LOS ANGELES – People talk out of both sides of their mouth all the time, especially in reality TV. But it’s hard to imagine a more fork-tongued project than “Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream,” which centers on rapper Snoop Dogg and his football-playing son Cordell Broadus, a major prize for colleges this recruiting season. Snoop talks about just being a proud dad and Cordell escaping his famous father’s shadow, but it’s hard to see how showing up at training camp with a five-part docu-series under his belt will do anything to dial down the pressure.
Beyond the star-pandering inherent in the premise (after all, there are a lot of promising young players out there) and the further elevation of high school sports to ESPN-worthy bombast, “Snoop & Son” is produced with such an exaggerated sense of drama and heavy-handed narration as to leave a bad taste strictly on that level.
“Hype. It surrounded Cordell Broadus,” the narrator intones in the premiere, or, in the second episode: “Cordell was hurting. But he was needed out on the field.”
Cordell has yet to choose a college, and his decision on the day for signing letters of intent, Feb. 4, will be incorporated into the final episode. He comes across as a likable kid, and both father and son are wired for sound during his games at Bishop Gorman High (Snoop moved to Las Vegas to maximize his son’s football prospects). Also miked is former Gorman and current UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez, who delivers a lot of inspirational speeches seemingly derived from watching “Patton.”
By contrast, Snoop is a mix of loudmouth Little League parent – barking from the stands at his son to get back in the game when he appears hurt – and showbiz egomaniac, saying in regard to Cordell establishing himself, “Your greatness is gonna have to be to the third power if you want to get out of my shadow.” You mean, right after doing the show together, including the staged music video credits featuring the two dramatically walking side by side?
Having never been shy about enjoying pot, Snoop says he doesn’t smoke around his kids. He’s less bashful about admitting that part of him wants his son, a wide receiver, to attend USC (dad is a high-profile Trojans fan), while another part would like to see him leave California.
ESPN has done yeoman work in the documentary field with its “30 for 30” franchise, and some will no doubt see the positive in this series, so clearly built around Snoop’s commitment to his family.
At its core, though, “Snoop & Son” doesn’t go long, or deep. Instead, all the program really does is add a celebrity twist to the already crazed hype that surrounds college recruiting. So to the extent this documentary series delves into more than X’s and O’s, there’s a nagging sense it’s only because of a determination to get to the dollars and cents.