There is no mystery behind the fact that I like a good show on TV. The evidence lies within the daily conversations I have and when people say “Hey, did you see ____ on Netflix?”
Sadly, yes. The answer is always yes. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Love, Longmire. . .the list can go on forever. Oh, is it a new special from some random comedian? Yeah, I probably have it on my nightly rotation slowly putting me to sleep like a lullaby.
I honestly have to set my TV timer to shut off or else I wake up at 3AM to the glare of my TV screen showing some AppleTv slideshow of tigers and waterfalls.
I do the same with HBOGO with special thanks to my parents DirecTV account. But before you get all high and mighty that I’m 36 years old and stealing HBO from them understand two things. First, if they tried to use it on the farm it would take 36 hours to download the opening directory of movies. Second, I feel like because of it I can be their HBO concierge telling them what new shows they should check out. I had them watching Game of Thrones which they apparently liked but stopped watching because I wasn’t around to give them the back story on what the hell was actually happening. Sadly, I was probably only 30 percent correct, but it made for a fun Sunday night.
Because of that I can engage in any conversation about most of the series to ever be on HBO. The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Ballers, Board to Death, Vinyl, Eastdown and Down, Deadwood, Hung, The Leftovers, Lucky Louie and True Detective have all been seen start to finish. And before I get yelled at about not watching The Sopranos, chill out, I’m working on it.
So for the last few months the old sports journalist in me has been tracking Bill Simmons and his move from ESPN to HBO. There was a lot of work from Simmons I liked over the years but I was pretty indifferent on him having a show.
The last thing I wanted to see was another talking head sports show. If you regularly watch ESPN you know what I’m talking about and if you truly enjoy First Take or any of those shows we might not be able to be friends anymore.
“Any Given Wednesday” premiered a few weeks ago and it certainly wasn’t going to be appointment viewing for me. I saw a few blogs about the first episode and I watched that awkward trailer where Simmons tries to channel Kevin Costner in Bull Durham.
All the hype and promotion for this show had me ready to put it into my “skip” file and never watch it.
Fortunately for Simmons and the seven people who actually read my blog I didn’t. But in the spirit of true transparency I only watched this show yesterday because I finished the latest season of “Orange is the New Black” and needed something to occupy my mind for 30 minutes while I thought about what a total train wreck that show has become.
I went straight to episode two with Marc Cuban and Malcom Gladwell as the guests with the mindset of “well, it can’t be any worse than what I just watched.”
First, the bad about the show. Something is awkward about the opening. It seems hollow. There is no crowd laughter and Simmons almost holds his head as though he’s waiting for a stage light to come crashing down on his skull. That part needs to get better.
But the rest of the show I’m almost ashamed to say, I really liked. All of the reviews and social media has been telling me for months that this show was going to be terrible. That it was just another stop in the road for Simmons and we shouldn’t pay attention to him anymore. The initial reviews were pretty negative.
Well, they were wrong.
The interviews, interactions and information on the show are really good. Simmons is funny, thoughtful and not afraid to drop a few “F” bombs which is typically a barometer for if I’m going to like a show or not.
When Jon Stewart hosted “The Daily Show” it was typically nightly viewing for me. John Oliver has hooked me on “Last Week Tonight” and now Simmons has done the same with his new show.
I like sports, I like humor and I like swearing. It’s a pretty simple code to crack if you want me to like something. It’s probably why I’ve memorized the entire script of “Major League” and if there was ever a Broadway production of the show I’d grow a mustache and audition for the part of Lou Brown.
“Any Given Wednesday” is only two shows into its first season and I’ve seen both episodes OnDemand. But in the coming weeks I’ll be making it a point to see the show as soon as it comes out or whenever I have time.
If anything check out the second episode with Cuban and Gladwell talking about sports franchise ownership and HGH.
I wasn’t suppose to like this show but I do. Maybe you won’t? It’s not for everyone and I probably wouldn’t sit down with a family of three young kids to watch it. But it’s certainly worth a shot and if anything it’s only a half hour out of your life to check out and form your own opinion.