By Paul Hyland
JUCO football’s favourite team, EMCC, are back for another season of class-cutting, fist-pumping, learn-nothing entertainment as season 2 of Netflix’ Last Chance U returns.
The documentary series that is set in East Mississippi follows a junior college football team. College football is the lowest of collegiate football in the US, but this is a team full of superstars who have been kicked out of their former prestigious colleges for a wide range of violations – drugs, guns and brawls, the holy trinity.
East Mississippi, however, offers these former up-and-comers a second chance to reach the holy grail of the NFL. If they can impress at this level by beating unfortunate teams, of sometimes skinny part-time athletes (think the towel boy scene from The Waterboy), then they might get offered a place at a Division one college.
This is what EMCC head coach and the series’ main character Buddy Stephens has told them. He did not, however, tell them about his lack of patience, his Jekyll and Hyde personality (maybe due to the amount of chewing tobacco he stuffs in his mouth), and his arse-cheek clenching rage.
This is where the drama and comedy comes from in this highly recommended docu-series. On one hand, you have Buddy, who humiliated himself in the first season by repeatedly flying off the handle, but then you ask yourself is it really his fault? As his players are flawed young men, with undeniable talent, but the propensity to be the greatest of wind-up merchants.
The format of each episode is roughly the same: you see the team train all week long, and then the last 20-minutes or so are devoted to week’s game, including all the fighting on the sideline.
If you don’t like American football or even sport you can still enjoy this series. They do lots of interviews with local supporters, and it’s touching to see how much this team means to people who are struggling to survive in a poor area of the US’s bible belt.
Season one was excellent, season two is even better, we can only hope for a season three. Buddy’s head might actually pop off his shoulders. That would be a first for television.