It is probably not fair to snarkily critique a WB show geared toward preteens and it is also probably embarrassing to admit that I even had the channel turned to such a show. However, the other choices included: Some stupid and very aggressive game show led by Captain Kirk, a reality show about fat people, and Jericho which requires that you have been watching it since the season premiere, which I have not. So, while playing Solitaire on the computer, I did have One Tree Hill on in the background. And actually, I faced the same conundrum last week and had it on then too, so I kind of knew what was going on, not like you would need too much background to understand it. Suffice it to say it’s a show about chiseled high school basketball players and their pretty cheerleader girlfriends, all of whom speak and act as though they are thirty-five years old.
Well, apparently, the star player, a black haired hunk we’ll call Tyler (or Ty or Ty-Bo), owes money to some older bad guys who want it back. They have ordered him to throw a bunch of basketball games so that they can make the money through betting on the other team. How there would be a gigantic amount of cash running on a high school basketball team is not explained. These are bad guys. They can pull strings.
Well, Ty threw one of the games and now the team is about to play their last championship game. You can imagine how much is riding on this for every single player of the Benneton Buckaroos. Not to mention the coach, some vaguely recognizable old actor, who is about to retire. If his boys don’t win, he will go into retirement amid a black cloud of shame and failure which will surely lead to alcoholism, male prostitution, and cat abuse.
Ty has a best friend on the team, a thirty five year old blond fox we’ll call Cal (or Cal Bo or Coco). Coco knows about the bad men, and when Ty confesses that he plans to throw the final game, Coco flexes his jaw with emotion and tells Ty that he is going to have to fight him on the court because, gosh-damnit, he is not going to let everyone down like that!
The plot is further complicated by Ty’s wife (???) the sixteen-year-old cheerleader named Taylor who is pregnant with Ty’s baby. During the big game, the other cheerleaders find her on the floor of the girl’s bathroom, having mysterious cramps. No one seems shocked that she’s knocked up; they all rush her to the emergency room and fight with the nurse, telling her that she’s a bitch because she’s too ugly to have ever been a cheerleader. Back at our town, the game has started (meanwhile, nobody notices that all the cheerleaders are missing). It doesn’t matter anyway. There are no less than one hundred-thousand people packed into the high school gym—all fans of the Benneton Buckaroos.
I’m too tired now to go into all of it. Synopsis: they win the big game in the last millisecond (shock!) because Ty finds out he’s having a boy and his young wife innocuously says, It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but I hope our baby boy doesn’t think you’re a loser. So, for the second half of the game, Ty plays his heart out and throws the ball to Coco who makes the three pointer. After the game, Coco finally realizes that he’s in love with this other blond cheerleader (they all look identical except they have slightly different hairdos) named Piper and they kiss with confetti falling on them and literally millions of fans cheering and swarming the gym floor around them.
Cut to: Ty and Taylor walking out of the gymnasium, arm in arm, happy and in love and ready to start their new life when suddenly, some bad guy swerves into them with his car, crashing into Taylor and knocking her unconscious. Then Coco comes running out, sees what has happened and has a heart attack. For real. I may have missed the episode where he has a heart arrhythmia or a hole in is heart, or a baby baboon transplanted heart, because otherwise, I haven’t heard of many teen athletes who have heart attacks out of nowhere. Maybe on the next show, we’ll learn that he’s secretly been snorting crank.
In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with the show. The writing sucks, the plots are the worst kind of teen soap opera crap, and the characters are as interesting as hand puppets. But you have to expect that from the WB (another show I hate is The Gilmore Girls. I hate how the writing is supposedly quirky and funny, but sound smarmy, smug, and irritating).
The two things that make this particular show utterly despicable are the following:
1. In one scene, the ugly teenage announcer says something like, “We’d like to thank our sponsors, Chilis!” And the other ugly teenage girl sings, “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back ribs. Chilis!” Now, a less cynical person might read into this a more symbolic meaning—maybe something to do with the girl whose with child—maybe it’s a way of explaining her own fears and need to have her childhood back while at the same time fearing she may be losing her fetus (“I want my baby back”). Or, you could see it for what it was; the most disgusting example of product placement ever.
2. The entire show is really an MTV video for a different type of product—the fake-Indie bands whose soundtracks attempt to infuse the show with emotion. Every scene had some type of slo-mo-awful-pop-emo soundtrack either humming underneath it or played at full volume as the characters do things in slow motion like sink the final basket to win the game or kiss each other chastely with hands on face, or spit off a balcony. As the credits roll, a voice-over says, Tonight’s music was brought to you by The Afghan HeadWigs, the Black Eyed Susan’s, and Li’l Sad Man. CDs available in stores now.
But you should tune in next week.