Clipped – Season 1 Episode 1 “White Party” Recap & Review

White Party

Episode 1 of Clipped begins with a scandalous recording of the LA Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, going viral online, with footage leaked to TMZ by someone called V. And the content of that conversation? Racist remarks by Donald. Specifically saying: “Don’t bring black people to my games, including Magic Johnson”.

We then jump back to 2013 where we follow Doc Rivers. A reverred team coach, he’s decided to take on the worst team in the league – the LA Clippers. He shows up at the office and immediately stamps his mark. 43 years the Clippers have been about and they’ve never won a championship. Ever. They’ve only made it to the second round of the Playoffs twice. He vows that they’re going to win a championship this year… to a round of silence and awkward smiles from the others in attendance.

During a team meeting, Doc meets V, the woman we heard about earlier in the episode. She’s Donald’s personal assistant, although at this time we’re still unsure whether they’re having an affair or not. Donald’s “assistant” definitely has something hidden under the facade of her pretty face. I’m sure we’ll find out soon. Anyway, Doc wants to bring a free agent called JJ Reddick into the team. He meets with him later that night and tries to talk him into joining the Clippers.

Unfortunately, the backroom team don’t agree with signing JJ… because he’s white. Doc is incredulous and livid over this, and things get heated between Doc and Donald on the phone. Doc barely has time to process this, before he’s thrown in to attend Donald’s “White Party”. Everyone there wears white and it feels more like a public display to parade the basketball team around. 

JJ is a little awkward at meeting the team, while Doc tries to work out if there are any issues between the players. He does learn that Blake and Chris hate each other, which could cause a rift in the team dynamic.

Speaking of problems, V shows up at the party and immediately makes a spectacle of herself. Apparently she first met Donald at the Super Bowl. Donald’s wife, Shelly, is definitely threatened by her and worries that there may be something going on. She believes V is a show-off and is taken aback by the fact V is keeping an “audio record” of Donald so he doesn’t forget stuff. Shelly worries this could backfire, especially as we know the opening part of the ep.

Shelly does some digging online and finds pictures of V and Donald together, with the former insinuating that she’s playing him. It’s a social media comment so it could be a joke but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, Shelly and V continue to butt heads, and it becomes increasingly clear that V is using Donald for money (reinforcing the hand on his wallet comment). She also meets with Magic Johnson to annoy Donald. In fact, he points out that evening (while V is recording) that he’s displeased she’s hanging out “with minorities”. However, she does get her duplex at the end of this conversation.

Meanwhile, Doc speaks to the different kids in the team and tries to get to the bottom of the situation between Blake and Chris. He gives advice to them both, then makes his decision to make Chris the captain. He tries to make them all focus in different ways. Doc is in danger of getting in over his head, especially as Donald’s toxicity seems to have spread to the team, who are whining and need to get their heads in the game.

Doc knows that Donald is like the norovirus of the team; spreading like a sickness and infecting everything. Despite having a toxic leader, Doc has decided that they need to block all of that out and lead a “boring” life so they can focus. While the team get the results on the court, the focus is on what’s happening courtside. V continues to spin her web of manipulation, wrapping up Donald in a web of lies and showing up with a green dress on her birthday.

The team are just starting to get along… when Donald busts in with the season ticket holders to the locker room. Apparently this is normal but you can tell it completely offsets the vibe of the players. Thankfully, Doc shows up just in time and stops this before it gets completely out of hand.

Shelly gets wound up and eventually lashes out at a clothing store, where she notices V spending all of Donald’s money. Donald doesn’t even lift a finger to defend his wife, and V even whispers scathingly to her that she’s going to be the new Mrs Sterling.

Shelly storms out but her friends are there to help listen to her vent and offer some encouraging words of wisdom. This works wonders for her self-esteem as she gets a new head of steam and decides to sue V. The latter spirals… but we know that she has dirt on Donald so this could turn out to be a horrid move.

The Episode Review

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Shelly here, and it’s so obvious what V is doing and Donald has walked right into her trap. However, he’s not exactly a nice person and his comments about race and the toxicity he brings to the table, only reinforces just why V is doing what she’s doing.

For those unaware, Clipped is based on a true story and Ed O’Neil does a great job playing Donald Sterling. The acting carries the show forward, and it has a decent pacing to it too.

Given the show is 6 episodes long, it feels like the perfect length for this one, but we’ll have to wait and see where this one goes next. Thankfully, two episodes dropped at once so we don’t have to wait too long to find out!


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