Spoiler Alert: Balltastic!!!
So, I have been tough on good old TV in my last few posts, giving the fine folks who work in television the jazz. This go around will be a solid gush-fest for the show I ballyhooed many months ago: Ballers! (people in the background repeating in a sing-song manner: Ballers!) I talked about Ballers back in the day without even having seen it but just happy to live in a world in which it existed. Well, since then, I have been wafting in its Drakkar Noir-like essence.
Ballers is not for everyone. I can very much understand how a sane person would roll their eyes at its claptrap. And yes, there is some claptrap. But for me it is this beautiful breezy dog and pony show. Ballers’ star is, of course, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who plays an ex-football player, now financial planner who tries to sign football players who are blowing their money. It’s not really a sitcom or a drama. It’s just The Rock being ridiculously charming and charismatic, looking really good in suits and being the coolest dude on TV. So, if you don’t like him and his schtick, you’re going to be out of luck. I liken his performance (not in the style but more in the ethos) of Dean Martin doing his variety show. Dean would pretend to be drunk and obviously read cue cards in over-the-top sketches where all of his characters were based on, “what if Dean Martin was a priest, cowboy, Martian?” etc, etc. He would flub lines and be very lecherous towards Angie Dickenson and Raquel Welch and had the charm to get away with it. The Rock is professional, but he is basically playing himself. He has little material to work with. But it is a case of the old adage, “I don’t know what he does but he does it very well”.
Ballers main storyline involves The Rock (I’m sure that’s not his character name – but he’s The Rock!) being the low man on totem pole of a financial services company. He is hired because he’s an ex-football player and has friends that are rich football players. They are all basically young, athletic morons who blow through their millions and The Rock has come and try to clean up their messes. As he wheels and deals his way through the miasma of his football buds cronies, he has to try and adjust to office life. His “sort of” boss is Rob Cordry who is your stereotypical office weasel. The Rock sort of has to answer to him but Rob is drawn to the Rock’s charisma so he is part overling and simultaneous underling. The show is set in Miami so, in the midst of all of this, all these pretty girls are bopping about and everybody is on drugs. Even our hero The Rock is popping pain pills.
The appeal of the show is at least for me is it’s comfy. I enjoy just charismatic guys skating through shows. Magnum PI was fun. Remington Steele was very fun. It’s something that’s lacking in TV. A lot of shows want to be important and daring. All TV doesn’t have to be mind-blowing. Even sitcoms are lacking in fun. They have to be self-referential or mean. Ballers is fun and comfy. It’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It’s a televised oversized sweater and sweat pants. I feel very content watching it, thinking in the back of my mind that they made a show just for me.
Raphael Saray is watching Ballers