New Orleans Pelicans baseman Jose Alvarado made his debut on TNT’s flagship NBA program last week. They had him on the virtual track proving something and before he left, the panel asked him some questions.
After a few answers to questions from Ernie Johnson (“It’s been a privilege to play with my teammates,” “I’m so grateful to be well and enjoy the game,”) Shaquille O’Neal, retired ‘2 “basketball legend and resident expert, stopped him on the court.
“José. Next time Ernie asks you a question, don’t come here with these corporate answers. Relax man. Relax. “The panel laughed and joked. José looked embarrassed. It would fit perfectly. Sunday’s game.
The conversation turned to the bad form of the 76ers James Harden. Charles Barkley, the second of his three resident experts, said: “At that moment, James couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with an ironing board.” Again, there was a burst of laughter as they got into another very entertaining conversation. Real, charismatic, dramatic, irritated, passionate, happy, unhappy.
Barkley said he was putting his money in the Sixers. Shaquille said, “Save your money for your kids and your new puppy.” Barkley said, “If it weren’t for live TV, I’d come in and slap you.” Once again, a rash of laughter and chatter as they got stuck. When the Sixers lost, they did a segment of ‘Gone fishing’, which they do when a team disappears, dropping nets and using fishing rods to fish them out of the sea. .
This is the highest rated basketball show in the U.S., syndicated worldwide, including Sky Sports. They understand that the game, like the experts, is about entertainment. So they have a permanent panel of three, all of them with excellent and strong personalities. They have an anchor that lets it go in the direction it goes. They are honest, fearless, funny and don’t bother to bother or say what they think. So they attract us, young and old, because it’s real. It is bold, informative and, above all, entertaining.
Meanwhile, back at the RTE morgue, it would not be surprising to hear them say, “Forgive your problems” and, “How old were you?” The day experts on the go Sunday’s game they are forced to sit awkwardly behind the podiums, like politicians about to make their initial statement. Instead of conversation, it’s a stage-managed task. Your turn. Now it’s your turn. Now it’s your turn. Now, competition time. Forced laughter is made as the comments are not funny but polite to smile.
It is totally unnatural. Nobody talks about a game like this. Nobody wants to hear about it like that. If you were in a bar and they were there, you would apologize and go off in front of another crowd as soon as possible. Because it’s so scenario-driven and denies risk, no one says anything. Instead, it has been reduced to trivial statements. “Dublin’s defense has kept Meath just six points behind.” “Tyrone’s goals are the difference between the teams.” And so on and so forth. As these boring statements are made out of the obvious, Mike Myers ’character is almost expected Wayne’s world turn on the camera and raise an eyebrow.
For the Sunday night show, the experts are not far behind the podiums. Instead, they are behind invisible podiums, five meters away, looking as comfortable as 15-year-old boys who are being asked to sing in public for the first time.
I don’t know any group of people other than bomb removal experts, or maybe hostage negotiators trying to get a jumper away from the ledge, who stay so far away when they’re having a conversation. Can you imagine being five meters away in a triangle during a game, calling to each other, or at a bar or at home? “Here it is.” “What are they doing?” “What did you think of Clifford’s goal?” “What are they doing?” “Clifford’s Goal.” “Its what?” “Why are you so far away son? And why are you standing still? Come and sit on the couch. “If you did it in company, people would think you lost your mind or had a contagious disease.
The result is that instead of something entertaining to look forward to and enjoy, where we can see the real personalities of the experts and feel comfortable with them, and have something that lights up our Monday mornings, we are left with nothing .
As a friend of mine says, “There’s more atmosphere on the moon.” Your turn. He speaks corporate. Your turn. He speaks corporate. Now it’s your turn. He speaks corporate. Announcements. Competition time. Mandatory managerial interview. Mandatory interview with the player. Last cursive words about next week. Music cue.
I’m sorry for the experts, who need oxygen masks to wear when the show is over. But more so for the public, especially the younger audience, who just won’t watch if this continues.
RTE GAA has gone overboard. The RTE authority must go fishing.