I always try and go in to a new series with an open mind, it’d be strange not to do such a thing, but with this I did have concerns as the trailer for Sneakerheads didn’t appear to be that amusing and it wasn’t really my kind of thing, not being a footwear obsessive like the central characters in the series. But I don’t think it’s just because conceptually I didn’t click with it that I didn’t find myself laughing at all, as this first episode is rather trite and predictable with a very uninspired script.
The set up is that Devin (Allen Maldonado) is a stay at home Dad while his wife is studying for the bar, but the end is in sight and in five weeks time she’ll hopefully have passed it. But despite that he’s struggling with a very early mid-life crisis, and it’s revealed that he used to obsessively buy trainers in the past, so when a new special edition shoe is released he can’t resist going out and buying it. Unfortunately despite a bit of queue jumping shenanigans thanks to his old friend Bobby (Andrew Bachelor) it’s sold out, but Bobby persuades him to head off to an auction where they’ll buy the contents of a lock up and make a fuck load of profit. This backfires though as after spending five grand, and Bobby not paying his share, they discover that the boxes they bought only have a single shoe in each one and so they’ve been fucked over. Cue Devin stomping off, but lying to his wife about the five grand he spent and so the fraud squad is on the case.
A guy having a mid-life crisis / lying to his wife / acting a twat isn’t exactly original ground, it has been explored in sitcoms countless times before, and Sneakerheads does nothing new with the idea in the slightest. Devin’s vaguely likeable as he struggles with his day to day life and the in your face, loud and arrogant Bobby, and his wife comes across as caring and kind, but pretty much all of the other characters are either bland, boring or abjectly awful. Unfortunately the fast talking always scheming Bobby falls in to that latter category, and it’s hard to understand why Devin goes along with his schemes when he shows so much disdain for him most of the time. Fine, he may be bored of life but Bobby’s clearly a dodgy idiot, full of bravado but lacking in charm or charisma, and when he fucks Devin over by not having his share of the five grand it’s inexplicable as to why Bobby thinks he can still be trusted.
A lot of the laughs are supposed to come from them bantering away but the dialogue is often irritating or just plain unfunny, in once scene it attempts to undercut Bobby’s attempts at being cool with the fact that he struggles with a seatbelt, and it’s a lazy, dull attempt at humour. Occasionally Devin has a sort of devil/angel thing going on where he imagines seeing two versions of himself trying to persuade him to do things but this isn’t amusing either, and the various other characters are just annoying or dumb and one is somehow even more irritating than Bobby, which is deliberate but the way he antagonises Bobby and Devin is clearly supposed to be amusing and it just isn’t.
It’s nicely shot and the acting is decent enough, but it really is let down by a tepid, unadventurous script and though the subject matter may be original enough, at least when it comes to their obsessions with sneakers, nothing else is. Everything’s clearly going to spiral out of control from here on in as Devin’s lies will lead to him getting involved with Bobby again, but I’ll never know how it all pans out as these are characters I have no interest in spending another second with.