Monday, September 13, 2010

Sizzle and Steak

I've missed you.

I've missed you, Donovan McNabb, with your propensity to skip passes into your receivers, dismissing the praised concept of YAC. I've missed you too Jane Lynch, with your unabashed wit lending comedic decadence to a show not much more than Broadway in a can. I've missed you most, Phil from Modern Family, as your willingness to flirt with your father-in-law's second wife knows no bounds.
You see, I've missed all of you. And I'm glad you're back.

I always the one month hiatus the TV networks take during the month of August to recharge for Fall. Don't you know this is when I can watch the most TV? Sure, I know the Emmy's are the lynch pin between this dreaded abyss, but geez louis...can I get a twinge of situation comedy with my antipasto? For the love of God, do I have to watch "The Situation" turn into our generation's version of Mr. Furley every day? (Mike, please...don't stop doing what you do.)

I hate you, summer TV, with your meaningless baseball games and award shows. You're like a bad breakup. You leave me sans closure, hounding my black book babes for solace, and then you waltz back into my life with your Labor Day marathons, jump back into my bed, and pretend like you never left. You know I'm gonna let you back. I know you know I'm going to let you back...but I keep falling for your spell. IT'S NOT COOL.

With NFL and NFL Lite in full swing and pilot season ready to take flight, meaningful television is BACK. To celebrate, I've performed a reverse Ben Carson. I've fused the two things I love most (sports/TV) into a super blog. Hooray!
There's a monster in my closet, and it's time to let him out.

San Francisco 49ers (10-6)- "SNL"
I am an NBC Page. Like this guy. I commonly give studio tours inside our building, showing off vacant studios while selling NBC's grandeur via endearing anecdotes and colorful performances. I'm quite good at the latter, actually.

During the tour, we always pass the classic picture of the "Not Ready for Primetime Players". And every time, a ribald guest will overture above the crowd: "This cast was THE BEST. The current cast has NOTHING on CHEVY and GILDA! Uhh, who's that black guy?" (Garrett Morris)

Like SNL, people are always talking about the good ole days of 49ers football, at the expense of the current cast. Remember Montana/Clark? Wasn't Jerry Rice great? What's Roger Craig up to? But fortunately, for both franchises, happy days are here again. With Jay Pharaoh's impressions and Nasim Pedrad's growing popularity, it looks like we're in for a little bit of a comedic renaissance. Oh yeah, the Niners are GOOD and that division SUCKS.

Green Bay Packers (12-4) - "30 Rock"
Is Matt Damon becoming the king of season finales? He badmouthed Ari and Johnny Drama on Entourage, then shimmied his way into a pilot's suit to cap off 30 Rock. What's he up to? He's already got that Good Will Hunting Oscar kicking up dust in the man cave, so maybe he's going for that all-elusive EGOT. (Tracy Jordan/Morgan, you slay/annoy me.)
My problem with actors like Matt sliding into TV roles is this: They're way too good. They expose the weaknesses in your regular cast (Tracy/typecast, Tina/too one-dimensional) and blow everyone else off the screen. When he's in a scene, he dominates the scene.

Aaron Rodgers does the same thing as Packers QB. He's a Top-10 accuracy passer. He completed 17 bombs (40+ yd passes) and had 4,000 yards in 2009. But his O-line's awful (as evidenced by the 14 knockouts he the 1st half), and his RBs are close to becoming waiver wire fodder.

Can 30 Rock continue to evolve past the in-jokes to revolutionize comedy? Can the Packers make the Super Bowl with a passing attack in frigid January? Or will we be too busy starting at Matt Damon/Aaron Rodgers to notice?

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) - The Office
He's the only QB to make the Pro Bowl every year this decade. He's the fastest QB to reach 10,000 and 30,000 passing yards in a career. He's had Kendra Wilkinson's boy toy and the man once known as The Nicest Receiver Who Ever Lived (Marvin Harrison) as targets. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback since sliced bread.

BUT...he's only won one title. He got beat last year and brought back the Manning Face (copyright: Bill Simmons). And, with his team making no measurable improvements while the rest of the league got better, is now the time to count Peyton out?
Yep. Just like Steve Carell, I think Pey-Pey's got another 2-3 years of dominance. However, Peyton's got to overcome typecast role players (Garcon/Pam-Jim), aging cagey vets (Dwight Schrute/Dwight Freeney), and discouraging leadership (B.J. Novak/Jim Caldwell) to get to the promised land. And even then, it's still not a mortal lock. (Steve STILL hasn't won an Emmy. Wow.) 8-8? Not inconceivable.

New Orleans Saints (14-2) - Modern Family
I love seeing that birthmark of Drew Brees' face. After winning a Super Bowl, Drew could've easily upgraded to a $40 haircut and touched the mark off with a plastic surgeon courtesy of Dr. Drew. Easily could've banked another 3-4 commercials based on Super Bowl swag alone. But he didn't.

Deftly, Drew Brees has forced his way into America's hearts with his blemishes and flaws. Just like inner beauty pageants for big girls, Brees is here to stay. And fresh off that Emmy love, "Modern Family"'s not going anywhere either. Here's to another superstar season from both.
Arizona Cardinals (5-11) - "Entourage"
Sitting back, slinging it deep, and rolling with the homies was fun while it lasted. Too bad something's gotta give (Kurt Warner's retirement). This series is cascading down faster than a tidal wave of the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Tennessee Titans (11-5) - "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"
Like "Jimmy Fallon", it's going to take a while for the Titans to come into their own. Like Fallon, they've got a strong base (NBC/Titans' ownership). Like Fallon, the ship is guided by strong, lasting leadership (Lorne Michaels/Jeff Fisher). Like Jimmy Fallon, when it all comes together, it's going to be glorious.

Pittsburgh Steelers (?) - "Parks and Recreation"
Amy Poehler is pregnant. Ben Roethlisberger is getting girls pregnant. Too bad we've gotta wait until midseason to see how this plays out.
Chicago Bears (4-12) - "Outsourced"
Let's have some ad libs fun!

My name is Mike Nolan Rod Marinelli Lovie Smith. My team, the San Francisco 49ersChicago Bears are having problems implementing an effective offense. My job as coach of the 49ersBears is in jeopardy. Perhaps Mike Martz, inventor of the famous "Greatest Show on Turf" and rejuvenator of the Lions49ers offense can help me out. There's no way he'll try to manuever the situation for his own good (destroyed both franchises with his back-biting).

Bears fans, this is a cry for help. At least you'll have those draft picks, right? Oh wait. OUCH.

*(Outsourced = Slumdog Millionaire + hacky comedy. #FAIL.)*

Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) - "Two and a Half Men"
There's only a limited amount of passes Carson Palmer can throw. There's only one half-hour in which to produce a quintessential multi-camera comedy. There's not enough action to go around. There's only room for one funny guy (Charlie Sheen/OchoCinco). I just don't see this working out.

I'm eagerly anticipating the demise of the T-Ocho era.
New York Jets (8-8) - "Glee"
Remember when "Glee" was just an upstart pilot looking for love in the FOX lineup? No longer. A year later, we're dealing with crazy hype, ingratiating exposure, a concert run, and unrealistic expectations. "Glee" is here to stay because we've declared it good with our TV eyes. But it doesn't mean it has to be good.

I don't think "Glee's" as good as it makes us believe. The show's set to expire faster than a milk carton (singing current hits was a bad idea for syndication). The characters have clear, defined weaknesses (how much more can we see the "Proud Papa" look from Mr. Schuester?). Can FOX pretend like everyone's in high school when Finn and Puck start sporting five o'clock shadow?
Unfortunately, this is where the 2010 Jets come in. Too much exposure (Hard Knocks). Too much hype. Too much Mark Sanchez (he's not great yet, and will probably sophomore slump). Too much Rex Ryan. Too much Wood-y. Too much salary. Too many good AFC teams in the mix. I want them to be good, but it stinks too much of the same ole J-E-T-S.

People of the free world, I'm so glad TV's back. Now excuse I set up my DVR box for the week.

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