Why do we watch Hard Knocks? Sure, if it is your team, you’re watching, but HBO has never covered my team. Actually, once they covered a team that I hate, and even if I don’t hate that season’s team, I certainly don’t care. For example, the Dolphins this year. I’ll get into more of their boringness later, but I could care less about the Dolphins. Last year, there was no Hard Knocks because of the lockout, so the most recent installment before this year would have been the Jets in 2010. They were interesting for certain, but not anywhere near the circus they are now. We don’t care about these teams (at least most of us), but we watch. And it’s definitely not just me, as HBO wouldn’t keep making the show if it wasn’t killing in the ratings.
My other conundrum would be, why do these teams let us in? If the Dolphins hadn’t done the show this year, nobody would be talking about them. Ever. Some would say you want that publicity. However, after watching this incarnation of Hard Knocks the only publicity the Dolphins are getting (and rightfully so) is wow, they are going to be bad. Like really, really bad.
Let’s assess. Their receivers are awful. Nobody really knows who they are, and the only one who people did know – Chad Johnson, formerly Chad Ocho “kiss the baby” cinco – head-butted his wife so they had to cut him. Which, by the way, was absolutely the right thing to do. Their running back makes more headlines in the tabloids than on the field, although Reggie Bush claims that he will “lead the league in rushing.” Right Reggie; and I’ll get my wish of having a toilet made out of solid gold. Their defense traded away its best player because he’s a dipshit and forgot to come into training camp in shape. And….the quarterback. Mike Sherman (Miami’s offensive coordinator) was Ryan Tannehill’s coach in college, which is not a coincidence. Somehow the other coaches also “fell in love” with the quarterback who for the most part was a receiver in college and who doesn’t know who plays where in the NFL. Maybe that doesn’t exactly translate to failure on the field, but it is not a good sign. Tannehill said “I wasn’t a big NFL fan growing up.” Guess what dude, you’re a top 10 pick, if you’re acting dumb now would be the time to stop. Furthermore, the rest of how he comes off on the show makes his HOT new wife seem like more of a babysitter than a significant other.
Ok, so that’s out of the way. The Dolphins are going to suck. But, like I said, it doesn’t really matter to me. If they suck, if they’re great, if they’re alright but basically average. It’s all gravy. I don’t hate them, I don’t care for them. But I watch, and I get excited to watch. Why? We love football. Football has become as American as anything else we have. Hard Knocks is there to tell us that our gladiators are also normal people. I really enjoy getting some of the back stories, which is definitely what humanizes these players the most. They have families just like us, and they experience off-the-field problems just like us. We also watch because we get to see things with the coaching staff, their meetings, inside the locker rooms, and other general day-to-day operations that we would never have any idea about if the cameras weren’t there. In some ways I think we extrapolate the things we see and apply them to our own team. We say, oh, this is how this works, and this is how that works. Does my team do the same? Do they do it better? Worse? So, I guess in a way even though we may not care about the teams that are on Hard Knocks everything reverts back to our basic instincts.
Like I said, we love football. And as the show comes on concurrent with training camps, perhaps it makes us that much more excited. Count me as one of those knuckleheads who can’t get enough of it. The Dolphins may suck this year, but I’ll say thanks for making me want to yell, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
PS - Why else do we watch Hard Knocks? Because Liev Schreiber’s voice is like butter.
Well, figuratively AND literally in the world we’re talking about. The insanity that is True Blood returns for a 5th season this Sunday, June 10th. For the last few weeks I’ve been: recapping season 3 with YouTube clips, watching season 4 in its entirety online, and previewing season 5 over and over again. I’m all in, and have been since the start of season 2. To be honest, when I started getting in to the show back in the summer of 2009, I had NO idea what I was watching. It went a little like this: “What the fuck?!”…“Oh, ok”…“This show is awesome!” The show in and of itself has become something of a societal phenomenon, with ratings through the roof (although ratings aren’t vitally important on a pay-for-viewing setup like HBO) and cultural one-liners everywhere. Sookie! Vampires! Lousiana!
So what will this season bring? Any other answer than “who knows?” would seem naïve. Each season brings something new into the fold. Werewolves and Witches. New characters with supernatural powers we didn’t even know existed in the world of fantasy. Different nuances of the vampire sector. What I love about the show is how it manages to corral the insanity. There is so much going on at any given moment, with the things that are going on being seemingly ridiculous, but we remain engaged. Why? Well, each hour of True Blood is a roller-coaster ride that leaves you in the mindset of “Can’t wait til next week!” It’s also really funny. It can sometimes be overt, sometimes subtle, but overall the humor is underrated. And whether it’s exciting, dramatic, or funny, each episode is always wildly entertaining. And each season is something during the summer I’m always looking forward to.
So you should watch. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late. To catch up on 4 seasons seems tough, but whether it’s online, Netflix, or whatever, it’s an addicting process. Set a few days aside and do work. I promise that you won’t regret it. However, also be careful who you watch it with. It’s sexual. It’s violent. I’d like to tell my parents in the nicest way possible that I NEVER PLAN TO WATCH THIS WITH YOU AGAIN. It was awkward. It gets away with things that only HBO could think of.
So it is back. Sunday. Let’s do this. I’ll plan on writing a longer piece sometime during the season, but for now – The wait is over!