â†µ4th and Long, America's most vomit-tastic football-based reality show, came to a close last night for Season One as the four finalists faced off in a final challenge to see who would earn the coveted roster spot at Cowboys camp waiting for the winner. â†µâ†µ
â†µIf you haven't been watching, the show deserves attention for actually making participants work like sweating mules for their spot. If you have been watching, the basics haven't changed: lots of swirling shots of the Cotton Bowl, a dramatic entrance by "Black Lightning," aka Michael Irvin, and then Mr. Lightning addressing the four remaining contestants in his natural rhythm: poetry. I wrote out the first speech he makes in this episode to test my theory that Irvin speaks in a loose iambic verse. He does. â†µâ†µ
â†µI know you have enjoyed the tour
â†µOf Valley Ranch.
â†µYou had the opportunity
â†µTo walk the same halls
â†µThat Tom Landry walked. â†µ
â†µSaw the locker where Troy Aikman lockered
â†µSaw where Emmitt Smith
â†µAll-time leading rusher
â†µAll the Cowboys greats,
â†µThey practice on this field. â†µ
â†µLook at each other.
â†µOnly one of you
â†µTo Valley Ranch â†µ
â†µHe's like Robert Frost, but with the ability to slash someone's throat with scissors in a murderous rage. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe coaches run them through the punt return drill, presumably to fill dead air since they've already done this in the first episode, and needed five minutes of air time to fill in between Irvin's Shakespearian monologues. Terence Newman comes in and works on technique with the DBs, and Michael Irvin utters the phrase "Sometimes you've got to trade the reception for the concussion." Read that again. He said it, and it was awesome. â†µâ†µ
â†µThen they line up for a full-contact game setup complete with announcers and a smattering of people in the stands, mostly family members with accents thick enough to get Spike to subtitle them. What this man said was totally clear to me, but Spike felt the need to turn the "random, meaningless subtitling" feature on during the finale. â†µâ†µ
â†µMore on that in a minute. The real star of the scrimmage is this numberless white receiver, who catches two TDs, does a backflip after the smallest of plays, and is probably just Jeremy Shockey moonlighting for extra gas money for his jet ski. ("Pimpin' like I do ain't cheap." -- J-Shock.) The actual contestants fare well enough, especially Jesse Holley, the converted basketball player who catches two TDs, goes over 100 yards receiving, and all but ensures that â†µcornerback Eddie Moten is going home when he burns him to a fine, crusty well-done play after play. Irvin gives him the "You might play somewhere, but it won't be for the Cowboys" schpiel, and he's gone. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe three are then taken to the new Cowboys Stadium. (You don't see this, but they are each charged a $400 admission fee off-camera for the "priviledge." Um, privilege. You'll see what I mean.) Then, Irvin addresses them, and calls the Cowboys the "most visible sports franchise in the world," if the world in this case equals "Texas." Little Chinese kids wearing Man U jerseys have no idea what Irvin is talking about, but you forget all about that when Gollum suddenly swings down from the rafters. â†µâ†µ
â†µOl' Double J comes in and makes Jimmy Johnson giggle by talking about how awesome he is. Then Irvin announces that Jesse Holley, the Cowboys can use you. Tears are shed, and then bad subtitles randomly appear again. â†µâ†µ
â†µThus ends the first season of 4th and Long. What did we learn? That Michael Irvin is a naturally gifted Shakespearian actor, and should do infomercials where he sells knives, black clothing, and explosives by putting his hands on his hips and staring for an hour straight until you give up and buy it. That people will endure astonishing pain in order to get just a chance at playing professional football. And finally, we learned that Nate Newton gets winded just opening a door, something you already suspected, but now know for sure. I can't wait for next season, where Michael Irvin makes 11 prospective contestants run wind sprints in Hell in July for six hours as a warmup before subjecting them to the real workout of pulling the stitches tight on JJ's latest ass-lift. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.