I’ve got some good news. I think I’ve finally caught up my grading to the point where I don’t have to stay after school today. This is pretty huge. I will likely celebrate by driving home in sunlight and taking a nap as soon as I get home. It’s that or try to take the University of Kansas to a fourth straight national championship. I don’t know, I’ll have to see how I feel.
Since we’re on the topic of good news, the Mets formally announced that they’ve signed David Wright to an extension that will keep him in a Mets uniform through the 2020 season.
The cynic in me sees a player who is not quite a superstar in the middle of his prime. I understand that the last three years or so – when Wright will be 35-38 – are probably already dead money. I know that there will come a time when he will likely have to move off of third base to the other side of the diamond. Given the rise of the Nationals and the talent still in Philadelphia, the chances of the Mets building a championship team around David are pretty slim.
But I suppose it doesn’t matter. I fell in love with the Mets in 1998. I had my heart broken as the Piazza/Leiter Mets fell to the Yankees in the Subway Series. I endured the early 00s with Derek Bell and Rey Sanchez and Roger Cedeno. I grew up with Jose Reyes and David Wright. Though Reyes played middle infield, I always gravitated towards Wright. It possibly has something to do with David Wright being American, but bear in mind that my favorite player is Roberto Alomar. There was just something about David that hinted to me from early on that he’d be “my guy.”
I have only ever watched two Mets games, both came in 2006. I reveled in that season as the Mets plowed through the National League only to be plagued by injuries near the end of that season which would see them fall to the Cardinals in the NLCS. It’s been ugly since then. The 2007 collapse, missing the playoffs by a single game in 2008, and it’s been downhill ever since.
But now, it should be clear that this is David Wright’s team. My father had Dale Murphy and later Chipper Jones. My brother thought he had Nomar Garciaparra until he was traded away and the Red Sox won two World Series without him. For better or for worse, I am glad that the Mets have made such a huge financial commitment to David Wright because whatever pain I will experience as I watch him falter in the twilight of his career is miniscule to the anguish I would have endured to see him in the uniform of any other team.
The lone benefit of having to stay so late at work so often is that it’s given me time and space to watch (again) Arrested Development. The show is amazing. I have no idea how the writers managed to pack episodes which typically run for 20-25 minutes with so much stuff. It’s so dense that I continue to discover new jokes and references within episodes I’ve already seen 3 or 4 times.
Most recently, I caught a sight gag involving the Bluth family lawyer Barry Zuckercorn. Barry is played by Henry Wrinkler, famous for his role as Fonzie in Happy Days (he’s also Adam Sandler’s coach in Waterboy for you younger kids). As Barry Zuckercorn, the bulk of the jokes related to him are reference to either A) his incompetence as a lawyer or B) his all but admitted homosexuality. But in an episode I watched recently, he jumped a shark.
This is a reference to an episode of Happy Days in which his character Fonzie jumped a shark while on water skis. Later, critics would cite this episode as the beginning of the show’s decline, as it moved away from its original foundation centered around family relationships. The phrase “jump the shark” is now used to describe the moment when a television show introduces a gimmick or storyline which moves the show away from its initial aesthetic. It’s possible, for example, that Lost jumped the shark when the island disappeared. It probably also jumped another shark when they started traveling through time.
It was a brief scene and Wrinkler’s jump lasted only a second. But that’s the beauty of Arrested Development. They wrote so much great stuff into the dialogue, there are so many sight gags in the background of shots, and so many self-referencing jokes that take episodes to pay off that it makes the show so enjoyable to watch over and over.
If you haven’t already seen an episode of the show, Netflix the pilot. If you aren’t sold, then it probably means your sense of humor isn’t attuned to the overall style within the show, and you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway. But if you are the kind of person who enjoys irony, innuendo, absurdity, and the blending of intellectual and toilet humor, then Arrested Development is for you, and you will likely lose hours of you life watching four episodes in a row before you realize what happened. You will also likely want to come up with a chicken dance of your own.