Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"Who's Now?" What's Next?

I'm taking a break from our usual all-Africa programming for a special, if unimportant, comment:

I cannot make it through more than thirty seconds of SportCenter's new segment "Who's Now?"

ESPN wastes enough time nowadays as it is with non-sports "entertainment," but tonight, as I'm wading through the hackneyed catchphrases of ESPN's on-air "talent" for my fifteen seconds of Twins' highlights, I was forced to watch Stuart "Bojangles" Scott and three stooges knock heads as they "debate" the merits of who's more now: Steve Nash or Serena Williams.

And how does one go about establishing who's now? You'd imagine some complex statistical metrics behind that one, right? Not quite. Here are some highlights from tonight's Nash/Williams "debate" before I had to turn the TV off: plentiful generalizations ("he's flashy on the floor!"); who's dating whom ("she's been seen with LeBron!"); and non-existent insight ("not a lot people know him off the court..."). And the point of these four men's twittering? To establish which athlete generates the most buzz (a poor excuse for a word) other words, ESPN presents: A popularity contest. And it's like a month long.

While Scott and cronies sat around in a sleek, dark blue studio discussing their picks, I couldn't help but imagine a more appropriate setting would be a Jr. High girl's bedroom, where these four supposed men could lay on their paisley bedspreads beneath posters of unicorns while circling faces in their yearbooks and giggling about who should ask Belulah Lamprey to homecoming.

O! ESPN, to what depths can you sink?

I suppose the only real competition for most asinine excuse for sports entertainment with "Who's Now" is that other ESPN show I caught last year where their football "analysts" spent, like, eight hours previewing imaginary playoff match-ups from a season yet-to-be played in August. That particular idea was so bereft of value I recall the on-air talent couldn't even hide their shame (or laughter) as they broke down a fictional Superbowl between the Patriots and the Seahawks. And to imagine people watched this! And to imagine who they could be!

I guess sports journalists weren't held in low enough regards already, now they will actually sniff athletes' jocks and vote on whose smells best.

In other words:

1 comment:

Brian said...

Thank you for reminding me why I don't watch Sportscenter anymore. Every so often I wonder if they've changed. But I see they continue to get worse.

ESPN's best virtue in the late 80s and early 90s was its irreverence, that it didn't take itself too seriously. Now, everyone there just comes across as trying too hard to be witty... and failing miserably.