Tag Archives: HBO

THREE FOR BART: HBO, Boyle, Stanimal

  1. HBO Producer Reveals the Crazy Story of When Bob Dylan Tried to Make a TV Show – Yes. I read the insiders look at Saturday Night Live,  Live From New York. It was hundreds of pages filled with quips like this. Getting behind the scenes is always so exciting. It’s why the 30 for 30 series has been so fantastic. It’s why I’m so excited for the basketball version of The Drive.
  2. Q&A Part I: CU Coach Tad Boyle has fond memories of high school days and coaching in Greeley This is perhaps one of the most unique interview I’ve ever seen. It’s by no means groundbreaking and Boyle plays things pretty well buttoned up. That’s far – eons – from the point. This is Boyle’s hometown paper Q&A’ing him up and the guy being pretty candid, or at least open, about the whole thing. In a word: adorable.
  3. Stanley Johnson’s special skill set – You guys, I’m an Arizona fan. Shocker, right? And this article is intended to excite me and finger point because the dude talks about staring down and calling out LeBron. He’s got “exquisite swag” and he’s tossing the most svelte collegian I’ve seen (Kaleb Tarczewski is all of the Guile sonicboom that Medcalf doesn’t describe him to be). He is the Stanimal. But this article most closely highlights what Sean Miller recently highlighted in a recent, spicy, press conference. He called his team out for lacking leadership and holding personal agendas. Quiet practices, Miller noted, were a reason his team would struggle early on. This is a great article about a great player. It also just might afford us a glimpse into what Sean Miller was talking about.

Just in Case: The Leftovers and Your Role

If you didn’t watch HBO’s The Leftovers, it’s hard to say if you really missed out on anything. It’s a show about I-don’t-know-what, during which everything and nothing happens. It’s dark, captivating and confusing. I kinda hated it. I watched every episode.

The show centers on the aftermath of the disappearance, immediate and sudden, of 2% of the world’s population. In one moment, theygone. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters disappeared and everyone else was left to cope with the “Sudden Departure.”

This Sudden Departure happened on October 14th.

Tomorrow is October 14th.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

So if I disappear, if the Sudden Departure consumes me and you’re left to fend for your Pac-selves this season, here’s everything I need you to do this season. Naturally, there are twelve of them.

  1. Creatively and non-sophomorically discover a way to hilariously reference Wayne Tinkle – We can be better than the obvious. And don’t do something weird on Photoshop. That would be uncomfortable for everyone.
  2. Discover a player who’s changed his game and his torching the universe – Jordan Adams was a mid-range god as a freshmen and then took it to a new level – and location – as a sophomore. You’re well versed on how I appreciate getting to the rim and Jordan did exactly that. My excitement got ESPN linkage.
  3. The teams. The teams are going to different things than they used to. Watch that – This is a really, really vague point so I’ll just go ahead and note a few key things y’all should monitor: UCLA’s offense and how it operates without Kyle Anderson feeding Wear family jumpers and Jordan Adams layups or perhaps pivots to a more traditional Alford style; Andy Enfield’s offense and if it can actually become a dunk city; Arizona’s defense and rebounding which carried them at times last season might not project to be as good this season; is Cuonzo Martin that good of a defensive coach; presumably Johnny Dawkins has developed Stefan Nastic, Chasson Randle, and Anthony Brown as far as he can (seniors) how will the undeveloped assets (projected to be good) fill into a system of inconsistency?
  4. Feed whomever is running the Pac-12’s social channels the best questions for Media Day – Because then famous people will love you:

  5. Think of me in Indy – You can’t look at me on the eve of my possible-if-not-impending-Sudden-Departure and tell me my ‘Cats aren’t going. Not only would that be heartless, it’d be silly.
  6. Don’t lurk on Andy Enfield’s beholden – After a while it gets weird.
  7. Love Askia Booker (and other senior guards) – Last year I wrote about it here, here, and here. Oh, here as well. Four articles, one player. And now he’s a senior guard on a team with moderate-to-high expectations that almost entirely rest on what kind of season he’s going to have. A senior guard. I don’t make the stories, I just tell them. Trust me when I say Askia Booker is a story. And I’m not crazy enough to think you’ll love him just because I ask you to. I’ve met enough strangers on Tinder to know you can’t request love. So maybe there’s a senior guard on your squad to adore. Cherish that. Whether it’s DaVonte, Chasson, TJ, or even – hell – Jonathan Gilling, love your seniors.
  8. Go to HecEd, in Red, for me – As of now I’m going to Seattle for that February 13th tilt. Anyone need a Valentines? Of course this is all for naught should I disappear tomorrow. Nevertheless, the plan is for me to make my inaugural appearance and perhaps – if allowed – an inaugural address to the audience. I highly doubt the latter becomes reality, but if it did, that would be awesome. A whole slew of Wildcats will be coming so it’ll be fun. Let’s have fun. And if I’m not there, you guys have fun. And if it’s not HecEd and it’s not Red that you’re willing to do, travel to one opposing arena. Make a weekend of it. We’re lucky to have teams in some of the best cities this country has to offer.
  9. Unabashedly share your excitement for a yet-to-be-determined moment in the season with a completely unassuming person – Preferably this would be a co-worker. I’ve subjected countless co-workers who don’t know Sean Miller from Dennis Miller but you know what? They love my enthusiasm and that unsuspecting co-worker will no doubt love yours. And if I may recommend an execution method, I suggest you say it as swiftly as you can. Catch them off guard and go for the massive knowledge drop. They won’t know what hit them and you’ll probably come out of it looking either insane, passionate, or some combination thereof.
  10. Don’t push the Daddy Ball agenda – In a general theme of fandom, you’re better than this. We’re all better than this. Not only did LaVine’s numbers significantly decline throughout the season, Bryce is legit and the Bruins went to the Sweet Sixteen which was pretty much their ceiling anyways. Does Steve have some biases for his own kid? Probably. Did it cost him in PG recruiting? Another maybe. But he has an All-Freshman point guard returning and the most familial thing about that is talent.
  11. Recognize the shining moments – It’s a great big long season that culminates in a heart ripping and beautiful dance. But get wrapped up in the hope. Notice the process from November to March. The nuance of mid-range jumper, the progress of a sophomore, the stones of a senior. They’re moments, brief and shining, but when you look hard enough, there can be so many of them.
  12. By the way, full credit to UCLA –

The Newsroom Finale, so all Pac-12 Teams as Characters

**Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched The Newsroom finale I do give it all away

Was that the cleanest damn Season Finale ever? We were walked right up to the cliff and then introduced to the bridge for a safe, undiscussed off-season. Everyone loves everybody and Dantana isn’t getting a penny. There are no further storylines to explore unless someone finally makes a play at TessMelvin Udall thinks it was clean. Tide is signing on to be a lead sponsor. I just hope Season 3 gets fired up, whatever news they may have still to break as this season began nipping on the heals of turning current to which I propose a Series Finale of one actual news broadcast. Live with a Will diatribe on that week’s news.

But it is over and so my Sunday nights are now devoid written drama. Naturally I’m coping with that by figuring which Newsroom characters most closely resemble Pac-12 basketball teams. Not aesthetically of course.

*Thanks to @spencerbsmith for the header image

Washington Huskies as Jim Harper


Jim was the only Senior Producer on the Mitt Romney media bus. Overqualified with a tinge of arrogance, he yielded his 30 minute one-on-one with the candidate to a lesser qualified journalist (he’d later leverage that in to a girlfriend so it kinda works out). Washington was the only BCS-size conference champion on the 2012 NIT bus (ever). Overqualified with a tinge or arrogance, they yielded the NIT title to a lesser qualified team (Stanford finished seventh in the Pac that year). Jim blew that one and paved the way for Jerry Dantana to blow News Night up. Jim and Genoa forever linked. 2012 UW and Pac-12 rock bottom forever linked. Tough. Am I saying UW would hop the Sex and the City tour bus to learn more about their secret crush? Would the Huskies incessantly FaceTime their girlfriend? Maybe. Dawgs haven’t hit much on the recruiting trail lately so they’re liable to do anything.

Washington State Cougars as Gary Cooper

WSUCooperI don’t entirely know what Gary Cooper’s role at ACN is. He’s in each of the rundowns that are grossly oversupplied with pastries, pitching stories like it’s his job (maybe it is). But he was sent to Africa with Maggie as a cameraman.newsroom-gary-cooper He’s just kind of there and known as that guy with the same name as the actor. Kinda like Washington State. The school that really only won when their coach had the same name as the singer. We don’t really know what the Cougars are there for – are they competitive? place holders? an excuse to visit Pullman? – but they’re always there and sometimes Klay Thompson. Also, did you think Gary was shot in Africa? It sure seemed he did when he fell coincidentally at the same time as gunfire sounded. Alas, he survived the fall and so did Ken Bone:


Colorado Buffaloes as Neal Sampat


Let me break this one down real simple for you, allowing just the lead that Boulder is about as liberal as a housewife’s noon chardonnay pour. Neal led the way on the Occupy story – good start, seemss very Boulder. He wants to run a report on Bigfoot – Boulder. It was Neal’s girlfriend’s drugs that got Will high before the Bin Laden broadcast – Boulder. He’s the resident News Night blogger and web troll – totally parallels Boulder’s burgeoning tech scene. Buffaloes love to dance. NEAL LOVES TO DANCE!!


Utah Utes as Maggie Jordan


I want you all to know that I don’t hate the Utes. I do hate Maggie. And it’s the Utes who are responsible for the single hardest pill I’ve had to swallow as a Wildcat fan (1998 Elite Eight, Anaheim, California, Arizona 51, Utah 76) but I don’t begrudge them that. I actually applaud that effort and Majerus’ mastery that afternoon in The Pond (I’m never not calling that place anything else). But that was Utah then and Maggie is Utah today. Really spunky and all upstart-like, some potential there but ultimately it’s like “What the hell is going on? Did you miss the memo that you were moving into a big conference? Lose the Runnin’ Utes thing – it’s so Mountain West.” Look, Utah is the 15th winningest school in MCBB history and they’ve spent the better part of the last decade acting like they’re just happy to be here. Maggie, this isn’t your college newspaper anymore. It’s ACN. Start acting like it.

California Golden Bears as Charlie Skinner

CalCharlieCrockety and aged, sipping single malts like water, working things old school in a new world, Charlie Skinner’s been around the block. He’s not the most powerful at ACN but he understands his place and would have no qualms walking into McKale and taking it to the Wildcats. He sure as hell has done it to Leona, blackmailing her and boy wonder with recorded tapes admitting recorded tape (meta). Charlie wins at all costs but he wants to do it right (This is the part of the analogy where we conveniently ignore the Todd Bozeman era in Berkeley). Charlie Skinner would punch Allen Crabbe to get him going. After all, he fired the junkie, and got himself slapped for it. Didn’t even lose his cool when he was set up to fail the Genoa chase. 13-9 (5-5) on February 7? DGAF the Bears rattle off seven straight and then Danced. Maybe each of their best days are behind them (Cal’s won 15 conference titles but just one since 1960) and they’ve each latched themselves to proven winners with a twist (Monty:Stanford::MacKenzie:Will) but when push comes to shove, they will.

Stanford Cardinal as MacKenzie McHale

StanMacThis one got set in stone with that weird narcissistic-but-important-to-me bit about having her Wikipedia page corrected. Please note the following from real life:


Look, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE I don’t know but Neal used more internet wizardry to get it fixed than ever needed to be. A puff piece written and posted by the girl who now only exists via Harper’s FaceTime rectified the issue with the assumption that some uber-nerd would open source that encyclopedia page begging the question: How many page views is Hallie’s political blog garnering? Yeah, when that much tech is dragged into the mix on behalf of MacKenzie and her academic arrogance, she gets Stanford. What’s more is she’s smart and alluring – key components to being a member institution – but you’re also just not that sure about how strongly you feel about all that Mac is (Does Sorkin hate women?). Maybe then, in this vein, Mac isn’t the “Executive Producer of News Night?” We’d need to spice up that title. After all, Johnny Dawkins is the “Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball.” And so I propose the “Leona Lansing Conductor of Will McAvoy’s Ego.” Thoughts?

Arizona Wildcats as Will McAvoy

UAWAOh I know what you’re thinking: Of course Adam’s picking the star of the show to represent his favorite team. What a predictable, homer dick. Well how quickly we forget that McAvoy surrendered $2M annually to have the authority to fire his ex-girlfriend on a weekly basis. That the big dog commissioned an all access and incriminating article to be written about his newsroom by a struggling freelancer who had PREVIOUSLY CUCKHOLDED HIM! He can’t even quit his own job. He could barely propose and did you see his high five after announcing his new wife would have five Mc—-‘s in her name? HE IS HARRY DUNNE! You want the Wildcat counters? Tim Floyd turned down the job. They hired Kevin O’Neill. Twice. Russ Pennell’s DAD was a bench coach in 2009. Josiah Turner. They’ve lost in the NCAA tournament as every seed up to 10 (excluding 7 for whatever reason but impressive in some regard nonetheless)But hey, what’s a hero without his flaws? Go ahead, call me a homer. You expect me to get choked up about it?

Arizona State Sun Devils as Jenna Johnson

ASUJJI knew right away I wanted to make this analogy but when I found out that the sorority girl who asked for a less than one sentence answer that Will didn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Yosemite? was named Jenna Johnson, I couldn’t believe the gold that had fallen into my lap. I mean, it bleeds ASU, it screams Sparky, it tests positive for Tempe. She has an alliterative name for heaven’s sake. Punch that one into the Google and you’re running into some NSFW content (yup, just confirmed while NOT on the office network). And now she’s an intern so there’s that whole avenue of jokes…

UCLA Bruins as Reese Lansing

UCLAReeseDeliberated on this one a lot and there was some serious consideration to equate the Bruins to McAvoy. But the late season developments with the Genoa clusterbang and all the talk of firing and not firing and wanting to fire and not accepting resignations, I couldn’t help but see a lot of Westwood in Reese Lansing. Reese wants to fire everybody. He’s not happy with a slow show. He wants a big fancy show. Entitled entry into House Judiciary Committee’s piracy meeting? No entry. That little ditty plays out a lot like UCLA not dancing. Or not having the right video room temp. It’s going to be difficult to find a parallel between Reese Lansing’s actions and Reeves Nelson peeing on things, but hey, maybe Reese is into some weird shit. After all, he wire tapped his own staff and leaked it to TMI and Nina Howard (Will’s brief muse who is aware of of Will’s everlasting love for Mac but withholds that fact so she can get a little Willy if you know what I mean) in an attempt to bring down his own show. Come to think of it, that sounds like not showing up at a brand new arena because you just really don’t like Ben Howland anymore. Reese loved Will pre-Northwestern, garnering viewers and advertisers like he was an NFL game. He hates News Night Will because he isn’t…well…because he isn’t the past.

USC Trojans as Elliot Hirsch

USCHirschHirsch and USC do well for themselves but they’re never going to be the big game in town. Not even if ACN fires Will and Hirsch takes his seat. Not even if UCLA fires every coach ever. Did you hear Elliot fumble through the “big announcement?” prior to the Will-and-Mack-off in makeup? Hirsch should be taken about as seriously as a song girl sweater: stared at and enjoyed but ultimately you better be paying attention to the game. Yet each recognizes their opportunities to be great. USC brought Andy Enfield’s wife into the mix while Hirsch gave Sloan her own segment. Sex sells. And sure it was nice to get a network anchor into the streets of Cairo for a hard hitting look at the Arab Spring. But it got Hirsch beaten by a rock. And sure it was nice to grab a 6-seed with Mayo and run up a 21-12 record. But it got SC beaten by a rock (or at least that’s what I call handful of sanctions and a Kevin O’Neill tenure). Alas, the Hirsch-bomb: ElliotHirsch

Oregon Ducks as Don Keefer

OregonKeefer“What I have cannot be taught.” Did you see that? Did you catch him say that? Best post-unassuming kiss line since Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn didn’t know it was Dorn’s wife? This goof has Sloan effing Sabbith giving him googly eyes while on set. Keefer is good. Like very good and he’s tough and on top of things and he’s just good. He’s counter-suing and wants Dantana to iron himself with his clothes on. But no one seems to take him all that seriously. He’s kinda goofy and certainly unorthodox – like having a treeline on the floor. And you can’t really figure out if you love him or hate him – like any of Oregon’s jerseys. HOW DOES DON EVER CHOOSE MAGGIE OVER SLOAN? I don’t know if he was ever actually in an either-or scenario but Sloan is all about Don and he was just kinda meh about it to start. Full circle to his unorthodoxy. Anonymous bidding? Looks like he’s taking a page out of the Dana Altman book and snagging her as a grad transfer. Another explanation for Keefer-Sabbith? Because cheerleaders.

Oregon State Beavers as General Stomtonovich

OSUStomYou totally think I’m taking the political route here. You know, because Craig Robinson’s sister is married to the President and how CRob’s the “First Coach” and all sorts of other presidential jokes. Stomtonovich is the Beavers because they just don’t deliver. Maybe we doctor the tape and get Jared Cunningham an NBA salary and eligibility? Or we could use the doctoring to amend team rules? That’d help Eric Moreland and Devon Collier. Maybe we get The Glove involved because, as Stomtonovich would say it, If Oregon State were to be good it’d probably involve some other characters.

Larry Scott as Leona Lansing

LeonaLarryLeona: Hey you guys wanna all quit? Dantana wants $5M for wrongful termination? I don’t give a shit. No to it all. But ultimately my son’s gonna make the call which further accentuates how little merit I give to that DC-based prick trying for a new job at fuggin KickStarter. [insert a fist pumping squeal from Reese here]. And yeah I’m going to get high at my own damn Election Night gala, why? Because I still don’t give a shit. I will defend a broke news story about the US government dropping serin gas. YO SKINNER!? You wanna split a pizza?

Larry: Hey you guys don’t want to carry my network? I don’t give a shit. Drop DirecTV campaign and trivialize nature in doing so. I. Do. Not. Care. I have two conferences blowing whistles now and I look a lot like the other Larry Scott shirtless. Hey, how’s that Longhorn Network working out? Sorry, couldn’t hear what you said over the $20+ annual millions I piled up for my twelve preciouses.

The Pac-12 Conference as Sloan Sabbith

P12SloanSo hot. This conference is so hot and yet so capable of shooting itself right in the foot and doing dumb stuff like have a nudey photo scandal or an officiating bribing scandal. People like the Pac for the same reason they love Sloan: smart and sexy. Or maybe that’s why they hate us? Whatever the case, here’s where I get conflicted: Would Pac-12 Sloan put the moves on Keefer? As stated, I can’t figure out if we could do better than him but I think if the Pac were a dude we’d be Keefer. Though I haven’t seen him attack the vices like I think we would (leaning on Skinner characteristics here). Whatever you want to say about it, Sloan Sabbith team.

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Here I sit. Sickly and playing semi-nurse to my roommate who’s just had his ACL reconstructed and who – in his post-surgical, in home state – has accumulated a viewing list the size of Washington State’s RPI (188). As I mentioned, I am under the weather and took a half-day from professional life to rehabilitate and help the roommate with nominal tasks suddenly turned difficult without the function of two knees (he sponge bathes himself).

And so, 181 PacHoops posts, two-seasons on pointguardu.com, 3/4 of a season on PacificTakes and Rush the Court, and 1/4 season on AZDesertSwarm I’ve finally turned the corner into true sportswriter-dom. I’m three episodes into The Wire. Yes, in this day and age it would seem one cannot truly comment on sports without having experienced this Home Box Office tour de force. I’ve just met Omar and I find McNulty equal parts frustrating and endearing, a confused character, flawed like and broken like so many cop protagonists before him (looking at you, John McClane). And while it is HBO programming without Allison Williams, it didn’t take long for us to get hooked.

All of that said, the chances that I make obscure references to this now dated show are slim so rest assured I will not go Whitlock on you. I have, however, thought seriously about likening each of your favorite Pac-12 teams to a GIRLS character. It’s going to happen.

Alas, as we hit the homestretch, like drug ring in the projects of Baltimore, teams will begin to rise to the top of the game while others…well…others will begin to drop like flies.

The weekend

GotW: Like Sex and the City this weekend doesn’t necessarily have any stunners, but there’s plenty of substance and couple of pretending divas. Take Washington @ Arizona. This game screams Samantha as it’s the two sexiest names squaring off on the slate but it’s really not attractive at all. Woof. Nah, the best looking of that cast was Charlotte, a simple beauty, nothing overwhelming but certainly good looking. Our simple beauty of this weekend? Cal’s visit to Eugene. The Bears are hotter than a Mike Montgomery timeout which actually deserves some additional commentary. While the shove worked and all the right things were said afterward, could the national commentary and hubub have turned to distraction? It’ll be interesting to see how they react as they take to the court in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment. And, for the record, I’m not Miranda fan.

Game to Avoid: You ever seen Enlightened? It’s on the half-hour before GIRLS and each week we catch the final three minutes and it’s the most dramatic moments of the show but no one’s actually into the show and none of us have the slightest clue what it’s about or an interest in getting further involved. Sounds about how my Wednesday night is going to shape up as I’m not going to dedicate too much time the 7pm WSU @ ASU game while awaiting the 8pm tip of UW @ AZ. The lone Husky invited over to watch has already asked that we garner burritos during that hour.

Something to Prove: Slowly growing his worth as a Hollywood star, Vincent Chase finally made a name for himself as the centerpiece of Aquaman. This mega-blockbuster role is the career maker Chase had been searching for. Or was it? He wanted more, preferring to find his dream gig in Medellin; seeking to prove he was an artist and not just a pretty face. Well few are about to say much about the Sun Devils being a pretty face (maroon and piss), but we can consider their inflated win total appealing. Wins are sexy to the committee just as starring in a James Cameron movie is star igniting (Chase, Sam Worthington). But regardless of what your resume states, if it doesn’t have staying power it doesn’t have staying power. The Sun Devils have a key opportunity to prove their worth as a tourney team by holding court at home this weekend, taking greater steps to becoming the stars they want to be in March.

Something to Lose: As Larry David putzes around Los Angeles (and New York in his most recent season on Curb), he acts as if he has nothing to lose. Not a man on fire but a man devoid awareness to the greater context of social accord. It’s been with a similar disinterest for public opinion that the Cal Bears have played their way into Dance consideration. But as I said in the GotW preview, there’s growing opinion about all things Monty and his basketball program as some (if not many) are thinking he should not be coaching on the sidelines. This national conversation could quickly spiral into a distraction for a hot team, particularly considering he was “surprised at the legs” the story got. The fact of the matter is that there are TV cameras everywhere and anytime a 60+ shoves a twenty-year-old, it’s going to become a pretty, pretty, pretty big deal.

The YouTuber: I don’t even know…