It’s been another week, and another episode of HBO’s confidently bad and conspicuously drama-free football whatchamacallit Ballers, and the viewer is now being forced to reckon with a question: was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson cast in this role because his head so closely resembles a football? Discuss.
The second episode, to the dismay of every fan the show Ballers has cultivated thus far (~16), has something of a buddy storyline. Nevertheless we will, as we did last week, as we shall each week until the end of time, analyze, using the Mohs scale, the level of hardness at which the Ballers ball on Ballers.
It goes without saying that The Rock needs no foil for he himself is his greatest foil—all action one minute, all benevolence the next; all muscle busting through his shirt in this scene, all smiles warming your heart in that. But given the circumstances of the television program Ballers, where The Rock plays character Spencer “financial planner in the NFL” Strassmore, a foil is therefore needed—an irritating charisma black hole to deflect and absorb The Rock’s winning on-screen presence.
Oh, I know who we can get, HBO thought. Rob fucking Corddry.
So instead of one footballhead being punted onto your lonely laptop screen, there are two bouncing around, deflating into oblivion, doing their deals, signing football players to who knows what, and rapping about Strassmore’s beautiful suits, which, damn, those suits are beautiful. Look at this! Nine out of ten balls.
“This is custom-made. Tell me you love it.”
He loves it!
When Joe—Strassmore’s...boss?—learns that Strassmore has signed Vernon Littlefield (an important football player) to their company, he makes a remark about jizzing in his pants and then kisses him sloppily on the cheek. He also then asks Strassmore if he may suck his cock, which makes Strassmore the character horny but—one can tell—The Rock uncomfortable. It’s a bad scene and goes on for way too long and I can’t believe how bad the writing is and why is Rob Corddry on this show! Zero out of ten balls. There is nothing baller about sexually harassing your employee.
There is an amazing piece of dialogue between Strassmore and Joe during this scene, however, and I shall reprint it here for your enjoyment. The pair are discussing their next steps after signing Littlefield:
“Get the word out, sign even more athletes.”
“Exactly my thoughts.”
An equivalent imagined conversation between my editor and myself:
“What should we do next?”
“Write blogs, write even more blogs.”
“Exactly my thoughts.”
Five out of ten balls awarded for this piece of dialogue because if Strassmore does his job well, he will be given greater opportunities for further balling in the future.
Ricky Jerret is playing for the Dolphins now and his girlfriend bought him a new chain with the number 18, his sentimental and lucky number. She tells him that it’s so he is reminded what a good and loyal girlfriend she is and so that he doesn’t fuck around on her ever again.
She also tells him that she bought it with his black card. It looks very expensive. She is a Queen Baller, nine of ten balls.
Spencer Strassmore looks good here. 1 bonus ball.
One consistent theme of the show Ballers is that everyone has a very nice car because, well, what good are you as a baller if you do not drive a nice car? How would you get from balling to balling if you were limited to the bus, or—worse—your feet? Ricky Jerret, on the way to Miami Dolphins practice, drives his car needlessly fast. One thinks he may get into an accident on the way, but he does not. Is this foreshadowing? The more cars that appear on the screen, the less baller they feel. For now, we give this car seven out of ten balls.
Sad men eating wings in Dallas, Texas. One out of ten balls.
One subplot of the television program Ballers is that of Charles Greane, a retired football player who works at a car dealership. A scout continuously tries to get him to come play football again (I think?). (Sound off in the comments if I’m getting that wrong and I’ll award myself zero out of ten balls.) He responds to these advances by saying, “Civilian life suits me just fine, ya know?” Same, but not baller—at all. Zero out of ten balls.
Vernon Littlefield’s brother, at a restaurant, puts a wad of cash into the pocket of a guitar player in a mariachi band, then throws more cash into the air, then starts dancing. Ten out of ten balls, VIP of the show Ballers currently. Has not been topped yet. Will he be topped?
Another car. Good doors. Ugly color. Five out of ten balls.
Ballers episode two balling average: 5.11 plus 1 bonus ball.