- Movie Rating -

Hoops (2020)

| August 23, 2020

Let me be blunt.  Netflix’s raunchy new animated series “Hoops” is not funny.  Not even a little bit.  I generously sat through five of the first ten episodes of this show with a look on my face that I can only describe as baleful indifference.  The experience is like an endless dirty joke without a punchline told to you by someone with anger management issues who is screaming obscenities.  Seriously, every line of dialogue is a barrage of hate-filled obscenities and pornographic buzzwords.  It grows tiresome in the first scene.

Behind the persistent barrage of four-letter words lies a plot, and it involves Barry Hopkins (voiced inexplicably by Jake Johnson) a mid-state Kentucky high school basketball coach whose every spoken syllable feels like the reader mail section of a porn magazine written by an undisciplined 10 year-old.  He is a self-inflicted born loser who makes himself the bane of the existence of everyone around him including his ex-wife, his students, his successful father, and the long-suffering school principal.  He’s even a constant pain to the 50 year-old prostitute that he keeps using as a bargaining chip in order to get what he wants – that’s suppose to be funny.

Despite this long series of sub-moronic shenanigans he’s able to keep his job as coach when they should either land him in jail or at the bottom of a river. 

The first episode has Barry outraged when he can’t coerce an indifferent kid into joining the team by hiring the hooker.  The second episode has Barry outraged when his ex-wife bonds with his dad.  The third has Barry outraged that he can’t push his star player through an ethics class.  The fourth has Barry outraged when his dad’s steakhouse becomes the team’s sponsor.  The fifth has Barry outraged that his star player has a girlfriend.  After this, I got the pattern and it wore me out.  There were five more episodes to go but just couldn’t go on.

The typical structure of an episode, I gathered, is to have Barry’s life upset by a minor inconvenience, scream obscenities, and then put together some stupid plan to get his way.  But the character is so unpleasant that you don’t really care.  This is a fatal flaw.  Why do we want to spend time with Barry?  Why do we care about what happens to him.  His personality is repellant.  His dialogue is repugnant.  And his adventures are pointless – one episode has him trying to shame a good-natured teacher in order to get an easy pass for his star player.  The episode, fittingly, has a scene in which Barry beats a dead horse.  I might have thought that was an in-joke if I thought that the writers were even half that clever.  One of the tragedies of his show is that its all set-up and no punchline.  What is mistaken for punchlines are angry, foul-mouthed tyrades that make you feel sad.

“Hoops” had the potential to be a commentary on sports, and in particular a commentary on why high school basketball is so revered in the Blue Grass State.  But this show isn’t that focused.  It is a mean, angry little show about mean, angry little people, like a dirty joke book with pages torn out.  It’s not only unfunny, I can’t imagine who the producers thought would find this funny.  Further, I wouldn’t want to meet the kinds of people who would find this funny!

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2020) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized