Back for its second season, HBO's Ballers is a mix between the bigger than life reality of Hard Knocks and the "no way this is true, but maybe it could be, it isHollywood after all" reality of Entourage, just substituting the gratuitous excesses of Los Angeles with well, the gratuitous excesses of Miami. And anyway....it's not like we have real NFL programming to watch on Sundays in the summer.
The escapist bro bro fest juxtaposes the stark reality of professional athletics with a stylized take on just how extravagantly the other side really lives. When you're mixing real live professional athletics and fantasy, sometimes it gets a little more than ridiculous. And we're here to gather those moments. For the culture.
Last week's season premiere saw Spencer Strasmore, an ex-jock turned financial advisor played by The Rock, get into a scrap with one of his old agent's top clients, Terrell "T-Sizzle" Suggs (a nickname they seem extremely intent on using). Words are exchanged, The Rock gets hip tossed, and now, in Episode 2, which aired Sunday night, we're dealing with the fallout of not only his physical bruising, but his mental anguish and desire to put one over on the man who lost all his money.
Andy Garcia plays Spencer's former financial manager, a man so full of himself and accustomed to winning, it seems as if he didn't even toss Strathmore a "sorry bro, sucks to suck" after he lost all his money and sailed into the sunset. This episode, as always, is filled with snappy one-liners and fantastically tailored suits, but let's take a look at the five biggest takeaways from "Enter the Temple":
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1. We get it, The Rock's character has an issue with pain meds
Someone please tell The Rock he doesn't have to chomp through every single Vicodin pill he's taking. For real man, I think they dissolve in water or something. You're making me uncomfortable.
2. The Rock's wardrobe person deserves an Emmy nomination
The real question here is, WHO is tailoring the Rock's suits? I mean seriously, if you've ever watched the NBA or NFL draft, you've seen just how badly big men in formal wear can go. He's a 6'6", 300-pound dude in the middle of humid Miami and looks sartorially unencumbered. It's magical.
3. Terrell Suggs' "character" seems a little all over the place
Terrell Suggs barges into Anderson Financial, demanding food, answers about his money, and representation. This seems legit. The part that doesn't stand up to scrutiny? "T-Sizzle" playing a bashful, "aw shucks, you guys really think I can make it back" athlete unsure if he'll be able to play at the top level again, an episode after we see him roll up on a gold scooter unannounced to a radio show just to pick a fight with The Rock. I've heard of rounded characters but this one? I don't buy it.
4. The female characters are kind of more dimensional this season? Maybe?
Worried about the representation of women in Ballers? Have no fear, this season isn't just about athletic achievement, brotherly love, the celebration of excess, and big butts. Nope, this season, we're tackling discrimination and equal pay, as Arielle Kebbel's Tracy Legette, sideline reporter and love interest to Spencer Strathmore, fights for her professional integrity in a hostile work environment.
In between shots of butts, of course. Don't worry y'all, we're tackling important issues here. We just have to make sure to fill our butt allotment.
5. Spencer's doctor's visit seems problematic
Spencer: "Hi, clearly I am abusing Vicodin, may I please have some more Vicodin to abuse?"
Doctor: "It looks like you're abusing Vicodin, I feel like I shouldn't give you any more Vicodin to abuse."
Spencer: "Please, just give me the drugs so I can continue to abuse them."
Doctor: "I'm going to give you these drugs to abuse, but please... stop abusing them."
Spencer: [huge smile] "Thanks Doc, I definitely won't keep abusing them!"
This will work out well.
Tune in next week for more bad jokes about Ballers.