Posts Tagged ‘denver broncos’

Aught Lang Syne: Trends of the Decade

In our latest installment of Aught Lang Syne, NPI is going to look at the best and worst trends in our culture from this decade. John S will tackle movies and TV, while Tim will explain sports and, of course, fashion.

TELEVISION

The Best Trend in Television: The Demise of Laugh Tracks

The slow, steady, not-yet-completed demise of the laugh track is probably the best overall trend of the decade in television. In the 1990s and the early part of the Aughts, nearly every big, successful sitcom was accompanied by a laugh track: Seinfeld, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, Becker, The King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc. Currently, though, most new sitcoms air without laugh tracks. Even among existing shows, the comedies that are critically praised tend to be canned laughless. The entirety of NBC’s Thursday night lineup—the traditional home of the most popular sitcoms—is laugh track-free. ABC comedies Modern Family, Scrubs, and Cougar Town are also not accompanied by disembodied laughter. None of HBO’s comedies—Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, Extras—have laugh tracks, either.

There are, of course, some holdouts: FOX’s only two non-animated comedies—Brothers and ‘Til Death—do have laugh tracks, but neither has much of an audience. CBS, though, has five sitcoms with laugh tracks (Gary Unmarried, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Accidentally on Purpose, and How I Met Your Mother), and all have some degree of success. In general, though, the trend is certainly waning.

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Unabated to the QB, Week 7: The Right to Parity

manning brees

“Mediocrity seeks to endure by any means, including bronze. We refuse its claims to eternity, but it makes them every day. Isn’t mediocrity itself eternity?”

—Albert Camus

The Saints’ remarkable comeback victory over the Dolphins late Sunday means that there are three undefeated teams through seven weeks for the first time in NFL history. There are also three winless teams, who lost their most recent game by 28, 36, and 59 points, respectively.

And this is supposed to be the league of parity?

Let’s consider this for a moment: For at least the last decade, all talk of the NFL and its place within the context of the four major sports has included the word “parity.” Most people interpret “parity” in this context to mean equality within seasons, when really it more accurately refers to equality across them. The NFL produces just as many dominant teams as the NBA or Major League Baseball does. In fact, if pressed into naming a Team of the Decade across sports, the answer would almost certainly be the New England Patriots (in the same way that the 49ers could make a claim to it in the ‘80s, if we exclude hockey and the Oilers).

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NFL Preview Bonanza: AFC West

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Last Season: 8-8

This Season: 13-3, AFC #1

Everything sets up perfectly for San Diego to cruise to the top seed in the AFC. Shawne Merriman is back, meaning the defense will transform from bad to above-average. LaDainian Tomlinson can’t be as bad as he was last year, and Darren Sproles should spell him more. Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are good No. 2 receivers. Antonio Gates should be healthy. Oh, and did I mention they play in the AFC West? I’d be stunned if the Chargers lost more than one divisional game this year. I don’t know what they’ll do once they get to the playoffs, but I don’t expect the Chargers to have to leave San Diego.

Tim’s favorite player in San Diego charger history is…: He was a big-time part of that run to the Super Bowl in 1994, he was briefly a Giant, he was arguably the fifth-best tight end in Charger history. He’s none other than Alfred Pupunu!

A Great and Recent Charger Game: While San Diego has rung the Colts’ bell a few times the last several seasons (twice in the playoffs and once to end Indy’s undefeated season), the road victory to close out the RCA Dome in 2007 is probably the best of the three.

I forgot Billy Volek was huge in that game: It’s about time we go ahead and anoint Billy the best backup in the NFL.

I also forgot LaDainian Tomlinson was once good: It’s arguable that nobody in football has had their on-field reputation fall more in the last year or so than Tomlinson’s. That’s part of the reason I expect a bounceback season from LdT.

If the Chargers were the career of an actor, they would be: Paul Rudd. They’ve been on the verge of stardom for so long; they just need the proper vehicle to put it all together. (I Love You, Man, though funny, did not put it ALL together.)

Are you really getting through this without once mentioning the Merriman/Tila Tequila thing? What can I say? I don’t do “topical” humor.

Did you know? The Chargers were right to fire Marty Schottenheimer.

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