2014 Emmy Award Preview: The Crime Against Tatiana Maslany

The past two days we covered supporting actors in both drama and comedy. Now it is time to discuss the leads starting with Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Maslany deserves an EGOT for Orphan Black alone.

Maslany deserves an EGOT for Orphan Black alone.

Wait! I can’t do this. I can’t simply break this category down by offering insights into the nominees, snubs, good bets, who should win, and who will. No, it’s just not right to talk about this category without talking in-depth about the biggest snub in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, Tatiana Maslany not getting nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Maslany not winning would be highway robbery, the fact that she is not nominated is just flat out absurd.

The extreme nature of my stance is not an indictment on the other actresses nominated or eligible for this award. In fact, the only two questionable nominees are Dockery, only because she operates in a more supporting matter for a large ensemble cast, and Claire Danes, thanks to Homeland and Carrie Mathison fatigue. My hatred of House of Cards, more on this in my Drama Series breakdown, makes me inclined to add Wright to that list, but her acting is the only bright spot left. 

Additionally it would be easy to fill out a list with another six candidates just as, if not more worthy than the women that will be seen on Monday. Names such as Elizabeth Moss, Keri Russell, Vera Farmiga, Diane Kruger, and former winner Connie Britton could have joined Maslany to be an even more formidable group. The fact that Lead Actress in a Drama Series has become a deep category should be applauded. Especially after being overshadowed by a dominant era from their male counterparts. But the applause comes with a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk next to it since the Emmys failed to nominate the best acting performance in TV history.

For anyone that hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon of the thrilling series Orphan Black, first off, for shame! Secondly, you are all missing out on the brilliance of Tat Maslany. You’re also thinking that all this hyperbole is a bit much and that no one could possibly be that great. Some of you may even be calling the authorities to inform them that there is a crazy man going on and on about some actress on a weird sci-fi show and the obsession appears dangerous. But I assure all non-watchers that this article will make total sense once you take the plunge. images (6)

The basic conceit of the series is that a troubled English grifter, Sarah Manning, returns home and witnesses a woman, whom looks eerily similar to her, kill herself by jumping in front of a train. Sensing an opportunity to make a quick buck Sarah steals the woman’s identity, only to discover that they look eerily similar because they are clones. As the show progresses Sarah meets and runs into more and more of her clones, which are all played flawlessly by Maslany.

However, Maslany doesn’t deserve the Emmy simply for playing multiple characters on the same show, as impressive a feat as that is on its own, but rather she deserves it because each of the characters are unique, memorable, and brilliantly acted out. She is so good at delving into each character that despite having knowledge to the contrary and being of sane mind there are times I’m convinced there are separate actors that play each role. Case in point, I watched an interview with an actor that plays the husband of the suburban “Soccer Mom” clone and he was talking about how amazing it is to work with Maslany. I found this perturbing. “Wait a second, what is this guy talking about? He’s only had one scene with Sarah and it was for like 10 seconds. He hasn’t really worked with Tat, oh wait, shit, she plays his wife too. She plays all the clones. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” 

Need video proof? Check out this remarkable scene that gives me chills every time I watch it.

Boom! Emmy!

Apologies, Helena. Please don't artificially inseminate me!?

Apologies, Helena. Please don’t artificially inseminate me!?

If the Emmys made a rule change where characters were nominated instead of actors, then the last year and this she should’ve swept the Guest, Supporting, and Lead Actress in a Drama series category. Last year taking home the Guest award for her creepy, yet strangely amusing performance of Ukrainian Convent torture victim turned cold blooded assassin, Helena. Then pulling the major upset over Anna Gunn for bottle hiding, wine drinking, pill popping, Soccer Mom Clone, Allison Hendrix. While at the same time receiving huge sympathy for lesbian, genius scientist Cosima Niehaus being snubbed from the proceedings. And finally completing the trifecta by taking home lead actress as well.

This year she would’ve out done herself by having Proclone, power hungry, head of the evil Dyad Institute, Rachel Duncan win the Guest award. While getting three nominations in the Supporting Actress category with Cosima getting a nom this year as she stared in the face of her own mortality due to the autoimmune disease that has been spreading amongst clones. While Helena knocks off Allison thanks to an arc that revealed the humanity beneath the decades of abuse. Then capping off the historic night by making it back to back Lead Actress wins, giving her six Emmys in two years.

It sounds ridiculous, but consider this, TV Icon Ted Danson delivered three memorable television characters in 40 years, while Maslany has delivered four in just two seasons. Potentially five, depending on where the show takes Rachel next season. This is uncharted territory and the Emmys are completely ignoring it, unlike the Critics Choice Awards honored her with back-to-back victories for the same show.

Critics can be snobby, obnoxious douche bags at times, especially the one’s that love the sound of their own voice, but they are better equipped to judge television because it is their job to watch all of it or at the very least be aware of everything. Unlike the group of industry insiders that make up the Emmy Awards selection process. Having received some insight into the process the last two years I can tell you that a lot of voters don’t even bother watching the screeners they’re sent to watch.

You tell 'em, Ali!

You tell ’em, Ali!

It is a faulty system. Award Shows are about the spectacle of having so many celebrities in one place, not the actual practice of rewarding the year’s best work. It is important to keep that in mind when your favorite doesn’t bring home the gold. But it can still be annoying since so many people watch the Emmys and no one besides TV critics and nerds like me have any idea that the Critics Choice Awards air on television at all, let alone when it does. To any and all that are upset by their favorites being snubbed, I feel your pain and I’m here for you whenever. And to the Emmys, giving you the Johnny Manziel is just cruel and useless. There is nothing that can be said to change the way the process works. There is also obviously no shaming them if only nominating the greatest TV series of all time, The Wire, twice with no wins has led to no apology. The Emmys are what they are and we’ll all just have to learn to live with it.

After that long tangent, here is a super quick breakdown.

Does Claire Danes Cry Face make it a three-peat? Coincidentally this is the same reaction I had when learning Maslany was snubbed again.

Does Claire Danes Cry Face make it a three-peat? Coincidentally this is the same reaction I had when learning Maslany was snubbed again.

Nominees: 

Robing Wright, “House of Cards” (4/7)

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (5/2)

Kerry Washington, “Scandal” (7/1)

Clare Danes, “Homeland” (15/1)

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (20/1)

Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (20/1)

Best Bet: 

It is difficult to like any of these bets as there is no clear winner in this category and the only name that would shock me if it were to be announced is Michelle Dockery’s. Clare Danes has won two years in a row and with the decline of Homeland voters should be looking to chose a new winner. The person to put the money on is Kerry Washington at (7/1). A great payout and with no clear winner voters could go with the historic choice.

Will Win: 

Emmy voters clearly do not share my feelings on House of Cards considering that both Kevin Spacey and Wright are nominated along with the series as whole for Outstanding Drama, which it currently has the third best betting odds to win. Wright has move start cache and after Corey Stoll’s character kicked the bucket last year her character becoming the most interesting one left. Call it an unwanted and disliked hunch, but Jenny is going to be taking this Emmy on the road with her. Let’s all hope Emmy doesn’t suffer the same fate. Although, now that I re-read this article maybe not…

 

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2014 Emmy Award Preview: Supporting Actors Drama Series

Yesterday we broke down the races for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series, so today we’ll examine the dramatic side of the equation. A lot of readers requested more details on each of the nominees and their wish is my command. I’ll examine whether or not each actor deserves their nomination before revealing the snubs.

Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama Series

Nominees: 

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (2/5) – The heavy favorite and defending champ. It will take a miracle to upset Gunn from making it back-to-back wins in this category. Breaking Bad’s epic final run is carrying a wave of momentum into this year’s awards, which should lead to many people involved celebrating with golden trophies at its post-show party.

Gunn is far from undeserving of this award as well. After years of fan abuse, she is getting her long overdue praise for playing the role of a wife that must find a way to survive her High School Chemistry teacher turned Drug Kingpin husband, Walter White.

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (4/1) – This beloved, long time character actor has the best shot at pulling off the upset if voters feel “Breaking Bad fatigue” and decide to go in a different direction. She has been nominated three times previous for this character and has a submission episode in which she deals with the death of a close friend and colleague, right up Emmy voters ally. Baranski is a highly skilled veteran actor and The Good Wife continues to fight the good fight for Network TV Drama. She is more than deserving of this nomination and would be a worthy upset winner.

Joanne Froggat, “Downton Abbey” (9/1) – Downton Abbey received the legacy treatment this year as it has been regressing since the middle of the bloody third season. Froggat cannot be blamed for the creative failings of the show and she has been the heart of the show since the beginning. She deserves some recognition for her excellent work and this past season was by far her darkest and most dramatic. It was fascinating to see the journey this fan favorite went on and wonderful to see her come out stronger on the other side.

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (10/1) – Smith is the exact opposite of her co-star. She has gotten enough praise for three actors’ careers  and certainly does not need more here.

Lena Headey has more important things on her mind than an Emmy Award.

Lena Headey has more important things on her mind than an Emmy Award.

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (20/1) – Game of Thrones is more than just a technical marvel and great adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s book series. The acting is also tremendous. Fans may hate Cersei with a fiery passion, but that is the ultimate testament to Headey’s acting. She brings so many layers to the character and makes her feel so real. It is this feeling that makes us hate Cersei so much. The character could’ve easily come off as cartoonish in the hands of another actor.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (20/1) – Another glaring black mark on the Emmys record is the fact that no actor from Mad Men has ever won an award in either lead or supporting categories. As big of an embarrassment as that is and as much as I love Joan this is not a deserving nomination for Hendricks. She barely got any screen time in the seven episodes and when she did it was mostly one note, complaining about something in the office. Her submission episode is the most she got to work with and the speech she delivers to creepy coffee delivery man, Bob Benson, about choosing love is powerful.

Snubs: 

This is a very deep category with many deserving actors, but with only two undeserving nominees out of the six selected it becomes difficult to find just two replacements. In other seasons it would be easy to go with the “Mother of Dragons,” but like Hendricks this was by far Emilia Clarke’s weakest season of material as I actually begun to find myself bored by stops across the narrow sea to see what she was up to. Or should I say “not” up to. Boom! Dragon burn!

Bellamy Young, “Scandal” – Young delivers one of the most fascinating and unpredictable characters on TV in this Shonda Rhimes thriller. Able to flip between a despicable villain and sympathetic with ease. Millie is never boring. A performance this rich and entertaining deserves to be recognized by the Academy.arrow_208_felicity_smoak_gif_by_edartgeek-d6wvw7b

Emily Bett Rickards, “Arrow” – Mark this down under both “author’s bias” and “never going to happen.” Yes, I love Arrow, but the biggest reason why is Bett Rickards’ Felicity. Before her guest stints turned into a recurring role, Arrow was an intriguing show that was operating on the edge of falling apart at all times. Rickards breathed fresh air into the series and brings a level of humor, fear, and intelligence that gives humanity to this superhero show.

Best Bet: 

Gunn is a heavy favorite, but at (2/5) that is not much of a payoff, so go with the lovable veteran Barinski at (4/1). It has at least a 25% chance of happening and has a better risk-reward than a Gunn bet.

Should Win: 

Anna Gunn. Breaking Bad deserves a big send off next Monday and Gunn should be on the receiving end of it. After dealing with all the backlash and fan hate it is the least the Emmys can do for her.

Will Win: 

Gunn again. The final eight episodes were airing during the lead up to last year’s Emmys, but were not eligible for consideration, and a lot of Emmy voters probably had that in their heads as they selected the winner. It will remain there again this year.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama Series

Nominees: 

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (1/2) – Paul took a step back during the final eight episodes after operating more as a co-lead in the previous three seasons, two of which earned him this award. He no longer has the advantage of extra screen time, which makes him fit better in this category, but also more difficult to win it. His submission episode though, “Confession,” was the only episode that treated him like the co-lead he became, so any voters that only watch that episode may not realize the lack of action happening to Jesse Pinkman throughout the final episodes.

Will Dinklage dance his way on stage for his second Emmy award in this category?

Will Dinklage dance his way on stage for his second Emmy award in this category?

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (3/1) – Another former winner that seemed to disappear at times this season, but when he was on screen, man did he steal the show. Whether being on trial for his life again, chained in a dungeon cell, watching a trial by combat to save his life, or murdering his former lover and father, Dinklage was as impressive as ever. As long as Tyrion remains alive Dinklage deserves a slot in this category.

Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” (5/1) – A flashy arc on a Network drama that ends in a sudden death? Emmy gold. Charles’ last season was by far his best and it is never easy to get nominated again after falling out of the field for a couple years, which demonstrates how deserving he is of this nomination.

Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (10/1) – A classic example of Emmy voters seeing a former movie star and acting legend signing on to a premium cable drama, then assuming he is automatically deserving of a nomination. A lot of people must have not actually watched Ray Donovan and Voight’s campy, over-the-top betrayal of the titular character’s father, Mickey Donovan.

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (50/1) – Here’s a classic example of an actor becoming a staple in a category and voters just assuming that he still deserves to be nominated.

Mandy Patinkin. “Homeland” (50/1) – Patinkin was not immune from the muck that the third season of Homeland became. He was certainly not the problem, but at the same time he did not rise above it.

Snubs: 

Half of the the field should be kicked out, leaving three open slots for dozens of deserving actors to fill.

Jeffery Wright, “Boardwalk Empire” – After Bobby Cannavale pulled off the upset last year as the season long antagonist in Boardwalk Empire it seemed to be a shoe-in that the equally talented Wright would at the very least get nominated for an even more impressive character. Dr. Narcisse mesmerized every time he stepped on screen. From the monologues to the facial reactions, everything about this performance was impressive.

And for the Emmys that code is pretend Michael K Williams doesn't exist.

And for the Emmys that code is pretend Michael K Williams doesn’t exist.

Michael K. Williams, “Boardwalk Empire” – Omar Comin’. Williams’ Chalky White will never be his most memorable television character, but this past season he was given more to do than any other in his career, on both Boardwalk Empire and The Wire, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park. Feeding off the same co-lead advantage that Aaron Paul has enjoyed in the past Williams would be a threat to win this award if Emmy voters saw fit to nominate him. The “Wire bias” lives on for its actors.

Dean Norris, “Breaking Bad” – A tough call between him and another departed character, Charles Dance’s Tyrion, but the long over-looked Norris nailed the emotions Hank felt when he discovered that his brother-in-law had been the drug kingpin he’d been chasing for two years. Norris’ performance helped make those first six episodes, up to the famous ‘Ozymandias,’ the most intense stretch of episodes in television history.

Best Bet: 

I’m not feeling the favorite here, especially at (1/2). For similar reasons as his Good Wife co-star I like Josh Charles at (5/1). He is also a beloved actor in Hollywood and had a terrific final arc leading up to a dramatic death that set the internet ablaze. It would not be surprising to seem him honored next Monday, more like a 33% chance than 20, which is what makes this the best bet.

Should Win: 

Jeffery Wright. A lot of people were shocked and upset last year when Cannavale won over Paul, Dinklage, and lovable grumpy grandpa Johnathan Banks. However, anyone that watches Boardwalk knew it was a well-deserved win, but the backlash might have affected Wright’s nomination or lack there of. This is highly unfortunate as his performance outdid Cannavale’s brilliance and is the most deserving to take home the gold.

Will Win: 

Josh Charles. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and call the upset. The Emmys are far less predictable than the Academy Awards and this seems like the type of move that it would make.

 

 

2014 Emmy Preview: Supporting Actors Comedy

Television’s biggest award show is rapidly approaching, it airs next Monday August 25th on NBC. In anticipation of what is sure to be an entertaining show with Seth Meyers hosting let’s do a full breakdown of the categories including the betting odds, snubs, rightful winner, and predicted winner. First up, supporting actors in a comedy series.

Supporting Actor Comedy Series

Armisen is one of this year's many surprise noms.

Armisen is one of this year’s many surprise noms.

 

Nominees:

Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn 99” – (2/3)

Tony Hale, “Veep” – (13/5)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” – (11/2)

Fred Armisen, “Portlandia” – (10/1)

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” – (15/1)

Adam Driver, “Girls” – (50/1)

Snubs: 

Snubs can only occur if there are undeserving nominees in the category and deserving ones to replace them. In this category there are two undeserving nominees and two worthy candidates to replace them. Armisen submitting as a supporting actor is questionable, but the whole Emmy process is too messed up to fix, so since he is worthy of a nomination. I fully admit that my bias against “Modern Family” plays in to my displeasure with Ferguson and Burrell still getting nominated in this category. The two men I’d replace them with are:

Nick Offerman, “Parks and Recreation” – The fact that Ron “fucking” Swanson has never won this award is a black mark on the Emmys’ legitimacy, topped only by nominating “The Wire” one time. Offerman deserves a lifetime achievement award for this iconic role. Despite not being the best season creatively for “Parks and Rec” and as a result the best season of work for Offerman that by no means makes it right to not nominate the man. A true embarrassment for American Pop Culture.

Jeremy Allen White, “Shameless” – Just like Fred Armisen’s nominations, the only question here is placement of category. Since he both took on a more leading role and “Shameless” has been consider as a Drama for its first three seasons, while making the switch to Comedy in what turned out to be by far its darkest and most dramatic season to date. But again, this section is not about how to fix the Emmys, but rather whom should be nominated and Jeremy Allen White is far more deserving than the “Modern Family” duo. He is a star in the making and brings so much depth to his South Side delinquent character that he has stolen the show from his more accomplished co-stars, William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.

Best Bet:

Defending winner Tony Hale at (13/5). Emmy voters love attrition or maybe they are just lazy, but either way it leaves Hale with a good chance of taking home the trophy again. Veep has 9 nominations including best comedy series, which indicates it’s a big hit with voters. Hale did not have as much to do this season as he did last year, but he has some great moments including his best from his submission episode when he and Julia Louis Dreyfuss react to the news that she is now President of the United States.

Who Should Win: 

The easy answer is Nick Offerman since he has never won the damn thing, but simply judging this year alone it has to be the immaculate Andre Braugher. Known for his dramatic chops on shows such as “Homicide” and “Men of a Certain Age” Braugher is a revelation as the deadpan Captain Ray Holt. Consistently getting the biggest laughs of the week despite having to share the stage with goofier, more comedic actors like Andy Samberg and Joe Lo Truglio.

Who Will Win: 

Andre Braugher. Emmy voters may love attrition, but they also love Braugher as his six previous nominations from five different shows indicates. Plus how could anyone watch this scene and not want to give the man another Emmy.

 

Supporting Actress Comedy Series

Nominees: 

"My Girl" is all grown up and has a filthy mouth on her.

“My Girl” is all grown up and has a filthy mouth on her.

 

Allison Janey, “Mom” – (1/2)

Kate Mulgrew, “Orange is the New Black” – (2/1)

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” – (15/1)

Katie McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” – (20/1)

Mayim Bialik, “Big Bang Theory” – (20/1)

Ann Chulmsky, “Veep” – (20/1)

Snubs: 

I will give Emmy voters some props for nominating a lot of new faces in this category and having only one “Modern Family” actress. It seems weird to kick out the betting favorite and it is not that Janey is completely undeserving of the nomination as she does typically great work, but just not good enough to deserve being in this category. The same goes for fellow Chuck Lorre star Mayim Bialik whom is my favorite part of a show that I work very hard to avoid watching and obviously my feelings for Happy Gilmore’s girlfriend are the same as her “Modern Family” male supporting actors.

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer” – Despite it making zero sense for an actress from a sketch show with her name on it and that appears in every single second of the show placing herself in the supporting category, I still must obey the messed up rules of Emmy and say she absolutely deserves to be nominated. Schumer is not just a fantastic comic, she is a highly talented actress. Playing an array of characters the show and it would be great to see this clip shown when they announce the nominees.

 

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Danielle Brooks, “Orange Is The New Black” – This category will be extremely difficult next year when Season 2 is eligible for nomination and a lot more actresses from this show will be up for consideration for this award instead of Guest Actress, Comedy. Brooks’s Taystee definitely deserves to represent this show along with co-star Katie Mulgrew. Taystee became a fan favorite despite limited screen time and that is because Brooks shined in every single second she was given especially towards the end of the season during the parole hearing arc.

Marcia Gay Harden, “Trophy Wife” – Much like Supporting Actor favorite Andre Braugher, Gay Harden showed off surprising comedic chops last season on this warm, funny, and entertaining show that deserved so much more fan support then it got. It would be nice to see the Emmys honor this “gone too soon” sitcom with at least one nomination and this was the most likely candidate.

Best Bet: 

Emmy voters do love Allison Janey, donning her with four wins in her career, so it would seem to hard to bet against her. However, since Emmy voters are made up of Entertainment Industry Insiders and “Orange Is the New Black” create quite the buzz in Hollywood, it would be smart to bet big on it across the board in this case Katie Mulgrew. Especially true at 2/1, when compared to Janey’s 1/2 odds.

Who Should Win: 

In this crazy, messed up nomination process the deserving winner is absolutely Amy Schumer. Yes, she has a distinct advantage since she is the sole star of the show. And yes, it is a sketch show, but still no one is more entertaining, funnier, or more skilled than Schumer in this category.

Who Will Win: 

It just seems like this year’s Emmys is set up to be a big night for “Orange Is the New Black” and Mulgrew is going to reap the benefits with a big win for her portrayal of Prison Chef/Contraband Importer “Red.” Take Mulgrew at 2/1, parlay it with the show in the Outstanding Comedy Series category at 2/1, and take those winnings to the bank.

Football Is Back: Picking Your EPL Team

Football is officially back this week. No, I’m not talking about the upcoming RG3 vs Johnny Football pre-season matchup I’m referring to the more aptly named international version of the sport. Most of the major European leagues get under way this weekend including the richest and most prominent one, the English Premier League. Also, for all Americans still inflicted with the World Cup itch, it is the most accessible league since the announcers speak a very similar language to us, English. Plus becoming an EPL fan gives us a valid excuse to show up to a pub as early as 6am and get our Saturday or Sunday started right.

The first thing that any American has to do before showing up at the local English pub for match days is pick their team. Any American not born in England has the right to choose any team he wants instead of being stuck with the local teams of whatever city your mother popped you out. It is a daunting choice, so I’m hear to help give you a rundown of the best options and help find everybody their right match.

West Ham Unitedth

Founded: 1895

Nickname: The Hammers

Location: Upton Park, London (Northwest London)

League Titles: 0

Biggest Rival: Millwall FC

Player to Know:   Mark Noble, Center Defense Midfielder – The Hammers lack a truly special player on its squad, so the fundamentally sound Noble stands out as its best player. He may not be fancy, but he is usually in the right place at the right time and is a great distributor from the back, unfortunately the Hammers don’t have much finishing talent up front to take advantage of Noble’s distribution prowess.

Reason to Cheer: West Ham has pop culture cache thanks to the 2005 Elijah Wood film Green Street Hooligans. It follows the story of a dopey, wimpy American, obviously a perfect role for Wood, who gets caught up in the world of English football hooliganism. It is a terrific flick filled with some badass fight sequences.

Reason to Boo: Is a badass movie reason alone to root for a sports team? I would think not. I’m all for rooting for the underdogs, but the Hammers are so bad they do not even qualify as such. They’re only two seasons removed from the lower league and in danger of relegation every season.

American Team Equivalent: The Durham Bulls. Another team from an incredible movie and they have the same chance to win this year’s World Series as West Ham does the Premier League title.

Evertonth (1)

Founded: 1878

Nickname(s): The Blues/The People’s Club

Location: Liverpool (Home of the Beatles)

League Titles: 9 (Last one in 1986-87)

Biggest Rival: Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby 

Player to Know: There are plenty of good choices. The speedy fullback Leighton Baines or prolific goal scorer Romelu Lukaku. However, I’m going the homer route and GK Tim Howard. Why? Cause he can save anything.

Reason to Cheer: Besides the obvious American interest to root for the incredible Tim Howard on a weekly basis, Everton lives up to its nickname as the People’s Club. They constantly outperform their budgetary limitations to compete against the richest clubs in the world. Last year’s team finished in fifth place, only seven points away from qualifying for the Champions League for the first time. Everton is also part of the best rivalry in the EPL against crosstown rivals Liverpool in what is called the Merseyside Derby, so all fans that love intense rivalries should jump into this one.

Reason to Boo: Not many, but for all those fans that cannot take the heartache of your team constantly getting so close to a major breakthrough only to constantly bang into the limiting glass ceiling that is the top tier of the EPL, then don’t choose Everton cause it is not for the feint of heart.

American Team Equivalent: Everton has become a weird mix of a historically successful team that hasn’t been good since the 80s, say the Dodgers since both have a history of success but not nearly as much as some other teams. While also being like the Tampa Bay Rays, a small budget team competing against the richest teams in the sport and find a lot more success than would be expected.

Liverpool th (2)

Founded: 1892

Nickname: The Reds

Location: Liverpool (duh)

League Titles: 18 (2nd most all-time) Last title 1989-90

Biggest Rival: Everton, see link above on Merseyside Derby

Player to Know: The prolific 24-year old English goal scorer Daniel Sturridge. Last year he had the benefit of playing along side the EPLs top goal scorer and Italian cuisine expert, Luis Suarez, which helped him to 31 goals in 43 appearances. Since Liverpool shipped the cannibal and his 36 goals to Barcelona, the onus is now on Sturridge to carry the goal scoring load on his own if the Reds are to improve on its 2nd place finish last year and finally win the title that has eluded them since 1990.

Reason to Cheer: If you’re a fan of teams with rich winning traditions, but not much success in the last two decades, then this is the team for you. Also, Liverpool is owned by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, or better known as the same person that owns the Boston Red Sox. Therefore, to all die hard Bostonians and the Red Sox Nation, Liverpool is the club for you.

Reason to Boo: Plenty. For starters Liverpool fans get the same hate as any fan of a front running organization, only without the benefit of bragging about recent victories. Pub goers are not interested in hearing about the golden days of the 1970s any more, but they also are not going to give you any underdog sympathy like crosstown rivals Everton get due to the absurd money Liverpool spends in the transfer window.

American Team Equivalent: This one is pretty easy, Notre Dame football. Both equally blessed with rich winning traditions and both are experiencing nearly the same championship drought. 26 years for the Irish and 25 for the Reds.

Arsenal 

Do you really want to be associated with any fans from Jacksonville?

Do you really want to be associated with any fans from Jacksonville?

 

Founded: 1886

Nickname: The Gunners

Location: Holloway, London (North-Central London)

League Titles: 13 (Third Most) Last title was in 2003-04

Biggest Rival: Tottenham

Player to Know: Alexis Sanchez, FW. The newest Gunner might not have much team history, but anyone that saw the 25 year old play for Chile in the World Cup knows how electric he can be. Sanchez never quite clicked in Barcelona the last three seasons, but a change of scenery could be exactly what the doctor ordered for this talented Chilean. His blazing speed alone makes him a huge threat to all EPL defenses, but with his deft touch and finishing ability around the net he could be the top goal scorer in the League this year.

john-cena-wwe

If you want this guy to walk out of Summerslam WWE Champ, then Arsenal is the EPL team for you.

Reason to Cheer: Love following trends? How about being a sheep and blindly following the pack without full understanding the reason? Then the Gunners are the team for you. Americans love offense and flair, so it is no surprise why so many have picked Arsenal to follow over the last decade. They’re known for playing a “sexier” version of football. A lot of possession, fancy passing, and emphasis on scoring a lot of pretty goals over easy ones.

Reason to Boo: Being an Arsenal fan is a bit like being a John Cena fan in the WWE or thinking that Nirvana is the best band of the 90s. I see the appeal, but disagree with the practice. This is the typical American “football” fan choice. If you hate the masses, but especially those that blindly follow them without really understanding why, then boo the fuck out of anyone in an Arsenal kit at your local pub.

American Team Equivalent: John Cena, yes I know he is not technically a team, but as the leader of Cenation he is basically a team onto himself.

Chelsea

Apparently Chelsea is not a big believer in Global Warming.

Apparently Chelsea is not a big believer in Global Warming.

 

Founded: 1905

Nickname: The Blues (have you picked up on the unoriginality of most of these nicknames)

Location: West London

League Titles: 4, Last title in 2009-10.

Biggest Rival: Manchester United, really Man U could stand as everyone’s biggest rival

Player to Know: John Terry, Center Back. The 33-year old captain might be past his illustrious prime, but entering his 17th season with the club he is the first name to become acquainted with if you’re to choose Chelsea. He’s a 3-time UEFA Best Defender winner. Has taken home FA Cups, Premier League Titles, and Champion League titles. Basically every title possible on the club level. Terry is also still an important contributor to this team as he is more than capable of still stifling great strikers in this league. If Chelsea are to make up the four point difference that separated them from last year’s Champions Manchester City, then it will need Terry to provide tremendous leadership from the back line.

Reason to Cheer: Chelsea is the London squad to achieve the most success in the past decade, so if you’re looking for a team from the country’s capital that can give fans the best return on investment then look no further than the Blues. This year’s squad is especially loaded with the addition of Diego Costa at Forward and has a great chance to win multiple titles.

Reason to Boo: Chelsea falls into the modern day big four, which has become a big five (more on this later.) A club that has far more money to spend than anyone else, so if you enjoy parity and hate the 1% Cheslea is not the team for you. Another reason to hate the blues is that it is owned by this man, Roman Ambramovich, Russian billionaire that made is money off of oil. Double threat to the United States. Abramovich is like a crazy cross between Jerry Jones, Daniel Snyder, and Vladamir Putin, so if you hate anyone of those guys and fear the product of them, then boo away at Chelsea.

American Team Equivalent: The Boston Red Sox, lovable losers turned into hated front runners.

Tottenham

This boring mascot is an appropriate choice to represent this team.

 

Founded: 1882

Nickname: Spurs

Location: North London

League Titles: 2, Last Title in 1960-61

Biggest Rival: Arsenal in the North London Derby 

Player to Know: Kyle Walker, Right Back. A potential English star in the making is a player to know for two reasons. One, he could have a breakout year this season. Secondly, he could become young American star in the making, Deandre Yedlin’s competition for a starting role if his rumored transfer to Spurs go through. It is possible that both Walker and Yedlin could play together, which would also be great practice for Yedlin for meshing with Fabian Johnson on future US National squads.

Reasons to Cheer: A North London squad with a lot of tradition, but most of it losing. Perfect for anyone that loves big city underdogs. Plus anyone that really takes a hating to Arsenal and wants to root on its biggest rival in the North London Derby. And finally, people from San Antonio that want to only root for one nickname in sports.

Reasons to Boo: Spurs fans can get pretty annoying as they get cocky with every little success the team achieves and are always ready with a laundry list of excuses for all of the failures. This trait can get pretty annoying in fandom and gives a good reason to root against them.

American Team Equivalent: The Kansas City Royals and Portland Trailblazers, two teams with rabid fan bases that get excited far too easily. Both have a small history of winning followed by a long drought without success. Any fans of these teams will love Tottenham.

Manchester CityManchester-City-Celebrations-Trophy-Premier-L_2764683

Founded: 1894

Nickname: The Citizens

Location: Manchester, England (Northwest England)

League Titles: 4, Last title in 2013-14 (won two of the last three league titles)

Biggest Rival: Manchester United in the Manchester Derby

Player to Know: It is nearly impossible to choose just one player from this loaded squad. There are fowards, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. Team Captain, Vincent Kompany aka the best defender in the EPL. Incredible miniature playmaker and dribbler Spainard David Silva. But the one player that needs to be known is Yaya Toure. The Ivory Coast midfielder is the closest thing to Lebron James the EPL offers as far as two way dominance. At times Toure looks like a school yard bully playing keep  away from the other team. On a team full of must watch players he is the NBC Thursday Nights in the 1980s must see.

Reasons to Cheer: Money $$$!!!!! Piles upon piles of money. Ever since the team was bought by a group of rich Middle East Oil Shieks Man City has gone from Manchester United’s abused little brother to an European super power. All that money has translated to a wealth of talent on the roster combined with what was already the best development squad in England. The Citizens claimed two of the last three Premier League titles and look poised to add many more titles to the Trophy Case over the next decade.

Reasons to Boo: While no Man City fan is complaining about the money the ownership has spent, it has blocked the progression of a lot of young talent from reaching the main roster. Football is a team sport that is more than just simply putting out the 11 best talents, they need to be able to play well together as a team. The Citizens development team has been playing together for years and no doubt that if given the opportunity they could’ve unleashed a beautiful brand of football, but Man City has robbed us of ever seeing such a sight. Plus if you don’t fully trust a shady group of Oil Shieks that seem to have a supply of money as endless as oil in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, then Man City is not the team for you.

American Team Equivalent: This is a tough one as there really isn’t a good comparison to Manchester City. It would be like the New York Mets suddenly being bought by an uber rich Middle East Oil Company and then going on to buy all the best available baseball players no matter the cost and it’s budget rising to $400 million. At the same time they get all the best international prospects and keep them stashed away in the minors till injuries or old age catch up with a player on the expensive Major League roster. Sure at first it would be fun and nice to see the Yankees wipe egg off their face from a crosstown rival, but pretty soon the Mets would become just as hated as the Yanks.

Manchester United keep-calm-and-fuck-man-utd-2

Founded: 1878

Nickname: The Red Devils (aptly named)

Location: Machester

League Titles: 20 (most in England) Last title in 2012-13

Biggest Rival: Manchester City (see link above)

Player to Know: United probably has the most recognizable names for the casual American fans, like Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, and Javier Hernandez, better known by his nickname Chicharito. Chicharito is a Mexican National star, which is what makes him so well known in America. Therefore lets get to know a lesser known player, Marouane Fellani. Unlike our other players to know Fellani is on this list for being a total Dickbag Doucher. Between the Sideshow Bob haircut and his constant bitching Fellani is an easy player to hate, especially for Americans so disgusted by flopping. Fellani puts Dwayne Wade to shame.

Reason to Cheer: This is the team for fans of the Yankees, Steelers, Cowboys, Alabama Football, Lakers, Celtics, or Lebron’s Heat.

Reason to Boo: Everyone who hates all those teams mentioned above this is the EPL team to direct all fan anger towards.

American Team Equivalent: United is like a super strand, a combination of all those teams. It represents pure sports evil, not to mention it is the richest team in all of sports. In the words of Public Enemy, “Fight the power.”

 

 

 

Passing of the Torch: Golf’s New Generation

It is time to end the summer hibernations and return to the Millennial man. It has been a long couple months away, but I’m refreshed and full of vigor. The first topic back was actually suggested to me via Facebook by my old High School Golf teammate Daniel Murphy and it deals with a changing of the guard in the game we used to play together. Golf will always be a game to me, not a sport. Sport requires a lot of physical exertion while a game challenges one’s mental fortitude a specific skill set. Golf is more similar to the game of chess than a sport like basketball or football. 

This past Sunday, in almost complete darkness, Rory McIlroy completed his second victory at the PGA Championship, his second major championship in a row and fourth overall. The victory puts him in rare company, joining Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only two golfers to win four major championships by the age of 25. The connection to Tiger is even stronger as McIlroy’s latest triumph happened on the same course and same tournament as Sir Eldrick Woods’ closed out his 25th year with his fifth major, 14 years ago and he also had won the British Open in the previous major tournament. Eery!

Rory's triumph has him in rarified territory.

Rory’s triumph has him in rarified territory.

Tiger was in the middle of the greatest three year stretch any golfer has ever seen. He won 7 out of 12 major championships, giving him 8 total by the age of 27, which was well ahead of the pace needed to break Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. Over the next 6 seasons, Tiger would tally on 6 more major championships giving him 14 after his last Major victory at the 2008 US Open. At age 33 and needing only five more majors to break the record, it was difficult to find a person willing to bet against Tiger breaking Nicklaus’ record, let alone never winning another Major tournament. Yet here we are 6 years later and the draught continues. It is interesting that in that draught McIlroy, who was only 19 years old when Tiger last won, has been the only player to emerge as a dominant force in Eldrick’s absence. His four major victories is twice as many as any other golfer has over 26 majors Tiger has gone without winning.

As the wait for Tiger’s next triumph continues the question on fan’s minds has shifted from, “when will Tiger be back?” To, “Is Rory McIlroy the next Tiger Woods?” The second question is far more interesting and at this point the answer is more unclear than the former question, whose answer seems to have become a defiant – “Never!” Let me be clear, the answer is only interesting on the course, not off of it. Rory will never match Tiger has far as public interest, no golfer ever will, unless a Mexican immigrant with familial ties to the Royal Family treks across the border and rattles off 12 majors in a row, while breaking 60 every single round.

Tiger had the marketing power of being fresh. A young half black/half-Asian face in a sea of old white faces. Golf never had much mainstream attention in the sports world till Tiger came around. No one ever would’ve predicted that EA Sports would have a Golf franchise to rival its Madden series. Tiger changed the face of the sport forever, the only problem was that he was the sport. All of the new fans and media attention was solely based on one person, Tiger Woods. If he wasn’t around, then people weren’t interested in watching. In his absence from dominance over the past six years the PGA has taken a big financial hit with dwindling ratings and attendance at events. Promoting a new star like Rory helps a bit, as fans always enjoy watching greatness, and this year’s PGA hit its highest ratings since Tiger lost to Y.E. Yang on the back nine of the 2009 PGA Championship. The last major before his fateful car crash that Thanksgiving that would forever alter his career. 0001463315211_500X500

As great as Rory’s accomplishments are on the course, he just doesn’t have the freshness, historical relevance,  or mainstream appeal as Tiger. However, he does have a killer competitive edge to him that fans love to see and his age makes him very adept at the new wave social media, which helps him connect with younger fans in a way most golfers cannot. A quick comparison of his twitter  page to Tiger’s makes that abundantly clear. As long as he keeps up this recent run of dominance he will serve as a great pseudo-Tiger replacement. What are his chances of doing so? Very high indeed.

Yes, Rory is one Major win behind Tiger’s pace at this point in his career. Especially when you consider that Rory only has one Major, next year’s Master’s, before he turns 26 and Tiger had 6 major victories at that point. But if you consider the lead he blew at the 2010 Masters, at which time he was only 20 years old or two years younger than when Tiger had his breakthrough triumph. Plus there is the Caroline Wozniacki theory to consider. The two started dating in July 2011, one month after his first Major victory at the 2011 US Open. During the time of their relationship McIlroy won only 1 out of 11 Major tournaments. This stretch included McIlroy’s tumultuous 2013 season where he failed to win a PGA tournament and his only notable win came in the Australian Open. Now consider that since McIlroy called off the engagement in May of this year, he has gone on to win 2 out of 3 possible Majors. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Wozniaki's loss could be Golf fans' gain.

Wozniaki’s loss could be Golf fans’ gain.

I’m not trying to place any blame on Wozniacki, it just seems pretty obvious that McIlroy’s career is better off without her. Plus looking ahead to the 2015 Major schedule, McIlroy has the Masters, on a course that is perfectly set up for him and it is only a matter of time till he prevail’s there. Then the US Open at Chambers Bay up in Washington State, which if placed next to a course in Northern Ireland it would be hard to tell apart. Next up is the British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews, a bomber’s paradise that McIlroy should be able to torch like Woods twice before him and John Daly back in 1996. And finally, next year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. A course that can only be tamed by long hitters as the length and high winds off Lake Michigan make it nearly impossible for shorter hitters to succeed. It would be shocking if McIlroy didn’t pull out at least two majors next year, if Vegas sets the over/under at 1.5 take the over immediately before the line moves. Two Majors in 2015 would put Rory at 6 by age 26, putting him on pace with Tiger moving forward.

Beyond Rory’s pursuit of Tiger’s Major pace and by proxy his pursuit of Jack’s record of 18 Major championships, another factor good help him replace the ratings and media attention Tiger garnered, a significant rival. Fans love rivalries, Bird vs Magic helped launch the NBA to new heights in the 80s and the PGA may have a similar rivalry brewing in Rickie vs Rory. Rickie Fowler finished in 3rd place, two shots behind Rory, on Sunday giving him a four top five finishes in the Major tournaments this year, nearly as impressive as Rory’s two wins this year. Fowler is only five months older than McIlroy and seems set to compete with him for the next decade plus. But he cannot be considered a true rival until he wins at least two majors of his own. If Rickie can parlay his consistent success at Majors this year into a couple of victories next year and let’s say three over the next two years, then Rory would have something that Tiger never did, a true rival.

Rickie has his eyes set on trying to catch Rory.

Rickie has his eyes set on trying to catch Rory.

Add in the fact that both Rickie and Rory are pleasing to the eye and have the power to draw in a younger audience that is not typical for golf and the PGA may have its answer to the Tiger problem. As much fun as it is to see a great performer dominate his competition, it is more fun to watch two guys battle for the right to be called “The Man.” Neither Rory or Rickie are capable of taking the Tiger mantle on their own, but together they might just be able to fill enough of it to sustain Golf’s place in the mainstream sport’s conscious. No matter what, this year’s PGA Championship set the table for golf’s future that should carry over to this Fall’s Ryder Cup showdown and make it interesting heading into the 2015 golf season.

Prsuit

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We have some exciting Millennial Man news to share with all of you. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine from college reached out to me about the content of this site and how it is similar to a website that his buddy started and he helps run. “It’s called prsuit.com,” he informed me, “and I think it would be great to partner together.”

It was an intriguing offer and I was very interesting to check out a website that is similar to our beloved Millennial Man. I hit the internet and typed in the website, pursuit.com. Hhhmmm this does not seem to be similar to our site or a legitimate website at all. It was pursuit.com, right? Let me go back and double check. Ah, I see what happened, due to encoding, my brain filled in the missing “u” to form the common word, pursuit, while the website domain drops the “u.” Silly me.

Alright, now it is time to check out the site and holy shit this is awesome. I love it. There mission statement is very similar to ours. They want to create content that engages and inspires the millennial male and understand that we are actively crafting our identities amongst a sea of diverse influence. Prsuit sees a void in news, commentary, and insight that is curated for the millennial male and wants to fill it. It targets the same audience as Millennial Man, but does so with a different approach. It’s the millennial GQ to our National Lampoons. Prsuit has great financial and career advice that we could not provide even if we tried. Or at least I’d feel guilty for attempting cause it would be sure to lead to you declaring bankruptcy. 

The proud father of this baby is Case Kenny. Billy and I spoke on the phone with Case a couple weeks ago and after one half hour discussion I was convinced that he is going to take over the world some day. Or the western hemisphere at the very least. We’ve agreed to go into partnership together and to start Prsuit will be posting some of our older articles on its home page. Here is a link to the dead battery article I wrote a couple of months back. We will proceed from there based on the number of views these articles generate on the site, but the goal is to have a symbiotic relationship similar to that of ESPN and Grantland. I believe in Case and enjoy Prsuit very much. No matter what happens in the future with our two sites I’m very glad to have a great new website targeted to help improve the lives of millennial males like me.

Check out the video below to learn more about Case and Prsuit

 

My Sitcom Bar

One of my favorite things about sitcoms is that the main characters always hang out at the same place. It seemed so cool to me as a kid. All your friends meet up at the same location every day without ever making plans and just shoot the shit in a hilarious manner, seemed like the perfect life. One downside to working in the television industry is learning that the reason for a “hangout place” isn’t based on anything in reality, but rather a way to save money since the less shooting locations there are, the cheaper the cost. 

I’ve always wanted a sitcom hangout of my own and with all due respect to the Central Perk, Monk’s Diner, and Chubbies, I want my hangout to be a bar. There is just something more appealing about a place to meet up for a pint with your friends to bitch about your day at work, relive great moments, and maybe play a game of darts or pool. Plus the added bonus of becoming a “regular” where the bartenders know you buy name, give you special deals, and let you pay your bar tab whenever you want cause they know you’ll be back. A young professional’s life is busy and stressful. We worry about our jobs, having enough money to pay rent, our future, etc. It does not leave us much time to sit back and relax with our closest friends.

Besides my roommates, I sometimes go weeks without seeing some of my closest friends in Los Angeles. Our lives get so busy that we’re too tired to do anything during the week, which leaves us only the weekends to hangout. The problem there is that weekend trips come up, taking them out of town, or they have a lot of things to catch up on since it is their only time off or they’re too tired from a long week to hangout. The point is that the weekends are limited and not always ideal to spend a lot of time with friends.

This is why I’m on a quest to find my own sitcom bar. A place where my friends and I can meet up for an hour or two during the week when we’re free. A bar to call our own, so that no matter what we’ll always have friends to share a beer and shoot the shit. Before I decide on a place, I thought it would be best to take a look at some of the best sitcom bars in television history in order to structure my search.

HIMYM-MACLARENS

I’m all about a bar being below street level, no matter how slightly below that may be.

MacLaren’s Pub – How I Met Your Mother 

Television’s best Friends replacement made the smart move of having a bar be its main hangout instead of a coffee shop. As far as sitcom bars go MacLaren’s is pretty solid. It has nice booths, which is always a plus. If you’re going to convince everyone to come to the same bar all the time, then it should be a comfortable spot. The coolest aspect of the bar is the fact that it is below street level. Any bar that has this feature scores huge bonus points in my book. Another bonus to MacLaren’s pub is that it seems to bring in a lot of beautiful single people, based on the number of romantic relationships, or conquests in Barney’s case, that got started there. However, the best thing MacLaren’s has going for itself is convenience. It is literally located directly under the main apartment where half the characters live. A convenient location is key to a great sitcom bar. It cannot be a chore for people to get to or else they will lose motivation to keep coming back.

It is not a perfect sitcom bar though. It is pretty small. I would prefer a more spacious bar if I’m going to hang out there all the time. Plus the characters never sit at the bar, another bad sign. If you’re going to become a “regular” at a bar, then you need to get along with the bartenders and the other regulars. This way you don’t need to wait for your friends in order to show up at the same time. You can just head straight to the bar and tell the bartenders about your shitty day. The final nail in the coffin though is that it does not appear that MacLaren’s has any bar games. This is a huge deal breaker for me. Any place with darts and pool has my attention. If there is shuffle board, then I might try to live there. 

Ultimately, although it is a pretty cool bar, MacLaren’s is not the sitcom bar for me.

MC

Crowley’s – My Boys 

This is one of the lesser known sitcom bars considering that the show it comes from, My Boys, was an overlooked and underrated show for the four seasons it aired on TBS. A much more spacious bar then MacLaren’s, which that alone puts it ahead, but the greatest part of Crowley’s is that it not only has bar games, darts and pool, but also a large collection of board games. As a self professed board game geek this is an amazing attraction. The opportunity to drink and play Risk, Operation, Scrabble, Categories, or any other various games is hard to pass up. There is also a great neighborhood feel to Crowley’s. It is not trying to pretend to be a gastropub or a trendy club or a hipster haven, it is just happy being a neighborhood bar.

my-boys-cast-photo-crowleys

There really isn’t a downside to Crowley’s. If I’m nitpicking, then I suppose one of my arguments against MacLaren’s holds up against it too. The bartenders and staff were not a big part of the show, so it is unclear what kind of relationship there is to be had on that front. But it hits the rest of my criteria and earns plenty of bonus points. Did I mention it has a slew of board games? Crowley’s is just about the perfect sitcom bar and a great example to use while searching for mine.

Paddy’s Pub – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

A good dive bar makes it easy to judge it by its cover.

A good dive bar makes it easy to judge it by its cover.

I love me a good dive bar and it does not get much more divey than Paddy’s. Our first sitcom bar where not only do we know the bartenders and staff, but they are the five main characters on the show. This combined with what is sure to be cheap beers, if they even remember to charge me at all, makes Paddy’s an ideal location. The great thing about dive bars is that you do not feel any pressure to dress up or make a good impression. People go to a dive to throw back some cheap beers and escape life for a little while. You can wear whatever you like and do whatever you like within the context of the law.

The problem is that not everybody can get on board with the dive bar experience. They need cleanliness and proper lighting while they’re drinking. Pretentious bastards. Plus I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a customer in Paddy’s besides Rickety Cricket. A good sitcom bar should feel slightly private and certainly provide an atmosphere that makes it easy to talk. But it should also sometimes have a lively, fun and young crowd to provide the opportunity to meet some new people. Preferably the attractive, intelligent, funny, and wild future Mrs. Demetrio. Sadly these reasons keep Paddy’s from being able to jump Crowley’s and take the Yellow Jersey as my lead, ideal example to follow for my quest.

But it does have live music…

Cheers – Cheers

Before the executive producers of My Boys start celebrating for creating my ideal sitcom bar, they need to check themselves and bow down to the king, Cheers. It may be the obvious and boring answer, but that doesn’t mean that it is the wrong one. Boring, obvious answers are almost always the right answer, we just do not like to admit it cause it is boring and obvious.

 

As a kid I used to sneak out of my room to watch re-runs of Cheers on TV Land. It played the entire series weeknights and I watched all 271 episodes in order. I took away two things, one it is the best sitcom ever made and two, Cheers (the bar) is the most magical place on Earth. The theme song says it all, “where everybody knows you’re name.” Those five simple words is all the criteria one needs when searching for their own sitcom bar. Besides that the bar actual has a lot of great features. It is below street level, which I already mentioned is a huge bonus. Cheers is very spacious and has a great lay out, a big square shaped bar in the middle that makes it easy to carry on conversations with anyone at the bar, and it’s own side game room to get super competitive with your friends while allowing you the comfort of not everyone in the bar seeing you throw a hissy fit after scratching on the 8-ball. Plus it is a place that allows you to do something as crazy as this…

It is just the perfect bar and the best example to use in my search for a sitcom bar. In the weeks to come I’ll be going out to various bars in LA to see how close they come to meeting my criteria, based on the things I like from all my favorite sitcom bars. I’ll share my findings and then you can help me choose what will finally become my sitcom bar. I look forward to sharing this quest with you and finally getting to the place where everybody knows my name.

Doug McDermott (aka Dougie McBuckets) is the Newest Chicago Bull. Let’s Party.

Excuse me for a second while I get excited about Chicago sports. I can’t blame you for closing this tab immediately if you could not care less.

This might sound crazy, but I want Lebron to go back to the Miami Heat. Or, at the very least, stay in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Why, you ask? Because I think this is the year my Chicago Bulls overthrow King James. And we won’t need to poison him King Joffrey-style either. We’ll do it the old-fashioned way. Battle.

One of the biggest reasons I feel this way? We just picked Creighton’s Doug McDermott – aka Dougie McBuckets, aka 2014’s Naismith Award winner, aka Little Larry Bird, aka the Un-Adam Morrison, aka the Iowa Sniper, aka White Man Can Kinda Jump, aka My Best Friend Doug.

Welcome to Chicago, Doug.

Welcome to Chicago, Doug.

Alright, I know McDermott might not be enough for the Bulls to reach the top of the NBA mountain, but I think this guy’s some game. Chicago’s basketball team sorely needs points and Dougie was NCAA’s leading scorer last year.

If Coach Thibodeau can teach Dougie how to play NBA-quality defense, we might have a complete player on our hands. If McDermott starts out hot in his first few games, Chi Town will fall in love with the kid from Ames, Iowa. Also, I’ve got this weird feeling that Joakim Noah is going to start calling Dougie “White Chocolate” because of his amazing HORSE skills.

Seriously, check out this video:

Or maybe Jo will just call Dougie “Peanuts.”

Perhaps the best, and most overlooked, aspect of this move by the Bulls is that we get to hear Stacey King (the beloved Bulls’ TV analyst) scream at the top of his lungs when McDermott sinks threes.

I can already hear Stacey now. “Dougie for the three from Ames, Iowa…. Oooooohhh, McBuckets, baby!”

Swish. That’s the sound I’m most excited to hear from a shooter off the bench. I’m pumped about this Bulls team returning to action more focused, healthier, and capable of sinking more baskets.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Carmelo Anthony. I’d like to think he’s not an asshole like Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron, but I don’t know that. I don’t know whether Derrick Rose will return to all-star form, but I’m not as negative as other Bulls fans. I don’t know what is going to happen with Nikola Mirotić, either.

But I know that I’m excited right now. And in the midst of a very long, frustrating baseball season for Chicagoans on both the North and South sides, sports excitement is a good thing.

Right Dougie?!

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Damn. Doug was so excited he made a million baskets at once.

Lost in the 90s

The 90s is the best decade in history. It brought us the Rugrats, Boy Meets World, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” Will Smith, “save the planet” Will Smith, boy bands, ska music, East Coast vs West Coast Rap battles, Biggie, Tupac, blow jobs in the Oval Office, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the NWO, and of course Michael Jordan and the one and only Chicago Bulls.

It was a fascinating decade where youthful revolt turned to apathy. Where we focused on enjoying life rather than trying to fix all its problems. Many great aspects of the 90s live on and the ripples can still be felt, but there are also many people, places, and events that never made it out of the 90s or at least never achieved the same success outside of that great decade. I want to take a look at those things that have been lost in the annals of history in our newest segment, “Lost in the 90s.”

Man am I super jealous of that kid for being in the presence of greatness.

Man am I super jealous of that kid for being in the presence of greatness.

First up, Tom Emanski. The brilliant baseball mind whose teachings helped produce baseball’s back-to-back-to-back AAU National Champions. Anyone from the 90s that watched ESPN remembers Emanki’s commercials for his VHS instructional videos on how to play the game of baseball the “right way.” Funny that right and white rhyme in this instance. Don’t you think? 

The greatest gift for an overbearing, delusional father whom wants to push his son as hard as humanly possible in order to live vicariously through him on his way to the Big Leagues in order to ignore the fact that he got cut from his JV High School team. These videos were a gold mine for Emanksi whom made millions off the sales. Kids of the 90s had to  suffer through these dry, boring videos to “learn the game” when all they wanted to do was go out and play something that was actually fun with their friends.

Emanski was a baseball lifer, despite growing up in the furthest thing from a baseball hot bed, New Jersey. This man had an undying love for fundamentals that carried over to all aspects of life. His wife never has to worry about having a good time on her birthday and anniversary. Emanski starting working as a MLB scout in the 70s before taking his incredible skills of observation to the instructional field in the 80s. However, it was a lesson in Orlando with a young 18 year old, aspiring ballplayer named Fred McGriff that took his career to new heights. fred_mcgriff

Larel and Hardy, Batman and Robin, Lewis and Martin, Regis and Kathy Lee, Jordan and Pippen, Sheen and “any pornstar willing to fuck for cocaine,” and Emanski and McGriff. These are the names in the Pantheon of great duos to ever grace God’s green earth. In 1991, when Emanski was preparing to launch his instructional video series, now known simply as “The Nine Commandments,” he knew he needed something or someone to make a splash. Enter Fred “the Crime Dog” McGriff, at the time the starting first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. Emanski called in a favor to the man he helped turn into an eventual Hall of Famer and of course McGriff said yes. He picked up the Crime Dog straight from Wrigley, after one of the team’s surprisingly low 83 losses, and they drove to a local high school field to make history. Naming the greatest commercial of all-time is a subjective manner, but anyone that has ever seen Emanski’s commercials would have a hard time saying any other is better.

After the success of the videos, Emanski was living the high life. The private jets, the limo rides, the parties, the women, it all came fast and easy for this 90s superstar. It unfortunately did not leave any time for Emanski to manage a baseball team himself, which would no doubt lead to him becoming the most successful of all-time. Then the 90s came to an end and his star inexplicably lost some shine. Everyone once in awhile someone references his name in passing, but never with the reverence it deserves. But really, I’m not sure if that is even possible. He may no longer get the recognition that he deserves, but for any child or father of the 90s, Tom Emanski will forever be the greatest baseball mind the world has ever known.

Seven Reasons High School and College Students Need a Summer Job

As I continue to take steps on my increasingly depressing journey to 26 years of age, I’m consistently reminded of the importance of all the part-time jobs I worked in past. Particularly, I’m talking about the ones I worked during the summer months as a high school teenager and early-20s collegiate moron.

While summer is the absolute best time for lounging by the pool, enjoying public parks, hitting local bars, and playing a round of golf, it’s also the most opportune time for kids to work as lifeguards, city handymen, bartenders, and golf course refreshment cart drivers.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great, and often crazy, experience.

Below, find seven reasons why every kid should work a summer job.

Learn the value of a hard-earned dollar. I learned why my parents weren’t willing to give me globs of cash. Hint: It wasn’t because they didn’t want to. It’s because they worked hard each and every day, and wanted me to learn what it feels like to have to work for what you get. While I will always hope to win the lottery, I will never have any misconceptions about how hard most people work to make a decent living.

Balance social life and real life. Though we’re obsessed with TV characters that are prone to excess, balance is a good thing to have in real life. Working a job in the summer when the weather is absolutely perfect and you want to be somewhere else teaches you that you can’t always be in that perfect somewhere else. Sometimes you’ve got to earn it. Besides, working a crappy summer job makes your time with friends that much more valuable. And guess what? After college, that fun time with all your friends is fewer and further in between. Get used to it.

You need to learn how to network at a young age. That’s not to say that your fellow pool lifeguard will help you land your dream job at 16, but you never know will people will end up. Make sure to get phone numbers and email addresses.

Summer love. It’s a thing, people. Working a shitty summer job is a great way to bond with a love interest. You can talk about how crappy your pay is, how much your boss sucks, and lambast the way-too-old-to-be-working-at-a-beach dude that gets under your skin. A summer romance is also a great way to learn one of the toughest things in life, too. Sometimes, great things have to end. That includes love.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

A little summer love in the film Adventureland.

Dealing with assholes. I have worked a job where I took 70+ calls a day at an auto warranty financing company, as a lifeguard who dealt with dickhead parents, and as a city worker with grumpy old coworkers. Learning how to deal with assholes is valuable. You will have to do it the rest of your life. It’s good to learn that simple fact at a fairly early age. It’s important to learn how to keep your cool in professional situations. And don’t forget, you’re only ever a few hours away from beers on the beach with friends.

Perspective and respect. Let’s be honest, a crappy summer job will most likely not be something you want to do with the rest of your life. However, what may seem like a meaningless, fleeting gig to you might be someone’s livelihood. It’s important not to look down on someone for making a living. Remember, you’re only as good as you treat people. Respect people who get up and go to work everyday, even if you hate their job.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There's nothing wrong with it.

Some people make a living do this kind of thing. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Learn what you want to do. Sometimes, learning what you do not want to do is the best way to get you focused on what you want out of this short life. Once you experience what it’s like to work a 10-hour day at a shitty job, you’ll understand why some people risk it all to make careers out of their passions.

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I’ve worked at summer jobs I’ve hated where I’ve met people I loved. I’ve fallen in love at a summer job. I fell out of love at a summer job. I learned how to work copy machines, conference lines, CPR, swimming, filling potholes, and so much more at summer jobs.

My summer jobs taught me humility, patience, and that what I really want to do is write for a living.

So print out your resume, put your sunblock on, and go pitch yourself and services to whoever is in charge of your local pool!