A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hoops is an animated comedy series aimed at adults. The show's main character is a foul-mouthed high school basketball coach who possesses no positive character traits or redeeming qualities. Profanity is frequent and includes "d--k," "pr--k," "a--hole," "p---y," "t-ts," "s--t," and "balls." The "F" word, and many variations of it, is used heavily, appearing in nearly every conversation. Most of the characters' exchanges are of a mature, often sexual nature, including extended jokes about sexual intercourse, oral sex, sex work, pornography, masturbation, and pregnancy. Violence is limited to an angry, physical encounter on the basketball court, and a student offering his coach a gun as a donation. The main character regularly makes fun of people and spews verbal abuse. One of the characters is a sex worker, who's shown smoking cigarettes. Characters can be seen drinking in a restaurant, where a reference to "bourbon shots" is made. Potentially sensitive topics, including obesity, religion, teenage pregnancy, and sexual orientation, are played for laughs.
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What's the story?
HOOPS is a sports-themed animated comedy series aimed at a mature audience. Coach Ben Hopkins (voiced by comedian Jake Johnson) is a small-town high school basketball coach who dreams of someday coaching the Chicago Bulls. Perpetually angry at everyone, from his team of misfits and his ex-wife to his co-workers and his former-pro-player father, Hopkins spends much of his time desperately trying to solve problems of his own making while directing expletive-laced insults at pretty much any person who crosses his path.
Is it any good?
The writing in this show just isn't very creative or smart, which leads to diminishing returns for the excessive vulgarity. Thanks to South Park and the many mature animated series that have followed in its footsteps, the novelty of hearing cartoon characters use foul language wore off over two decades ago. But it seems Hoops didn't get the memo. Without doing a formal study, it's safe to say that the series' 25-minute pilot uses the "F" word, or some variation on it, more frequently than one of Martin Scorsese's feature-length mob movies.
Of course, bad language doesn't make for a bad show. On the contrary, if used cleverly (and for a mature audience), strong language can elevate a show's jokes from funny to laugh-out-loud hilarious. But that cleverness, or lack thereof, is where Hoops stumbles. It doesn't help that the main character is aggressively unlikable, only ever putting his obsession with naughty language on hold to direct mean-spirited insults at other characters. Toss in Hoops' juvenile storylines -- like when Coach Hopkins tries to persuade a tall kid to join his team by hiring him a sex worker -- and profanity is the least of its problems. While there's plenty of comedic potential in the concept of a crude coach mentoring a bunch of misfits, Hoops does little to explore it, instead focusing almost entirely on the low-hanging fruit of potty-mouthed cartoon personalities.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mature animated series. Can cartoons tell mature stories effectively? What animated series have done this successfully? How does Hoops compare to other animated series aimed at a teen or adult audience?
How does Hoops use stereotypes? Is it OK for stereotyped characters to be featured if the goals are comedic?
What are some other shows that feature underdog or misfit sports teams? How do such shows balance funny moments with positive messages?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love adult animation
Themes & Topics
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