Now I’m a broken man after the league’s decision to suspend Amare and Boris for Game Five, which just led to a three-point Spurs victory and a 3-2 series lead going back to San Antonio. I want to love the NBA because I love basketball, I love the history and love discussing the style and dichotomy between individualism and teamwork that exists in sport, but at this point, I can’t. It’s not about the Spurs, although I could write an entire thesis on why I can’t stand them, but it’s about how David Stern is attempting to strip the joy from a sport that thrives on emotion and the interaction between players. The sport doesn't require the wearing of helmets and no one has to move around on ice, but instead it is about free the participants for a perfect dance between ten great athletes. Still, in the aftermath of the recent ruling, it doesn’t take too long on the internet to find people pointing out all the flaws in the NBA or declaring it dead to them. (That first link, a Bill Simmons piece, is just spot-on. Fantastic read, really, if you have any interest in the NBA of why it fails)
The NBA isn’t a popular league to follow, yet I pore over boxscores, listen to podcasts and follow the trade rumors all season. I drag another one or two people into my den of postseason obsession every spring, trying to explain why that overpaid man not trying isn’t a big deal, or why nobody can hit a jumpshot. I buy a bit of merchandise here and there, and attend a game or two a season. I think the NBA Draft should be moved to the weekend so I can get all my friends together for a giant party, because it's that much fun.
Yet all of this effort – hope that an amazing influx of talent would lead to a NBA renaissance in the form of the 1980’s I wish I got to be around to watch and enjoy - is not paying off, and I’m tired trying. When people say they don’t like the NBA, I always reply “I totally understand why”. On that note, if the Suns don’t make it past the Spurs because of some stupid-ass rule and I’m stuck with a joyless San Antonio team mucking up another Finals, my reply will change when they point out they don’t follow professional basketball. I'll shake off the specter of many spring and summer evenings spent watching playoff basketball, remind myself of the last few days and agree with them that I don’t like it much, either.
Farewell Veronica Mars, I will miss you so. There’s still a chance that The CW brings it back as a midseason replacement, but I’d rather they not toy with my heart and just let Kristin Bell go on to being wonderful in something else while letting Rob Thomas run another great show that can't find an audience. Bell is already narrating the new show from The OC creator, and there’s little doubt she’ll get snatched up for a series of awesome roles in television and movies. If you want to know why it failed, here’s a specific look at VM going to college and one at why TV shows set in college just don’t work, which I thought was pretty interesting.
All in all, this is not a bad television offseason for me. Veronica goes down, but I can’t blame my initial-sake network considering the ratings were continually terrible and this season was sort of all over the place, yet still fluttering between “good” and “great”. We still got renewals for Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother (how that was on the bubble is beyond me), so again, a pretty good percentage of shows I wanted to return coming back.
Thought Pirates 2 was confusing? Great, because apparently the third one isn’t a whole lot better in that regard. With Spiderman 3 being a trainwreck and both my interest and the reviews for Shrek the Third being lukewarm at best, I need a good blockbuster to get this summer started. Thankfully, if Pirates 3 is a failure, I’ll still have Knocked Up and Ocean’s Thirteen opening on the subsequent weekends. One must love summer movie season, where hope springs up again every Friday.
Do you know what’s always sad, no matter how terrible the season was or how loathsome the cast members were? The season finale of Real World where everybody gets picked up one or two at a time, the house emptying and one person left to reflect on everything that had happened over the last few seasons. I really enjoyed the Denver season, although for different reasons entirely than why I loved Key West. I’ll look forward to the reunion show next week, although I’m sure it can’t top the awkwardness of Austin’s.
The other stalwart of MTV reality programming, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, has been its usual excellent self the last two weeks. Somebody actually put some thought into the challenges this season as opposed to “Hey, let’s just shake some ropes and see what happens”, and the Infernos have been pretty interesting. I still don’t know how Tyree ended up on the “Bad Asses” team other than racial/size profiling, but it wouldn’t have been fair with him and The Greatest Athlete on the Face of This Earth, Alton, on the same team. With the networks unloading slop like National Bingo Night, I'm glad we still have MTV to keep things interesting in the summer months.