The first episode of HBO’s “Winning Time” Season 2 sends a message to fathers who, in the unholy name of patriarchy, want to bestow empires on their sons, even if they have more qualified daughters. The message is simple: a woman can run a business just as well as a man, often better.
Based on the book “Showtime” by Jeff Perlman, “Winning Time” chronicles the rise of Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Showtime Dynasty. The series features a collection of colorful storylines, including explosive Jerry West (Jason Clarke), aka the NBA logo, lanky, aloof giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes), the flashy phenom with the million-dollar smile , Earvin Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah), the birth of slick mastermind Pat Riley (Adrien Brody) and the innovative, hilarious, always looking for a party Doctor Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly).
In Season 1 we meet our main characters and learn important things about their backstories including where they come from, what they dream of and how the unique synergy between them all always seems to be enough to take them to the next level. Season 2 seems to delve deeper into their morals, the difficult choices they must make and the more serious consequences.
The parallels between Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s separate journeys into fatherhood are enough to spark 1,000 conversations about masculinity, the roles society allows men, responsibility, and the many rights and wrongs that make up the human experience. While this part of the storyline is very entertaining and important, the dynamic of the Buss family continued to freak me out long after the episode ended.
The world is not perfect now as many women still struggle with unfair treatment in and out of the workplace; However, Jeanie is a pioneer, not only in her profession, but worldwide.
In real life, Jeanie Buss is the owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers. She has long had a reputation as one of the most respected, efficient, and intelligent executives in the league. In “Winning Time” we meet Jeanie (Hadley Robinson) as a young intern for the newly acquired organization, keen to win her father’s respect. Viewers will see her make so many great decisions as Dr. Buss spends a lot of time looking past her while making his sons Jimmy Buss (McCabe Slye) and Johnny Buss (Thomas Mann) heirs to the Lakers throne.
The writers do a great job of planting nuggets that reflect Jeanie’s work ethic and skills that are showcased throughout this series. They’re also really good at capturing the days when it was very easy for the most talented women to be sidelined by sexist men in power. The world is not perfect now as many women still struggle with unfair treatment in and out of the workplace; However, Jeanie is a pioneer, not just in her profession but around the world, and Winning Time celebrates that.
In season 2, Doctor Buss realizes that Jeanie is the only child capable of running the company. He doesn’t necessarily write his sons off as idiots, but there is a poignant scene in the episode where he berates his sons for lack of ambition and they retaliate by rating his performance as a father. From these lines we can clearly see that Jeanie will begin to take her place as the leader we know her as today. Jeanie Buss’ story arc is important to me as I’m actively learning to navigate the changing world of my three-year-old daughter.
“Are you going to have a son? Don’t you want a son?” I’ve been asked this question by everyone from my friends to my mother.
“I don’t need a son, I love my daughter more than anything and I’m fine,” I always reply.
I don’t know why they keep asking me this question as if they believe a man’s journey through fatherhood is incomplete without having a boy to name after himself. This idea couldn’t be further from the truth.
When my wife and I found out she was pregnant, we both thought we were going to have a boy. She always fantasized about having a son and we had just bought a house that oddly had one room already painted blue. It felt like fate, but that feeling was wrong. And when our sound engineer asked us if we wanted to know what we had and my wife and I hate surprises so we told her to blame us.
We were very lucky to have a little girl and maybe in a way we were more excited. It’s been almost four years since that moment and we still couldn’t be happier. Our daughter is our everything and we fight hard to ensure that she has as many, if not more, opportunities than any little boy in the world. Competitiveness and success orientation have nothing to do with gender. Winning Tim’e is a great way to show what women have to go through to achieve high levels of success and hopefully this series will continue the storyline so we can see how cute it is when Jeanie reaches the top.
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