Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sean's Best and Worst of 2017

Welcome to my annual list of the best and worst of 2017! Actually, it's not my annual list of 2017 since there's no way I would have known in 2014 what my favorite song or book of 2017 would have been. You know what I mean. Anyway, feel free to enjoy my thoughts on some of the biggest pop culture (and more) things that occurred in 2017.

Best TV Show: The Good Place

I watch a lot of television. With young kids and especially a new addition to the family in September, I rarely get to the movies (more on that below). I also find that I don't have time to sit down and watch a 90-minute or 2-hour plus movie as I fall asleep too easily and just don't have the time to watch a movie in one sitting. Therefore, I load up on TV shows on the DVR and started a Netflix subscription. There are so many great shows out there. Just on Netflix alone, I really enjoyed Ozark, Glow, Master of None, American Vandal, and Stranger Things this year. ABC's Speechless may be the funniest show on TV, and I love Better Call Saul. FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still fantastic and I found USA's Search Party very interesting. The most clever and fascinating show, and also my favorite from the past year, is NBC's The Good Place. The premise behind the show is that Kristen Bell dies and goes to The Good Place, which is basically heaven. However, Bell's character is actually a terrible person who really shouldn't be there. Ted Danson is perfectly cast as the architect of The Good Place neighborhood and the rest of the cast is amazing. There was a huge twist at the end of season one that made most people (or at least me) wonder where the show would go from there, but season two has been just as good if not better than season one.

Please note that I have not seen Game of Thrones yet this year, so that didn't make the list. I also need to see Mindhunter.

Worst TV Show: Nashville

I've watched this show from the beginning. I guess it's a guilty pleasure, and I really don't know why I still watch it. At the beginning, it was Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere being country music stars. The show was definitely soap-opery but the music was good (even from someone who isn't a big country music fan), and I enjoyed most of the characters. ABC cancelled the show a few years ago, but it got a second life on CMT. Then, this season, they killed off Connie Britton, only the best person on the show. Panettiere's character keeps doing dumb things and never learns from anything in her past. Then, they had a "is Gunnar the father of Scarlett's baby" thing. Plus once Will came out as gay and most people were okay with it, the show didn't know what to do with him, so he rarely gets screen time. Meanwhile, Deacon can never be happy, and the show wasted Rachel Bilson having her be an accountant or something. The one redeeming quality of this show right now is that I can watch it and do something else. I need to have my full attention on the shows listed above, but I can write a blog post watching Nashville and know I'm not going to miss anything. Anyway, I really should stop watching this show especially when I have season three of Fargo, the last season of Orphan Black, and the current season of This Is Us all sitting on my DVR.

Best Song: Feel It Still by Portugal The Man

I wrote about this song back in August, and since that time, it exploded. I'm not saying that I was the reason for the song becoming one of the most played songs of 2017, but I guess I'm not not saying that either. Plus, the band's Twitter account liked and responded to my tweet when I wrote my August post. That gets bonus points in my book!

Worst Song: Paris by The Chainsmokers

I considered writing a blog post analyzing the lyrics of this song but decided against it...until now.

We were staying in Paris
To get away from your parents

All the way to Paris just to get away? The Chainsmokers were formed in New York City. I'm sure they could have just gone to Jersey.

And I thought, "Wow
If I could take this in a shot right now
I don't think that we could work this out”

You went all the way to Paris to realize that you're going to break up. What an awful person. You could have done that in Atlantic City or even better at home without traveling thousands of miles. Think about it. You take your significant other all the way to Paris which is a really big deal, and then you get there and realize that you can't work it out. Jerk.

Out on the terrace

Nice job finding another word that rhymes with Paris.

I don't know if it's fair but I thought "How
Could I let you fall by yourself
While I'm wasted with someone else”

Wait, not only did you realize that you couldn't work it out but you're with someone else? And again, you took this person to Paris. Super jerk!

If we go down then we go down together
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever

You're not going down together, Chainsmokers. You're dumping this person. There's no together here. And no one will say you were clever.

If we go down then we go down together
We'll get away with everything
Let's show them we are better

You are definitely not better. Again, you are an a**hole.

Best Movie I Saw in the Theater: Wild Kratts

You're probably thinking to yourself, I've never heard of this movie. If you have young kids, you may know the PBS television show but are still confused by this entry. PBS partnered with movie theaters across the country to show episodes of some of its television shows on the big screen. The cost of tickets serve as donations to local PBS stations. It's a neat idea where young kids can go to the theaters in a comfortable environment (meaning that it's okay if the audience isn't completely quiet during the show). For Wild Kratts, I took both The Moose and Pedro Tulo with me, and we bought a bottomless tub of popcorn. The popcorn was delicious!

Worst Movie I Saw In the Theater: Ready, Jet, Go

This was another PBS show, and I took only Pedro Tulo for his first ever trip to a movie theater. He could not keep still. We went to the restroom at least three times, and he wondered all over the mostly empty theater. I also didn't get popcorn.

Best Blog: The Mrs. Fisher

My friend Nichole blogged regularly throughout 2017 sharing everyone from wedding plans and her honeymoon to the building of her new house. While some of her posts about fashion and style certainly are not geared for me, it's been really fun reading about Nichole's busy 2017!

Best Podcast: The Poscast / The YaJagoff! Podcast (tie)

Michael Schur is the official winner of 2017. He created the best TV show in The Good Place and is partially responsible for other quality shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Master of None. In his off time, he and Joe Posnanski, a writer for, do a podcast called The Poscast. While baseball is a central topic to The Poscast, they also regularly conduct drafts on various topics such as "We Are the World" singers, autumn things, salty snacks, and road signs. Highly entertaining and the podcast I listen to immediately when they are available.

Meanwhile, I've listened to John Chamberlin's The YaJagoff! podcast since the beginning, and it really found it's footing this year with co-host Rachael Rennebeck. The podcast seems to go to a different Pittsburgh event or venue every week, and it makes me a little jealous about all the cool stuff happening in Pittsburgh that I'm missing. Plus, the podcast was responsible for this awesome Christmas ornament.

My Best Blog Post: Life as a New Father

This was quite the personal post about my fears of being a new father to a third child. A close second is my two-part interview with Chris Wright, the former GM of the Pittsburgh Spirit and President of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. He recently (after the interview) started a new job where he's responsible for the day to day business and sporting operations of the Minnesota United. (This is part one; this is part two. I'm still extremely grateful to Chris for his graciousness in talking with me.

My Worst Blog Post: J.D. Vance Comes to Washington

I pointed out that the National Book Festival listed the same author twice on its advertisement.

Best Sports Moment: Penguins Repeat As Stanley Cup Champs

Marc-Andre Fleury was the hero in the opening rounds, and Phil Kessel is a two-time Stanley Cup champion! It wasn't always pretty (see the end of the Capitals series and much of the Ottawa series), but Crosby, Malkin, and company won back-to-back titles!

Worst Sports Moment: The Pittsburgh Pirates (again)

The Pirates were one of the best teams in baseball just a few years ago, and after a 75-87 season, there's discussion about the team trading its best players Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. If trades are made, I have little confidence in the team's front office to get solid returns for these players to allow the Pirates to contend again in the near future. So frustrating.

Best Movie I Saw At Home: Deadpool

What a fun movie. I mean it definitely deserves it's R rating but highly entertaining.

Worst Move I Saw (well, didn't see) At Home: Get Out and Hell Or High Water

Why would my DVR show that I recorded 2 hours of Get Out, and when I played the movie, it said it wasn't available? I'm blaming Showtime. For Hell Or High Water, the first 25 minutes were all messed up, and I wasn't going to start after missing this. I'm blaming the DVR on this one.

Best Book: The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport by Rafi Kohan

Unfortunately, I didn't read as many books as I would have liked in 2017. This book was right up my alley as I've been to dozens of stadiums and arenas across the country, and this deals with everything besides the on-the-field/court activity. As the title indicates, the book broaches subjects like stadium financing, in-game entertainment, security, and much more. Very interesting stuff that you probably don't consider going to a game.

Feel free to share your best and worst of 2017 in the comments below. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

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