"This whole thing is about sneakers?"
Collecting. It's fun, exciting, and at times, ridiculously expensive. While many never venture into the high stakes world of sneaker collecting, those who do understand the stress, drama, and excitement that comes with scoring that unattainable pair of Air Jordans or Travis Scott Air Max 270s.
Sneakerheads, the new comedy series from creator Jay Longino, is their (overly exaggerated) story.
The series centers around Devin (Allen Maldonado), a former sneakerhead who now serves as a stay-at-home dad. Though he no longer races through the streets of Los Angeles looking for that elusive pair of kicks, his fascination with the game hasn't faded. When he falls for one of his old friend Bobby's (Andrew Bachelor) crazy schemes, he finds himself scurrying to make up the money before his wife realizes their vacation fund is gone.
While the premise is promising, the series fails to fully materialize, losing itself as it works to generate enough conflict to fill the episodes. What starts as a funny sketch centered on a man who has fallen victim to the times unfolds as an endless pursuit for a mythical pair of sneakers that may or may not exist.
Mind you, all this takes place over a couple of short days, immersing Devin back into the life of a sneakerhead as he seeks guidance from veteran Nori (Jearnest Corchado) and newcomer Stuey (Matthew Josten). Together the four become a self-proclaimed squad, working the streets to turn a profit and get Devin his money back. However, everyone's interest in helping our financially strapped dad is never fully explained or realized.
Regardless, it often seems that Devin doesn't want to escape the adventure, which would make sense given his dissatisfaction with his current life situation. Initially, it's Bobby's ridiculous idea that gets him into the mess. Still, Devin continues to go against his intuition, falling victim to his actions and self-sabotaging countless opportunities to rescue himself.
Along with his costars, Maldonado is unable to connect as he struggles to find space to develop and expand his character. While the group runs into every possible obstacle one could imagine, their eventual success and safety is never a notable concern. We know very little about any of them outside Bobby's intimate affair with Devin's mother-in-law on the couple's wedding night, and even that lacks sufficient detail. The show quickly becomes a convoluted bag in which to sort through, especially for six episodes. We have little to go off of and almost no reason to yearn for a better understanding.
In broad text, Devin's willingness to cede his presumed identity for the sake of a woman is admirable in many scenarios; however, the polar opposite environments between his passion and his current life make you question the energy associated with his marriage. Granted, Sneakerheads never ventures into the subject, or any serious issue for that matter. It is still intriguing to witness a man sacrifice so much without fully seeing any reciprocation.
We could forgive all of this if the show were funny. Though tabbed as a comedy, the series rarely backs up the billing. The fast-talking situational humor would have likely been enough decades ago, but times have changed. We require more if you plan to maintain our interest, especially with the influx of current options. Simply put, Sneakerheads doesn't.
*This series is streaming globally on Netflix. All six episodes were reviewed.