Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Of My Comedy Pet Peeves

I throughly enjoy the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World commercials. I couldn't be more jealous that it is people's job to come up with those quotes. But on the latest one, they do something that bothers me to no end because it sucks the "funny" out of the joke. And they do it twice. Check it out below:

If you didn't pick up on it the narrator adds his commentary on two of the statements which, to me, completely deflates the humor of the line.

-"His New Year's resolutions would blow your mind. That's why he doesn't tell anyone."
-"One should never shake his gifts. Trust me on this one."

Personally I just let those first sentences hang there for a second before moving on to the next one.

I know this is very nit-picky but isn't this what blogs are for?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where are my Happy Endings people at?

Generally when I like a comedy on television, it's critically acclaimed but ratings challenged (i.e., Arrested Development and Community). And usually my friends are watching the same shows which is why, I assume, we're friends to begin with. But I happened to stumble across Happy Endings (I'll admit, I'm a huge Elisha Cuthbert fan...and not for her acting talent.) and initially found it just "watchable." It seemed like the type of show that I wouldn't get attached to because there wasn't a lot that differentiates it from dozens of shows I've seen get a quick hook from a network before.

Most of the first season focused on Cuthbert and the nurse dude from FlashForward's character which was tough since they aren't comedy leads but in the second half of the season they made it more of an ensemble and I'll say that it became one of the funnier shows on television. I'm pretty sure that at this point, Damon Waynes Jr has already elicited more laughs out of me than his dad has.

Now I'm looking at magazines and stuff and they're saying that over 8 million people a week are watching it and it's great partner for Modern Family but I have not found a single person besides myself who watches this show. I have seen every episode yet have not been able to discuss it with anyone or reference a quote to anyone. So where is everyone who's watching this?

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Take on American Horror Story

Please stop reading if you have not watched through the 11/9/11 episode

If I could sit Ryan Murphy down and ask him one question about American Horror Story it would be "Is this a joke?" Now that may initially sound like I'm bashing the show which I am not. I have tuned it to the first six episodes and only hated two of them. The other four I enjoyed. The problem is that I enjoyed them in the same way I used like to sometimes go to the horror section of a video store and pick out a movie like 3 On A Meat Hook. It's not like it's a "good" movie but it's a campy and fun way to spend some time. The only problem for me and AHS is that I didn't go rent those type of movies every week. I guess my opinion of what makes a good horror is a mixture of drama, tension and shock. American Horror Story seems to only be aiming for shock. In this latest episode (11/9/11 - Piggy Piggy) I challenge anyone to watch that episode and tell me anything that happened that had to do with a plot. The whole episode seemed to just lead up to Connie Britton eating some raw brains. It's a shame too because I thought the first scene of the episode with Tate's school shooting was awesome. Even though we were pretty much told what happens in this scene last episode, it was edge of your seat stuff. But then it went down hill from there (can you tell this is one of the two episodes I hated?).

I think my biggest worry going in to the series was that I don't trust Ryan Murphy. I'm not ashamed to admit I gave Glee a shot. While they are two wildly different shows the both seem to have the same issue. In Glee, they'll fore go any semblance of a plot just to get the characters to a point where they can sing a specific song they have the rights to. I watched probably 8 episodes and there were only slight traces of any arcs. They seemed to interested in doing tribute episodes or having guest stars that the show catered to them more than the characters they "developed." In American Horror Story I feel something similar is happening. I feel the writers just have the actors moving around to screen not to further their own development or story, but to get some sort of shocking visual. And he also wrote the screenplay to the 2nd worst Book to Movie adaptation I've ever seen in Running With Scissors (The Firm is #1). So he has strikes against him

Connie Britton is way too good for this show. Taissa Farmiga (Vera's sister...just kidding. I don't think there was a single thing I read leading up to the show that didn't say that. It's not like Vera Farmiga is A list or anything.) is a good find too. I find her to be very good and probably the most interesting living character on the show.

Maybe it's just my own limitation. Maybe I have to try to look at this show a different way. During the course of typing this I think I figured out what my issue is so far. It's that there aren't any rules established yet with maybe the exception of if you die on the property you are bound to the house or something. If I'm watching something with vampires I like to know what kills them. In Buffy, vampires couldn't go out during the day. In Twilight, Edward can go out during the day but he sparkles like a beautiful diamond. In some zombie movies they can track by sight, sound or scent in others it could be only one or two senses. I have a feeling the AHS writing team is never going establish many concrete rules so they can do what ever they want with out the internet continuity police coming after them and so they have no limitation on who or what they can pair up for a gruesome scene and I guess I find that lazy.

All that being said, it is hitting .667 for me. I do like it, but my fear is that they've thrown so much stuff at us early that I don't have faith in the writers to keep it up. And most of the stuff I wrote above is all speculation based on that lack of trust. But we're only six episodes in so I really hope I'm wrong because there really isn't anything else like it on television.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ball Is Tipped....

This year I was lucky enough to have my favorite team kick-off the college hoops season. I feel it gives me an excuse to post specifically about the game under the guise of posting about the start of the basketball season.

St. John's is chock full of interesting stories: 9 new players, top 3 recruiting class, 3 of those players not being eligible to start the season, walk on tryouts out of necessity because they couldn't even run a 5-5 scrimmage at practice and last but not least, Steve Lavin's prostate cancer surgery. Being largely a team of newcomers I'm fully expecting a very frustrating season which I'm okay with thanks to last year and the promise of the future of St. John's hoops.

Tonight's win, I feel is going to be a microcosm of their season. It was a nice 15 point win over a team with a style that does (did) give St. John's fits. Instead of me rehashing the whole game, you can check out the boxscore of the 74-59 win HERE. But I would like go over things I liked and disliked from the game tonight:


Free throw shooting - There is nothing in sports more frustrating than a team who can't hit free throws. For the game they were 12-25 (48%). I can't take that. At one point I realized I was only 23 minutes in to the college hoops season and I was already angry. And on such a glorious opening night of basketball too.
The dreadful ESPNU logo - I love everyone else's logo but St. John's is the worst. It has to do with being the Red Storm (which is ridiculous and a whole different post) but it's just terrible and makes no sense.
I know the mascot is a bird but that makes no sense either

Three point defense - This may seem like nitpicking since they did only hold William & Mary to a shade under 35% for the game but they started missing some as they heaved them up in late desparation. They scramble and gamble a lot with their full court pressure which leaves them out of position a lot to jump out and contest a lot of 3s. With 7 guys getting regular minutes I wouldn't mind seeing them call off the pressure sometimes for now. Most of the guys on the floor seem quick and long enough to still get their hands on some balls in the half court defense. I know full pressure is the style but I can't see keeping that up with this little depth.

Rebounding - Like everything in the 2nd half, it got better. But they were out rebounded for the game but closed the gap in the 2nd half. That could largely be attributed to them shooting just about 68% in the 2nd half but it's obviously going to be an issue this year.

Three point shooting - I'm not in panic mode or anything after one game but do you know the last time a St. John's finished the season shooting better than 35 percent for a season?......Neither do I.


The 2nd half defense - Obviously. But what I liked about it is that they got over their jitters and completely overwhelmed William & Mary with their superior athleticism after being down 7 at the half. William & Mary is the anti-St. John's or St. John's 2010-2011 with them returning 12 players and 4 starters from last year. With that kind of experience, it wouldn't have surprised me in the least if the Tribe we able to salt that victory away so it was nice to see St. John's literally take the victory tonight.

JUCOs - During the offseason everyone liked to talk about the freshmen. But this game St. John's was led by God's Gift and Nuri Lindsey. A lot of GG's rebounds were uncontested but he shot a high percentage from the floor and looked the most comfortable at the FT line. He also drew some charges and only commited 1 foul which is going to be very important for this team o have him not foul out. Lindsey on the other hand I was very frustrated with in the first half. Who cares if a guy could get to the line if he couldn't hit any free throws. His FT does need work but he was able to get to the rim and finish a lot and also shot a high percentage when all was said and done. 5 steals didn't hurt either.


4 Turnovers!!! - To me that's amazing for such an inexperienced team playing their first regular season game together. I don't believe they turned it over at all in the 2nd half either. That was a +17 differential for the game.

I didn't really mention any of the freshmen but this is getting long and I'm not going to get too excited or panic too much based on one game.

How fantasy football killed my NFL Sundays

"Why couldn't Romo throw to Dez Bryant instead of Laurent Robinson??" This was a quote from one of my friends yesterday while watching the Cowboys/Seahawks game. This friend, who happens to be a Redskins fan, made about 100 similar comments over the course of the day prompting myself and my other friends to threaten a fantasy intervention. What happened to the good old days where we just watched football on Sundays rooting for only our team?

Now, I wish I could say that this is just the case of one overly invested friend of mine, buts its not. Its an epidemic. Here is a scenario. I am a NY Giants fan living outside of Philadelphia, home to the WORST sports fans. During a Giants/Eagles game last year, I ordered pizza and wings from a nearby eatery. The delivery guy, looking like he crawled out of the dingiest Philadelphia alley, came to my door holding my food and donning a Desean Jackson jersey. I of course, fearless as usual, was wearing a Giants hoodie and hat secure in the safety of my own home. Here is the exchange. Doorbell rings and when I answer, he says "A Giants fan? I shouldn't even give you your food today." I explain "Thats why I'm having food delivered instead of sitting at a bar risking my life." And then, he fires back with "Its cool man, I have Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs on my fantasy team. Hope they score me some points today. Good luck!" What the hell was that? These are the worst sports fans in America and even they have been softened up by fantasy sports?

And to be honest, I cant say I am completely immune to this illness. I am constantly looking at the tickers, checking the Ipad or listening to the NFL Sunday drive on Sirius for updates instead of exclusively watching/listening to the Giants game. And when the Giants were driving down the field late in the game yesterday, Id be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for an Eli TD pass instead of a Jacobs TD run (I mean, I'm starting Eli in 2 leagues this year!) Argh, that's not the way I want to be thinking, but its intrinsic at this point.

I wish I could go back to the good old days where myself and some friends would crowd around Augie's dining room table and live draft, watch Sportscenter together, read box scores and wait for stat reports to come in the mail (That's right, stat reports came in the mail before computers). At the end of the day, we loved fantasy sports, but we loved our teams even more. Now that gap has shrunk to a level no sports fan should be comfortable with.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rebuilding the Big East

I could probably write 50,000 words on how pissed off I am about the state of the Big East but instead I'm going focus on what the Big East is doing to rebuild themselves from a basketball only standpoint. The Big East is and never will be a football conference.

After 2013 the remaining members still comprise a pretty decent basketball conference. Cincinnati, UConn, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John's and Villanova is still at least a 6 or 7 bid league even without adding anyone else. You really can't replace Syracuse and Pitt from a historical rivalry standpoint or West Virginia from a competitive standpoint but I really don't feel all is lost. I think 2 of the 3 schools can make some impact in pretty short order:

Houston - The Cougars have a pretty good history that doesn't really date back that far. They made the NCAA Championship game two years in a row in the 83 and 84 and they have guys like Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon with their numbers in the rafters. No high schooler dream of playing in Conference USA but if you start talking up a few recruits and selling them a new age of Phi Slama Jama with the Big East name behind it and Houston could acclimate to the Big east quicker than South Florida or DePaul has.

Central Florida - The Knights are already starting to build their basketball program. Some experts rank this year's recruiting class in the top 20 and they are a landing spot for transfers from BCS schools. For years you've been hearing that Central Florida could be a "Sleeping Giant" in athletics. I've been to the campus where I saw their facilities and it's a really nice place to spend your college years. Associate them with the Big East brand and their already increasing talent level can only get better.

SMU - This is just a market capturing move. With the two Texas schools you lock up Houston and Dallas but I can't see what they add to basketball. They'll probably be joining South Florida towards the bottom of the Big East for awhile. It sure would be a crazy, round-about way for Matt Doherty to get back to coaching in the Big East though.