Friday, October 19

TV review: ‘Ball in the Family’

(Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

(Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

“Ball in the Family” has officially become the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” of sports.

The Facebook Watch show, which follows parent, coach and manager LaVar Ball’s life and his children’s basketball careers, debuted its second season Sunday to more than 300,000 viewers amid the current drama surrounding the family. Elements that solidified the Ball family’s headstrong reputation in the first season, such as LaVar’s charming arrogance and 16-year-old LaMelo Ball’s teenage goofiness, have successfully resurfaced in the second season’s premier, creating an entertaining reality show on par with other reality TV shows.

By holding a microscope to the minute details and gregarious personalities of the family, the show successfully humanizes the Ball clan and helps portray its members as more than just basketball icons. Season two showcases the growth of the Big Baller Brand empire and delves even deeper into the basketball family’s shamelessly public personal life. While bingeing the first season might help viewers gain some backstory for season two, knowledge of prior events is not necessary to feel engaged with the Big Ballers’ current on-screen story.

The first episode of season two addresses the elevated stakes and controversies of Lonzo Ball’s first basketball season with the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as LaMelo Ball’s decision to be homeschooled. The season picks up on previous storylines, including the mother Tina Ball’s recovery from her stroke and the building of the family’s new home, “The Ball Estate,” adding fresh material for bingeing purposes in between studying for finals or writing papers.

Larger-than-life living seems to remain a common theme in the series. While giving the camera crew a grand tour of his soon-to-be family mansion, LaVar Ball, clad in his own merchandise, says “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world. … I’ve got a beautiful wife (and) a beautiful life.”

The Ball brothers’ romantic relationships have also remained intact since the first season. However, a chat the girlfriends have at a nail salon in the episode fails to add anything of substance to the surrounding subplots or the overall narrative.

The girlfriends’ scenes and conversations seem forced and unnatural, unlike those of the Ball brothers. One of the more candid moments from the episode includes Lonzo Ball and his little brother LaMelo Ball competing to win a bet involving each of their diamond bracelets in popular basketball video game “NBA 2K18.” Betting two diamond bracelets on a video game match is absurd, but the unnecessarily high stakes add a level of humor to the scene.

The scene is the first Ball sibling interaction in the second season, and though endearing moments like these are rife in the first season, they still serve to show how close the Ball brothers are to each other despite their increase in fame.

Catching up with the family since the first season takes up a majority of the episode. The main controversy introduced centers on LaVar’s decision to homeschool and train his youngest son. Though homeschooling is not necessarily new to the world of sports, sportscasters were quick to point out how LaVar Ball spoils LaMelo Ball and comment on LaVar Ball’s seemingly strict training style.

But LaVar Ball’s arrogance and pride in his sons shows a firm dedication to forge his own path to familial success, and allow him to blatantly share his opinions, making the show’s subjects more relatable.

Like the Ball patriarch himself, “Ball in the Family” may initially seem over-the-top and arrogant. But its uncommon sports family plot and playful one-liners make it an enjoyable piece of reality television worth a quick watch.

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Del Rosario is the 2018-2019 prime content editor. She was previously an A&E staff reporter.

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