'Hoops' Review: A cursory animated comedy show exactly like the ones Netflix regurgitates every few months
Spoilers for Season 1 of Netflix's 'Hoops'
The first thing that puts you off about Netflix's latest animated comedy show 'Hoops' is its art style, which doesn't exactly try to stand out from the crowd. And this is only the beginning of a long list of complaints against the newest animated comedy.
'Hoops' follows a hot-headed foul-mouthed high school basketball coach Ben Hopkins (played by Jake Johnson of 'New Girl' fame) in his desperate bid to change his life for the better by taking big risks to turn his "god awful" team around, which will lead him to the big league and eventually turn his miserable life around.
Ben Hopkins indeed does live quite a miserable life. His wife Shannon (Natasha Leggero) wants to divorce him but he refuses to sign the papers. She's in a relationship with Ben's childhood best friend and assistant coach Ron (Ron Funches), who is the complete opposite of Ben. In addition to his, Ben has a staggering level of daddy issues - his father Barry Hopkins (Rob Riggle) is an overachieving basketball player and has always made sure that his son suffers under the pressures that stem from that.
At work, as in at school, Ben has a hard time with his team. Time bomb (Ben Hoffman), Scott (Nick Swardson), Marcus (Sam Richardson), DJ (Steve Berg), and Isaac (Gil Ozeri) together are really not the best team on the block. They continue losing games with embarrassingly low scores and if this continues, there is no way that Ben can do anything with his life.
And so he spends most of Episode 1 recruiting A.D. Miles' Matty in his team - a seven-footer who is soon going to be his star dunker. Of course, Ben doesn't resort to the most logical of ways and although is successful, it's not a direct cause and effect.
From here, the rest of the season revolves around him and his relationship with the rest of the characters. From his team players and fellow teachers (the principal Opal played by Cleo King who he shares a close relationship with) and his closest friends to his family and (ex) wife, Ben is dysfunctional, to say the least. And everyone around him seems to only indulge him and his idiosyncrasies.
That said, Jake Johnson does a great job voicing the character. Continuing his run as the dysfunctional, silly, hot-headed Nick from Fox's 'New Girl', the actor replicates and exaggerates a lot of the characteristics from the previous role. And that is worth a watch.
In addition to this, Cleo King is the only standout character from the entire cast delivering a great performance as the very sassy principal of Lenwood high, Opal. Along with her, Riggle who is simply spot-on as the bullying father to Ben. Funches' Ron is a strong addition to the cast as well, but a little overdone to cast a black character as the white lead's best friend.
That said, none of the characters on 'Hoops' adds anything new to the existing plethora of animated shows on Netflix. 'Paradise PD' stands as the best counter product to this show. 'Hoops' is genuinely funny on some occasions and for the viewer who binges on Netflix's animated comedies, it just hits the spot. That said, however, 'Hoops' is not the best of the genre. Shows like 'Disenchantment', 'Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series', and 'F For Family' have arrived before it that have done a way better job. And others like 'The Midnight Gospel' are in a completely different league - the same league that Ben is desperate to join (proved particularly with the drug trip sequence of Episode 6).
'Hoops' is not entirely bad, it is quite enjoyable as white noise.
All episodes of Season 1 are currently streaming on Netflix.