AFC / NFC Championship Picks

January 22, 2010

As January winds down we are faced with three jarring realizations:  1)  Football season is almost over; 2)  Thursday nights will not longer be spent with our favorite Italian-Americans on MTV’s Jersey Shore; and 3)  Conan O’Brien will host his final “Tonight Show” this evening.  How are we going to adjust?  Is there going to be a new cast for a second season on Jersey Shore?  How similar are Jay Leno and Brett Favre?  Before we get to the picks let’s touch on the two television shows that have become must see TV over these last few weeks.

First we head to Seaside, New Jersey where Sammie “Sweetheart”, Ronnie, Pauly D, Vinnie, Snooki, J-WOWWW and The Situation all fist pumped at Karma for the last time yesterday in primetime.  We’ve talked “Jersey Shore” a few times here, starting with the now infamous premiere where America was treated to a hilarious 2 hours of quotes and madness.  Then back in December we heard from the Situation as his star was rising. Then the magnificent 7  finished off the year making the rounds on late night and ringing in 2010 as MTV’s cohosts in Times Square.  Its hard to imagine that a show with a two month lifespan could have led to countless news stories and club appearances that will end up making these kids a lot of money.  Say what you want about MTV’s shallowness but I am going to miss these guys; the reunion show was not enough.  My new hope is that Ronnie and The Situation will be plugged for a Real World/Road Rules challenge, though MTV could cause the apocalypse if those two cross paths with the idiots on RW/RR Challenge.  It would be wildly entertaining to see The Situation talk about his abs to less famous Real World castmembers just to see what kind of blank looks he could draw.  Plus there’s no where to tan and do your laundry on those islands so it may not have a chance to get off the ground.  In case you need to see more, Amazon is already taking preorders for the Uncensored Jersey Shore DVD. Just one burning questions from the finale remains: How does The Situation own a Range Rover?  He drives off in one at the end and remember this is before he’s “famous”.  He must be some kind of gym rat/personal trainer so how does he pull down enough to drive that car?  Somebody answer me.

Moving over to network television where Conan O’Brien will host the “Tonight Show” for the final time this evening.  While Conan was stripped of one of the most successful and marquee television franchises in American history he is walking away with 45 Million and is free to go elsewhere.  Wherever Conan ends up I hope his first guest is Aaron Rodgers so they could have the following conversation:

Conan: So Aaron it had to be kind of strange when you assumed that you would be starting for the Packers after Brett Favre announced his retirement then you were unfairly thrown in the middle of a sh*tstorm created by Favre and management.  What was that like?

Rodgers: Well, Conan, I’m guessing we have a lot in common that way.  Didn’t Leno announce his retirement and hand over the reins to the “Tonight Show” to you only to pull a 180 a few months later with NBC getting involved?

Conan: Absolutely, only the management I worked for made me look bad and took shots at me while bending over to appease Leno.

Rodgers: Oh so they were kind of like Brad Childress when Brett ending up on the Vikings as far as the bending over and appeasing part goes?

Conan: Yes that is basically how it went.  Leno was my Favre only I didn’t have Ted Thompson to stick up for me and move forward.  Instead I was stuck with yes men who would have done anything for ratings at that point but they had completely isolated their younger deomographic by doing this and screwed themselves even further.

Brad Childress is flirting with becoming NBC, sacrificing the future to take a shot for immediate glory.  If Favre fails him this weekend the Vikings and NBC have the same problem on their hands.  They’ve built their hopes of success around one older guy but if either fails they are in the same spot as they were before creating this mess but with no one ready to take over and succeed when he goes away.

Winners in bold.

McGinn:

New York Jets at Indianapolis
Minnesota at New Orleans

Last Week: 1-3
Playoffs Overall: 3-5

Hugh:

New York Jets at Indianapolis
Minnesota at New Orleans

Last Week: 2-2
Playoffs Overall:
4-4

Hugh’s Picks vs the Spread: Jets (+7.5), Saints (-3.5)

Last Week: 0-4
Overall: 2-6




Playoffs Picks, Links and Late Night Television

January 15, 2010

With just seven games left (not including the Pro Bowl) in the NFL season, we’re all starting to prepare for life without football for the foreseeable future.  Luckily this week had so much going on that America was saved from a 6 day news cycle about how Brett Favre is playing in what could be his final game.  McGinn and I covered everything from our playoff picks to the coaching swaps to the late night TV wars to Gilbert Arenas and ended up talking about Scottie Pippen getting blindsided by little people on this week’s podcast and you have to admit…that’s a hell of a slate!  Because it was so wide in scope I wanted to try something new this week and use the Friday blurb before the NFL Picks as footnotes to what we talked about.  So the following are links that I enjoyed over the last few days that touch upon something we mentioned in the podcast that may enhance your listening experience.  So kick back, put on the podcast and click away.

*Author’s Note: The links are all underlined*

Link one is an article that you’ll need ESPN Insider to check out but it helps put Kurt Warner’s playoff brilliance into perspective.  McGinn and I chat briefly about how he went from being the ultimate “maybe” hall of famer to a sure thing over the last calendar year.  Here Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders compares Warner’s playoff numbers to those of Tom Brady.  If you don’t read that article and think that Kurt will end up in Canton one day I don’t know what to tell you.

Two of NBC's biggest stars took the gloves off and threw some punches at each other this week

Our conversation eventually steered us to the late night shakeup over at NBC.  I think what Conan has been doing since he released his genius statement on Tuesday has just reinforced the love his most devoted followers have for him.  He has spent the first 10 minutes of every night just ripping NBC to shreds all with that same Conanlike self-deprication that gives all of us the appreciation we have for him.  He’s been a smart and hilarious risk taker that has turned his monologues into must see television and by doing so proves that NBC is making the wrong choice.  Jay Leno has tried to do the same but it comes off as stale and smug.   NBC is booting a comedian that resonates with people who are about to enter their nightly news/first 10 minutes of the “Tonight Show ”  viewing prime and replacing him with a guy who’s lost his fastball and his biggest Neilsen ratings will be drawn from a 50+ audience that will slowly dwindle over time.  When you take a step back and think about it, NBC couldn’t have possibly messed this up more.  They moved the #1 late night host to 10 PM and oversaturated their lineup so by the time Conan came on people were ready to change the channel or go to sleep.  Then they screw Conan and piss off  his entire 18-35 demographic that they are going to need for advertisers in favor of Leno, whose audience is done deciding what products they want to buy at this point.  The all around incompetence is astonishing and now it’s clear why this is a last place network.

My favorite monologe so far came from Conan the day he released his statement where he takes the gloves off and works NBC like a speedbag.  Here is a link to the full episode and his first 10 minutes are truly outstanding.  While Conan has been crushing it every night his competitors have joined in on the fun too: this past Tuesday Jimmy Kimmel came out dressed as the big chinned guy everyone’s been talking about recently.  Then just last night Leno put Kimmel on his 10 PM show (an added slap in the face to Conan by booking a competitor of his) and Kimmel just trashed him right to his face.  Finally David Letterman, the true King of Late Night, who was also once involved in an NBC screwjob, chimed in with some shots at Leno and NBC as he explained the situation.

We now shift gears back to the NBA and touch on Gilbert Arenas’ stupidity.  I enjoyed PTI Cohost Michael Wilbon’s take on it from the Washington Post this week.  Mr. Wilbon lives in DC so not only do we get the take from one of the best national NBA guys in the media, but we also get some of the local flavor as well.

To cap off the first podcast of the decade McGinn explains how there is an internet clip of Scottie Pippen getting beat up by little people.  He drops an f- bomb so be sure to keep the volumes down at work but really…one of the best 50 basketball players in history is blindsided and attacked by little people–don’t you just love the internet?

Just one more before we get to the picks; call it a bonus link, I present to you the top 100 fail clips from 2009.  It’s like watching a more violent and faster paced America’s Funniest Home Videos only Bob Saget isn’t involved.

Onto the picks, winners in bold.

McGinn:

Arizona at New Orleans
Baltimore at Indianapolis
Dallas at Minnesota
New York Jets at San Diego

Last Week: 2-2
Playoffs: 2-2

Hugh:

Arizona at New Orleans
Baltimore at Indianapolis
Dallas at Minnesota
New York Jets at San Diego

Last Week: 2-2
Playoffs: 2-2

Hugh’s Pick vs the Spread: Cardinals (+7), Ravens (+7), Cowboys (+2.5), Chargers (-7)

Last Week: 2-2
Playoffs: 2-2


Good Times at the ‘Jersey Shore’

December 8, 2009

8 of the least self aware people on the planet

Many of you may have witnessed what will prove to be a seminal moment in reality television last week when MTV rolled out its newest “reality” show and brought eight of the world’s least self aware people together for a summer in a house on the Jersey Shore.  MTV has long cashed in on the “reality” genre and continues to up the ante as we move into the 21st century.  The first show that put the MTV reality scene on the map was “The Real World.”  The Real World’s initial premise was to bring 7 strangers together into a house to create a melting pot of different people, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations and ethnicities and roll the cameras on what would ensue.  The long slow decline from MTV using its power and reach to try and send a cultural message to just casting the most ignorant, selfish and short tempered housemates has now led us to the Jersey Shore.  This is a show in which MTV is literally saying to the viewer: “Look, we know these people are ridiculous, but hey…they make great television and frankly if we were to tell you that we were going to put 8 of the biggest idiots in America together for an entire summer and film them there’s no way you wouldn’t at least check it out.”  Touche MTV, and you got me.

I want to clarify that I am only watching this show to see the levels of idiocy, arrogance and ignorance to which these people are willing to sink and the debut did not disappoint.  In case you haven’t hopped on board I have decided to present you with quotes from the 2 hour premiere in chronological order.  The following is not made up–these are actual things uttered by Angelina, Jenni aka “J-WOWW”, Mike aka “The Situation”, Nicole aka “Snooki”, DJ Pauly D, Ronnie, Sammi “Sweetheart,” and Vinny.  You couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.

*Author’s note: ESPN Superpower Bill Simmons breaks down many of these gems in his Monday podcast*

DJ Pauly D: “Guidos..when we stop, our chrome keeps spinning”

DJ Pauly D: “I was born a guido…its a lifestyle: family, friends, tanning, gel…everything.  I got a f*ckin tanning bed in my place, that’s how serious I am about being a Guido and living up to that lifestyle”

DJ Pauly D: “It takes me about 25 minutes to do my hair…it comes out perfect every single time”

Nicole (Snooki): “My ultimate dream is to move to Jersey, find a nice, juiced, hot, tan guy and live my life”

Mike (The Situation): Lifting up his shirt “This is the situation right here, my abs are so ripped up…its called the situation”

Quick note: my friend Mark points out about The Situation: “One kid (the Situation) refers to himself both in the third person by his real name and in the third person by a nickname.  Dare I say MTV found Rickey [Henderson’s] only rival?” Even Rickey wasn’t this vain; I wonder if he ever swung through Seaside, NJ in his stint with the Newark Bears though.

The Situation: “I check out the mirror and go “whhhooo…today is going to be a good day”

The Situation: “You can hate on me all you want to but what can you possibly say to someone who looks like Rambo with his shirt off”

The Situation: “If I walked in the door and saw myself…I’d probably grab my girl real quick”

Sammie Sweetheart: “I would never go out without my hair extensions”

Vinny: “I went to school, graduated college, and that doesn’t shy away from saying I don’t have fun at night you know what I mean?  I party and fist pump like the best of them”

Jenni (J-WOWW): “If you don’t know me, then you hate me and wish you were me”

J-WOWW: “I have so many girls that hate on me because whatever they are they can’t compare to me”

Ronnie: “The whole thing about this is getting laid, you just take your shirt off and they come to you”

Ronnie: “I got three words: Beers, P—-, and beach, that’s all you need to know about the Jersey Shore”

Angelina: “Look at this sh*t, I mean come on…I’m hot”

Just so you all know, these quotes which could literally fill up an entire season’s nonsense quota happened within the first 7 minutes of this show while we were being introduced to these 8 Rhodes Scholars.  Now back to the fun.

The Situation: “Cause once I arrive its just like wassup I’m here and everybody’s gonna be like “Oh Shoot that’s the Situation right there!” Yes sir it is”

DJ Pauly D: “I walk in, meet the first guy (the Situation) and right off the bat we click…we decide that we’re gonna bunk together and then what we’re thinkin’…we can bunk with a chick, that’d be kinda cool”

Ronnie: Looking around the house “Honestly bro it doesn’t get any better then this unless we had a stripper pole right in the middle of the room”

After the roommates exchange pleasantries and begin drinking their landlord/boss walks in an explains that they’ll be working in a Jersey Shore tshirt store.  To which DJ Pauly D reacts: “I hope its not hard work because I don’t even wanna work because I’m a f*ckin’ DJ”

Snooki: Incoherent drunken babbling

Angelina (in response to Snooki’s hopping in the hot tub in her skivvies): “How do you go in a f*ckin jacuzzi with a thong and a bra?  Wear a thong bikini that’s a little bit more classier if your gonna wear anything at all…you know what I mean?”

DJ Pauly D in response to finding out J-WOWW has a boyfriend: “Are you kidding me, you’ve got hot guys in this house…I’ll help you forget about your boyfriend”

After blacking out, stripping down to her underwear and jumping into the hot tub and yakking her brains out before showing up late to work, Snooki: “I’m honestly like the sweetest girl, I get along with everybody, you know…I just want to have fun”

The Situation: “I mean this situation’s gonna be indescribable…you can’t even describe the situation that you’re about to get into the situation”

Angelina: “Maybe bring some respectable girls with class into this house, not trash!” (…the irony scale just exploded.)

Angelina: “I feel like this job (working at a Jersey Shore tshirt store) is beneath me…I’m a bartender, I do great things”

Snooki: “I love the Jersey Shore, I love being a guidette but no one can like understand how I’m feeling right now and I can’t handle it to be honest”

The Situation: “Everybody loves me you know, babies, dogs, hot girls…cougars”

Vinny: “I wake up this morning and I notice that my eye is a little bit puffy…holy sh*t I got pink eye”

The Situation: “Me and Sam (Sammi Sweetheart) were vibin’…it’s not a matter of if she wants to hook up with me it’s a matter of when I decide”

DJ Pauly D: “You can’t fight in a club, you shouldn’t fight anyone but don’t let the spiked hair fool you…like I’m not a b*tch”

The Situation: “As far as I know everybody loves the Situation..and if you don’t love the Situation, I’m gonna make you love the Situation”

Heated drunken exchange between The Situation and Angelina:
Angelina: “Every f*ckin girl you bring home is a zero”
The Situation: “Yea, yea…so I guess you’re a f*ckin’ negative 3”
Angelina: “Ha Ha…look at me, I’m all f*ckin’ all natural and I’m hot”
The Situation: “Lose f*ckin’ 5 or 10 pounds and we can talk, okay?”
Angelina: “Yo…I will cut your hair while you’re sleeping”

That exchange seems like a good jumping off point.  The previews of the upcoming season included a quick shot of Snooki getting punched square in the face by a dude.  Seriously…check it out.  The Jersey Shore has no ceiling as to where it can go; consider it the Lebron James of reality shows.  All I know is I will be there to enjoy the ride.  Hopefully these quotes have encouraged you to buy tickets for the bandwagon.  For the first time in the history of a television show I can honestly say nothing that may transpire over this season will surprise me.  We could very well have all 8 of these people sleeping with each other by season’s end–perhaps a capital crime will be committed or several misdemeanors will go down or maybe these 8 idiots will just show America the true joy they get from spending the summer at the Jersey Shore.  The fun continues this Thursday night.