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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Onion finally goes too far with 'SportsDome'

"Onion SportsDome," the satirical sports show from the specialists at The Onion, has succeeded where its parent organization never could: going too far. The Onion, in print and online, finds a way to blend subtle humor and dry wit while lampooning real subjects. "SportsDome" goes to extreme lengths to impersonate the over-the-top nature of ESPN's flagship program "SportsCenter."
"Dome" airs Tuesday's at 10:30 p.m. and should have a good lead-in from "Tosh.0," but that might not be able to save it. Home of "The Daily Show" has axed numerous comedies after short runs in the past, and it's seems uncertain the cred developed by the "Dome's" namesake will be enough save it.


The four-letter network's show has actually won Emmy Awards for its writing, but has tended to be sensationalistic and too conversational at times. "Dome" was humorous, but for the casual viewer, is going to be too far gone.
It seems like a perfect concept to skewer what is one of the nation's perpetually most-watched programs, a la Jon Stewart's acclaimed renaissance vehicle, which airs right before once-sidekick Stephen Colbert's "Report." However, not every great idea translates to big numbers, but "Dome" has "SportsCenter" down to a 'T', even the bells (literally), stats and graphics.
Segments such as "Who do you kill?" and the highlights of a crystal meth addict violent fighting off snakes (while original), are the precise reason this show will not succeed.
"Dome," like its predecessors, is full of tongue-in-cheek fake news. It can, at times be funny, but lacks the same thoughtful irony that made The Onion a staple in free newspaper boxes in larger cities across the nation and later on the Internet.
Following @OnionSports on Twitter is a much better experience, where short headlines entertain, but aren't forced into three- and four-minute segments. One recent headline tweeted read: Great Game, Sport, Civilization Ruined By Speaking Of Phrase 'This Is For All The Tostitos®' after the phrase uttered in the BCS Championship Game.
The Onion's foray into the world of sports actually makes me long for the short-lived "Sports Night," starring Peter Krause from the current NBC drama "Parenthood" and Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman. The New York Times review had the same inclination, and pointed out that the Lorne Michaels created "Saturday Night Live" has been parodying sports just fine for more than 30 years, sometimes by letting athletes do their bidding for them.


"SportsDome" would serve best as a brief interlude in lieu of a commercial break and should not be a full, half-hour program. The show's website is also worth a look. But as an actual program, "Dome" gets decapitated by the bar set by The Onion.

2 Comments:

Blogger John Leach said...

Wow. You did some homework for that one. Just my opinion, but in a perfect world all the talking heads' sports shows should be presented in old SNL format. It's just rehash after rehash anyway. Like "cheeseburger, pepsi", but at least that bit was semi-funny. Have a band ready to strike up an appropriate tune and let the satire roll. Might as well dress up Tocho as the Blues Brothers. The only difference is on-air talent, but that's never held the 4 letter network back.

January 12, 2011 at 7:42 PM 
Blogger John Leach said...

Wow. You did some serious homework for that one. Just my opinion, but I think all talking head sports shows should be presented in old SNL format. Have a band ready to strike up an appropriate tune, and let the satire roll. It's just rehash after rehash anyway. Like "cheeseburger, pepsi", except that bit was semi-funny. Might as well dress up TOcho as the Blues Brothers and get it over with. Only difference is on-air talent, but that's never held the 4 letter network back yet.

January 12, 2011 at 8:07 PM 

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