There is such a thing as guilty pleasures, watching or listening to or reading or experiencing something that might not exactly be high art, but it’s fulfilling for you. Maybe you’ve been working out to the latest Carly Rae Jepsen album at the gym. Maybe you’re watching every single Vince Vaughn movie. Maybe you watch baseball games from 1990.
Whatever it is, you might be ashamed to admit it.
But I’m not.
I can’t stop watching this kids’ show about girls’ basketball. I love it.
Big Shot, a Disney+ show that just dropped its second season, stars John Stamos as a high school girls’ basketball coach.
And you should watch it too.
Marvin Korn (Stamos) was a big shot (title drop!) NCAA Men’s Basketball Coach with three national championship rings and a hot head that would make John McEnroe look like a temper-tantrumed toddler. When he gets fired for firing a chair at a referee, the only job coaching basketball he can find is at a private girls school in California.
Of course, because it’s a television show, Marvin might take a few steps down his career path, but he takes a few steps up in life. His estranged daughter, Emma, moves back in with him, enrolls in Westbrook School for Girls, and teaches him that life is about more than basketball. Stamos calls the actress who plays his daughter, Sophia Mitri Schloss, “one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with” – their chemistry is top-notch.
But with the women being the star of the show, they get the most screen time and most intense emotional arcs, with the highlights being the young ladies that Marvin coaches. Louise, the point guard, is estranged from her father after his prison sentence. Destiny finds out her mother is actually her aunt. “Mouse” comes out to her parents as gay. Drama, boys, social media, and plenty of basketball round out the show.
Perhaps it can be a bit much. When one family’s house burns down in a wildfire, they just…move in with someone else. When a few characters get arrested, they get off with a warning. In Season 2, Westbrook becomes co-ed, which, of course, inevitably takes the focus away from the real stars of the show, the girls.
If jumping the shark was a crime, this show would be indicted on about 78 counts.
But isn’t that why we like our guilty pleasures, the easy-listening music of film and television? We don’t have to think about it too much. We don’t have to worry about it being silly or over-the-top or dramatic or shark-jumping, we just like watching it. We just like being with those characters and living in that world. We like it to just be on the tv…just…playing.
Everyone needs a show like that.
For a lot of people, it’s The Bachelor or Selling Sunset or New Girl or NCIS.
For me, it’s Big Shot. You know, the show in the Riverdale/Mighty Ducks/Glee territory.
And even though it’s clearly made for tweens or that characters disappear for no reason or that it jumps sharks in a way that would make Sea World jealous, it’s still so darn loveable.
It’s nice to watch a show where people like each other. It’s the classic dilemma between The Office and Parks and Rec – a show that just goes down easier than The Office because the characters really like each other. The comedy comes from their overwhelming companionship instead of their disdain for each other. Big Shot does the same thing. Maybe characters disagree or fight or bicker (or date the same boy at the same time unknowingly!), but they always hug and makeup. There’s no “i” in team.
It’s nice to watch a show where the underdog sports team doesn’t win all the time. Of course they improve under Coach Korn, but they don’t immediately become the best team in the state – they win some and lose some and make it their goal to play their way into a more competitive conference. But they lose plenty along the way.
It’s nice to watch a show where kids learn meaningful life lessons. As a teacher, I can tell you that it doesn’t matter how rousing your speech is or how well you teach the material or how often you hold students accountable. Some kids just don’t get it because they’re kids. Their brains are small and underdeveloped, and it’s our job to help them get there. In Big Shot, teachers and coaches and principals teach students lessons about biology and basketball and boys and they just get it. In that way, it’s a fantasy…
It’s idealistic. It’s overly optimistic. It’s rose-colored.
But those things are nice. And sometimes, the media we consume doesn’t need to be much more. It just needs to be nice and pretty and pleasant and funny and cute and there for you.
It doesn’t look like Big Shot will get a Season 3. It barely even got renewed for a second season, which is a shame because I’d keep watching. And you probably would too.