I am not a sports fan. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, it just isn’t for me. Any show that bears the USA name is one I am willing to try and in fact, there isn’t one that has disappointed me yet. This was a new addition to their all-star 2011 line-up (couldn’t resist) and it could very possibly be their breeziest yet – it may not have the highest ratings but as per usual, it is darn entertaining.
Making a happy home has been a goal. Her family is perfect… or so she thinks. They have a lovely home in the suburbs, two kids and a comfortable life. But now Dani Santino (Callie Thorne) is kicking her husband of seventeen years out of the house. Instead of being faithful to his high school sweetheart, he cheated on Dani – more than once – and she is not going to put up with it now the truth is out. With divorce proceedings set in motion, Dani becomes the single mother to her two teenage kids Ray Jay and Lindsay (Patrick Johnson, Hannah Marks) who are now even more troublesome that their parents are split up. Evan as a physcotherapist, Dani’s in-home practice isn’t enough to keep up the family’s lifestyle as a work-from-home mother but she is determined to see her separation to an end – no matter how painful her ex makes it. Then she meets the New York Hawks personal trainer Matt Donnelley (Marc Blucas). The two meet at a bar after she was urged to get out by her twice-divorced friend Jeanette (Amanda Detmer). What began as harmless flirting leads to Matt’s door. Dani’s background intrigues Matt and when her therapy helps him to quit smoking after one session, he suggests to the head coach (Gregory Alan Williams) that maybe Dr. Santino could help their players – or most specifically their troublesome wide receiver Terrance King (Mehcad Brooks).
The wealthy star receiver likes his women and to party but more important to the team than the bad press is his inability to catch the ball. He has missed many recent important and key passes and his coach is hesitant to even put him in the game anymore. The team security – the guy who sees that no one is bothered by bad press, Nico (Scott Cohen) can only do so much to contain the press. This puts everyone is a testy mood. Dani is given one week to turn TK’s game around or she misses out on a winning opportunity.
This show mixes a little bit of everything. Like a great big dish of your favorite ice cream sundae, it actually works to its advantage; there is romance and sports, drama and comedy, all of which is balanced flawlessly by its characters. If that is an expectation for a potential viewer this show meets and surpasses it. Unfortunately, that does not mean this is one that is above reproach. Indeed, it is not and is in fact more of an adult show than the majority of its neighbors – even if it is more implication than visual. Given that the characters are all flawed (some a great deal more than others), I was surprised just how easy it was to like each of them – particularly when it comes to TK. He is a menace (and reason why this is more of a watch-with-discretion show) who doesn’t seem to care enough to respect the women he “dates,” or any woman for that matter, and is also seemingly willing to throw away his promising career. Yet, as a viewer, I couldn’t help but love him; annoying self and all. He has such a chip on his shoulder that for a while it seems Dani won’t get through to him – the fact that the cliffhanger involves him suggests that there will be a whole new intensity to his rage. An attitude I am not anticipating seeing return.
Taking place in New York, I don’t know where filming took place but the scenery was just gorgeous. The beautiful fall foliage and colors made for a warm, inviting backdrop that all lends credence to USA’s stance to produce “cheerful” material. An Image that I think does subconsciously register in the viewer. The cast all brings their a-game and is a decent bunch of actors who seem to invest in their roles – in particular I enjoyed the chance to see Marc in something again. As usual, there are complications in the character’s relations and we are frustrated that two people who are not only cute together but seem to genuinely care for one another aren’t together. Plus, the mysterious Nico adds a great “cloak and dagger” like component without coming across as trying to be more than it should in the capacity of this show.
Ironically, the love of football was not something I inherited from my mother who is a fan. She loved the breezy nature of the show and its main theme that was all about the sport of professional football – something not too many shows tackle. Season one has some terrific things to its credit. Tough love lessons are learned, there are some fabulous guest spots and the opening of the show is adorable to boot. There is cleverness in the writing plus a great amount of sentiment that somehow does not come across as sappy – except when it is meant to in conversations. Strictly speaking in going by the plot only, this is a definite winner.
(Rated TV14, there is reason why. A woman goes home with a man she met at a bar and wakes the next morning in his bed [once she dreams about them being together again]. Throughout the season there are a few jokes that pertain to sex [allegedly a teenager carries around condoms] – about three other scenes show dating couples tangled in sheets and/or making out. TK is constantly bringing home one-night stands [there is a scene or two depicting that] and once we see him in bed with a woman and a joke is made that he cannot “perform.” Profanity come in the form of sh*t, a**, da*n and the like. Teenagers are disrespectful and sneak around by hosting parties or lie. Immodest dress is part of the fashion.)