Necessary Roughness (TV series)

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From left: Matt, Dani, Nico, and TK.


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"There are many different types of fighters in the world. Some of them sit in little flowered chairs."
Dani, "Forget Me Not", 1x09
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The series centers on Dr. Danielle "Dani" Santino, a tough Long Island divorcee who, in order to make ends meet, gets a job as a therapist for a professional football team. Her career begins to take off when athletes, musicians, politicians and other celebrities start to request her tough love therapy. She must learn to balance her new career with being a single mother.

Not to be confused with the movie Necessary Roughness, which, while also football-based, is completely different.

Tropes used in Necessary Roughness (TV series) include:


  • Aesop Amnesia: TK seems to forget every week that he previously learned not to be so self-obsessed.
    • Fridge Brilliance: It's him slipping back into old habits and a reinforcement of the fact that therapy isn't a one-and-done sort of deal - it takes effort and work on the part of the patient to make a long term difference.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted; Dani explicitly states that she is not a Freudian.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Angela's cringe-inducing meeting with Matt in "Baggage Claim".
  • Bedmate Reveal: Dani and Matt in the pilot.
    • Nico and Gabrielle in "Baggage Claim". Subverted, though - Nico slept in the chair all night, despite Gabrielle coming on to him and the reveal of their on-again, off-again affair.
  • Big Brother Instinct: TK to Ray J.
    • Matt for the Hawks players, but especially TK.
  • Big Man on Campus: TK seems to think his life should perpetually be this.
  • Bottle Fairy: Jeanette.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lindsey.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: TK can't figure out how to talk to his girlfriend Vivica. She wants to take it slow, and he has real feelings for her, but he's too used to one-night-stands. Naturally, he insults her big-time.
  • The Cast Showoff: Scenes of Matt playing basketball are due to Marc Blucas's college and semi-pro basketball career.
  • Character Development: A big part of season 1 is TK's development from trouble maker to team leader, from bad influence on Dani's life to good influence on her life.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Each client story tends to also flavor the personal story. For instance, a poker player who has trouble bluffing stars in an episode where lying is a big issue in Dani's life. Usually crosses over into a Eureka Moment as well.
  • The Chew Toy: Phil Kirkman from "A Wing and a Player", the source of the "Hawks Curse". The poor guy can barely walk down the street without getting death threats.
  • Cliff Hanger: At the end of "Goal Line", TK is at a nightclub celebrating the Hawks playoff win when a fan pulls a gun. It fades to black, then the next scene is Nico knocking on Dani's door and telling her and Matt that TK's been shot. Credits.
  • Cool Old Lady: Angela, Dani's wisecracking, gambling addict mother, who is played by Conchetta Tomei.
  • Corpsing: The client of the week in "Anchor Management" turns to Dani after doing this on live television while discussing a war.
  • Couch Gag: The client of the week is represented in the opening credits with some sort of related item rolling up to a shot of Doctor Dani's feet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dani, constantly. Also Nico, though his sense of humor is drier.
  • Department of Child Disservices: "Spinning Out", where a social worker comes to evaluate Dani's fitness to have full custody of her children, and whether her patients (especially TK) are having an adverse effect on the kids. Subverted in that the social worker isn't villified, TK proves in later episodes to be a harmful influence on Ray J and Lindsey, and Dani has to leave her kids in the middle of the night to bail TK out and it's only through Nico's influence that the social worker never finds out.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Ongoing over the first season, but comes to a head in "Spinning Out" and "Dream On".
  • Down to the Last Play: The playoff game in "Goal Line", with a subversion - TK doesn't score the winning goal, but he does tackle Minefield and allow another player to score. Also counts as Character Development since, at the start of the series, TK is a egotistical player who doesn't want to share the limelight with anyone and who is more interested in himself than his time. So letting someone else score in such a big moment is a huge sign of where he's come. Emphasized by the fact that despite not scoring at all in the game or putting up big numbers, TK is truly happy and celebrates on the win rather than become destructive over the lack of limelight. And unexpectedly to him perhaps, the media recognizes his contribution to the play and heap some praise on him for that.
  • The Dreaded: Phil Kirkman is never named within the Hawks facility, always referred to by Coach, Nico, and Matt as "You Know Who".
  • Drop-In Character: Dani's friends Jeanette (who shows up often, but isn't a recurring character) and Margot (who has been seen twice), as well as her mother, Angela.
  • Dumb Blonde: Jeanette plays the role, but every so often (like in "Dream On") she shows that she's also very perceptive and understanding.
  • The Dutiful Son: Ray J has shades of this, being the "good boy" to Lindsey's "bad girl". He still makes his mistakes.
  • Even Jerkass Football Players Love Their Mamas
  • The Fashionista: Dani and Jeanette, being wealthy Long Islanders, wear a ton of gorgeous clothes.
  • Follow the Leader: Like many other USA shows after the success of Burn Notice, this is the story of a fish out of water with personal issues that subverts tropes, has quirky and guile characters, doesn't take itself too seriously while poking fun at other shows in good nature.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Lindsey and Ray J, respectively, in the beginning. It's later subverted when Ray J goes to a club and gets his car stolen, then later sells illegal TK merchandise and gets caught and Lindsey proves she's a talented writer and takes the rap for her brother with the merchandise thing.
  • Friendship Moment: Dani giving back Nico's dollar (legally, he has to pay something for therapy even though he can't really tell her much) because he doesn't need a therapist, he needs a friend.
  • Funny Foreigner: Augusto is set up to be this, but he and Jeanette seem to have circumvented the language barrier, and he's pretty smart.
  • The Ghost: The Hawks' oft-referred to, never-seen owner, Marshall Pittman. He becomes a seen character in Season 2.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Subverted to an extent. Dani does seem to have a pretty nice life, post-divorce, but it's taking a toll on her relationship with her kids.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Apparently most of Angela's parenting involved teaching Dani how to gamble. Dani's determined to parent her own children much differently.
  • The Heart: Despite appearances, Nico, once we place the other characters in their roles in the Five-Man Band.
  • Hot-Blooded: TK, to an extent. Then again, between his anger issues, his parental issues, his confidence issues, and his somewhat crude social skills, it's somewhat expected.
  • Hot Mom: Dani.
  • Hot Scoop: Vivica Stevens.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Some of the episode titles have this going on. "Anchor Management"? "A Wing and a Player"?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: TK. He's getting there.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Terrence reaches it with Vivica, when he wants to go grocery shopping with her. As it turns out, going grocery shopping is a euphemism... for simply spending time doing mundane things with Vivica.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: TK tries to sleep with a bimbo after breaking up with Vivica, and can't get it up.
  • Mentor Ship: Dani's new boyfriend JD, who was her psych professor in grad school.
  • Meta Casting: TK's actor (Mehcad Brooks) is the son of an NFL wide reciever.
  • My Beloved Smother: Angela.
  • New Old Flame: Laura, who used to date Matt and got back together with him. He broke up with her again when he realized that she hasn't really changed and got him a job in California because she wanted to move back.
  • Nice Guy: Matt.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Anne Marie Harmon from "Baggage Claim" for Martha Stewart.
    • Not to mention TK, who is a younger, thinly-veiled Terrell Owens. Owens himself actually guest-starred in the season finale.
  • Once an Episode: Someone shows up at Dani's doorstep in the middle of the night. Always.
    • It's been Nico so much that Dani's getting Genre Savvy about it.
  • One-Shot Character: Played straight with Dani's Clients of the Week. However, unlike other procedural-based shows, the client story is only about half of the show, with the other half related to the Hawks or Dani's personal life.
  • Parental Substitute: Dani for TK.
    • Nico for Juliette Pittman, due to his feelings for her mother. The question is - just how accurate is the "substitute" bit of that label?
      • The question is answered in the season finale: Juliette isn't his, but Gabrielle let Nico believe she could be.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Phil Kirkman tells Dani that he is afraid to leave his house because of death threats, she thinks he might be simply paranoid. When she accompanies him, he is recognized and verbally assaulted as soon as he takes off his sunglasses.
  • Retail Therapy: How Dani solves the issue of Leanne's kleptomania (and gets to the root of her issues with the other wives) in "Whose Team Are You On?".
  • Rich Bitch: Gabrielle Pittman and Anne Marie Harmon.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Nico, once you actually get him talking.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Nico and his excellently tailored suits.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Nico in general. All he'll tell Dani is that he's from Pittsburgh, he was once married, and he used to be a Navy SEAL and a waiter. In addition, we know that Marshall Pittman once saved his life in some fashion which is the root cause of his intense loyalty to the man. We have no idea what his real job is or how he "fixes" problems. He works directly for the Hawks' owner Mr. Pittman and seems to have jurisdiction over any issue he feels might negatively affect his bosses' interests.
    • The fact that he reveals that much to Dani is a sign that he actually likes her. He also teases her (in his usual dry way) that he knows when she doesn't like something because she squints a lot.
  • Team Dad: Coach, of course.
  • Team Mom: Dani by proxy of being the team therapist. Coach seems to look to her to lead the way in anything not related to actual gameplay. A notable instance of this occurs in the season 2 premiere where Coach justifies his decision by stating "Danni's record speaks for itself."
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, of course, and the show makes an attempt to show their work. For instance, in the first episode, TK has confidence issues. Doctor Dani uses a variety of therapeutic methods including hypnotherapy but makes a point (as does the show) that this is not a quick fix; TK has to keep going to therapy to truly overcome his problems.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Anne Harmon calls Dani one but it backfires, proving anger-management is, as Dani says, "the least of [her] issues".
  • Treacherous Advisor: Everyone (except for TK) knew it was only a matter of time before Laz developed into this.
  • Tsundere: Dani is a Type B; the "tsun-tsun" side is triggered by her ex-husband, though not, curiously, by any of her Love Interests. Then again, her ex-husband cheated on Dani with a venerable train of women so the anger might be justified just a little. Also, she is no longer in love with her ex since she found out he was cheating on her.
  • Unusual Euphemism: According to Matt, if you want to "go grocery shopping" with a woman, you're in love with her. TK blurts it out to Vivica.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Nico tells Dani that he does not lie. While we never see him tell a lie, most of the things about him are a mystery and he tends to use euphemisms when talking about what he does as the team's "fixer".
    • The subject of "Goal Line" regarding whether he will lie about his affair with Gabrielle Pittman. He eventually tells the truth, informing Pittman's lawyer that if Pittman wants to know who Gabrielle's been sleeping with, he can call Nico.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Dani's husband has been having affairs right under her nose. He even used the guest bedroom in their house for this. When Dani realizes this, she files for divorce.
    • Gabrielle Pittman seems fine with cheating on her husband. Of course, Marshall Pittman seems fine with cheating on his wife, so the knife goes both ways.
    • She seems fine ignoring her own affair with Matt in the pilot episode; she was even ready to get it on in the coach's office before she realized it was a job offer and not just Matt was there.