jerret was doing the dirty with Cooley’s mom, but they had squashed that and moved on. Cooley was later shown holding contempt for Jerret after he was asked to lessen his deal with the Dolphins so that they can make room to fit Jerret on the roster. It wasn’t a big one, but what about when Jerret became best friends with his asshole dad after spieling how much he hated him? These type of transitions could be a little more subtle so as to smoothen out the show.

It’s mostly just the flow of the show. It gets a little bumpy and there is no proper segue from season to season. The end of the first season was too picture perfect and didn’t leave any anticipation for the next. Not to mention going from the second to the third without carrying over the villainous Andre Allen (Andy Garcia). It felt like they move on too quickly and don’t give time for story line development.

Still, the show is worth the watch. They mostly film in Miami and try to name drop local places as much as possible, even though sometimes that might be a cover up for having to film in another city. This isn’t an easy place to film, but they still give it that Miami spice that makes it convincing that the characters actually live there. The same can’t be said for CSI Miami.

As for predictions for season three, well, I’m pretty sure that Mr. Anderson (Richard Schiff) might be behind sabotaging Strasmore’s push for a Las Vegas football team. It could be fueled by a jealousy or a precaution to Spencer’s fleet-footed rise to influence and success. It makes sense that Anderson isn’t motivated by money as much as power and Strasmore is challenging the power structure that seats Anderson on the top. We’ll know soon enough this Sunday, unless these hackers start leaking Ballers alongside with Game of Thrones. I wouldn’t put them on the same tier, though.

 

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