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Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched through Netflix's new show Hoops.

At first glance, Netflix's Hoops looks like it might be a run-of-the-mill animated comedy about Jake Johnson's unlucky high school basketball coach who finds the motivation to lead his team to a championship. It's most certainly NOT that kind of show, though. Rather, Hoops is a hilarious cacophony of foul characters (some of them New Girl vets) blaring foul language, and Johnson's Ben Hopkins is the worst/best of the bunch. In fact, the character also gets disrobed arguably more than most animated characters.

CinemaBlend recently spoke with Hoops' creator and showrunner Ben Hoffman about the long process it took to get from the initial pilot presentation to landing a Netflix order – it took seven years. During our chat, I asked if Netflix every brought in censorship guidelines for any scenes dealing with nudity or situations that would be illegal if they were in live-action. And as you'll read below, it turns out the streaming service had zero pushback against Hoops' comedy.

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Ben's Pixelated Penis

In asking Ben Hoffman about Netflix's approach to Hoops' more obscene humor and visuals, I jokingly mentioned the company introducing a pixelated penis mandate. For those who watched, that's obviously in reference to Episode 5, which featured a terrible VHS "music video" that Ben made to win future ex-wife Shannon's heart back whenever they were younger; the video not only featured Ben nude in the shower, but also a pants-less Ben spinning superimposed over the above background. Here's how Hoffman followed that up:

No, I mean, no one self-censors more than me. It's funny you mentioned the pixelated penis, because the animators drew it and I sent it back to pixelate it more. I thought you could see too much of it, and I thought they made it too big. I said, 'Make it smaller, and pixelate it more.' So Netflix stays out of the way with that stuff, and I'm just kind of self-censoring. I didn't want to show an animated penis, so it never got to them because I didn't want it. There's places to go if you want to see an animated penis, and it's not the kind of content that I want to make.

Perhaps more surprising than the idea that Ben's video actually worked on Shannon is the fact that Ben Hoffman apparently enforced more restrictions on his own content by scaling down Coach Ben's dick size, while scaling up the pixelation efforts. Usually, TV creators try to get away with everything they can when dodging corporate censors, but considering all the other sordidness that Hoops brings to the table, Hoffman wasn't at all interested in trying to showcase an animated dong in all of its glory. (I guess The Simpsons already did it first with their movie anyway.)

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The Sex Song

Hoops didn't exactly give Jake Johnson's Coach Ben and Natasha Leggero's Shannon a ton of sexual chemistry throughout the bulk of the season, considering she was constantly on him to sign divorce papers. But it all culminated in some sweet, sweet cartoon sex in Episode 9, where Ben actually signing the damned papers was enough to light a metaphorical fire in Shannon's hoo-ha. Ben Hoffman, who was also at the center of the sadly short-lived Comedy Central series The Ben Show, chose to buck potential expectations by making the scene a million times less gratuitous than it could have been, largely thanks to that hilarious slow jam about not watching them have sex. When I asked Hoffman about inspirations for that song, he said:

Yeah, I mean, again, I don't want to see animated characters having sex. But my brother did the music. My brother's in a band called Scissor Sisters, and he's a great musician, so we love making music together. And that was actually Jake Shears, the singer of Scissor Sisters, singing that song. I was like, instead of a cliche' sex scene, let's do something new with the Scissor Sisters singing a song about what we're not showing, which just seemed funnier to me. You know, it just seemed like a funnier angle for that scene. I always try – not that I'm successful – but I always try when I do comedy to do things that I haven't seen before, and I hadn't seen that. Certainly not in animation. So let's try it and see if it works, and it seemed to work. Catchy song, too, I thought? You don't want to hear the first version where I attempted to sing it.

That split second shot of the vaginal crack is just too ridiculous, since of course it isn't an actual vagina, but I digress. For those wondering, the brother in question is the Scissor Sisters' bassist Scott Hoffman, better known by his stage name Babydaddy. He was actually responsible for all of the music in Hoops, including the theme song, which actually does feature Ben Hoffman's vocals. Not to discount the latter for his independent musical stylings, as he has three different albums out under the faux country-western persona Wheeler Walker Jr.

Hoops Season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix, where it has been in the Top 10 TV shows since it debuted on August 21. While waiting to hear more about a potential Season 2, head to our Netflix 2020 rundown and our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule.

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