While Buss clashes with West over the coaching staff, Paul calls in a favor from Pat Riley. Then, on the road for the first time, Earvin attempts to reconnect with loved ones in Lansing before heading to Boston to square off against longtime rival Larry Bird.
JASON SEGEL & ROB MORGAN– Boy was refreshing to see Rob Morgan show up and own every scene he’s in, no matter who’s playing opposite of him. Morgan effortlessly dominates every moment of the team dinner at the Johnson residence in the first part of this episode. Whether it is bringing his son down to Earth on his bad business decisions, dressing down his son’s agent, or having a heart-to-heart with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about why Magic is indeed so cheerful and happy at a period in time for black Americans in which he probably shouldn’t be, Morgan comes in like that player on the bench that you forgot you had in clutch situations. He was nothing short of awesome in the small amount of time in this episode.
I mentioned how good Jason Segel was in last week’s episode, and he was even BETTER this week. For what Rob Morgan did in the first half of this episode in dominating everything he’s in, Jason Segel did precisely that in the second half of the episode in a way that I’ve never really seen him do before. He’s beaten down quite a bit throughout this episode, so when he gets his one triumphant moment after a multitude of frustrations, it just ends up in this chaotic burst of joy. Segal has been a real surprise the past two weeks.
THE ROAD TRIP– Every single solitary character in this show has something invested in the five-game road trip that will end with them playing in the notorious Boston Garden. Along the way, you get hit with one of those montages that plays a song while they go over however many losses they get along the way to the big important game. But this is an Adam McKay project, so what you get is HIS version of this stereotypical sports biopic-ish gimmick.
THE INTRODUCTION OF LARRY BIRD– Sometimes, the full embodiment of a character is introduced in a single introductory moment. A moment that so singularly exemplifies their essence that at that moment, you may feel that you can know that character down to the very soul.
Larry Bird is the single most antagonist of this show. More than Red Auerbach, and possibly more than the internal strife that each of the main characters are going through themselves. His idiosyncrasies represent the polar opposite of what we’ve been watching for the past eight weeks. So when he shows up in a trucker hat spitting chew in an empty can of Budweiser while wearing the jacket vest…we know who this man is down to his core. Any Laker fan my age watching the scene is like watching Darth Vader enter the picture after the Stormtroopers kill all them dudes in A NEW HOPE. Yes, you’ve seen the evil army already, you’ve even met Darth Sidious (Red Auerbach) already…
But that mother f***** right there? That guy is the biggest, baddest, Sith Lord in all of the land… that dude with the Budweiser can right there… yep that’s OUR Darth Vader.
LINE OF THE WEEK
-Various people for various reasons.
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
I’m going to keep it completely real with you guys right now. I enjoyed this episode so much more because every time I saw Magic Johnson and Cookie Johnson making googly eyes at each other, I just fast-forwarded the episode entirely. I have not seen anything that they’re in together, and yet I feel completely confident in saying that this is the lousiest part of an otherwise excellent episode of television in the same way it has been for the past seven weeks or so. So I will not be reviewing anything involving Magic Johnson’s social life when it comes to this show. I have given up.
In fact, instead of naming this section of the review “things I don’t like,” I’m strongly thinking of calling this section in the review of this show (and possibly any reviews of any television shows that I do from here on out) the “Magic and Cookie award.” Or the M&C? The E and C? It’s a work in progress, folks. Please understand that there are two episodes of this show left, and I will not be reviewing this lousy subplot any further. Maybe next season.
As a fan of this team for the vast majority of my life, I can tell you that this was the kind of degenerate Laker fanboy pettiness towards the Boston Celtics that I always dreamed a show like this would project. This episode flat-out defecates on the fan base, the legendary Boston Garden, almost everybody associated with the team’s history, and the city itself.
Perhaps it goes too far. Perhaps. But what the hell did you expect?? Please understand if this were a show about the Celtics…then the Lakers would get the same treatment. So, let’s openly express our bias as Laker fans with this show.
The vast majority of sports fans out there hate us anyway.
It’s available on HBO Max.