TV Club: Ballers: “Flamingos”

Ballers has a lot of problems, but its most damaging one is that the show wants it both ways. Billed as a comedy drama about the physical, personal, and financial challenges facing young professional football players, it traffics pretty heavily in selling how great it is to be a rich, young professional football player, where all those problems evaporate in a blur of cash, booze, and Lamborghinis—and other people cleaning up your messes. It’s luxury porn in the guise of a cautionary tale, with each of the three player protagonists parceled out one season-long but easily resolved problem apiece. John David Washington’s Ricky Jerret is the hotheaded, womanizing spendthrift who has to grow up. Donovan Carter’s Vernon Littlefield is the young superstar who can’t cut loose everyone in his old life who has a hand out (he also gets caught doing coke off some tits …

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