Monday, May 18, 2015

The Unofficial Champ

TigerBlog wants to talk all about the last episode ever of "Mad Men," which aired last night, ending the show's seven-season, 92-episode run.

And here's everything TB knows about it: The show as set in the 1960s, everyone smoked and it was about advertising.

TigerBlog never watched any of those 92 episodes all the way through. He probably saw less than 60 minutes of the show total.

Contrast that with Derek Jones, Princeton's outstanding men's basketball play-by-play announcer and all-around good man.

Each Sunday night, Derek has tweeted update after update, and he tweeted last night at 8:00 about how he was ready for "one more go-round."

When TB texted Derek about the show before it aired, this was the response he got:
"It's my favorite show ever. Own each season on DVD. I'm definitely very pumped for the finale. My only hesitation about the show tonight is there are  so many ways the finale could end that it may be disappointing. Hope it's not a Sopranos finish."

TigerBlog has never watched "Mad Men." He knows people who have never watched "The Sopranos" or "Homeland" - (at least the first two seasons of "Homeland" - and he always says the same thing: "How could you have missed that? Those are the greatest shows ever."

Well, those two, plus "Hill Street Blues." And "Breaking Bad."

In reality, people go their own way when it comes to TV shows.

For some, they saw a few minutes of "The Sopranos" and it didn't click, in much the same way that TigerBlog never got into "Mad Men" or any number of other shows.

TigerBlog has gotten into "Parenthood," which just ended its six-season run on real TV. He doesn't know a soul who watched it at any point of those six years, and in all honesty he's not sure he ever heard of it.

He stumbled onto it on Netflix, and he zoomed through the 13 episodes of Season 1. This leaves him 90 episodes away from being done. That seems like a lot.

So anyway, if you were into "Mad Men," TB hopes the last episode was tremendous.

These days, there are an endless number of choices for TV shows, between Netflix and on-demand and all. It's not like it was when TB was a kid, when a show was on Tuesday at 8 or Thursday at 10 and that was that, either you saw it or didn't.

TB can't figure out why he takes to some shows and never gets past the first 15 minutes of the first episode of others. He'll consider that while he tears through the next five seasons of "Parenthood."

Maybe in some way, contemporary television and contemporary Princeton athletes have something in common. There's something for everyone.

Princeton has 38 sports, which compete in wildly different ways, venues, cultures and all. The sport-by-sport drop-down menu on is like the Netflix menu, right?

Anyway, of those 38 sports, all but five compete for an Ivy League championship. The five that don't are men's water polo, women's water polo, women's lightweight rowing, sprint football and men's volleyball.

And of those 33 sports, all have crowned a champion for the 2014-15 academic year. The last three were decided yesterday, when Yale won the men's heavyweight rowing, Cornell won the men's lightweight rowing and Brown won the women's open rowing.

Princeton finished second in heavies, second in women's open and third in men's lightweights.

With the end of the Ivy League seasons, the unofficial all-sports points championship
is now, well, official.

And this year, for the 28th time in 29 years, the winner is Princeton.

The Tigers had 208 points, outdistancing Harvard, who had 190.5. The Crimson had won last year, ending Princeton's 27-year winning streak. No other school had more than 137 points.

Princeton finished with 11 Ivy League championships, one more than Harvard. The next-best was four.

Princeton's 11 Ivy championship teams, for the record, were: men's soccer, field hockey, men's cross country, men's indoor track and field, women's basketball, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, men's outdoor track and field, men's lacrosse, women's tennis and women's lacrosse.

And that's that for the Ivy League in 2014-15.

And as for "Mad Men?" Here's Derek's take on the finale:

"When I originally watched the ending, I didn’t like it. I thought it was too vague in the vain of 'The Sopranos' finish. However, after sitting on it for a bit, I thought it was a good show. It’s evident Don went back to advertising at some point and came up with the 1971 Coke commercial for McCann Erickson.

"My biggest problem with the last show was how they used Don throughout it. His ex-wife is dying of cancer and his kids clearly need him, but he is off driving cars and going on yoga retreats. I would have liked to have seen him actually go back home on the show tonight and deal with the issues instead of the audience needing to assume that he did so.

"Overall, I thought he worked it out in the long run. The show’s two most important characters are Don and Peggy. Don’s interactions with Peggy were always meaningful and typically led episodes to important moments and that was the case again tonight.

"As a whole, the main characters mostly received appropriate conclusions at that moment in time. 

"For whatever reason, it seems like shows struggle with the series finale and coming up with a finish that satisfies the fans. However, I thought this did the trick and was a rather reasonable conclusion to the series.

"I’ll definitely miss it."

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