Dude Tube: Going for ‘Broke’
ESPN catches a lot of hell nowadays.
When you proclaim yourself “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”, you’re going to get hit with more than a few slings and arrows. Some of it is deserved. Some of it’s just piling on. But regardless of how you feel about Bristol behemoth, no one of any sense or sensibility can doubt the untarnished brilliance of the “30 for 30” movie series.
Originally designed as a slate of 30 movies to celebrate ESPN’s 30th anniversary in 2009, the series has gone way past its original quota of films, yet they’ve all been compelling in their own way – whether it discussed Michigan’s “Fab Five” basketball phenomenon, the friendship between Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur or the creation of fantasy baseball.
The latest in the series, Broke, details the lives of professional athletes whose focused competitiveness led to their own personal destruction. It’s a topic that most of us lunch pail types have a hard time understanding but are curiously rapt about. Just ask Vince Young.
It’s the kickoff to the “30 for 30”, Volume II set of movies. This group will include “9.79”, about disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and “You Don’t Know Bo”, chronicling Bo Jackson and his nearly legendary athletic feats at the highest level. Even if you’re not a sports fan, every “30 for 30” movie tells a fantastic story.
Sports are the ultimate reality show. Consider this the reunion show. The Worldwide Leader catches a lot of hell. Thank them for dishing out this slice of documentary heaven.
This week’s Dude Tube Picks to Click
MLB Playoffs – Begins Friday, 6 p.m. ET, TBS
Forget what you’re going to read about the ratings or the constant reminders of how the NFL is America’s new pastime – playoffs are fun, no matter the league. After a 162-game marathon, the MLB postseason is the most exclusive tournament off all the major pro sports. Flat out, there’s something special about what happens in October. Play ball!
Parking Wars/Billy the Exterminator (season premieres) – Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m., A&E
The assembly line of television success mandates that once you find a working formula, you apply it in as many slightly different, yet totally the same, premises. Which is why we were once careening down the path toward Law and Order: Petty Theft. It’s also why Parking Wars and Billy the Exterminator are starting their seventh and sixth seasons, respectively. Sure, it’s derivative, but it’s a good way to help you forget for a couple of hours that your college football team got its doors kicked in.
It’s the History Channel, so it won’t be quite the “behind-the-scenes” look one might get in, say, Playboy, but how do you say no to watching beautiful women? At heart, it’s a two-hour look into one of the truly culture-redefining individuals and institutions of the 20th century. But you should watch it for the articles.
America’s Funniest Home Videos – Sunday, 7 p.m., ABC
You’d think shots to the crotch and unsuspecting wedding participants falling on their duffs only have so much of a shelf life. Although I guess one could say that without AFHV we might have been that much further away from having YouTube – if one were to be completely socially metaphysical about the whole affair. Me? I had no idea they were still producing new episodes, assuming it only lived on in WGN America reruns. 23 seasons?!? I put this on the list just to marvel at its inexplicable longevity.