The Most Brutal Lines From Reviews Of Bill Simmons’ New HBO Show
The sports talk show is a tricky animal -- make one false move and it will slip its collar and bite you in the face. HBO seems determined to make one work, however -- first with Costas Now (three seasons), then Joe Buck Live, which lasted only three months in 2009.
Now Bill Simmons, having stormed out of ESPN in a huff, is taking the interview chair for his new Any Given Wednesday. I've never been a particular Simmons fan so I'm the wrong person to ask to review it -- I watched it just to say I watched it, and because someone had told me that Ben Affleck was drunk. (It was more like he hadn't slept for 36 hours, then slugged down a double espresso in the green room).
I've been wary of Simmons since 2005 when, a day before the live launch of Deadspin, he emailed us and closed with the phrase "Please be nice to me!" So, OK, I figured the only way to assure that was to not write about him at all, and I never did. Will Leitch handled it.
So I went to other reviews for this post, and most were not kind. Here are the best (worst?) lines from several of them.
Sonia Saraiya, Variety --
"If there is anything to regret in the unleashed charm of Bill Simmons on HBO, it’s that there’s no longer anyone in the room who will tell him he can’t be sexist for a not-very-good joke."
Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter --
"If Any Given Wednesday were a live show, I'd be much more generous about the myriad points of sloppiness, but this was a pre-taped show that has been many months — or many years, per Simmons' narrative about his dream of being on HBO — in the making, so expectations of tighter punchlines, more clearly edited film and better spatial awareness aren't unfair."
Daniel D’Addario, Time --
"Simmons barely meets the camera’s gaze, and his delivery is stiff and halting; he seemed overmatched by the most basic aspects of TV talk. Watching him now, it’s surprising to recall that Simmons is one of the most powerful figures in TV sports coverage."
Neil Genzlinger, New York Times --
"Mr. Simmons stayed in his comfort zone almost exclusively, and the result was largely a televised version of what you might hear on sports talk radio, only with cursing. ... Maybe next week Mr. Simmons will get around to the pop culture, arts and technology material?"
"How many white men who are convinced they know everything can HBO possibly employ at once?" https://t.co/OZK1f3lUzx
— Jason Martin (@jmart181) June 23, 2016
— Patrick Goldstein (@patrickbigpix) June 23, 2016
Aaron Timms, The Guardian --
"Any Given Wednesday, Bill Simmons’s new TV series, was sandwiched between screenings of The Martian and Lucy, two recent films chronicling the struggles of a lost individual to make sense of strange and hostile surroundings, for its premiere on HBO last night. The scheduling was apt, because for long stretches of the show, Simmons, making his debut on TV after a decade as American sportswriting’s brightest court jester, seemed as disoriented by his unfamiliar new format as Matt Damon was by Mars."
Nick From NY, No Filter Network --
"The set for Any Given Wednesday looks like a giant expensive man-cave…. If that man-cave was designed by Pottery Barn. And if you’re a douche."
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