Television

How Bill Belichick and the Patriots Toppled the NFL Empire

Here we are on the other side of yet another New England Patriots victory.  Nobody can deny that Tom Brady is exceptional — probably the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time (as much as it pains me to say that).  However, the Brady and Belichick era is marred by controversy and that dims the shine of their accomplishments more than a little.  Not only does it harm the history of the Patriots, but it’s brought about the end of the NFL’s glory days.

It all started with “Spygate” back in 2007 when the Patriots were accused of filming the New York Jets.  While it’s not against league rules to film other teams, the filming can only be done in authorized areas and the Pats were caught offsides (ha).  There were huge fines and docked draft picks and it was a mess but when it was all said and done, we’d entered a new era of football.

“Deflategate” was the next big issue for the Patriots.  Under normal circumstances, I posit that some under-inflated footballs wouldn’t have been a huge issue in the NFL.  However, with that single incident of cheating by the Pats, normal circumstances went out the window.  Suddenly there was mass pandemonium involving physics, a media circus, and an intense investigation.  Again there were docked draft picks and the incredible suspension of Tom Brady.  And the NFL was tainted forever.

The Patriots keep winning.  Some of that is skill but there’s always that inkling of doubt in the back of everyone’s minds.  It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.  It’s left the NFL open to quite a bit of scrutiny, too.  If the games were more intriguing, if we weren’t guaranteed another Patriots win, would people be so interested in the inner workings of the NFL?

Since the Pats have started their indefatigable winning streak, we’ve seen the NFL attacked for other things that had previously gone overlooked.  The concussions.  The domestic abuse.  The black-listing of players fighting for social justice.  Perhaps people do care more about these issues today.  Though I deeply believe if there was more chance within the NFL standings, people would still be willing to look past some of the NFL’s indiscretions.  Thanks to the Patriot’s striking ability to win at any cost, a Pandora’s box has been opened that the NFL can never again close.

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TV Review: Transparent

Disclaimer: I don’t mean any offense in this article.  If I use improper terminology I sincerely apologize for my errors.

There have been precious few TV shows that I have loved enough to binge watch.  Firefly, Red Dwarf, Avatar…and now Transparent.

This is a beautiful Amazon original series that portrays Maura (Jeffery Tambor) who spent her life as a biological man but always knew she was a woman.  At the age of 68, she comes out to her family as a trans woman.  The rest of the series involves the fallout surrounding this announcement and the effect that it has on Maura’s three adult children: Sarah, Josh, and Ali.

Sarah (Amy Landecker) has always led the life that was expected of her.  Married with two small children, Sarah lives in her large house in the suburbs while her husband works day in and day out to provide.  Her perfect world gets interrupted when she runs into her old college flame while dropping the kids off at school.

Josh (Jay Dupless) is extremely successful in the music industry but outside of work he constantly chasing love.  Unfortunately, due to some events from his childhood, he has no idea what love even looks like.  He’ll jump at anything that might be love but in the end he’s always wrong.  His heart seems to be in the right place but his childhood has left him confused.

Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) is the baby of the clan.  As a child she showed all the potential in the world and had a genius IQ as an adult she’s floundered.  She has no job, no money, and questionable friends.  Ali has a long track record for making bad choices, however, flashbacks reveal that maybe they weren’t all her fault.

The show also stars the likes of Melora Hardin as Tammy, Sarah’s old flame, and Judith Light as the matriarch of the Pfefferman clan.  The cast is outstanding. The cast has wonderful chemistry together and it comes out through witty and sharp dialogue.  There are plenty of quirky one-liners to keep one laughing but the real heart of the show comes through during the reflections on the past the family must face.  Whether screaming at each other or sitting quietly in an office these moments are what kept me coming back for more.

This family is beautifully broken.  Transparent doesn’t just pertain to Maura but to the family as a whole.  They keep secrets like it’s going out of style.  These sins of omission have led to deep cracks in the foundation of the family which is then shaken by the earthquake of Maura’s confession.  Yet, somehow miraculously, they manage to keep it together and are there for one another when the world starts to crumble.

Transparent is the most heartbreaking, human, beautiful dark comedy I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Find it on AmazonPrime.

NOTE: This show does contain adult situations.  Be aware that there is a gratuitous amount of sex, nudity, and language.  They also touch on other “taboo” topics such as abortion, end of life decisions, sex toys, and other issues of sexuality.  Some people will be uncomfortable and the under 18 crowd should steer clear.