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Ben McAdoo telling the Giants about Frasier the sex lion proves he has excellent taste in TV

Frasier the Sensuous Lion is a true story — and the focus of a pivotal episode in the final season of “The Leftovers.”

Early last season, the New York Giants were coming off three straight losses when head coach Ben McAdoo used the movie Step Brothers as motivation for his team to turn things around. It must have worked — they reeled off six wins in a row and eventually clinched their first playoff berth in five years.

This year, McAdoo isn’t waiting until the season to get his players’ heads right. His source of inspiration is a tad different, though:

That’s a true story, too, as anyone who watched the final season of The Leftovers knows. I’m guessing that’s where McAdoo, a bona fide TV lover, first heard of Frasier.

The LA Times has the whole story: In 1970, an animal preserve in LA bought an elderly lion thought to be on his last legs from a Mexican circus. A lioness who rebuffed all the other lions was soon pregnant by him. Many others followed. Within a year and a half, he had fathered as many as 40 cubs and became known as Frasier the Sensuous Lion. There was even a movie. And a song.

The Leftovers, in its beautifully off-kilter way, made Frasier the centerpiece of an episode in its third season. In a world where 2 percent of the population disappeared without explanation, people will do anything to feel — or perhaps not feel. For some in The Leftovers universe, that involved being in a sex cult that worshipped a lion (a lion that ended up eating “God,” but that’s neither here nor there).

The “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” episode was outrageous, harrowing, and tinged with unexpected humor. In short, it was the finest of what The Leftovers had to offer in its short life. It was about how we deal with loss, and how deeply confusing and emotional, yet also triumphant, that can be.

If that’s really where McAdoo found out about Frasier, then I applaud him, not just for his fine taste in TV, but for his willingness to challenge himself. The Leftovers wasn’t the easiest show to watch, but it was immensely rewarding. Despite what the Emmys say, it was also the best show of the year — and one of the best ever.