If there is a region of the universe more devoid of intelligent life than sports punditry, may it remain forever uncharted. I took some flack for giving Jim Rome a lukewarm review a few years back, but even in the Special Olympics, you have to consider the competition and he’s better than most, especially nationally. Sports talk is one of the arenas in entertainment where the big, national show is usually worse than the local dog and pony. Cowherd? To quote a Ruthless forumite, I sometimes think the man might actually be mentally retarded. At least he is proof that success in sports talk is a lot like life in general. It often comes to bungling apes who fall ass backwards into it, then lecture you on the virtues that brought them the success. I am a reasonably attractive man. Success. Men always want to hold the remote! Durrr.
Mike and Mike? Hey, let’s make a list of the five most vacuous, inane shows ever to air on radio. Four days later, let’s make a different list of the five most vacuous, inane shows ever to air on radio. Those will be two more lists that Mike and Mike make. And shows like Mike and Mike and Cowherd are considered the cream of the crop, with some justification. I just heard a member of one of the lesser known generic Sunday duos say “that’s a big word for a Sunday afternoon!” He was referring to the word ‘mundane.’
Yet we listen. Programmers know that for some of us, 15 minutes of sports info, no matter how poorly delivered, beats 15 minutes of top 40. We’re afraid that our food will get spit in if the illegal workers at the drive through hear us listen to political talk. NPR is basically just traffic and headlines about half the time. So we’re stuck.
I offer a ray of hope: The Petros and Money Show, which has just gone national on Fox Sports Radio. The pairing is like Mike and Mike, minus the thorazine. Petros Papadakis is the meat head and a former captain of the USC football team. You might already know him as the play by play man for Mt. St Mary’s vs. University of the Pacific games. Matt “Money” Smith is the smarmy industry guy who speaks French and watches soccer. Together, they scream, mock, belittle, advise and parody. They also spend roughly 60% of the time talking about and around sports. Three things stand out about them. One is that they are legitimately funny. The second is that they are capable of analytical thought. Perhaps most importantly, they have balls.
How funny are they? You just have to listen. It’ll take a few tries to get dialed into their personalities. Petros, especially, can initially come across as a hype man, until you realize what he’s saying is actually smart and funny. Or, in his words, “I’m mysterious and ephemeral… like Stevie Nicks.” In any case, if you enjoy this site even a little bit, I can assure you you’ll find PMS funnier than Rome playing the same youtube clip from three years ago thirty times an episode. Both are quick on their feet and spontaneously funny, and they come up with quality bits like the weekly advice sessions from cousins Lance Romance, Vance Finance and, on occasion, Bert Pervert. In terms of analysis, you will not hear the usual “the team that wanted it more won,” or feigned shock at the A-Roid “revelation.” You’ll either get some rational opinions based on facts, or honest admissions of ignorance as to the state of the offensive line at UConn. And balls? There are unashamed stories of drinking and even… gasp… smoking. But perhaps nothing warms the Ruthless heart, in this era of the “Top Ten Plays of the Day… According to Jim” than Petros claiming he will spend the weekend roaming shopping centers and brutally beating any adult male in line to see Paul Blart Mall Cop. Once a week, they each battle on behalf of a film armed with clips of dialogue. And not the latest Fox releases, which they’ve probably just taken a shit on. More often than not, each film is a testosterone-soaked masterpiece from the glorious days when such films existed. Wall Street vs Glengary Glenn Ross. First Blood vs Predator.
The show is likely to fail on the national stage. Working with a format in which ‘mundane’ is considered a “big word,” Money regularly vents about his pet peeve: the failure of most people to understand the difference between disposable income and discretionary income. Where the norm is to intro shows with “nu metal” tunes from 2002, PMS strive to work in lesser known music–although for all of Petros’ yammering about San Pedro, neither The Minutemen nor Mike Watt have made it on air while I was listening. But you can already see the problem. I’m complaining that they don’t recognize The Minutemen as they enter a Jungle of Juggalos and Nickleback fans. And there are already cracks in the dam as Petros sounds like he will explode each night as he struggles to keep from openly mocking JT The Brick on the handover.
Their only hope for success rests in reaching beyond the usual demographic of sports talk- the guy with 12 fantasy D-League teams who doesn’t know the names of his senators and the obese teamster who questions Manny Ramirez’s work ethic. This isn’t a show for for bombastic moralizing about the actions of a semi-literate 22-year old because he happens to play pro sports. It’s not the show for hosts and callers to pretend that they actually have some clue as to how a newly signed right guard will meld with the rest of the Seattle line. Sports is the focal point of the discussion, but the appeal of the show is just intelligent, male oriented talk. You needn’t be a serious sports fan to enjoy the show. Other cultural allusions fly into my wheelhouse, as both guys are in their early thirties. But the key is brains, more than the usual demographics. If you are smart and have a normal perspective on life, the jokes will begin to click with you. You’ll like having someone on the radio who feels like they’re hanging out with you, rather than sermonizing and promoting themselves. You’ll enjoy the emphasis on quality music and discussions of good films. If PMS are able to draw in enough sharp listeners who are looking for entertainment and stimulation, they could take over the planet. In spite of the totally unblemished track record of products marketed to smart, thoughtful people in this country, however, my advice to those in the hinterland is to savor PMS while you can.