Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
There are two reasons labor stoppages in sports suck. The first one is obvious, and that is that it either ends up in games lost or games that are degraded in quality (as you saw this past week). The other reason that labor stoppages are so horrible is because, inevitably, people begin arguing about them on a political level, and not just a sports level. You will always find some idiot who uses a baseball strike or a ref lockout to air his personal manifesto about why unions are the scourge of America. In fact, I found a bunch of them just this week. And if you guessed that these come from the comment section at ProFootballTalk, you get a cookie:
kobra71 says:Sep 17, 2012 10:19 PM
Don't blame the replacement official's for the job they are doing! They are doing the best they can do for a quicker and faster pace game then what they are use too.
If you want to blame anyone blame the official's that are locked out. They are the ones that put these poor officials in this situation they are in.
abninf says:Sep 17, 2012 10:22 PM
If the regular refs would accept the fair offer then we wouldn't have this problem.
eagleschic says:Sep 17, 2012 10:53 PM
When do we stop blaming the inexperienced refs and start putting the blame where it lies…the mediocre regular refs who refuse to except a more than fair contract. They, like everyone else need to be held accounted for their poor job performance but refuse to accept responsibility for horrific calls they make and THAT IS WHY there is no deal. We are all held accountable at our professions and why should refs be any different; why should we award mediocrity? Just like the teachers…stop expecting job entitlements. Your paid for performanc, your not entitled to anything else. Damn unions have destroyed this country, the job market, the economy and now the NFL!
You hear the same phrasing over and over again from these kind of missives. "A fair contract." "A fair offer." To the commenters above, NFL owners are kind and generous souls who lovingly bequeathed a portion of their largesse to these ungrateful, pathetic, non-job-creating refs. HOW DARE THEY NOT EAT THE OWNERS' SHIT? This happened during the player lockout a year ago. There were plenty of anti-union folks who thought the filthy peasants at the NFLPA should have been happy with ANYTHING Roger Goodell threw their way. To not accept a "fair offer" was tantamount to ruining America.
But that's bullshit. Here we have two sides that have gambled. NFL owners gambled that either the scab refs would do a passable job or that fans wouldn't have the balls to walk away even if they sucked. And NFL referees gambled that their skills were so unique that any attempt to replace them would end up being catastrophic. So far, both sides have wagered correctly. The scab refs are a fucking disgrace and have proven that the old refs have value. And yet people are still watching the NFL because, well shit, I got this fantasy team so I have to follow it.
People try to frame business struggles like this in moral terms (see Mr. Gregggggg below). The refs are greedy! They only work part-time! They have other jobs! People talk about shit like this as if it matters. As if having one job means you don't have the right to try and get more money at another job. That's complete bullshit. This is America. If you have a unique skill set, and you think can leverage more money out of someone who wants your services, there's NOTHING wrong with that. If you think the NFL will eventually cave simply because the league doesn't want its brand to suffer from all the shitty refereeing, you might lose, but you're not being un-American. There's nothing more American than trying to squeeze other motherfuckers for every last penny. There are no "fair" offers. There is only the best offer, and it's your goddamn right to see if you can get it. There's this bizarre mentality that there are only, like, six productive people in the country, all of whom are billionaires. They rest of us simply make money at their behest. Forget 47 percent. I'm talking about virtually everyone being devalued. I don't really know how it came to that, because it's so innately fucked up. If you think you have a skill worth leveraging against the Ginger Hammer and his big stupid face, you have every right to see it through.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Patriots at Ravens: The big three fantasy QBs—Brady, Brees, and Rodgers—have all been underwhelming in the first two weeks. Brady has been outscored by Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and many others. And the only thing worse than owning them and watching them underperform is receiving 60 lowball offers for each one. If you own Brady, you almost certainly got offered Dustin Keller straight up for him this week from a fellow owner. "Come on, man! Look at the numbers! They're equals!"
Packers at Seahawks: ESPN has Gerry Austin on MNF now to serve as their Mike Pereira. I know Mike Pereira, sir. You are no Mike Pereira. All we get with Austin is his voice coming in from an undisclosed location. Why not put him on camera in an unidentifiable room? And give him a vest? I demand such things from my ref analyst.
Texans at Broncos: Since Peyton Manning brings up the subject 10 times every commercial break, I would just like to note that tapenade is horrifying. Olives are already disgusting. But to go one step further and mash them up and then serve them as some kind of unholy spread ... HURRRRRRRRRR. Wait till Big Mayo gets in on the action and they invent Big Mayo Olive Dip. I would rather have a cockroach stuffed into my rectum than eat that. I'm dead serious. Bring on the roach.
Giants at Panthers: What would happen if an announcer actually used the word "scab" in reference to the officials? Would he get fired on the spot? I haven't heard it used once and I have to think there was an edict laid down saying, basically, "You can't say scab." I want someone to break the SCAB barrier. Come on, Tirico. You know you're dying for it.
By the way, I miss the old refs. I miss seeing Hochuli and Mike Carey and whatshisface. They were part of my fall ritual. And now they're GONE.
Bengals at Redskins: One of the real unpleasantries of having a challenge system is the fact that head coaches have to spend the entire game walking around with a red flag in their pocket. If you're a man, you know how annoying it is to have extra pocket weight. And that red flag isn't a flattering pocket item, like a money clip or a slender cell phone. It's just this big wad of fabric you have to keep stuffed in there for four goddamn hours. I bet Andy Reid's red flag REEKS after a game. Nothing but sweat and hair.
By the way, the more bad calls we see in the coming weeks, the more teams are gonna have to exhaust their challenges. We're gonna see a game at some point that has a bad call late that can't be challenged because a coach had to use his up over the course of the first three quarters.
Also, RG3 might end up dead by Week 8. After that, THE SEX CANNON GETS SEXY AGAIN. Every year, the Skins start out looking OK, and then two people get injured, and suddenly the Skins realize that they have absolutely no depth anywhere on the roster. They make this mistake year after year after fucking year. They're like a poorly constructed Hollywood set. RG3 is the nice front door.
Bucs at Cowboys: In case you missed it, here's a GIF of Eric Wright's pick six against the Giants.
God, that's awesome. I'm shocked the scabs didn't throw a flag and fuck it all up. By the way, Greg Schiano reminds me of one of those guys you play pickup basketball with who is wayyyyyy too intense about setting screens and throwing elbows, and when you tell him to settle the fuck down, he shoots back with, "I JUST PLAY THE GAME HARD, BRO"! God, I hate people like that. In real life, everyone HATES Rudy.
Falcons at Chargers: Michael Turner scored a touchdown last week, and then the TD was overturned by replay. Then he got the ball and scored again, and I can tell you as a fantasy player: That NEVER happens. Once your fantasy TD gets taken away by replay, the offense usually turns around and throws three consecutive fade routes. So even though Turner sucks now and got busted for DUI, I'm still amazed he got a chance to get his fantasy TD back.
Eagles at Cardinals
Jets at Dolphins
Lions at Titans: I benched Chris Johnson this week, and, normally, it's immensely satisfying to bench an underperforming fantasy performer. I have a whole imaginary meeting with the player in my head, in which I calmly but firmly explain that I want to go in a different direction. And then the player gets mad at me and I'm all like, "Well, you should have stepped up when you had the chance, son!" It's great.
But benching a player in Week 2 is just depressing. I drafted that guy in the first round. That was my top choice, and he's just shit. And Megatron was still on the board. Everyone saw me draft "C. Johnson" and thought I took Megatron, and then I explained in the draft chat that I had taken CJ2K instead, and they were like, "Why?" Why, indeed. Go to hell, Chris Johnson. You'll probably need 400 carries just to make it there. Asshole.
Jaguars at Colts: I was giving my kid a bath the other day, and when I stood up from the tub, I felt a sudden pull on my dick, as if someone were grabbing it and trying to yank it off. Panicked, I pulled my shorts away from my waist and looked down to discover that a loose set of threads inside my boxers had wrapped AROUND my dick, and that any movement caused the string to dig into the head of my dick, causing me immense pain. So my wife walks up the stairs and sees me gingerly trying to unwrap this fucking piano wire from my genitals.
HER: What are you doing?
ME: The boxer string got wrapped around my dick.
HER: (bursts into laughter) OH MY GOD THAT'S SO FUNNY.
ME: Shut up!
HER: (now crying with laughter) Oh my God, I'm sorry, but that's the funniest thing I've ever seen.
ME: Some help you are, Missy! Why did my underwear betray me so?!
So look out for boxer strings, man. That's not cool at all.
Bills at Browns: I don't approve of blonde Emily Deschanel. I know it's for a specific plot point, but fuck that. THE MAGIC IS GONE BETWEEN US NOW.
Steelers at Raiders
Chiefs at Saints
Rams at Bears
49ers at Vikings: I swear to God, if Percy Harvin were white and played in New England, his jersey sales would end the Great Recession.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Old Skin," by Young Widows. Reader Nathan saw Young Widows live in Chicago and reports:
They were so fucking awesome I was actually afraid of what I would do to myself if they played the song linked below.
GAWWWWRRRRR RAWK SO HARD.
Embarassing iTunes Library Track I Own That Will Not Fire You Up
"Wide Awake," by Katy Perry. They Autotune the hell out of this woman, and she still can't carry a note for shit. I saw how they record shit like this in L.A. A sound engineer goes through the recording and corrects virtually every note. And even after all that painstaking work, they can only get Katy Perry's voice to sound like THIS. Give her a bare microphone and she probably sounds like a fucking elephant.
Nazi Bill Simmons Lock of the Week!
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.
"This week, I like the Bucs getting nine points on the road at Dallas. My fellow Nazis were dumbfounded last week when I failed to sniff out a Jew hiding in a barn outside of Dresden. By Tuesday or Wednesday, I was ready with excuses.
• Immersing myself in the NFL over the weekend murdered my feel for spotting Jews. I didn't have a chance to sit down with Cousin Fritz like I normally do before Jew-hunting season to really pore over the new Jews that are coming in.
• Playing pickup basketball has left me just a bit tired, you know? I GO HARD. After balling that hard, I don't have a lot of energy left for searching every last corner of a house. That's why I just shoot the place up now.
• Just another sign of the Mayan apocalypse. So my Jew-hunting skills go, so goes the world. Luckily for me, Vegas still hasn't noticed."
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 1-0
Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
I wanted to nominate Larry Fitzgerald here, but reader Danny has a beef with Brent Celek:
Brent Celek is an asshole. I swear to God I somehow end up with him every year. And every year, he has ONE big game. That is, undoubtedly, the one game I sit him. This year? I roll him Week 1: 8 points. Bench him for Week 2 (in favor of Fred Davis of all people because OMG RGIII!): 27 points. After that one incredible game, I play him every week. Every week I'm disappointed by him.
I don't deny I'm a shitty fantasy owner, so I'll start him the remainder of the year thinking, "Hey, remember when he hurdled Ed Reed?!" Yet he'll never probably get me more than 3.2 points in a given week for the rest of the year. Hurdle yourself over to the bench for the rest of the year, Celek.
Everyone has that one fantasy player they get stuck with year after year for reasons they can't explain. L.J. Smith was mine for a great many seasons. Thank God he's out of football now. If I ever had to start L.J. Smith again, I'd wrap boxer strings around my nutsack.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
After demanding that the locked out GLORY JEW refs be replaced permanently last week, I was wondering how Gregg Easterbrook, God's Personal News Courier, would react to the shitfest that was the Week 2 officiating. Well, I think you'll be heartened to know that Gregg largely eschewed officiating blunders this week in favor of writing 2,000 words (actual total) about the plot holes in the season premiere of Hawaii Five-O. You know, IMPORTANT SHIT. Oh and he said a bunch of other stupid crap.
James Harrison has been guilty of helmet-to-helmet hits, and Lawrence Timmons was guilty of one Sunday. Generally, the Steelers hit cleanly.
Hey, here's a team that has a history of dirty hits from James Harrison, Ryan Clark, and Hines Ward. But in general ... perfect little angels. Nothing like those other WEASEL teams that get fined just about as often or perhaps even less so.
And now, in News That Gregg Knew Before You Knew You Knew It ...
In 2011, physicists at the enormous CERN atom-smasher in Switzerland declared they had found matter moving faster than light. [...] TMQ cautioned, "Because the claimed velocity is less than one-thousandth of 1 percent more than light speed, observer error seems the likely explanation." Months later, CERN admitted observer error, and leaders of the project had the dignity to resign. Your columnist had no special knowledge of the research.
He's just so fucking smart that he could intuit the error using his massive brain waves. Why hasn't the GAYSTREAM MEDIA picked up on any of TMQ's important news analyses? The Physics Gods shake their heads.
The NFL Referees Association is angry about an NFL offer that would raise officiating salaries to an average of $189,000 annually for part-time work. The NHL union is angry about an offer that would reduce the current player average of $2.4 million to a mere $2 million annually.
Yes, many NFL and NHL owners are ogres, and none should receive public subsidies. But the framing of the disputes — unions claiming to be working-class victims versus plutocrats — is 50 years out of date.
I think we all know the truth. These refs and hockey players are nothing but a bunch of FREELOADERS, suckling at the teat of true job providers. They are the 47 percent.
A hobby that pays $189,000 a year; a child's game that pays $2 million a year plus leads to celebrity. The people offered these deals are angry and feel ill-used?
This is Easterbrook at his worst. Gregg would like you to know that reffing is merely a "hobby," even though it requires extensive travel and knowledge of the game and is clearly a skill that has value, given how poorly the replacements are doing. Hockey players are playing a "child's game," even though said child's game is actually a brutally taxing sport that can result in profound head trauma. How dare these part-time tweenagers try and make more money in a free country? REPULSIVE.
"Five-0" has emerged as television's most entertaining delivery system for pure nonsense.
2,000 words. On Hawaii Five-O. Be with us next week when Gregg has a very special breakdown of a poorly constructed NCIS: Los Angeles episode.
Why do TV script writers promote the idea that it is unreasonable to ask law enforcement officers to establish identity? [...] It is troubling that television crime dramas imply that law enforcement officers should never be questioned.
They have 42 minutes to stage a television show. God forbid they jump right to narrative action. TMQ demands that all police dramas include a five-minute identity-verification scene. What kind of message are Jew TV execs sending to our kids otherwise?
The replacement officials did not affect the outcome of [Broncos-Falcons] but did not perform well, either
You have no fucking idea what you're talking about. Apart from the obvious blown pass interference calls and missed flags, you have no definitive proof that things would have unfolded exactly as they did with the refs doing a better job. I know this because I once wrote a 5,000-word essay on a special webisode of Fringe.
—they seemed nervous and confused, not in control. Many more games like that, and the NFL will be seen as losing its product quality.
No, not many more games. NOW. Now they have lost product quality. Get your curly-haired head out of your ass.
Trailing 31-28, the Redskins faced third-and-8 at the St. Louis 36 with 1:27 remaining. RG3 threw a 7-yard completion to Josh Morgan, advancing Washington to the 29 and field goal range. More concerned with attention for himself than victory for his team, Morgan celebrated by throwing the ball at a Rams defender.
This is a complete lie. Morgan threw the ball at Cortland Finnegan because Finnegan was grinding his head into the turf. Morgan is still a fucking idiot, but he clearly wasn't celebrating. This correction of TMQ is not intended to amuse. It is intended to DEGRADE AND INSULT.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of Washington, New England, and Cincinnati went 1-2, putting me at 4-2 for the season. MY BAD. Again we pick three teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are New Orleans, Indianapolis, Detroit, and seeing soccer scores on the Fox ticker. Bad enough I have to put up with baseball scores down there. Now I get Premier League scores cluttering up my precious score alerts? GODDAMN YOU, FOX. Time spent not running NFL scores and stats is time RUINED.
Great Moments In Summer Camp History
Reader Deryck sends in this story:
When I was in high school, for grades 10-12 I was a summer camp counselor. This was Young Life Skate Camp, a week and a half of kids bombing around on skateboards, lighting farts on fire, and pissing out the window because the only bathrooms in the camp were a ten minute walk away. It was held at a giant Mennonite camp in Hope (which meant no meat with the meals, but everyone smuggled in beef jerky). There were two huge indoor parks, a pool, an outdoor street course, a volleyball court, and about a million square kilometres of forest.
The second year I was there, we planned the best (and arguably the most dangerous) game that camp has ever seen. We wanted to do our best to re-create the Battle of Hoth, in The Empire Strikes Back. We built plywood AT-AT shells with handles on the inside and a slot cut in the front, that two guys could get in. We tied ropes to bicycles and milk crates to the ropes to make snowspeeders with the tether cannons, just like in the movie. We even got stilts to re-create the AT-STs.
The idea was that the Empire guys (the guys in the wooden AT-AT's and the stilt AT-ST's) had to make across a soccer field into the Rebel base, basically a big spray painted circle. The Rebels had to defend this area, using their bicycle snowspeeders and water balloons filled with flour. They could use the ropes to trip up the walkers. Well, before we even started we ran into trouble. Turns out no-one knows how to walk on stilts. So, instead of abandoning the idea, someone came up with the brilliant idea of duct-taping the stilts to the kid's legs. It worked, but it also means that if they did fall over, they were falling from about three feet higher than they normally would.
The kids started out slow, especially the four legged AT-AT's. Turns out, the slot we cut in the shell was way too high and way too narrow to see out of. They were wandering around blind, risking getting hit with flour bomb to lift up the shell and get their bearings.
Turns out the flour bombs were a little more to be reckoned with than we thought. None of the balloons were filled up enough to break when they hit a person. Instead, they just became rock hard projectiles that left welts when thrown hard enough.
The biggest problem, however, were the tethers. What we didn't realize (at least not until the first screams of pain and surprise) was that a) the guys in the AT-AT's couldn't see what was coming and hence didn't know when they were going to be tripped and b) even if they knew they were going down, because they were holding the shells, there was nothing they could do except hit the ground. The "snowspeeders" didn't have it any better. In the movie, the tether detaches from the speeder after felling the walker; in real life, as soon as the slack on the rope was taken up, the bike would stop and the kid on it would go right over the handle bars.
It was a fucking disaster. It was like Lord of the Flies with robots and stilts. Kids were bleeding, staggering around like footage of shell-shocked war victims. The guys on bikes soon learned it was easier (and less painful) to just abandon the bikes and walk around pushing over the AT-AT's. The ones with stilts taped to their legs started kicking at the other kids to avoid being toppled. Turns out if you fall over while strapped to your stilts, it's impossible to get up without help, and on this day it was pretty much every man for himself. I tried to wade, to pull out the wounded. I got hit with two flour balloons and tripped by a bike before I decided it wasn't worth it. Fuck these kids. I'm going swimming.
I wish there had been video of this.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we'll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year's end or sooner. And now, your potential 2012 chopping block:
• Whatever janitor is currently in charge of the Saints
• Romeo Crennel
• Pat Shurmur
• Ron Rivera
• Mike Munchak
• Dennis Allen
• Mike Shanahan
• Leslie Frazier
• Mike Mularkey
• Jason Garrett
• Lovie Smith
I will never understand why the Saints didn't just put Pete Carmichael or Spags in charge for the entire season. You have two capable interim coaches sitting right there. Was Joe Vitt really so much better that you just HAD to go with him and leave the fucking beer guy in charge of everything for six weeks? The Saints are weird, GUMBO GUMBO CREOLE SEASONING JAZZ FUNERAL GUMBO.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Scooby Snacks. Regular graham crackers? BORING. Graham crackers made into fun-shaped cookies? FUCK YEAH.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Imperial, official beer of Costa Rica! Reader Spears send in this delightful import:
Here in South Florida, we get hammered by strange, 3rd World imports. I think there is some sketchy dude with a big boat that trolls between islands and small South American countries, buying 20,000 cases of cheap brew, smuggling them in at night, then selling them to retailers (at midnight, back of the truck), who market them as, "New, special limited edition Imports"
Yeah.... so... "Imperial"... From Costa Rica.. With a RUSSIAN-style eagle as the trademark.. Bitter, skunky, kinda like imported Keystone.. Avoid at all costs!
But I MUST HAVE IT. After all, how bad can it be if it comes in a bottle? I have this strange belief that bottled beer is MUCH fancier than canned beer, which isn't always true. Take it from someone who would gladly never drink a Heineken again.
Robert Evans's MVP Watch!
Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for NFL MVP is NoVorro Bowman of the 49ers! Tough? YOU BET! A future in personal security? I THINK SO. This new Tom Cruise action movie reminds me of the time that Scientology came calling for ol' Evans. I remember it vividly. It was the summer of '81 and I was in the midst of a heavy White Period, dirt-deviling up all the cocaine I could possibly get my hands on. Well, one day my dealer—a small time actor by the name of Chet Asswell—tells me he knows a place where he can get me Merck pharmaceutical coke. The real deal. No Comet in it at all. But he says I have to go with him, so we hop in the Bentley and he directs me to the most beautiful house you've ever seen out in Malibu. Adobe roof? YOU BET! Fresh 18-year-olds by the pool? ALWAYS. This place was heaven on Earth, and Asswell leads me to this gent named Bigelow, who's dressed like a sea captain, only naked from the waist down.
"Bigelow guided me around the house and touched his penis to everyone who passed by, even the men. No rubbing, just a little peck. And he takes me upstairs and leads me to a giant brass bowl filled with mounds and mounds of coke. Well, Evans isn't one to waste time! I took out my coke spoon and loaded up like I was at the IHOP buffet! After getting my fill, Bigelow taps me on the shoulder and asks me, 'Have you been audited yet?'
"'Audited?' I say. 'Only the D-listers pay taxes, baby!'
"Then he takes me to this white room and straps me to a blood pressure monitor and starts asking me if I'm happy. Well, I've just had a canoe full of coke, so of course I'm happy! But Captain Bigelow tells me that I'm not happy, and I tell him that maybe I'd be happier if I wasn't staring at his freckled skipper! Then he slaps me! And then he tries to touch me with his pecker and I went for the door but it was locked! Now it was man vs. pantsless man. Evans has never had a situation like this. So I figure turnabout is fair play. I take my pants off, grab my dick, and go sprinting right at the Captain. And he bolts for the door and unlocks it and goes running fast as he can, screaming, 'SUPPRESSIVE DONG! SUPPRESSIVE DONG!' That was the last time I ever visited the Scientology celebrity center. Great coke, though."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
The Dark Knight Rises. Earlier this summer, GQ sent me to a midnight screening of this movie so that I could observe all the nerds and report back everything I saw. The only problem is that, by the next day, Aurora had happened and anything written about some other TDKR screening would have been insensitive. But I think enough time now has passed to tell the story of the screening I went to, which went awry but not tragically so.
I have spent most of the past six years of my life on Dad time, which means that I collapse into bed around 10 p.m. every night and lack the ability to stay up much later than that. So heading to a midnight show represented something of a extreme sport for me. I took a pre-emptive nap in the middle of the day just so I'd have a slim chance of making it to 3 a.m. with my eyelids open. I wasn't gonna fall asleep during the biggest movie of the year. No way. I'm not that lame. I STILL GOT IT.
So I was as well-prepared to stay awake as I could possibly get. But almost immediately, the night went to shit. On the Metro ride into D.C., my friend, KSK editor Mike Tunison (who was hitting the screening with me), texted that he had already arrived at the theater and that the line to get in "was not short". We thought arriving two hours early might help us get a decent seat. We were wrong. I began to worry that I'd spend three hours sitting in one of the bitch seats at the front or on the way side. Those seats are ass. No one wants those seats. They should be rooted out of every theater and burned. One of the less enjoyable aspects of moviegoing is when you go to a crowded theater and begin to experience seat angst. I now had seat angst.
I got to the top of the Cleveland Park Metro escalator and saw a bunch of people standing around at the bottom of it. When I looked up to the top of the escalator, I saw that while I was in transit, a thunderstorm began pummeling the area. A big one. You couldn't have put more rain the sky. And every time I thought the rain had reached maximum aggression, it seemed to start raining even HARDER. As if God were super pissed at D.C. for something, which makes sense because this town does a lot of things to piss a lot of people off, deities included. Mike had been waiting in line and was trapped in that shit, and I began to fear for his safety. Also, I feared the line would disperse and then latecomers would use the rain as an excuse to cut in line and make me want to punch them in the throat.
I stood waiting at the bottom of the escalator for the rain to subside. I told people around me that I was going to the Dark Knight midnight show, because you do that when you're going to see a movie you really wanna see. You're very proud that you're seeing it. I also wanted to find other people going to the show so that we could bitch about the rain together. A lot of people around me had iPhones and were staring at big Doppler radar maps, and I craned my neck to see how big the storm was and how long I'd be stuck here. I began to fear that lightning would strike a tree, block the exits, and leave me stranded in the station, starving and helpless and, most important, lame for not having seen Batman on time. A handful of people got tired of waiting and decided to start walking out in the downpour anyway. You do this when you're trapped by a thunderstorm somewhere. If you wait long enough, you begin to convince yourself that the storm is subsiding when it really hasn't. After 10 minutes, I got restless and saw an Italian restaurant open five feet away from the mouth of the Metro entrance. And waiting in a place that has alcohol is always preferable to waiting in a place that does not. I took the risk and did my very best rain run over to the restaurant. Everyone looks like a fucking idiot running in the rain.
At last, Mike texted me that they were beginning to let people into the theater, so I ran to meet him in line. The only Batman costume I saw was being worn by a poor girl who had the cowl and cape but had to throw a big yellow rain poncho over the whole ensemble, which ruined it. The real Batman thinks ponchos are for pussies.
The line to get into the theater moved at a crawl because the Uptown had one lady letting people in, and she was in charge of scanning pre-printed tickets AND printing out any tickets that hadn't already been pre-printed. Fuck you, Uptown. Any crowded theater or grocery store or airport security line that employs just ONE cashier or gatekeeper during the most crowded time of the year should be shut down immediately and turned into a Cook Out.
Once we got inside the theater, people were finally dry and happy and beginning to get excited about the movie again. We took our seats and people were clapping and breaking out into random chants. A dude in front of us asked what Bane's thugs were chanting in the trailer for TDKR, because he wanted to chant it before the movie started. We didn't know the chant. Another girl near us offered us homemade Batsignal cookies. Everyone was getting into the communal experience of this thing. I was thirsty as shit but I was terrified of going to get a drink because I loathed the idea of getting up to piss during the movie and missing something blow up.
12:01 a.m. arrived. Showtime. We began whooping and hollering and cheering because we assumed that the lights would go dim at any moment. They didn't. 12:01 gave way to 12:05 and I turned to Mike.
"What do you think?"
"Probably just still getting everyone in," he said.
"Yeah. You're probably right."
I went to go take a pre-emptive piss and the entire bathroom upstairs was blacked out. No lights. I wondered if this was on purpose, to go with the whole Dark Knight motif. I wanted to start talking in a Batman voice at the guys pissing in front of me. Gotham City will finally be free of dirty scum like your penis.
I got back to my seat and now it was 12:15. People began turning around and eye-banging the projection room. I began to worry that the projector had exploded and that we were never going to see the movie. You could sense the entire auditorium deflating. People were beginning to go from excited to angry. The lone girl in the batsuit screamed out, "START THE MOVIE," and everyone applauded. More staring at the projection room. Another ten minutes passed, and then two concession stand employees walked to the front of the theater and asked everyone to be quiet for a moment.
"Our manager just need the key for the projector," one of them said. The key? The fucking key? What is this, a sale item at the grocery store? Who knew projectors had keys? The Uptown held no other showings yesterday except for the midnight one. They had HOURS to find the fucking key.
"It'll be just 10 more minut..."
We booed our faces off, and the two ladies went running back to the lobby. They were full of shit. That 10-minute prediction was sheer pandering, United Airlines-style. The screen was black. They couldn't even toss up a Screen Scramble for me to solve, or run one of those obnoxious "The Twenty" group of promos to keep everyone sedated. Thanks for watchin' the Twenty! We got a sneak preview at the new season of Are You There, Chelsea? And we saw the new Diet Coke ad starring Jaden Smith! Anything would have been better than a black screen. Mike and I debated how long we were willing to sit there before bailing on the evening entirely. We agreed on 1 a.m. We had already invested so much. Also, we really wanted to see the movie.
At 12:45 a.m., I strolled out into the main lobby where people were lining up for refunds. Again, the Uptown had one goddamn person operating the line. A dude screamed THIS IS BULLSHIT! Another dude screamed BATMAN WOULD HAVE FIXED THAT PROJECTOR!
Then, at 12:50 a.m., I heard a round of big cheers coming from the main auditorium and saw that the lights had gone down. Everyone rushed back to their seats (even some who had gotten a refund took the refund and then stayed anyway), and we were treated to twenty minutes of ads. Even with the big delay, the theater still fucked us with ads. We booed every single one. Loudly. We booed every trailer (except for that Superman one, which was okay). We booed every man, woman and child up on screen that was not fucking Batman. We didn't want to wait one second longer. We had come this far and now we had to sit through a preview of The Watch. Fuck The Watch. Batman isn't in The Watch. The projector broke down a second time during one of the previews, and I fucking hated the world. But they got it back up and finally, the previews ended and the Warner Brothers logo appeared and we had finally made it. Much spirited clapping ensued. All the nerds clapped through the movie even though I think they were forcing themselves to, because everyone in that room knew damn well that the last Batman was way better.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff! And I want in."
Enjoy the games, everyone.