Thursday, January 13, 2011

*Onion Sportsdome Long Overdue

A lot has happened since we kissed 2010 goodbye: The Seahawks sneaked into the playoffs with a losing record and somehow upset the defending champs, Team Canada screwed the pooch for 20 minutes and settled for silver in the World Junior Hockey Championships, and Lebron James defied the odds by making himself into an even bigger douche when he dissed his hometown again, this time over Twitter. All of these things are awesome, but last night the world got sportsed in a whole new way. Enter "Onion Sportsdome", a satirical take on ESPN's "Sportscenter". Think "The Daily Show" with less facts and more ridiculousness.

The glory of the format lies in the details, and the guys at "The Onion"  have got them nailed. From the sets, graphics, and riff-wailing live band to the testosterone-laden mile-a-minute rhetoric and lack of interest in soccer (the button for soccer on their website is labeled "Women's sports / Soccer"), this show oozes authenticity. It's this realistic approach that makes the over-the-top content so hilarious, and just like "The Daily Show" & "The Colbert Report" the jokes do, on some level, make a statement. Lebron, Wade, and Bosh rewriting the NBA rulebook to make the game cooler, the city of St. Louis giving Albert Pujols a working key to the city and opening the homes and fridges of it's residents in an attempt to get him to re-sign, Alex Rodriguez writing, directing, and starring in a broadway musical, all comedic gold and not-so-subtle shots at the ridiculous egos we nurture in the sporting world.

The arrival of  The 'Dome, at least to me, seems long overdue. There is Terminatoresque body count to the amount of spoof news shows that have tried to duplicate the success of "The Daily Show", but none have skewered the unique tone of sports broadcasting. There are so many aspects of this medium that are hilarious in and of themselves that all one needs to do is embellish the style only slightly to achieve the perfect comedic pitch, and Onion Sportsdome seems to have done that beautifully. The absurdity of the stories being reported seem to fit perfectly into the context of the show because the people presenting them to you are caricatures themselves.

The writing is top-notch, the anchors banter with the best, and the content is hilariously (and surprisingly) poignant. Here's hoping we get a lot more 'Dome in the future.

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