Bill Simmons: Any Given Wednesday + Dave Grohl
Yup, Commenting on an HBO show (again)
It is going to be strange when Mr. Robot starts back up and I have to type USA instead of HBO every week. After Vinyl (RIP) and Game of Thrones it has been a bit since I have recapped a show on another network.
I am only commenting because I have something specific that I want to say about Bill Simmons new show. I watched the first episode and it got me thinking (about what? I will tell you that in just a second).
Any Given Wednesday
I mean as sports show concepts go, it seemed not to be much different than any other sports talk show or podcast except that Bill got to be even more snarky toward ESPN than usual (because they fired him and John Skipper called him names).
I should enjoy this, after watching ESPN for most of my life, I have finally cut the cord. I purposely chose not to include an ESPN package when I cut the cord in part because I am still pissed off about them killing Grantland (now The Ringer) and firing one Bill Simmons.
Maybe it will take a few weeks?
I just didn't love the show.
There was some snarky commentary, a mostly insane interview with Charles Barkley that added no context beyond what we already know about Charles inane opinions about old school versus new school basketball (how anyone who makes so little sense, so consistently, remains so famous says a lot about what we value in this society).
Charles B was an amazing player. I used to wear Charles Barkley Nikes (Dream Team era) but most of what he says makes close to no sense (he is often very funny saying inane things).
Then there was some more snarky commentary followed by an interview with a discombobulated and often slurring Batman (Ben Affleck). In fairness to Ben, most of what he said about deflategate and the commissioner of the NFL was 100% true (drunk doesn't mean wrong).
I dunno, it was fine. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but probably a bit better than fine. However, I should have remembered that Bill Simmons is to television what Dave Grohl is to playing guitar, singing, and writing songs. Mostly fine.
Bill Simmons vs. Dave Grohl
Don't get me wrong, Bill Simmons is a "once in a generation" talent. But his "once in a generation" talent is in writing.
His Blog was genius
His Mailbags were genius (How can anyone ever forget the 'Atrocious NBA GM Summit' - I am still laughing about that one).
His Red Sox Book was genius (and I hate the Red Sox and the Yankees)
His Book of Basketball is one of my absolute favorite books.
Grantland was genius. And, it might be fair to claim he is also a genius at recognizing concepts that might work (I think he had a lot to do with the development of the 30 for 30 concept).
His ESPN work? Welllllll.....not great? Good, sure.
Bill Simmons is a great writer (I mean how many writers have ever really had 'must read' footnotes...except in the book version of 'Princess Bride'). But, he correctly bet that he could get much more money being on television and doing podcasts (where he is 'good') than he could by continuing his writing (yes, I know they are not mutually exclusive but his writing output has declined significantly since becoming a talking head).
And let me make this clear, I am a huge mark for Bill Simmons and will always be thankful for what he did in creating Grantland.
Anyway, Dave Grohl was a great, once in a generation, drumming talent who decided he could become a much bigger star by getting out from behind the kit and play the guitar and sing.
There is NO DOUBT that they were both right.
Dave Grohl has become a much bigger star by being the leader of Foo Fighters. But let's be honest, after what seems like ten albums, I can remember like four songs (Everlong, All My Life, Learn to Fly, and Monkey Wrench,...and....).
I am pretty sure Bill Simmons is making much more money as a talking head than he was as a blogger (and even as an author).
But, for me, there is some sadness here. It is sad when once in a generation talents choose to go off in a "different" direction (the pot of gold).
Yes, I know occasionally Dave Grohl still plays drums and sometimes Bill Simmons still writes but they don't do it often enough for my liking. And, sadly, they probably never again will.
Perhaps this is just like me being one of those guys who get mad that the band I liked "before they were cool" is now "selling-out."
I guess that is 100% fair.
But, as cliche as it seems, I am not in love with Bill Simmons new album.
Also, I realize that it could be Bill Simmons dream to be on television and it could be Dave Grohl's dream to write and sing songs (I don't mean to suggest it was just about the money)
BTW - There is a really good book about Dave Grohl (no kidding, covers all the great DC Hardcore stuff) - I will link it below (and the Book of Basketball).
What did you think of "Any Given Wednesday?" Let me know what you think, leave a comment!