Tag Archives: too much

I’ve got your back, Bill

Dear Bill Simmons:

I see it all the time on the Internet lately, people talking about you, about the Sports Guy, and it’s always some variation of the same argument: “Bill Simmons bit off a little more than he can chew,” like you’ve somehow overextended yourself, like you can’t handle the mounting responsibilities of a twenty-first century multimedia renaissance man. I personally don’t get where this is coming from, but you can’t deny that it’s out there, a rising tide of anti-Bill Simmons propaganda, almost like someone has it out for you.


I just wanted to say that, Bill, I’ve still got your back. I don’t think you bit off more than you can chew. If anything, you should open your mouth even bigger, find some way to unhinge your jaw, like a snake, and see if you can forgo the biting and instead start swallowing whole everything you set your mind to.

Is this because of Magic Johnson? I don’t really know the specifics, and I hate to kind of just throw in my opinion to what so far has been a dated story from October of last year really that hasn’t been anything more than a flame war on the comments sections of Deadspin. But I’m kind of getting the feeling like this is all Magic’s fault. Just think about it, Magic turned his back on ESPN. If he wants to point the finger and blame it on you, go ahead and let him, he’s the one that walked away.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that if you walk away, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or you’re wrong, you just gave up, that’s a forfeit, you lose. It’s like, look at the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Were they necessarily in the right? Who knows? The Mensheviks left the table, and history didn’t look back. They got like a footnote in one of my history classes in college, and the rest was all Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, whatever, you get the point right? You walk away, you’re automatically the loser.

Also, and this is probably kind of a low blow here, but does anybody else remember The Magic Hour? Talk about biting off more than you can chew, Magic Johnson is the original overextender. A Magic Johnson cooking show probably would have been more successful than his failed attempt at a late-night talk show. Sure, this was way before the era when professional athletes could turn to reality TV as a viable second career, but just look at the history, if Magic hadn’t left ESPN by his own volition, it probably wouldn’t have been too much longer until his poor commentating landed him similarly off the air.

But yeah, Bill, I get it, this isn’t about Magic Johnson, it’s about you. And I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’ve got to say, where some people think you’re doing too much, I personally don’t think that you’re doing enough. Why limit yourself to columnist, podcast host, editor-in-chief, and on-air personality? There are so many more areas of popular culture that could use a side of Simmons.

Like music. Bill, you ever think about starting a band? I’d buy your album. I’d listen to it all the time. Do you sing? I’m sure you’ve got a great singing voice. I can just imagine what karaoke nights at the Grantland office must be like. Everybody hanging around waiting for Chuck Klosterman to finish butchering “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And then you take the mic, and it’s always like a total wildcard, like you pick “Heartbreaker,” by Pat Benetar, and you totally nail it.

Or a cooking show. I know I was just making fun of Magic Johson earlier, saying that even a cooking show would have been more popular than The Magic Hour, but I feel like you’d be able to make it work. It wouldn’t have to be a weekly thing, but right before big sporting events, like the Super Bowl, you could teach fans how to make great game-day snacks, like potato skins that look like little footballs, or white frosted cookies with red piping that resemble baseballs, you know, cool stuff like that.

Anyway, I’ve got your back Bill. Whatever you want to do in the future, I’m totally on board. Hopefully you’ll eventually let me write for Grantland, and my support will amount to more than me just shouting out kudos to you from my blog, but whatever, no rush. Just seriously, think about it, give me a call, I’ll be a total yes-man, like whatever you say sir, I’m behind you, one hundred percent. When everyone else on the Internet turns on you at the same time, you won’t have to defend yourself at all, because I’ll be doing all of your defending for you, getting in people’s faces, issuing nasty threats, all so you can maintain that professional distance, work on swallowing all of that work you’ve bitten off.

I believe in you Bill,

Rob G.

I’m starting a twelve-step program for people who can’t stop talking about Breaking Bad

Look, I like Breaking Bad. It’s a good show. But don’t you think that, as a society, we might have crossed some sort of an invisible line? It’s getting out of hand, the daily praise being heaped upon the cast, upon Bryan Cranston. And I’m not trying to take anything away from his performance, from the storytelling or anything like that. But it’s past the point where it’s way too much.

breaking bad

I’m talking about how the phrase Breaking Bad has entered itself into the beginning and end of almost every human interaction. It’s like right after two people meet and say hello, one party is obliged to at least make a reference to Breaking Bad. “How’s it going,” “Good, you?” “Great. Did you see Breaking Bad last night?” “Did I? Oh my God. That was the best hour of television I’ve ever watched in my life.” “Tell me about it! And I thought last week’s episode was as good as it could have possibly gotten.” “Right? I know!”

I went to the doctor the other day for a physical. He sat me down in his chair to look over my preliminary paperwork, and he was like, “So …” and I was filling in the blanks in my head, “So, it looks like you haven’t been to the doctor in a while,” or, “So, I notice that you’re blood pressure is a little up.” But no, he’s looking at my charts, and the first thing he says is, “So, did you watch Breaking Bad this week?”

And what do I say? Like I’ve already made it clear, I like Breaking Bad, OK, it’s a good show. But do I feel it necessary to talk about it with my doctor? “Well,” I told him, “I do watch it, but I’m a few episodes behind.” And he stopped with my papers and looked up at me slowly. “How many episodes would you say you’re behind by?” And I don’t know, my weeks are busy, days and nights have a way of blurring together. “Three? Four? I don’t know,” I told him. And he continued staring at me, clearly concerned, “But … but you do watch it, right? You do like Breaking Bad?”

“Yes,” I assured him, “I do like Breaking Bad.” He looked visibly relieved. “Good, that’s good,” and he went back to my papers. Was he writing that down? Is that pertinent to my medical history? I felt compelled to add something, anything, “I just can’t believe how far they’ve taken Walter White, his character,” and the doctor was like, “I know right? It’s like … wow … they’re taking him all the way.” “Yeah, intense.” “Right?”

And then every Sunday I go on Facebook and Twitter and it’s all Breaking Bad status updates, “Holy crap! I did not see that coming #BreakingBad.” “Just watched Breaking Bad. I do not know how I’m going to make it to next week’s episode!” I swear, I was walking down the street yesterday and there was a guy holding a makeshift cardboard sign that said, “Can you believe what happened last night on Breaking Bad?” and this other guy pulled out his iPad and wrote out a reply, “I know! Right?” and everybody around was just standing there nodding in approval, everyone stuck in awe of how groundbreaking this television series continues to be, and also, that we’re all in on it. You’re in on it. I’m in on it. And you know that I know that we both know that we’re watching it unfold together, the drama of our generation. Well, at least since The Wire wrapped up.

It’s not just social media, it’s all media, new, old. All of the newspapers are constantly running articles, stuff about Breaking Bad heralding a golden age of cable television. The New Yorker did a piece on Bryan Cranston last week and it was almost hagiography, interviews with all sorts of coworkers and Hollywood insiders praising Cranston’s work as the performance of a lifetime.

Again, I’d agree, Cranston is giving the performance of a lifetime. But does it have to leak into every aspect of my life? Can I just watch the show at my own pace without having to compete with everyone I know, trying to prove who likes Breaking Bad the most? Could we just watch an episode and then stay off of the Internet spoiling plot twists immediately after they’ve aired? I like Breaking Bad, but can we, as a species, just cool it, just a little bit?