Tag Archives: “Parenthood

“Parenthood” roars to the finish line with tears and joy. Tie Domi’s kid with an incredible hockey goal. And the U.S. women come alive at the Aussie Open


As we await Snowpocalypse 2015 here in NYC, I must of course give a major tip of the cap to Mike Krzyzewski for his 1,000th win Sunday over St. John’s. Obviously I’m biased as a huge Duke fan, but 1,000 wins is an incredible number. He’s the greatest coach in the history of the sport, and it’s an amazing accomplishment. Now, if he can just teach this current group a little defense, national title No. 5 could be coming to Durham in April…

“Parenthood” is down to its final episode this Thursday night, and man, is this show going out with a bang.

I have loved it from the beginning, occasionally hated it and gotten mad at it for some unrealistic decisions involving characters and money, but mostly been way too fascinated with it to stop watching.

And as it comes down to the finish, man, the tissues have been out at my house. This wonderful ensemble keeps giving us beautiful “farewell”-type emotions, manipulating us into feeling joy and sadness all at the same time.


Last week’s was one of the show’s best episodes ever: Amber giving birth (and of course, naming her baby after her apparently soon-to-die Grandpa Zeke, which even though you knew she would do that, it was still emotional), the great scene with Amber and Sarah singing Joni Mitchell, the Joel/Julia relationship patch-up getting rocky, and of course the totally awesome Braverman family screaming match in the hospital waiting room, when Kristina, who I never agree with, rightly calling out Jasmine for guilting Adam into staying with the recording studio. (My wife thought that was “Parenthood’s” best scene ever).

With one week to go, I’m sad to see such a show with heart go off the air. I don’t know how Zeke’s going to die, but I’m sure he will (a heart attack walking Sarah down the aisle?)

Frustrating at times but always with its heart in the right place, “Parenthood” will be sorely missed in the Lewis house. And lots of others, too, I’m sure.

**Next up, this is one of the coolest goals I’ve ever seen. Max Domi is a major prospect in the Arizona Coyotes’ organization, and he now plays for the junior London Knights of the Ontario (Can.) Hockey League.

He’s also the son of legendary NHL goon Tie Domi, and suffice to say Tie never scored any goals like this.

Just awesome…


**Finally today, we’re in Week Two of the Australian Open tennis tournament now, always one of my favorites even though I can no longer stay up late to watch the 3:30 a.m. night matches from Melbourne (Ah, my 20s, when I could do such a thing.)

And it’s been a fabulous tournament so far, even though my boy Federer was shockingly knocked out early. The best part has been the performance of the American women, the youngsters coming up behind Venus and Serena who’ve been talked about for years.

We had seven American ladies reach the final 32, and four in the final 16. Coco Vandeweghe and Varvara Lepchenko, and even Taylor Townsend, who lost in Round 1 and is probably a future Grand Slam champion, looked good.

But the biggest stories have been 24-year-old Delaware native (yeah Delaware!) Madison Brengle, who won 7 pro tour level matches in her career before 2015, and yet played Sunday night in the 4th round against Madison Keys (above), a legit Top 10 talent who’s only 19 and is making her Grand Slam breakthrough. (Fun fact: Last year at the French Open, Keys had the fastest average groundstroke speed of anyone in the event, man OR woman. Crazy.)

The American men … eh, we’re still waiting for the next generation to become major forces on the tour (Francis Tiafoe, Stefan Kozlov, our lonely eyes turn to you).

But it’s great to see the U.S. women finally making some noise. If we’re lucky, Venus will win Sunday night and play Keys in the quarterfinals, guaranteeing a U.S. woman into the semis.


“Parenthood” goes out on a great note. Mental Floss pays tribute to the late, great “Freaks and Geeks.” And the Rangers-Flyers series has divided my family


Another season of the infuriating but fascinating and often lovable NBC show “Parenthood” has just finished up, and as usual, the season finale is so good and heartfelt that I almost overlook all the things wrong with this year’s show.

Like the insane storyline of Kristina running for mayor of Berkeley, or even more insane idea of her and Adam opening up a charter school for autistic kids. Or Sarah Braverman being a horrendous mother and all-around not-great person, yet getting more men chasing after her than any woman her age in history.

But dammit, as often as I get mad at the show, I still love it. The season finale (SPOILER ALERT) was beautiful in so many ways; Amber reuniting with her still-majorly damaged physically and mentally ex-fiance Ryan was beautiful. Ray Romano’s Hank, who I’ve completely turned around on and now root for, pouring out his heart to Sarah a week earlier, and now trying so hard to be the man she can date; and the Joel/Julia separation storyline, which has dragged on forever, continues to be interesting because of the great acting. (Completely improbable that Victor would win an essay contest and read so flawlessly out loud given what we know about him, but that scene in the school library was just so touching.)

The finale was sweet and tender with the whole Braverman family house being sold storyline coming to an end, and Drew going to see his new girlfriend, and Haddie suddenly being a lesbian (my wife and I both thought it was hilarious that the kid grew up in free-love Berkeley, yet discovered she liked girls at Cornell).

I don’t know if NBC is going to renew “Parenthood,” it seems to always be up in the air. But this show has tremendous heart, and for all its flaws, continues to win mine. Please, NBC, keep it on the air.

**Next up, the great website Mental Floss has been on a roll lately writing about beloved former TV shows, and this weekend they put out a list of “20 Things You Didn’t Know About” one of the all-time greats, and a show I’ve talked about several times on this blog already, “Freaks and Geeks.”

Couple of great nuggets in this story: Everything that happened to the characters on the show actually happened to one of the show’s writers (man, that episode with the fake keg party must’ve been hilarious in real life, too), Lauren Ambrose from “Six Feet Under” was almost Lindsey Weir (she’d have been great), and there were some awesome storylines for Season 2 that never got to happen (Daniel in jail? Yeah, that would’ve fit).

This was such a classic show; so wrong that it only got one season.



**Finally today, Sunday was a great day (mostly) for me. My mother hosted a post-Passover lunch for our extended family, and I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while. We ate, we laughed, we ate some more, and I got to play catch with my 9-year-old nephew, which is always a good thing.

So everything was great… except when we watched the hockey game together. I was born and raised a Rangers fan, just like my father taught me to be. My sister married a man from outside Philadelphia, who is a die-hard Flyers fan and is raising his child to be one, too. (Hey, he has other good qualities, but she had to marry a Flyers fan???)

Anyway, the Rangers and Flyers played Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series Sunday, and me and the enemy watched some of the game together. My bro-in-law and nephew cheered when something good happened for Philly. I cheered when something good happened for the Rangers.
They got to cheer more. I didn’t get to taunt a 9-year-old, which is probably a good thing.
The Flyers won. Then we ate.

Playoff hockey is life.  But family’s family. Still, I ain’t watching no more games with any Flyers fans this year…


Ranting about “Parenthood” and “The Big Bang Theory.” And a beautiful photo exhibit of life with cancer

Parenthood - Season 4

Haven’t done a “ranting about television” post in a while, and it just so happens that two of my favorite shows got me riled up this week.

First, “Parenthood.” As I’ve maintained since the beginning of the show’s run five years ago, I love it, and even when I’m mad at some of the choices the writers make with it, I still love it. I think the acting is terrific, it’s got great heart, and the show always makes time for all of the characters to get their own storylines and great moments.

And this year has been great… I love what they’ve done with Zeke and Millie and their struggles with each other, and selling the house. I am enjoying the Amber/Ryan story line (he’ll always be Luke Cafferty from “FNL” to me), even though I know it will end badly for Amber, the best actress on the show, IMO. Even the Joel/Julia stuff with their son has been solid, though it looks like the writers are taking the lazy way out by having the threat of infidelity be a wedge between the couple.

So it’s been terrific… except for the completely ludicrous and stupid “Kristina running for mayor of Berkeley” storyline. So many reasons to hate this: First of all, the woman just survived cancer, and now she’s got the energy and strength to run for mayor with zero political experience? Because that’s good for a cancer patient, running a major campaign.
Then there’s the way the writers are trying to make Adam, her husband, look like the bad guy for putting on the brakes on this. The dude is worried about feeding his family (and baby daughter, who conveniently is absent this year) and that his wife might collapse under the strain, and they paint him as the bad guy?

Then there’s the pathetic double standard in last week’s episode, where Kristina feels bad about taking campaign money from a developer she disagrees with, but is totally fine with getting money from a rapper who’s a felon? Ridiculous.

Like I said, I still love the show. But it seems like every year they have to give us one storyline that completely defies belief (Sarah and Ray Romano’s character having a tryst, Adam and Crosby not selling the Luncheonette for millions).


**OK, on to “Big Bang Theory,” which for years has been the best thing on broadcast TV. Four perfectly drawn male characters, the females who love them, and so much quirky fun that even in reruns I find myself laughing really hard.

But here’s the problem: Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, has won all kinds of Emmys and other awards for his fantastic job playing the role. And the writers have completely gotten sucked into his awesomeness, to the point that they make nearly EVERY episode about Sheldon.
Which wouldn’t be that bad, if we saw any change, any growth, any sign of human development from him.
But nope, this season he’s exactly the same as all the other years: Completely oblivious to others’ feelings, totally self-absorbed, and having no clue about how to have a relationship with the awesome Amy Farrah-Fowler (I couldn’t love Mayim Bialik more).

I mean, no human being could really be this static for this long, and their constant focus on Sheldon treating others horribly, and everyone just accepting it just fine, has gotten really stale.
The show has become a lot less funny, and simply stupid at times tis year. There’s so much material they can still mine with Howard, Raj, et al., but by continuing to give us the same tired old Sheldon behavior and stereotypes, they’re really getting close to jumping the shark.

Whew. OK, I feel better now. Thanks for listening.


**Finally today, a beautiful and heartbreaking photo essay by a man named Angelo Merendino, who took the time and endured the heartache of photographing every stage of his girlfriend’s long battle with cancer.

The pictures are beautiful and terrible, and nearly impossible to forget. The one above is my favorite, but I strongly urge you to take a look at his beautiful images here.

“Parenthood” ends a strong season with tears and awesomeness. The boy with Down’s Syndrome makes 3-pointers. And women finally allowed in combat? ‘Bout time


There are times that I feel like about the NBC show “Parenthood” like I do about a friend who you love but get mad at sometimes: You just wish it could be as good as it is on its best moments, all the time. You wish the bad moments could be scrubbed away like last week’s graffiti, and you could celebrate how wonderful it makes you feel, all of the time.

Because like pizza, when “Parenthood” is good, it’s so, so good.

I know I’m babbling, but I just watched the season finale of “Parenthood” and it was beautiful. I get mad at the show quite a bit, and hate what they did to Sarah Braverman to maker her so damn unlikable, and laugh at the ridiculous leaps in logic the show makes, but the emotional power and wonderful story-telling win me over most every time.

This season was maybe its best yet, with emotional moments packed into every episode, and Tuesday’s season finale was dripping with heart and emotion. (It’s no surprise that Jason Katims, who created “Parenthood,” was involved heavily in the awesome “Friday Night Lights.”)

The acting on the show is strong in so many places, but especially Amber (Mae Whitman) and Zeke (Craig T. Nelson) are terrific.

I enjoyed the Amber/Ryan stuff this year, and the Victor/adoption storyline also felt real. I was amazed/astonished that the show had the balls to do a real abortion episode where a character (gasp!) actually had an abortion. And of course, the Adam/Kristina cancer storyline was fantastic, and so beautifully done.

Of course, the season finale had to tie everything into a neat bow, including the horrendous storyline I cared least about, the Sarah/Mr. Cyr/Hank love triangle of doom, where for some unknown reason two intelligent men are fighting over the clueless and immature Sarah Braverman.

“Parenthood” may not be renewed for another year, but it ought to be. Tuesday night’s episode, particularly the earned emotional payoff for Adam and Kristina, was the capper to a phenomenal year.

Please, NBC, you’ve got so many other crappy shows on your schedule. Keep “Parenthood” around: It’s one of the few things you can be proud of.

**This is a story that may require tissues. An 8th-grade boy named Owen Groesser is on the basketball team at Van Hoosen Junior High in Kentucky. Owen was born with Down’s Syndrome, and until Wednesday night, he hadn’t gotten a chance to play all season.

Then in the final minutes of the game, with the crowd chanting his name, Owen got in. And he drilled two three-pointers, bringing the crowd to its feet and making Owen’s teammates go nuts with excitement.

I know these stories happen often, but they get me choked up every time.

Grab a Kleenex when you get to the :58 part and the 2:58 part…


**Finally, a few words of long-overdue praise on Good News Friday for the Pentagon, which has finally determined in 2013 that women are fit to serve in combat in the military.

I have no idea what took them so long, as women have proven to be exceptional soldiers in all areas of the armed forces for quite some time, and have been fighting and dying alongside men for this never-ending Afghanistan and Iraq wars we’re mucked up in. Women are every bit as worthy to serve in combat as men are, and it’s ridiculous it’s taken this long for the Pentagon to see that.

But hey, another barrier has fallen, and that’s a great thing.

Another GOP Senate candidate talks offensively about rape. “Parenthood” hitting its groove again. And a time-lapse video to take your breath away

Scattered thoughts on a Thursday while wondering if San Francisco Giants hitter Pablo Sandoval (homers in first three at-bats in World Series Game 1 Wednesday) ever dreamt anything that crazy when he was a kid). And check out the kids in the top row of this great photo of Obama Wednesday.

It’s truly amazing how many times during this election season a Republican politician has gotten into trouble talking about rape.
There was, of course, Todd Akin of Missouri. Linda McMahon in Connecticut, too. (Here’s a handy if frightening guide to all the different “kinds of rape” the GOP feels there is.)
Now there’s Richard Mourdock, a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who’s locked in a tight race with Democrat Joe Donnelly. During a debate Tuesday night, Mourdock was talking about abortion. Given the previous missteps of high-profile Republicans this year, you’d think he’d be smart enough to be careful with what he said.

But nope.

This is what Mourdock said Tuesday: “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother,” Mourdock said. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen.”

Disgusting and abhorrent. This man shouldn’t get withing 500 yards of a woman’s right to choose, and his absolute pathetic insinuation that it’s God’s will that a raped woman has a child ought to shame him for 100 years.

But here’s my question: Why, why, why do these politicians even go NEAR the subject of rape? Given their position, there is no good answer, whatsoever. You’d think a party that tap-dances around so much else would figure out a way to avoid this landmine.

But nope, into the trap door of his own mouth Richard Mourdock goes. Just awful.

**Some videos are just too beautiful for words. Watch this Reid Gower time lapse called “Natural Phenomena” and be amazed at the natural beauty in the world.

**Time for one of my semi-regular “Parenthood” raves, which I know my two friends who are huge fans of the show, April and Jenn, will enjoy.

Sometimes I’m mad at the show, but lately it’s been really good, and Tuesday night’s was excellent. Some scattered questions/thoughts…

— Peter Krause is an exceptional actor, everything he’s ever been in he’s been good at (I still miss “Dirty Sexy Money.”). Adam and Kristina are carrying the show right now, and the breast cancer storyline has really been great and very realistic. I think the show always has stuff happen to Adam and Kristina because Krause is the best actor on the show and they just want to give him stuff to do.

— To quote my delightful father during this episode, “Lauren Graham (Sarah Braverman) is the worst mother in the history of the world.” Not sure I’d go that far, but yeah.
She kisses Ray Romano while engaged to Mr. Cyr, then panics and moves in with Cyr and schleps her poor son Drew, midway through his senior year of high school, in with the fiancee who we just know she isn’t going to marry.
She has been a consistently terrible mother for just about the whole run of the show. Hell, Lorelai Gilmore was better than her and she got knocked up at 16.

— That scene with Crosby and Jabbar praying was adorable, especially when Jabbar, upon hearing Crosby tell God about Kristina’s cancer, says “Oh, he knows that already.”

— My fiancee brought up a really good point: Kristina’s going through breast cancer surgery, yet her family is nowhere to be found, anywhere. As far as we know, she and Joel have no parents or siblings; only Braverman family members can be shown.

— You just knew Jason Katims (the brains behind “Parenthood”) wasn’t going to embarrass Max during his speech for student council. It was warm and moving and just a great little scene, especially Haddie’s reaction.
— Have to steal this comment from a message board post I read about “Parenthood” tonight, and it will only make sense to other “Friday Night Lights” fanatics:
” Last season Haddie went out with Vince Howard. This season Amber is going out with Luke Cafferty. I look forward to next season’s arc, when Sydney goes out with Tinker.”


“Parenthood” is back, yay!”. Two 9/11 stories worth your time. And the Chicago teacher’s strike

It’s officially fall TV season, although the show I’m most eagerly anticipating, “Homeland” on Showtime, doesn’t start for another three weeks (Sept. 30, you can’t get here fast enough! Once again, this show is incredible for those of you who haven’t seen it).

Still, I was excited Tuesday night that “Parenthood” is back. I have sort of a love-hate relationship with “Parenthood,” if you’ve been reading my blog awhile. Sometimes it’s fantastic, moving and well-acted and funny and all that’s good about television.

Other times, it’s so ridiculous and far-fetched with its plotlines and how its characters behave, that I get mad at it and throw pillows at the TV (not really, but my fiance has restrained me a few times so I almost did).

But the good parts outweigh the bad, so I came back to the show eagerly Tuesday night (SPOILER ALERT. IF YOU HAVEN’T YET SEEN IT, SKIP DOWN TO THE PHOTO OF THE PICKETING TEACHERS).

I thought it was a pretty good episode. I’m not sure how Ray Romano is going to fit in; this show has enough trouble finding screen time for its huge cast, so one more person (actually two, if we count Joel and Julia’s newly adopted son Victor) just makes it more complicated. But I liked he and Lauren Graham together; they seemed to have good chemistry. Poor Mr. Cyr; you just know things won’t go smooth for this engagement.

I thought Haddie’s departure was sweet; I bet she’ll be back home from Cornell and going to Berkeley by Christmas (and wasn’t it weird that neither parent flew with her to drop her off at college? Seems like a big deal). And I loved Max putting olives on his fingers at family portrait time; such a Max thing to do.

Happy to have “Parenthood” back.

**As someone about to officially enter the teaching profession (I wasn’t able to land a full-time classroom position in NYC this fall, but am hoping to start substitute teaching in a few weeks), I have to weigh in on the continuing saga that is the Chicago teachers strike.

Here’s a terrific little summary of the issues involved, from the Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post.

I have to say that of course I side with the teachers here, but this strike isn’t as cut and dried as “politicians bad, teachers good.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his team seem to be willing to at least work with the unions a little here, and clearly Chicago teachers have dug in their heels. (I actually agree with the city that laid-off teachers shouldn’t be “automatically recalled” when jobs open back up.)

I also think it’ll be fascinating to see Barack Obama tap-dance around this one, being that Emanuel was one of his top aides and Obama himself is a big fan of the kind of education reform Emanuel is pushing.

Will be very interesting to see, if this goes on for a while, if it hurts Obama in the campaign.

**And finally, I hope everyone got through 9/11 and the memories of 11 years ago OK. Here are two stories I saw Tuesday that are worth a read. First, a story of an incredible 9/11 artifiact: a note from one of the victims of the World Trade Center attack was found, and 10 years later returned to the man’s wife.

And the second story knocked my socks off; it’s a letter written by Frank Culbertson, an astronaut who was aboard the International Space Station on 9/11. He talks about what he saw, and felt, being so far away and yet being so attached as an American. Truly a perspective you’ve never seen before.

Jimmy Kimmel (correctly) rips Jay Leno a new one. “Parenthood” hooks me in again. And the real-life footage that inspired “Hoosiers.”

So Jay Leno has been past his prime for a long, long time. He was funny, once, but his shtick has grown colder than a nude sunbather in Antarctica (a lovely visual).

And though I was never a huge Conan O’Brien guy, what Leno did to his successor, re-claiming his show after less than a year and basically kicking Conan to the curb, is a permanent stain on “The Tonight Show” host and former Doritos pitchman (YouTube it kids, that’s what Jay used to be famous for).

So I have to say I laughed out loud when Jimmy Kimmel took Leno down the other night after Leno made a joke at Kimmel’s expense. Good to see the late night wars heating up again…

**I keep alternately loving and getting mad at “Parenthood,” which is still good enough to keep me watching, but frustrating me with several of its silly plotlines.
Tuesday night’s episode (SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, SKIP DOWN TO THE PHOTO OF GENE HACKMAN!) was an excellent one, but with one major problem, which I’ll get to.
First, this was the first Max storyline I liked in a while. A beautiful, touching moment at the end when his new friend’s parents, whose son is in a wheelchair , beamed at seeing their boy finally have a friend. Adam and Kristina beamed back at them. Just a really, really sweet moment.
Also loved the stuff between Drew and Mr. Cyr; Drew’s actually a really good actor but the show forgets about him all the time. (Also I love how NO ONE brings up that Sarah and Mr. Cyr are trying to have a baby without, you know, getting engaged or moving in together or anything like that. But hey, they live in Berkeley, so it’s all good.)

Even the Crosby stuff, I liked this week; he’s my least favorite Braverman (though Julia is threatening his place in my head; good Lord woman, back the you-know-what off of the wildly confused Zoey, will ya?) but he and Zeek had some nice moments.

But oy, the Amber/Bob Little stuff was awful. I know he’s 28 and she’s 19 and it’s not that icky, but it still was played very poorly. Why must people on Jason Katims shows always hook up with younger people? And I thought it was wildly unrealistic for Kristina to A, drive up to Sacramento to stop them from doing the wild thing, and B, for Amber to go home with her after that embarrassing display of bursting into the hotel room. (And what the hell is a San Francisco city council candidate doing in Sacra-freaking-mento anyway?)

Still, a very solid “Parenthood” episode. Bummed there are only two more new ones this season.

**Finally, this is all kinds of awesome if you love sports, basketball, or the movie “Hoosiers” (one of my all-time top 5 flicks). The Indiana High School Athletic Association has finally put online some footage of the 1954 Milan High vs. Muncie Central state championship game, the movie immortalized in the movie “Hoosiers.” It’s grainy, but pretty awesome considering the game was played almost 60 years ago.

Watch it here, and keep practicing running the picket fence until it works, baby…

Thoughts on “Boardwalk Empire” and “Parenthood,” my two fave shows going in opposite directions. And a crazy hoops shot I’ve never seen

I have been grossly negligent on this blog in discussing my two favorite television shows right now, “Parenthood” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Both are still awesome and you should be viewing them regularly if you like great drama, terrific writing, and wonderful acting.
However, they’re going in opposite directions in terms of quality. Let’s start with the show that’s pissing me off and going downhill, at least a little bit.
“Parenthood” was so good during its first two seasons about not falling deeply into cliched storylines. Yes, Crosby the eternal bachelor sleeping with the nanny right after getting engaged to Jasmine was a little cliche, but the show handled it really well. Yes, Amber and Haddie fighting over the same boy could’ve been trite, but it was dealt with so beautifully (that scene from Season 1 of the girls at the gas station? So perfect).

But this year, even though a few storylines are still strong (I’ve grown to like the Julia adoption thing, and I’m loving shy boy Drew with his cute new girlfriend), “Parenthood” is torpedoing in the wrong direction. First it was terrible of Lauren Graham’s Sarah to invest so deeply again into her ex-husband’s alcohol issues, at the expense of her current boyfriend (played by John Ritter’s son Jason, who every woman I know thinks is really handsome). I just didn’t believe a man who had wronged her so much would engender Sarah’s support again.

But even that wasn’t as bad as this idiotic Adam/Kristina/hot new girl at work plot device going  on now. First of all, it was ridiculous and totally unrealistic that unemployed Adam, with a third kid on the way, would buy in with his dummy brother to a fading recording studio. But I got over that.
But now this new secretary kissing Adam, and him basically flirting with her for a few weeks, and then Kristina (whose character I intensely dislike, and Monica Potter is no great thespian in my book, either) going all crazy on Adam last week, accusing him of liking this new girl Rachel, and them throwing up this ridiculous roadblock in the marriage, just reeks of desperation and stupid cliche writing. No way in the world Adam would cheat on Kristina, we know too much about him already that he wouldn’t do that, and for her not to trust him at this point just stretches credibility (even when we consider she just had a baby).

Still, it’s a show worth watching just for Craig T. Nelson as Zeke and the adorable moments it gives us each week, like 6-year-old Sydney throwing a temper tantrum after losing a game for the first time. I love this show, but it’s been significantly worse this year.

Now on to HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” As good as it was in Season 1, this year has been even better. The transition of power in Atlantic City, as young Jimmy and his friends like Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano overthrow Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson, has been fascinating. The stunner of this last episode I totally did not see coming, and each week I wonder which of a thousand ways they’re going to take the show.

Buscemi is brilliant, but it’s the supporting players (injured war hero Richard, angry Philly butcher/bootlegger Horvitz, and an in-his-prime gangster Arnold Rothstein) who make “Boardwalk” so entertaining and fascinating. If you’ve never seen this show and have HBO, you have no excuse. Go watch a few episodes; you’ll thank me.

**Finally, check out University of Detroit guard Ray McCallum, who came up with a new way to score on Nov. 23 in a game against Austin Peay. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this before; man, if he could perfect this, it’d be an unbeatable H-O-R-S-E shot.

A very disrespectful candidate, “Parenthood” finishes awesomely, and a look behind the curtain

Well, I guess the rule is, if you’re an African-American Republican running for Congress, you can rip on Barack Obama all you want.

That’s what I got out of Les Phillip, a guy running for Congress out of the fifth district in Alabama. This is his campaign commercial he’s running now, where he says the President of the United States “is ashamed of America,” among other nice things.

Funny how criticizing the President was so unpatriotic when W. was in charge, but now it seems to be totally OK.

Les Phillip ought to be ashamed of himself. I have no idea how this is playing in Alabama. However, I think I’ll be visiting his opponent’s website very soon.

**The season finale of “Parenthood” was phenomenal the other night. Truly fantastic. This was a show that got better as the season went along, and I’m very happy to report it’s coming back to NBC next year. I thought they handled the Haddie-Amber thing very well, and Dax Shepard’s Crosby character is really growing on me.

And how good an actor is Craig T. Nelson? I love that guy. If you haven’t seen the show yet, one of those free pay-per-view thingies that most cable companies have (it’s called “Showcase” on our cable system) has most of the episodes of the season on it. I definitely recommend checking it out.

**Finally, another tiny glimpse of life as a sportswriter. I got to attend and cover the Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics NBA game Wednesday night, truly one of those events that make covering the regular-season high school volleyball games tolerable. (Here’s a link to the column I wrote from the game.

Anyway, there were a ton of media there, they served us good food (roasted chicken, and one of the best brownies I’ve ever had for dessert), and my seat was up in the nether regions, as usual (Hey, we’re the Daytona Beach News-Journal, not ESPN or the New York Times. Though I could glimpse the top of the heads of those guys.)

What’s funny about these big games is that sportswriting is reduced to, basically, high school lunch. At big games, the cool kids are the major sportswriters from the big papers and websites. They all hang out together, trading stories and inside jokes.

The not so cool kids sit together, too, sort of staring at the cool kids and wish we were a part of their club.

One day maybe we will be. We can only dream for now.

Obama and the press, no longer BFF. Two quick TV questions. And Ricky Williams, explained

So one of the huge themes of the 2008 presidential campaign was the media’s love affair with Barack Obama.

Lots of liberals thought the complaining was overblown, that he really did get fair coverage for the most part.

Not me. I think the press totally gave Obama a pass on many things, such as the fact that he had better ideas, was smarter, and had a much better organized campaign. Seriously, why didn’t they rip him for that stuff?

I kid. It’s true Obama was treated pretty gently by the press, in at least a small part because he made himself so available to reporters, and seemed to like chatting with them. Here’s a dirty little secret about reporters: Be nice to us, and we’ll give you flattering coverage. It’s really not any more complicated than that, sadly.

Anyway, seems the media has turned on ole’ President Obama. I’ve been hearing and reading some of the complaints and stories for a while, but it really hit home in this fascinating story from Politico.com. Sure there’s a lot of press whining in here, but a few points are quite valid:

1, This promised to be a transparent administration, and it’s far from it, and 2, when people are saying Obama’s relationship to the media is worse than GWB’s, well, that ought to make some heads roll at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nobody had worse press relations than Dubya, and if you’re being compared below that, that’s pretty scary.

This is probably a topic for another day, but I find it very interesting that people in the Obama administration seem to feel the press is something they only “need” occasionally.

**OK, two of my favorite shows this year really puzzled me this week. Maybe you can help.

— On “Parenthood,” they’re all about the storyline of Crosby falling in love with the mother of his child all over again, Jasmine. Except, what the hell happened to Crosby’s girlfriend on the show, the one he was going to have a baby with? I know they had that fight a few episodes ago when she found out he had a kid, but they just wrote her out of the show and out of his life after one argument? Weird.

— This week’s “Glee” was just not good. At all. They forgot the funny, and the same Burt Bacharach song twice in a row? Way too much schmaltz and cheese, not enough Sue and Rachel. So many good episodes have already come before this one, so “Glee,” I give you a mulligan.

***So after a pretty poor movie last week about fantasy sports, the good people doing ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series bounced back this week with the riveting “Run, Ricky, Run” about one of the strangest and most misunderstood athletes of our time. Ricky Williams failed a bunch of drug tests, did interviews with his helmet on, and basically walked away from the NFL in his prime.

He smoked a lot of weed, moved to Australia for a while, and oh yeah, we learn in this movie he allegedly suffered sexual abuse at the hands of his father as a boy.

He’s really a fascinating character, who even his friends and family can’t figure out. Check the movie out on ESPN this weekend when you get a chance.