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Addicted to must not see television

By By Wild Bardwell / sports writer
Oct. 2, 2003
Just when you were one episode of "Golden Girls" away from firing a 12-gauge into the TV screen, it arrived: a soap opera about pro football.
It's got horrible acting. Terrible writing. Annoying camera angles. Stupid, predictable storylines.
And I'm hooked.
I'm serious. I love it. I can't get enough. I haven't watched a show religiously since junior high when my life revolved around "Ren &Stimpy," but the cathode ray tube has got me by the throat this time.
Have you ever read an article about a pro athlete's moral impropriety and thought it would make a great TV show? Probably not, because it wouldn't and it doesn't. In fact, very little of the show is about on-the-field football. There are probably five times as many scenes in nightclubs as there are of actual football action.
The entire premise of the show is ridiculous. Each episode chronicles a pro football team called the Cougars, and how behind-the-scenes politics and grudges threaten to tear the team apart at the seams. Follow me…
One week, the team's back-up running back (Leon) had a fight with his wife and it threatened to tear the team apart at the seams.
Another week, the team's rookie running back (Demetrius), who also uses drugs and lies to the police, had a cocaine withdrawal during halftime and it threatened to tear the team apart at the seams.
About three weeks ago, the team's playboy quarterback (Derek) fell into a slump and couldn't think his way out of it, and it threatened to tear the team apart at the seams.
Pattern? What pattern?
Next week, Leon gets arrested for domestic assault. What possible ramifications could this have on the franchise? Oh, the suspense!
And the thing is, I know this has been done before. Remember Oliver Stone's movie, "Any Given Sunday" with Al Pacino? The one that starred about a dozen B-rate actors ranging from L.L. Cool J to Lawrence Taylor? Take away Al Pacino. Then, choose any 30 seconds from the movie. Last of all, find a way to drag that 30 seconds out into one agonizing hour every single week.
And now you've got your show.
Why couldn't we have gotten a TV show cloned from, say, "Semi-Tough?" Or, since football season doesn't last 12 months (and neither will "Playmakers," I'm afraid), how about a "Bull Durham" spin-off?
Of course it's entertaining hearing about athletes screwing up in real life, but it couldn't be dumber on "Playmakers." None of the characters' moral shortcomings are original.
Leon hit his wife, then went to counseling, and is now being hounded by the media about it. Did Robert Parish and Warren Moon get writing credits on that episode?
Demetrius is the team's bad egg. He's done it all. From lying to the cops about a murder that one of his friends committed (hello, Ray Lewis) to getting addicted to coke (look kids, it's Jimmy Smith), he's not exactly the role model that the team's owner, evil Mr. Wilbanks, wants him to be.
And while Demetrius is a talented player, he's incredibly cocky. If he's not careful, his showboating one-man-show attitude is sure to you guessed it tear the team apart at the seams.
Can't get enough of watching "Playmakers"? You can also wear it! ESPN's online shop has "authentic" Cougars jerseys (authentically fake?) for sale at $110 a pop.
You read that right. For the price of two NFL tickets, you can buy a jersey for a fake football team on an awful TV show. Amazing.
I know it's a stupid show, and as far as I know, so do the other seven or eight people who tune in every Tuesday night. But for whatever reason, I'm addicted. And while I'm not going to jump for a Leon No. 33 jersey anytime soon, it beats the heck out of "Golden Girls."
Most Tuesday nights, that's good enough for me.

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