Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hundred Aker Wood and Basketball

Hi there. Ever notice how some people have a good idea, but never quite follow it all the way through or know how to pull it off? I usually see this happen in comedies. The writer and the director create these highly entertaining characters that are doomed to fail in hilarious fashion or such irredeemable jerks that you just KNOW they will be unhappy by the end of the movie. In fact, the whole point of the character and setting is that they won't get the girl and live happily ever after. And yet, every time, the producers sell out and we get some sappy and totally unbelievable happy ending with a wedding. We sat through an hour of a good dark comedy to watch the creators betray their vision and patch together some "Hollywood ending." That type of half-heartedness just drives me up the wall. When I do something, I make sure to do it right. Ain't no half steppin' with me. When I'm cuddling, I cuddle. And when I'm watching TV, well, I'm cuddling, too. What can I say, I like cuddling?

Anywho, Ozzie sent me an article on the NBA where the author took the time to imagine a draft of the characters in Winnie the Pooh. Right off the bat, I'm on board. I can't think of better comedy fodder than bringing together two disparate and totally unrelated sets of things (editor: Kinda like teddy bears and blogging?) Quiet, you. I don't need any of your cheap one-liners in this post. (Editor: Okay, suit yourself.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, unlike things and entertainment. When I think of the menagerie imagined by A.A. Milne, I do NOT think basketball. I might think food or flood insurance or maybe even exploration, but basketball wouldn't even make the top 100 concepts. Basketball is to the Hundred Aker Wood as ... huh ... this is a tough one. Logging is to New York City? I dunno. I think it needs to be a sport. The Lumberjack Olympics is to New York City? I dunno, cuz I don't see Pooh or Piglet chopping down any trees and if they did, well, then there wouldn't be a Hundred Aker Wood, now would there? What sport do those guys play? Pooh sticks? I betcha kids play Pooh Sticks in the Bronx. Kinda universal. That is the whole point of the story, isn't it? Heffalump hunting? Hmmm. The point is, basketball and Christopher Robin's beloved plush family are not a natural fit.

And I think a mock draft of these characters is a great way to think about it. But the author just didn't think it out enough. Maybe it because he isn't a teddy bear. Here's how Andrew Lawrence ranked the crew:

RankCharacter Goofball's Analysis
#7PigletYeah, Piglet would probably be the worst basketball player. No heart. Smaller than the ball. Annoying, so teammates would dump him in the laundry basket. Maybe I'm selling him short, but Piglet doesn't seem to have the drive and courage of Mugsy -- only his stature. And Scott Skiles was pretty pink, but he was a gritty player. Let's face it, you can't be both short and soft in the NBA.
#6Eeyore Excuse me? Eeyore would be awesome. First off, he's the only four legged animal and stubborn as all get out, so he would be immovable down on the blocks. And he's also the only character with the demonstrated ability to put the ball in the hole. Remember the birthday story with putting the rag in the useful pot? And Eeyore has a mean streak. Guy goes out of his way to embarass people. For cryin' out loud, he eats thistles!! How many championships do you think Charles Barkley would have won if he ate thistles instead of Big Macs? I see Eeyore being like Arvydas Sabonis.
#5OwlDude argues that Owl has a high basketball IQ. Did he miss the fact that Owl is always wrong? Owl thinks he is right and the rest of the characters believe him, but there is no substance there. Owl might be a fan favorite and have a unique fashion sense (tell me you couldn't see animal tails serving as doorbells on MTV Cribs), but he'll lead the team astray. Owl's got wings, so he probably has rise. I could see Owl being like Dominque -- all flash, but no substance.
#4RabbitNow here's a tough one. Rabbit is super organized and takes charge. And Rabbits can run like the dickens. But Rabbit is also kind of a jerk. Remember when he really got up in Tigger's grill and made him feel lower than low? Rabbit had a point, but that isn't the way to inspire the troops. In a lot of ways, Rabbit is like Larry Brown, but Larry isn't really known as a player. Maybe someone like Scottie Pippen, great player and acts like a leader, but you always guess that his teammates would like to see him traded.
#3RooClassic example of someone drafting based on potential more than accomplishment. Sure, the kid will be able to jump, but he's smaller than Piglet now. The best thing you can say about Roo is that he has an infectious enthusiasm that makes teammates want to play harder. But I don't see why you'd pick Roo when Kanga is still on the board. I mean she's older, fully developed, and already won honors. Why take a chance on Roo when you can get the seasoned pro ready to contribute immediately? You have no idea whether Roo will turn into Kobe Bryant or Korleone Young. The kid seems nice and hard working, though. Okay, so I'd draft him high, but I'd take Kanga first.
#2PoohNow here is where the train goes off the tracks. Excuse me? We're talking about a bear that fell into his own trap and got his head stuck in a pot of honey. Sure he's nice and talented and has a soft touch, but you just know he's going to eat himself out of the league ala Oliver Miller or Stanley Roberts.
#1TiggerDead on right here. His feet are made of rubber, his tail is made of springs, and there is only one of him. Yeah, his leaping ability sometimes gets him in trouble. You'd like Tigger to know what he was going to do with the ball before leaving his feet, but he jumps so high it almost doesn't matter. And with that bouncy, accesible personality, you just know that marketers will love him and the turnstiles will keep clicking. I think Darryl Dawkins might be Tigger's closest parallel. A little rim rattling, honey pot shattering, Rabbit hole stuffin' slam dunkin' from Chocolate Thunder comin' atchya, baby!

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Let's face it, there ain't a lot of talent in the Hundred Aker Wood, which makes the exclusion of Kanga all the more inexplicable. I'm sure Christopher Robin would be better than the animals -- having thumbs opposable or otherwise has to help. But Chris is human and there is no fun in that. Contrariwise, the kid is British, so you just know he is going to be bad at basketball. When your nation's best players are Michael Olowokandi and John Amaechi, you better turn your attention to other sports like soccer. Or invent games like cricket and hope your colonies don't beat you too badly. Maybe Luol Deng will develop into a nice player, but doesn't Sudan need a hero more than Great Britain? And what sort of insecure country names itself "Great?" It's like putting the world "People" or "Democratic" in your name. If you need to advertise it so badly, then precisely the opposite is probably true. Maybe I shouldn't say anything more, seeing as Harriet is sorta from England (which is a perfectly fine name, but GREAT Britain?!).

But if I were drafting, I'd rank the players as follows:
1) Tigger
2) Kanga
3) Eeyore
4) Roo
5) Rabbit
6) Owl
7) Pooh
8) Piglet

Not much of a talent pool, huh? Maybe Four Square would be a better game for the good folks at Pooh Corner. Or marbles. I could see them playing marbles.

Dang it! This post didn't quite work. (Editor: Perhaps it would have benefited from my observations.) I don't want to hear anything from you.

Well, that's all from the Gooball. Still spectating and speculating in The Bend.


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