We’re nearing our five-month anniversary at Grantland, which also makes it the five-month anniversary of me coming to the depressing realization that I am old. See, I have a bunch of younger people working for me ranging between the ages of 23 and 34. They make fun of me constantly for being one of the last 20 people in America with AOL, for excitedly bringing up movies that they’ve never seen, and for making fun of THEM for their creepy reliance on Gmail chat (the rarely seen, “We’re making fun of you because you’re incorrectly making fun of us” scenario). In my defense, Gmail chat is going to eventually lead to the end of small talk, the end of conversation and a world in which people stand 3 feet away from each other and communicate by Gmail chatting over actually talking. Long-term, I’m going to win this one. You’ll see.
Anyway, my favorite TV show of all-time is “The White Shadow.” It was canceled 30 years ago, seven years before our youngest staffer (Robert “Baby Bear” Mays) was born. Mays came over my house for Halloween to help us handle trick-or-treaters. (I live in one of those neighborhoods that gets slammed by trick-or-treaters.) One of the parents that brought trick-or-treaters to our house was That Guy from Beautiful Girls – you know, That Guy who got married too young in the movie. Not Matt Dillon, not Timothy Hutton, not Michael Rapaport, not the guy with the mustache… the other guy. When I told Mays, “It’s that guy from Beautiful Girls,” he gave me a blank stare followed by the soul-crippling, “Never seen it, it came out when I was like 8.” And that’s when I pulled a big plastic Snickers bag over his head and strangled him to death.
Here’s the point, people under 30: There’s some quality stuff out there that (A) you’ve never seen, (B) is better than 98% the crap on TV right now, and (C) is a better way to spend your time than having 19 different meaningless Gmail chat conversations at the same time. For whatever reason, some of these classics are available online. You know, like “The White Shadow.” Here’s a link to its funniest episode ever: the time Coach Reeves tried to teach Salami, Thorpe and Coolidge how to play golf. Because it’s 1980, they end up learning a valuable lesson along the way. You also get moments like this:
Thorpe (speaking into a fake mike): “We’re standing here at the first tee of the Morris Thorpe Ghetto Open … all proceeds will benefit the Warren Coolidge Foundation for the prevention of rat bites and bullet wounds.”
Coolidge (grabbing the fake mike): “First prize will be a check for $50,000 … or $50 in cash.”
Salami (playing along): “Anyone getting a hole-in-one will receive a new car — year and model to be determined later tonight.”
My favorite moment: when someone asks Coolidge how he hit a drive so far and he answers: “Easy. It’s white.” This was cutting-edge stuff in 1980. You have to believe me. I say this episode totally holds up, and that Mays would have loved it if I hadn’t brutally murdered him last night. Enjoy the 48 minutes you’re about to waste. Now get off of my lawn.