A football academy based on clichés and crafts

A youth series about men's and women's soccer has, as a matter of potential audience, nose and determination.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 23:30
14 Reads
A football academy based on clichés and crafts

A youth series about men's and women's soccer has, as a matter of potential audience, nose and determination. It is not difficult to imagine scriptwriters and directors of production companies rubbing their hands with the possibility of selling a project like The Academy, the Brutal Media series that can be seen on Prime Video and that 3Cat premiered on Monday as L'Acadèmia. But, beyond its commercial outlook, where is the creative ambition, that sensitivity that allows the audience to see plots typical of the youth genre without having the impression of being in front of a generic production?

The Academy is the story of the Apolo football club's youth academy, a white brand of Barça, which has the men's and women's teams living in facilities that look like a luxury spa. They feel the pressure in an impossible environment that forces them both to be good teammates for the good of the team and to compete as if they were enemies: they compete for starting positions, the possibility of playing with the first team and the attention of sports directors. from other teams. In this environment, the public finds predictable and recognizable plots of love, heartbreak, health and rivalry.

Marc Soler plays the captain of Apolo, a disciplined athlete, son of a soccer star, who fears coming out of the closet (weeks after the Catalan channel had another young homosexual soccer player fearing his homosexuality in Jo mai mai). Ton Vieira is the kid who arrived from Colombia with a suitcase full of clichés (poor, insolent, uneducated and with a superhuman gift for touching the ball) who disputes his position on the team coached by Marc Martínez. And, on the women's team that features Rita González, Mia Sala-Patau and Ebony Vidjrakou, the girls have to face the worst characteristics of the patriarchy represented by Luka Peros, their coach, while facing their own loves, heartbreaks and rivalries. .

The Academy is not a series that finds nuance when approaching its plots. He talks about homosexuality in football as one would expect, the women's team has to confront the idea of ​​sisterhood in a way that is not asked of the men's team and, when it comes to the character of Ton Vieira, it is done with a certain condescension and Manichaeism. You just have to see how each situation has to be chewed up by the viewer: after a deplorable outburst by the new Messi, a racist insult always has to be used to justify the action at the moment.

It is a constant of the season: the characters, with the exception of Luka Peros' coach or the father played by Diego Martín, have to be justified almost instantly, lest the viewer have to learn to live with beings who make mistakes. or that they are not beacons of light. And what a pity that León Martínez's player, who has the only original plot (for the first time an eating disorder is addressed from a non-female perspective), is the perfect representation of the satellite character: isolated, completely disconnected from the team. of the.

But I would be lying if I didn't recognize that, as the episodes progress, the skill of the team of scriptwriters also becomes evident, who know how to grease the story so that it flows, and there are casting successes. Marc Soler finds nuance and humanity in the look of his character while Ton Vieira, like his soccer player, suggests that we are facing a potential star.

And, by focusing so much on the friendship, enmity or sexual tension of the men's forwards, those who take the victory are the women's athletes: by having individual conflicts but also a group one, their drama rises above average with Rita González remains the true hottie character, that of a player so ambitious that from time to time she loses sight of who she wants to be as a person.