So here goes. Scoop Jackson's most recent ESPN.com column - The Christies can't survive TV - makes a very good (if blindingly obvious) point. I think there's a lesson here, Scoop. If you stick to stories that don't require sports acumen or complex reasoning, you too can provide the sort of profound insight one expects from TV Guide or Bill O'Reilly. Well, once you learn to write, of course. But that's a whole 'nother issue (about which more anon).
The gist of the column is that some BET programming executive thinks that the country cares enough about semi-retired NBA journeyman Doug Christie to spend an hour each week (an hour, let me remind you, that you can never get back no matter how contrite you are on your deathbed) ogling the life of "the sexy NBA baller turned fashion plate" and his "controlling wife."
If the show is a success, it will be solely for its schadenfreude value. Its fortunes will rise or fall on its ability to affored betrothed men everywhere a chance to escape their own brow-beating scolds for a weekly escape into the world of a truly emasculated husband. After an hour of Doug Christie shifting nervously in his chair and blinking "S.O.S." to the camera while his harridan of a wife cuts out all the pictures in his Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, even the worst relationship will feel like connubial bliss. BET might as well drop the pretence and rename the show Whipped: The Ongoing Search for Doug Christies Testicles. If it's as bad as Scoop intimates, it should be aired as a scared straight program by marriage counselors.
Scoop, in his great wisdom, realizes that airing private dysfunctions to the nation (or at least the black part of it that watches BET) may not be the smartest idea for the Christies. He draws on the track record of other reality TV couples to predict that publicity could spell the end of the conjugally-committed Christies and the beginning of the institutionally-committed Christies.
Of course, Scoop takes a full column to say this and does so in his inimitable Scoop-style. Some highlights:
Maybe they shouldn't do it.
Maybe this isn't in their best interest, in the best interest of "them."
I've read this sentence backwards and forwards, and that second clause doesn't get any less redundant on repeated readings.
. . .
The only reality-show couple that seems to have survived the inevitable Judge Toler visit is Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne ("The Osbournes"). And their marriage is on a whole 'nother planet … Neptune.
The truth of the observation aside, Scoop, the word is "other." You can contract words, on rare occasions, but you really can't split them with another word, Scoop. Not in English. Not as a grown man.
. . .
And then everything will come out. All the whispers and "undocumented" stories that have been damned by them will be deemed true:
Now here's where I break off my nit-picking to make a serious point. Scoop, write as though you have the Christies' best interests at heart. And you rightly warn the Christies not to appear on television because it will result in the wider publication of insidious gossip. So where do you get off stuffing the heart of your column with those very "whispers and 'undocumented' stories"? You're a journalist, Scoop (bear with me here). What's more, you "write" (loosely defined) for a reputable publication. So why the gutter press patter? Scoop, most of your columns are just bad, but this is sleazy. Now back to our regularly-scheduled caviling.
So my suggestion to the Christies is, don't do it! Pull out of the deal. Let Viacom/BET take you to court, hire Starr Jones to represent you (remember she is a lawyer by trade, former NYC assistant DA), use the aftereffect of other reality shows as evidence that both of you noticed a pattern and (for the sake of your marriage) you didn't want to take that chance, take a plea, settle out of court, pay the settlement and go back to your home -- where the now "lost" episodes were taped.
Talk about taking chances, letting Starr Jones represent you??? Where did that come from, Scoop? You going through View withdrawal? And what about being an "NYC assistant DA" makes you an expert in civil litigation and contract negotiation?
Come on, Scoop, did you really spend 10 days on this? On a yet-to-air BET reality show? I suppose there's nothing really going on in the world of sports to write about now that the U.S. Open is over (three columns, Scoop?), but perhaps you could extend yourself and find something to say about the MLB pennant races, the Ryder Cup (did you know Tiger Woods was playing?), the new NFL and College Football seasons, or (perish the thought) the imminent NHL and NBA seasons. You know, sports?