Review: Coach Snoop | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Coach Snoop

TV critic Madeline McInnis gives her views on the Netflix documentary series as rapper Snoop Dogg coaches an American Football team for youths from disadvantaged backgrounds

‘The kids are never the problem’. That is a passing line from one of the referees while the coaches are fighting in the first episode of Coach Snoop. It was just a passing line and there was no real implication of it, but I think it sums up the series really well. Coach Snoop is a documentary series about the Snoop Youth Football League, an American Football team for at-risk teens in the Los Angeles area. The young boys practise every weekday and travel for games on the weekends. This series follows them over one season. The series itself is a Netflix original, and it has eight episodes, each around a half-hour in length. It is a pretty easy show to marathon, but the episodes can relatively stand-alone if you want to take some breaks in between.

They are teaching the boys that they have to control their emotion and be hard all the time
Content wise, is a tough watch at times. I really do not agree with some of the values that the coaches are putting on these boys and the way that they are treated by some of the people who claim to love them. They are teaching the boys that they have to control their emotion and be hard all the time — even encouraging the other boys to target a specific kid because he is too nice. It seems like they place the boys on some sort of spectrum with gang activity at the bottom, but they are not expected to be high-achieving citizens at the top, either. It seems like they are expecting these boys to fall somewhere in the middle — hyper-masculine and not respecting women or authority, but at least not selling drugs.

Though I do not agree with it, I can appreciate it because it is raw and real. They are not just catering to what their audience wants to hear when the cameras are turned on. They are really showing what they are like with these kids and how the kids — and their parents, at times — respond to a grown man shouting ‘go fuck yourself’ into a thirteen-year-old’s face. Snoop and the other adults are a support system for these kids, even if sometimes a flawed one. Each episode highlights a few kids on the team and their personal lives beyond the game. They range from J-Roc, a boy whose mother was killed in a hit and run, to Big Max, a boy who is reunited with his father on the show. The only real connections between them are their geographic area and the broken families they come from.

The regular conversations of these kids should not have to involve death and drugs, but a lot of them do because it is their lives.
The regular conversations of these kids should not have to involve death and drugs, but a lot of them do because it is their lives. Hearing those stories from twelve and thirteen-year-olds really humanizes gangs and gang activity. The show never has to hold your hand and tell you that people get into gangs because of their common circumstances, they just show you by seeing how close all of these boys are to the edge.

Furthermore, talking to their parents really shows that gang members are not just hard guys looking to make a quick buck. One father, an admitted gang member, cries on camera when talking about his daughter. Often, the parents say that they are trying to make sure their kids have a better life. They want them far away from their own gang scenarios, and do not want to make that a family business like the stereotypes. American football, on the surface, is something to keep them too busy to join a gang. In the show itself, however, it just serves as a backdrop to tell the stories of Los Angeles as it really is for the people who are not glamour and glitz. For that reason, anyone who is interested in crime shows or sports shows more generally should enjoy this. I only know the basics of American football from my high school’s team, and I did not need to know any more than that to understand it.

It is certainly not the best crafted television show and I do not think it will win any awards, but it is certainly worth the watch, simply for the insight into a world of crime from the perspective of a child.

(@madmcin)



Published

11th February 2018 at 9:00 am



Images from

ESPN and Netflix



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