Review: The Daily Line is a Hot Mess, but I’m Fallin’ For You

Feel free to believe me on this one.  I was already overly generous to them once on that test show.  That was me throwing a network I like and some people I like a bone.  This is for real.  The Daily Line, in about a week’s time, has become the world’s most watchable sports talk show on television.  It’s kind of like being the world’s tallest midget, but there’s certainly no shame in being a fairly accessible, at times riotously funny (Namely: Whenever comic Reese Waters says/does anything) show that happens to be about sports.

Producers round this great nation for years have tried to crack the unsolvable mystery “How do we take ‘The Daily Show’ and do it for sports?”.  There have been numerous attempts.  “Sports Soup” is exactly that, and I guess it’s succeeding based on the fact that it’s still on.  Still, not many are likely watching.  Kenny Mayne was given a pilot.  Dennis Miller had a show for a little while.  No one’s been able to make sports funny on a daily basis.  Why?  Because sports isn’t always inherently funny, so you have to treat it somewhat seriously because people care.

This is where The Daily Line, I think, succeeds.  There are no faking bipartisanships on the show, to the point where all the anti-Mets humor gets really friggin’ annoying and I want to punch Jenn Sterger and Liam McHugh and Reese Waters and Rob DeAngelis in the face.  Like, directly in temples.  But I kinda like that in my sports shows.  Not to the point where it gets insufferable and acting like you’re an expert (Dear Liam McHugh: Referencing Mike Francesca twice in your first week endears you to no one), but as long as you’re just trying to give your take, without promising gospel, I like some honest disagreement.

The sports discussion, which often relies too much on odds and numbers for someone like me, who doesn’t give a shit about gambling, is pretty decent – again, no one’s pretending they aren’t a fan here – as sports shows go.  No one’s yelling, everyone’s cracking jokes, you feel almost as if the cast should have a beer to go along with it, and I think if VERSUS is going to let them crack some foul language that I usually only hear on “South Park”, they might as well.

There are some obvious failings on the show.  First of all, on a network who’s top property is hockey… nobody knows jack shit about hockey.  DeAngelis is the only person who comes close to even hinting that he might know a little, and then he keeps referring to Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher as ‘Bobby Boucher’ from The Waterboy, which would be funny… if you didn’t think DeAngelis wasn’t convinced that Bobby Boucher is his real name.

Again, there’s way too much reliance on odds.  Does anyone gamble on hockey or regular season basketball?  Or even regular season baseball, for that matter?   Go easy on the oddsmaking and five canoli specials until football season, please.  The reliance on blogs seems forced as well.  Yay, just what I want to hear, a joke from a blogger that’s only funny when read to yourself, on live TV!  I’d pretty much drop that.  Unless you want to talk to bloggers, there’s no real reason to pretend you care about the web for any other reason than viral videos and interacting with viewers.

That said, it’s far from the worst thing VERSUS has thrown at the wall (‘Fanarchy’ anyone?) and probably easily the best show I’ve seen in my five years following the network.  That’s not to say that there aren’t a multitude of improvements that could be made.  I think the show’d be tighter at a half-hour long instead of an hour.  I think they should cut down on the gambling talk.  I think someone there should know something about hockey on a network that’s going to show about part or whole of 80-90 hockey games the next two months.

But that said… it ain’t bad.  And that’s pretty good as far as sports talk goes.


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