There were two unexpected things that happened over this last weekend. The first was that the Angels apparently made the cut as one of three finalists for the services of Masahiro Tanaka. The other is that Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the Golden Globe for best comedy TV series. Nice surprises, nice stories and their combined forces could be a lesson to us all. Allow me to explain.
If you don't pay attention to TV awards, I don't blame you. It is an obtuse process rife with politics and questionable ethics… which is kind of why I like it. It isn't a situation where the best show always wins. It often has more to do with who greases the right palms and/or who has the best narrative around them winning. Brooklyn Nine-Nine's win might be the perfect example of that.
I've never seen a full episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but by all accounts it is a good show, maybe not a great show, but a good show. Just getting nominated for the Golden Globe was something of a surprise for the freshman sitcom as it was hardly a show with a ton of fan or critical hype. In a weird way, that's exactly what made it so dangerous.
There is really no reason Brooklyn Nine-Nine should have stood a chance against the rest of the field. Big Bang Theory is a ratings juggernaut that racks up awards. Modern Family is a star-studded hit with a ton of award wins itself. Girls is the edgy, generational zeitgeist comedy backed by HBO's unstoppable hype machine. Parks and Recreation is the little engine that could, soldiering on for years to critical acclaim but middling (at best) ratings that could finally be in for a grand culmination of appreciation. They all should have beaten Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
But why was Brooklyn Nine-Nine even nominated? Obviously it got some support to be there, but could there really be that much passion for it to win? Apparently, the answer is yes. And maybe that should have been obvious from the beginning. That show had so little business being there that it must have been invited for a reason. It won precisely because it didn't belong there. Something about Brooklyn Nine-Nine just seems to tickle the non-traditional sensibilities of the Hollywood Foreign Press the right way to the point that they all fell in love with the show despite all of the more prominent and established competition vying for their attention. It doesn't matter to the Hollywood Foreign Press that Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn't the best show according to most people, it only matters that it is the best show to themselves.
The same goes for the Angels as a finalist for Tanaka. All the hype had been around the desperate and deep-pocketed Yankees, the Dodgers and their blank check, the hibernating financial giant Cubs and the Japanese media friendly and up-and-coming big spender Mariners. They all have much better cases to win the Tanaka sweepstakes than the Angels who lack financial flexibility, a clear championship roster and a storied history of having Japanese superstars on their roster.
So why were the Angels finalists? Obviously they have enough money and interest to be there, but could they really be offering a good enough passion to sign Tanaka?
The Angels don't belong in the finalist circle in the same way that Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn't belong in the nominee circle. All along they've been considered longshots at best to win the Tanaka bidding but now they have allegedly made the final cut. Just like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the Angels must be there for a reason and maybe it is because they've done something to capture the attention of Tanaka even though they don't seem to have as much to offer as the Dodgers or Yankees. The media may not think that the Angels are a good fit for Tanaka, but what the media thinks doesn't matter. What Tanaka and his agents think is the only vote that counts.
Of course, this all depends on just how trustworthy the reporting is on the Tanaka situation. Maybe the Angels aren't actually finalists. Heck, Jerry Dipoto claims they haven't even met with him. If that is the case, I guess that makes the Angels more like Community, a show that a small group absolutely loves and wants to see become a ratings and critical darling, but knows deep down it will never be either.
I love Community, but I'm hoping the Angels end up pulling a Brooklyn Nine-Nine, even if that means equating Andy Samberg to Mike Trout, which I'm not at all comfortable with.