Hootie and the Blowfish's SportsCenter music video: A deconstruction

In 1995, the wildly popular Hootie and the Blowfish released their music video for "Only Wanna Be With You," a fun-loving romp through SportsCenter and the world of sports at large. Eighteen years later, questions remain unanswered.

The music video for Hootie and the Blowfish's "Only Wanna Be With You" is one of the most 1990s things we have, for two reasons: Hootie and the Blowfish, and the video's SportsCenter theme. We're talking Mike Tirico with hair, Fred Couples, Alonzo Mourning ... some real 1990s sports shit. Watch with me, because you watched it 450 times in 1995 and then never ever saw it again.

It's a pretty good song, actually! I may just be saying this because I've listened to this song upwards of 100 times over the course of writing this article, but I kind of like it! Regardless, I have ten (10) questions and points of observation I would like to forward:

I. What is that thing on Keith Olbermann's desk?


OK well, I've never worked in television, and I'm sure those in the industry would explain that it's a "TV whatever thing." I am willing to share the following guesses:

- Old old old old old old old PalmPilot

- Ornamental telestrator

- TV whatever thing

- TV thing

- Script warmer

- Pogz4U BrowseMaster, a single-task device that costs $699 and allows you to browse through and purchase pogs from Pogz4U.com, provided you pay a $19.99 monthly subscription fee and $1/megabyte usage fee. Each pog shows up in LCD black-and-white and takes seven minutes to load.

- World's worst trumpet

II. The worst line in the history of SportsCenter

ah ha ha ha nope

Why "rarely" instead of, like, "never?" "Never" would have at least made for a clean double-negative. "Well, Hootie would probably shoot .025 or so. We must say 'rarely,' and in so doing, maintain the journalistic standards demanded by a music video about a dad-rock band starting their own NBA franchise and making it to the final group of a professional golf tournament even though it's clearly demonstrated throughout that they are awful golfers. Alright, time for lunch. Who's up for some Boston Market?"

III. Keith Olbermann might have completely hated this shit.

The famously mercurial, demanding, and difficult Keith Olbermann did have great chemistry with Dan Patrick, and he was as up for a little fun as anyone, so maybe Olbermann liked this. But maybe he ****ing hated it, because Keith Olbermann has such a reputation for being the way he is that I could see him getting mad that his toaster didn't come with toast.

IV. Recumbent jammin'.


Sir! SIR! Sit up straight and show some decorum, please. You are in a music video about golf.

V. Hey, about Hootie real quick.


I've tried for days to figure out where to place Hootie and the Blowfish. They were sort of proto-dadrock, but they weren't just that, because 40-year-olds were buying Cracked Rear View and so were 14-year-olds. Every household in the United States owned the album in triplicate: one in the CD player, one in the car's tape deck, and one set on top of the fridge and forgotten, a present from someone who foolishly thought that they could possibly buy Cracked Rear View for someone who didn't own it already.

Highly accessible, generally inoffensive ... oh shit, 1990s Coldplay. OK, there we go.

VI. Hootie and the Blowfish's expansion franchise is struggling at the outset.


So Hootie got a basketball franchise, but it's made up only of the four members of the band, which of course is not even enough to field a starting lineup. They're shown on SportsCenter, but they're in mismatched uniforms, tooling around in some rec center. They're playing against Alonzo Mourning, but Zo is just embarrassing them.

This is a flu dream. The concept of the dream is complete fantasy, and then they woke up halfway without really realizing it. A normal dream would have been a Hootie dunk reel on SportsCenter, but they're just awake enough to trigger their "real-world logic" algorithms, and they're left with the miserable task of bending this dumb fantasy world to real-world constraints.

Hootie and the Blowfish are in Hell.

VII. The f*** you smilin' at, Jimmy


Okay, three possibilities:

1. Dude is laughing at something funny someone yelled so loud as to be heard over the band.

2. Since it's the middle of the song, dude is still cracking up over something someone said over two minutes ago.

3. Dude is just happy to be alive.

Going with 3., because the 1990s were the decade of Candid Laughter Over Nothing. Like every other '90s music video, sitcom opening theme, what have you, it features B-roll of someone candidly laughing. At what or who? Nothin', man, nothin', just havin' a good time in a polo shirt. Here's more of that.

VII. Get your shit together, Jimmy


This moment right here is sort of the "Ozzy bites a bat's head off" for the VH1 set. You know, those dudes who lived out in the suburbs and had refrigerators with working ice makers and drove around in their Dodge Neons jammin' Cracked Rear View. Heh. Just a rock-n-roller showin' all those stuff-shirts at the golf course how to have some fun. Heh.

VIII. Fred Couples, golfbot

They got Dan Marino and Alonzo Mourning to goof around in this video, but Hootie just couldn't get shit out of Fred Couples. Here is his appearance, in entirety.

"Hey, Freddy? Was thinkin' maybe we could put our arms around each other's shoulders, maybe get some B-roll of us laughin' and jokin' around ... no? Could we golf with you? Or ... could we just stand there while you golf? Could we just film you while you ... hello? Fred. Freddy. Fredster. F-Troop. Yoooooo Freddy. Do you want to be in a music video? Do you know what music is? No?"

And Jeez, Mike Tirico. You are just a lil' baby.

IX. Polo-shirt.gif


This man could not possibly be Jim Nantz, because this video came out years before Nantz became household-name, dadrock-video material. Maybe some of y'all recognize this guy. I'm just calling him Nantz, because he's close enough to Nantz that it doesn't really matter.

Most interesting things this guy has ever done:

1. Worn press credentials to a music video

2. Stood on a billiards table and putted a billiards ball

3. Briefly wore one shoe rather than two, right after he had put on one shoe and was reaching to put on the other

4. Collapsed an empty box of saltine crackers and set it in the trash can flat so as to conserve space

5. Saw two Starbucks establishments in a single day

6. Said "oh" after a friend said he went to the post office and then the grocery store, not the other way around

7. Drove a car for a half-hour without being hit by an asteroid

X. Settle down, guys, Jesus

Most of the goings on in this video could be considered "hijinks." Simply dropping a 40-yard pass cannot be considered "hijinks."

This is clearly not a competitive situation. Dan Marino's out there in a sweatshirt. Darius Rucker, non-athlete, drops one pass, and Marino looks absolutely bewildered. Like, shitty showoff bewildered.


Hey listen, asshole. We know you're really famous and your time is valuable, but it's 1995, and Hootie and the Blowfish are a pretty big deal, too. Maybe even bigger than you are. They've asked you if you'd like to be in their video, because you know, might be fun, they're fans of yours, could be cool to just chuck a few balls and maybe throw some clips into the hopper.

So I mean ... if Rucker drops one out there, is it a big deal? I mean, aren't you guys just shooting some fun stuff for a music video? You really gotta find a camera and bug out like that? Yes, yes, we know, God, he's not a good football player! He didn't even catch the ball! Yeah, man, yeah, I know. I don't know what the f*** you want me to do with this information though, man.

You've got a long time left in the spotlight, man. You're gonna be on TV forever. Hootie and the Blowfish aren't gonna be around all that much longer. And they just thought it'd be fun. Just thought it'd be fun! That's all. Don't know why you have to make some big f***in' show of it and just try to punk them out like that. As though, I mean, they'd even care. You clearly give waayyyyyyy more of a shit about any of this than anyone else does, buddy. Might just wanna chill out a bit there.


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