A Trip to Remember

After finishing the bittersweet 2nd place state finish in the 2009 football season our coaching staff decided to seek out ways to help our soon-to-be senior class bond in preparation for our final season as Blue Springs Wildcat football players. The usual ideas of volunteering at a local soup kitchen, taking the seniors on a summer trip, and forcing bonding time upon us at our Pitt State Summer Camp were all solid choices, but our defensive backs coach and former Wildcat football player, Matt Marble, came up with something that blew those ideas out of the water. Coach Marble wanted to do the unthinkable; Coach Marble wanted to take senior football players out of the country to Lima, Peru on a mission trip.

At first there were fifteen seniors that were invited to go on this exciting and life changing trip, but as time went on and the task of fund raising $1,600 to go on a mission trip became a reality, five of the seniors lost interest. In the end, ten Blue Springs football players had committed to go to Peru to build an orphanage. The team raised money by selling baked goods three times a week at school, putting on a Polynesian Luau for the local Samoan community, and by sending out letters to family, friends and local businesses. By the end of the school year, each of the ten players that had committed to the trip raised the necessary funds to go on the trip along with bringing down toiletries and spare cash to give the orphanage to improve the children’s dentistry and overall health.

When we arrived in Lima, we were all stunned by the devastation that occurred in this country. The buildings were run down and the city seemingly went on forever. It was as though instead of building homes and performing up keeping on them, the Peruvians instead built a building and continued by building more with outward expansion. It was almost too much to fathom for most of us.

After a long bus ride to Chilca, a small town outside of Peru where the orphanage was actually located, we were ready to get to work. Our tasks to build the orphanage included mixing, pouring, and setting the concrete, painting, deconstructing a wooden shed that was in the way, and built a deck to stand on while working. ChildReach Ministries expected us to get done with two rooms during our stay but being football players, we overachieved and successfully completed eight rooms during our stay in Peru.

This mission trip affected me in so many ways that I couldn’t begin to describe them in words. The people that we met in Peru were thankful to have a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and love in their heart. Anything more than these bare necessities were just icing on the cake for them. Where Americans complain if they don’t have the latest Xbox, these kids just wanted a snap bracelet to play with for the next six weeks; and sadly, I’m not kidding. This trip expanded my horizons of what life is truly all about: being happy, loving others, and helping those less fortunate than you. The following is my addition to our blog that we continually updated during our stay in Peru.

“This trip has not only affected the way I think, but also the way I see my priorities. These people have next to nothing, but they are content and in general happy with life. I need to be more like these children and appreciate the little things in life instead of stressing over spilled milk. The quote that sums up this trip for me is, “feed a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can eat for the rest of his life.” That is what we’re doing down here in Peru. The orphanage we are building will provide the tools necessary for children to live successful lives and to keep them off the streets. I love you mom and dad for supporting me with this trip and would like to thank everyone who sponsored me.”

According to street children statistics, approximately 10,000 children die every year after being abandoned in Peru. The children are literally left on the sides of roads to tend to themselves because their mother has no money to raise a child. The purpose of the orphanage that we built during our stay in Peru was to house and tend to impregnated women who have nowhere else to go. When the child is born, they will be placed into the orphanage with other children where they will receive schooling and will acquire skills that will prepare them to live on their own when they turn eighteen years of age. This orphanage will touch hundreds of lives within the first year of use. The mothers’ lives will be changed, the kids’ lives will be changed, and eventually, these children will change someone’s lives due to the skills and knowledge they receive while being sheltered in the orphanage.

After returning to the states after my trip to Peru, I came back with a completely different outlook on life. I now understand the value of having a meal in front of me every day, having a beautiful home that my mother has provided for me, and having loving friends and family that take care of me every day of my life. The trip to Peru instilled the elements of love and compassion indo my life and I never expect these characteristics to leave my heart. I am truly thankful that Mr. Marble gave us the opportunity to go to Peru. This mission trip will forever change me into a person that values the little things in life.

2012 Movies in One Sentence

So I’ve got a little free time and want to try something new to wrap up 2012. With this being my first year critiquing films via the Internet, there were a lot of movies that came out that while I saw them, I didn’t always have the time to write up a full review. To try now would take too long so instead I’m going to review every major 2012 film-with a single sentence.

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The Devil Inside

This proved the whole “demonic possession” subgenre needs to go away for a long time.

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Contraband

Not terrible but Mark Whalberg showed us this year that he can be more interesting when he isn’t trying to be so serious.

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Haywire

Hopefully this will put an end to MMA fighters from trying to become actors.

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Red Tails

George Lucas just doesn’t have it anymore.

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The Grey

What looks like a fairly predictable survival flick turned out to have some pretty interesting themes and an emotional ending.

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Chronicle

I sincerely doubt anybody could make a better “found footage” film.

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The Woman in Black

It’s going to take more than this for me to stop thinking “Harry Potter” whenever Daniel Radcliffe is onscreen.

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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

The Rock just needs to go back to pro wrestling.

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Safe House

Proved that Denzel Washington can make for a hell of a villain.

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

The fact that this made a single dollar proves we are just stupid.

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Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance

Why are these still being made and why does Nicholas Cage still have a job?

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This Means War

In a word- stupid.

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The Lorax

Not bad for a lesser known Dr. Seuss project, but nothing special.

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Project X

The most fun you’ll have at a party unless you go to an actual party.

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John Carter

It’s funny that the story that most of science fiction is based off of today can’t get it’s own movie right.

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21 Jump Street

Skinny Jonah Hill is just as funny as Fat Jonah Hill.

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Casa de Mi Padre

Not Will Ferrell’s best, but pretty clever.

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The Hunger Games

Somewhere in that shaky cam is potential for the other two movies to be good.

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Mirror Mirror

Remember how this was supposed to be the good Snow White adaptation?

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Wrath of the Titans

There was a sincere lack in releasing of the Kraken.

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Titanic 3D

Of all the movies to be repacked in 3D and rereleased, I can’t blame them for this one.

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American Reunion

Apparently in all that time from American Wedding to now nobody could come up with new jokes.

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The Cabin in the Woods

Never before has a film been able to encompass an entire genre, kick it’s ass, then leave it’s audience’s jaws on the floor in the third act.

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The Three Stooges

Just freaking awful.

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The Lucky One

Maybe this will finally end the terrible career of Zac Efron.

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Think Like a Man

I feel like this should’ve offended somebody.

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The Raven

Interesting concept but the end result was very underwhelming.

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The Avengers

An incredible project that sets a new standard for superhero movies and I still cannot believe it worked.

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Dark Shadows

I’m going to start using this to describe every Tim Burton movie after Sweeny Todd- Meh.

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The Dictator

All the insults of Borat without the lawsuits!

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Battleship

Who the hell thought this would be a good idea?

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Chernobyl Diaries

Skip this and go watch Cabin in the Woods again.

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Men in Black 3

Not as bad as the second one, but still mediocre.

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Moonrise Kingdom

Never been a fan of Wes Anderson, but this is still pretty funny.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Maybe Charlize Theron could teach Kristen Stewart how to not suck?

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Piranha 3DD

The title of this film should’ve really been “We just don’t care now give us your money”

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Ra da da da da da da da circus

Da da da da da da da da afro

Circus afro circus afro

Look at that, look at that, look at that afro.

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Prometheus

Ridley Scott couldn’t decide if it was a prequel or not, so he made it nonsensical instead.

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Safety Not Guaranteed

What looks like an interesting indie sci-fi turns into an average indie-romantic film.

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Rock of Ages

If you love hair bands, you’ll have fun with this movie.

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That’s My Boy

What the hell happened to Adam Sandler?

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This movie took itself really seriously for it’s own title being a joke.

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Brave

It tried to do something different, but couldn’t live up to Pixar standards.

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Steve Carell only does two kinds of comedies and this isn’t the funny one.

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Madea’s Witness Protection

The day Tyler Perry stops making money off Madea is the day humanity wins.

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Magic Mike

I guess it’s only fair for girls to get this if we have at least one hot actress to oogle in nearly ever movie out there.

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Ted

Funniest movie of the year and it isn’t close.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

The fact that this movie was forced to be made doesn’t give it the excuse to mercilessly rip off Batman Begins, completely misunderstand Peter Parker and botch the Uncle Ben death and subsequent motivation for Spider-Man.

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Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D

Katy Perry is hot.

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Savages

A movie that starts off weird and just gets weirder.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift

The series should’ve stopped after the first one.

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The Dark Knight Rises

I probably gave it too much praise in my initial review, but its still good enough that it doesn’t deserve all the scrutiny for not being as good as The Dark Knight.

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Step Up Revolution

Serious question- who watches these?

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The Watch

It should’ve been funny but just wasn’t.

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Killer Joe

Proving that in all that time between A Time to Kill and now, Matthew McConaughey can still act.

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Total Recall

Wasn’t as imaginative as the original, but anything with two hot actresses and Bryan Cranston gets a pass from me.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

I don’t care what Roger Ebert says; taking a bunch of non-actors, setting them in what looks like a scene from an upcoming Spike Lee documentary about Louisiana getting flooded (again) all while having an eight-year-old girl run around with fireworks, throw tantrums and awkwardly read scripted voiceovers is boring.

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The Bourne Legacy

The directors were so obsessed about not having Matt Damon that they forgot to make a decent movie.

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The Campaign

A laugh here and there, but a complete letdown considering Ron Burgundy and the fat guy from the The Hangover are on screen.

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The Expendables 2

I’d say something bad, but I know somewhere Chuck Norris is reading this….

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ParaNorman

Surprisingly had a lot more to say about childhood bullying than most adult based films about the same topic.

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Premium Rush

If nothing else it gives me hope that Michael Shannon will be a fantastic General Zod in Man of Steel.

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Lawless

If you like Boardwalk Empire, you’ll enjoy this.

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For a Good Time, Call…

Them bitches be hoes…

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Resident Evil: Retribution

There have been 5 of these, people!

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Finding Nemo 3D

Best Pixar offering for 2003…and 2012.

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The Master

I’ve just never been crazy about Paul Thomas Anderson, so this just didn’t do it for me.

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Dredd

Given how horrible the trailers made it look, this was probably the biggest surprise of the year for actually being good.

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House at the End of the Street

I can tell Jennifer Laurence singed onto this one before her career took off.

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Trouble with the Curve

Guys, it’s time to admit that Justin Timberlake is legitimately talented.

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Looper

It tried and failed to make a small personal theme be the root of a much bigger concept and the end result left me wanting a lot more.

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Frankenweenie

Meh.

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Pitch Perfect

If you keep buying it, they’ll keep finding new ways to repackage High School Musical.

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Taken 2

Legitimate premise for a sequel but doesn’t come close to the original.

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Argo

You know you’re a good movie when I can be on the edge of my seat for over an hour even though I already know the ending.

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Here Comes the Boom

I really want Kevin James to start making more movies like this and less like Paul Blart.

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Seven Psychopaths

You had me at Christopher Walken.

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Sinister

Pretty freaking scary.

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Alex Cross

So can we just agree Tyler Perry shouldn’t be apart of any movie?

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Paranormal Activity 4

This is most likely going to become the new Saw franchise with yearly releases and downward slope in quality.

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Cloud Atlas

A movie that breaks the walls of gender, race and time to weave six tales into one great story.

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Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Yet another failed attempt and making videogames into film.

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Skyfall

The best James Bond film, period.

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Flight

Denzel Washington’s Oscar bait falls flat.

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The Man with the Iron Fists

Goofiness aside, this was pretty badass.

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Wreck-It Ralph

Best animated film of the year, and the next Disney franchise to be on par with Toy Story.

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Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis will take that Best Actor award now.

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Twilight: Breaking Dawn- Part 2

Oh thank sweet Christ it’s over!

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Life of Pi

This is one of many movies that were ruined for me by being forced to read the books back in high school, but it’s still okay.

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Red Dawn

Nothing more than a cheap cash-grab on a popular 80’s movie.

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Rise of the Guardians

Look past the generic title and superficial cheapness of using characters like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and you find a pretty good movie.

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Killing Them Softly

Go watch Drive instead.

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The Collection

A sequel that nobody saw to a 2009 movie that nobody saw.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A long awaited return to Middle Earth that doesn’t disappoint.

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Jack Reacher

Couldn’t get over how at only 5’10” I’m still taller than Tom Cruise.

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Django Unchained

A truly fantastic movie with depth, meaning, violence, enigmatic acting by Christopher Waltz and an incredible tag team of villains in Leonardo Dicaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.

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Les Misérables

The best movie adaptation of a musical ever.

Happy New Year!

- Connor Casey

The Losing Battle: Coping with the Loss of a Teammate

Belcher2

Photo courtesy of kcchiefs.com

On Saturday morning the Kansas City Chiefs lost two members of its family.

Jovan Belcher, 25, drove to his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins’ house at approximately 8 a.m. According to reports, Belcher shot Perkins nine times in front of his mother and the couple’s three-month-old daughter in the house.

Belcher then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility where he thanked Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for giving him an opportunity in the NFL.

Moments later, Belcher turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

By pulling that trigger, Belcher left those that loved him with questions they will never have the answers to. His final moments left those that cared dearly about him with an image that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

And, probably worst of all, he left his three-month-old daughter parentless.

This was the mark of a tragedy.

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Nobody is perfect.

We all have our demons that haunt us from time to time. But it didn’t appear Belcher was the type that was capable of committing a violent crime.

Belcher, by all accounts, was a loving boyfriend, a proud father and a model teammate.

He had a degree in child development and family relations from the University of Maine.

He was an undrafted free agent that made his way into the Chiefs starting lineup right away through hard work and dedication to his craft.

This wasn’t him. It didn’t make sense.

How does anyone come to grips with an action such as this?

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Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs

Photo courtesy of sbnation.com

Fast-forward 24 hours.

It’s Sunday morning and the Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for a football game.

No, seriously.

The Kansas City Chiefs that just lost a teammate one day earlier was preparing to take the field to play the Carolina Panthers.

It was a game that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

The Panthers came into the game with just three wins in a lost season, and the Chiefs had one win, and that came all the way back in September.

Many wondered why the game was being played in the first place.

But, right or wrong, the game was going to go on.

The team was forced to cope.

Less than 48 hours after coach Crennel witnessed one of his players shoot himself, he would lead his team onto the field of battle to play a intense and violent game.

Crennel did so flawlessly. The Chiefs played what many consider to be their best game of the season and beat the Panthers 27-21. After leading the NFL in turnovers through the first 11 weeks of the year, the Chiefs didn’t commit a single turnover in the game.

But after the game, it was clear that the win didn’t matter much to the team.

Like everyone else, they were still searching for answers.

Where did they go wrong? What could they have done to change this course of action?

The Kansas City community, Perkins family and Belcher’s family will all be searching for answers in the coming weeks.

The Chiefs are no different. They will also continue to search for answers that will likely never come.

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But it was after the game when the wheels started to come off the bus.

Most people were step-in-step with one another before the game.

Most everyone agreed that this was a tragedy. They questioned how and why Belcher would do such a thing and sent their thoughts and prayers for the child that was left without a parent.

But then came the naked underbelly that people didn’t want to see.

Belcher’s locker (pictured below) had not been cleaned out. His jersey hung in his locker resembling a shrine.

BelcherLocker

Photo courtesy of Danny Parkins’ Twitter

Dwayne Bowe tweeted a photo of him wearing a t-shirt depicting Belcher in the clouds.

DwayneBoweBelcher

Photo courtesy of Dwayne Bowe’s Twitter

These photos started quite the ruckus in the Kansas City community following the game. Many wondered why the team seemed to be painting Belcher as some sort of hero. Isn’t he a murderer?

Yes, he is.

He shot his wife nine times, and left a child without parents. These are facts. Nobody can dispute that what he did was wrong.

However, it’s also important to remember that these guys are Belcher’s family. It’s hard to think of anyone that could have spent more time with Belcher than his teammates.

Through the OTAs, the Mini Camps, the training camp and a 16-week season, there is very little time off for a professional football player.

For better or worse, this was Belcher’s life.

So why is it so wrong that the team dedicated the game to Belcher? He was a teammate, a friend and a brother to these men.

And now he’s gone.

If you have a brother, imagine him doing the unthinkable. Imagine he killed someone and then took his own life.

Can you imagine going to work the next day? Can you imagine how many questions would be going through your head?

You probably can’t. I sure as hell couldn’t.

And we also can’t imagine what this team is going through right now. They are in a state of shock, just like any of us would if we lost our brother so abruptly.

So stop and think to yourself for a second.

They’re not worshipping Belcher. They’re not pretending he was a saint. This team simply wanted to win this one for their brother.

And I, for one, commend them for that.

I’d like to leave you with a quote that sticks with me through times like this.

“Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold.” – Andre Maurois

 

-Brandon Kiley

**Follow Brandon on Twitter at BKSportsTalk**

Knotted

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The 49ers/Rams matchup marked the first tie in an NFL game since 2008. Photo by USA Today

I know it’s been a while since I’ve given a sports take on the blog and the show hasn’t been on for a month due to scheduling conflicts, but this popped up a couple of weeks ago and I’m finally getting a chance to talk about it.

Back on Nov. 11 the New Orleans Saints hosted the St. Louis Rams and ended up with a tie game 24-24. According to NFL rules, if nobody scores after a 15 min overtime period the game ends in a tie. Many of the players said after the game that they didn’t even know a game could tie, since it had been years since the last tie (Eagles/Bengals back in ’08).

This brings up one of my biggest pet peeves in sports- tying. I hate the idea of it. You train for countless hours, leave everything you have out on the field, only to be told at the end of the game that nobody wins. Sorry but that doesn’t fly with me. It goes against the competitive nature every athlete has. That inextinguishable desire to want nothing more than to be the best world at what you do.

To some extent every athlete has that desire to win. And if you’re playing on a professional level that competitive edge has been cranked up to 100. Now imagine playing at that level and being told that the game you just played had no winner. If I had to guess, I’d be pretty pissed off if I was in that situation.

Some sports choose to embrace ties. It’s part of the reason why I can’t get into soccer when the end result of a 90-minute match ending 0-0 is very possible. I’ve heard the argument that going to penalty kicks for soccer (and rugby) after an overtime period isn’t necessarily fair but at least it’s something. It’s not perfect when the other option is to just keep playing sudden-death style, but at least someone goes home with the W.

It’s actually amazing when you look at sports and see how so many of them have a simple solution to prevent ties- keep playing. Baseball adds another inning until someone wins. Basketball keeps adding overtime periods. In tennis you play an extra set. In golf you play more holes. Heck in the most basic athletic competition of all- a foot race- the solution to a tie is to have a do-over.

And what’s really frustrating about the whole thing is that NCAA Football, which has a laundry list of flaws, actually gets this right. You can’t have a tie College football, not even if you’re still tied after 5 overtimes. But you’re telling me the NFL- the most popular, profitable and highest rated sport in the country- let’s ties happen while every level of football from Pop Warner to College just let’s the game keep going? That doesn’t make sense.

Now I’ve heard two arguments against changing the rules.

There have only been 18 ties since the original overtime rule was put into place back in 1974. So changing the rule would kind of be fixing a problem that isn’t really there (coincidentally this also the best argument against the whole voter id debate). To people who say that my response is thus- Yes. You’re right. It isn’t a problem right now. But under certain circumstances it definitely could be. Imagine if, of the 16 games that have reached overtime this season, seven ended in ties instead of just one. Now imagine come playoff time a couple of teams get snubbed from the playoffs because ties count as only half a win (and half a loss). Coaches, owners, players, beat writers and above all fans would absolutely livid. And with the way the system is set right now nothing is stopping that from happening down the road. So getting rid of ties isn’t fixing a nonexistent problem, but rather stopping a much bigger problem from happening down the road.

The other argument is that the longer the game goes on the more likely a player is susceptible to injury. Again the argument makes sense. But for all of the rule changes the NFL keeps having in order to protect the investment owners have in players, can we just once make a rule change that players want? How many time have you heard the phrase from an NFL player “We all know what we signed up for.” I bet if you asked every player from the Niners and Rams, at least 95 percent of them would’ve wanted to just keep playing until somebody won. Because even though a lot of them do it for the money and perks, I’ve never heard of an athlete who didn’t at least enjoy the sport they play.

Bottom line- there shouldn’t be ties in football. They’re shouldn’t be ties in sports period. But above all there shouldn’t be ties in the biggest sport we have. Change the rule, finish the game.

- Connor Casey

Frustrations with How I Met Your Mother

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Alright this one’s been rambling around in my head for a while, so here goes.

I’m really disappointed with this season of How I Met Your Mother. And that sucks because it’s one of my favorite comedies and this is the final season.

For those who don’t know HIMYM is a comedy about five friends living in New York (yeah, it sounds like Friends) with the main character, Ted (Josh Radnor), narrating the story from the year 2030. See the start of the series begins with future Ted sitting his teenage son and daughter down to tell them the story of how he met his wife and their mother, hence the title. He starts the story off with his friend Marshall (Jason Segal) proposing to their mutual friend Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and introduces his best friend/wingman/womanizer/personification of awesomeness Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and initial love interest Robin (Cobie Smulders) though we find out quickly she isn’t the mother. As the show goes on we see Ted go in and out of relationships, Barney has an on/off relationship with Robin and Lily and Marshall get married and have a kid. All the while the audience is trying to decipher who the “Mother” is with the show annoyingly taunting us with the answer with red herrings and false clues.

Also here’s Barney explaining everything that’s happened in about one minute.

I’ve given my predictions as to who the Mother is, but if you look around online people have been debating over the answer and hyper-analyzing every episode since the first episode and it’s gotten a little bit crazy.

There are a lot of reasons I’ve loved this show. I love the characters, I love the fast paced humor, I love NPH as a huge womanizer when in real life he’s very gay, I love the simple natured Marshall, I love the guest spots, I love the creative method of storytelling and of course I love this!

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Prior to this season NPH and Segal were asked if this was the final season. They weren’t sure, but they said even if it wasn’t they were done. And everything I’ve since says that this is the final season (unless they somehow work out a deal for season nine) with the big reveal probably coming on the final episode. I’m really glad the writers decided to end show this season, because if That 70’s Show taught us anything, it’s that taking two of the main characters out of the show and trying to move forward just doesn’t work.

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               No matter how much weed you smoke!

At the start of the season we see the date and place where Ted is going to meet the mother- At a train station right after Barney and Robin get married (yeah, I’m really glad that worked out too).

(For those who don’t know, we find out in the first episode that Ted met the Mother holding a yellow umbrella)

So we have an end point. We’ve seen the final scene of the show with the big reveal and explanation of who the Mother is cut out. The only challenge now is how do we get to that point.

And that’s really where the show has faltered.

You see because we already know what the endpoint of the story is everything leading up to it has to make sense. What doesn’t help is that the writers ended last season with Ted running off his lost love Victoria, Robin dating a random guy and Barney getting engaged to a stripper. But by the end of the first episode of this season we know that all three relationships don’t matter and have to end in order for us to get to the endpoint. This is basically telling the audience “Hey, don’t bother caring with any of the stuff that’s been happening because none of it matters.” Doesn’t exactly make for good storytelling.

What’s worse is that while the show struggles to get from Point A to Point Z, the writers have broken the golden rule of comedy- funny comes first.  One of the reasons the show was so good, especially in the early seasons, was that even though a comprehensive story was being told the show never failed to be funny. There were plenty of moments when the show got serious or emotional but a quick laugh or memorable quote (usually from Barney) to lighten the mood. That really hasn’t happened this season. Sure we’ve had some good laughs but it doesn’t hold up to previous seasons because the show has made telling more important. That would work if this was Lost but remember this is still a comedy.

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Though Sawyer and Hugo could’ve made a great sitcom

Speaking of Lost my biggest fear about this show is that this season being lackluster gives a bad omen for the final episode. What I don’t want is for such a great show that has woven this big story stretching eight years to end on a bad note. I want the final episode to be memorable, for the questions to be answered. I just really don’t want it to end up being remembered as the “Show that didn’t know how to end.”

And they’ve got three weeks to figure it out.

- Connor Casey

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