The Fall season of cable television is typically one that takes a stern backseat to sports in my daily life. From professional football to professional soccer to college football to college basketball, there's an intriguing matchup on one of my 900 TV channels more times than not in a given week. Unfortunately for me though, the vast majority of "my teams" have shuffled through mediocrity and terrible sportsing over the last few months (save for Paris Saint-Germain). With this weekly display of sucky athletic performances, I have begun to venture off into the world of weekly television hate-watching. You may be partaking in the same exercise without even knowing it.
Hate-watching is defined as watching "(a television program) for the sake of the enjoyment one derives from mocking or criticizing it." For the college football cynic in all of us, we typically spend our Saturdays hate-watching either our own teams or the teams that make a mockery of the sport with their varying degrees of ineptitude. The same can be applied to television events. Whether it's "The Walking Dead", any Awards show or "Peter Pan Live" with Christopher Walken, we are all guilty of hate-watching something and turning to social media to view commentary on the subject by our peers.
I hate-watched a lot of FAU football this season, but thankfully, Charlie Partridge's tenure as head coach is not being judged on this first year. Just like all of these shows and movies, his legend will live on in the seasons that follow (except for that damn Aaliyah movie). This season definitely happened though and with that, we take a look at some of the worst FAU losses I hate-watched in 2014:
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B (Lifetime) - Wyoming 20, FAU 19
This loss doesn't even feel real. Like, how could FAU actually have the game won and then just fumble the ball away with nearly no time left? I watched the entire game unfold just like the Aaliyah movie. Some parts dragged on, others were a little faster paced. With only a few minutes left on the clock though, when was the big event coming? I know the Aaliyah story just like I know that a football team takes a knee in victory formation to secure a win.
Under two minutes left, no plane and no knee. One minute left, Aaliyah is just talking nonsense with a fake Dame Dash and Jaquez Johnson is still being asked to rush the ball. Seconds are left at this point and oh, what's that? YO, THEY PUT AALIYAH'S PLANE CRASH ON THE SCREEN AS JUST TWO SENTENCES!?! QUEZ FUMBLED THE BALL AND WYOMING JUST SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!?! I don't know, man. Aaliyah's legacy didn't deserve a movie like that and the Owls didn't deserve to lose like this. Heartbreaking for all parties involved.
Gossip Girl reruns - MTSU 35, FAU 34
I need to be honest here. Although my girlfriend "forced" this show upon me, I was actually a bit curious as to what I was missing out on. This started out as an optimistic adventure into the world of pre-Arrow CW and ended as the shortest example of hate-watching in this article. Similarly, I really wanted to watch the MTSU game, even though bowl eligibility was donezo and I knew they were the better team.
The episode I saw may have been called either "Summer In The Hamptons", "Being Rich Is Wonderful" or a combination of the two. Regardless of the title, I knew how this would go. You can call a team the "Bad News Bears" all you want, but if they're one win from going to a bowl game and got there by running all over teams, I also know how it's going to end.
Unfortunately for me, this was actually a solid game by FAU. Play after play, drive after drive, the hope was surmounting and victory appeared imminent. Oh, but wait, what's this? "More like Chuck Bass-tard!" Oh no, terrible puns -- what's happening? How could I not have seen this coming? "Damn that Mother Chuck-er!" Tired tropes rearing their dark heads near the end of the show. I've seen this one before. And what do you know? The Owls let up the same ol' big drive with less than two minutes to go. xoxo, Gosh I hate this team.
The 3rd season of The Newsroom - Old Dominion 31, FAU 28
This season of The Newsroom was probably the only event on this list that I actually looked forward to watching. I had thoroughly enjoyed the first season of the series and while the second one was much worse, I am a fan of Aaron Sorkin's writing style and wanted to see him finish off his final attempt at television. ODU was also a team I pegged as a victory when I first saw the 2014 schedule. In their first year of FBS football, I figured there was no way a group of FCS-caliber players and a loose cannon-armed quarterback could take down the Owls in their final home game of the season.
As soon as Taylor Heinicke connected on his first touchdown, I knew this would be the exact upside-down affair I dreaded. Sorkin's commentary on social media taking over the news is so off-putting that every long-winded monologue removes another sliver of momentum the show struggled to acquire in the first place. Only when a true wild card comes into play to distract the audience, do we get something of a bearable visual.
Clearly, that wildcard is Sloan Sabbith or in FAU's case, Lucky Whitehead. Sloan storms onto screen every week with lines and actions ready to disrupt whatever stagnant pace the show has already committed to. Lucky Whitehead does the same, week in and week out, with a new wrinkle in the offense -- or hellacious special teams return for a touchdown -- that can only be described as "necessary" for a team that has seen its fair share of boring playcalls. I had to put up with the usual Sorkin-isms and offense for the final pay-off, but in the end, it's just more of the same. And oh, what do you know? Another gut-wrenching defeat to put away the season for good.
2014 stunk. But that doesn't mean the Owls stop playing like a show stops appearing on my television. We take a break, fall back on recruiting rankings and wait until the next season is announced. The sequel is rarely ever better than the original, but in this case, 2015 may actually be entertaining. Several impact performers return and another year in front of Brian Wright's offensive script could provide some highlights. But honestly, who knows? Maybe this team will reach their potential. Or maybe this team will bring me to hate-watch again. The C-USA Player of the Year returns and I hear Cuba Gooding Jr. is going to play O.J. Simpson in an FX show next year.