After literally months of highlight teasers and Fox Soccer Channel pomp, Being: Liverpool debuted last night, starting with a playwright’s wistful reminiscing about what Liverpool F.C. means to the city of Liverpool, some awesome footage of ‘70s era players in ‘70s era shorts, and an unsurprising number of “establishing past glory” shots.
Then, they switched over to the high hilarity of a Liverpool pub this past May 5, day of the FA Cup Finals, following the reactions of 20 Reds fans – mostly old men – yelling at the TV, especially on the play which perpetuated the Goalline Technology Debate. You remember it, I’m sure: When Andy Carroll’s header was batted out of the goal at the last possible moment (or the moment just past that, wink, wink) by Petr Cech, and Carroll was too busy celebrating to follow up. FSC went with the bleep-and pixelated-mouth edit on the fan who used a seven-letter adjective to describe just what kind of goal he thought it was. The last shot in the scene was of the saddest man to ever wear a multi-colored jester hat.
And that, right there, was kind of the highlight of the episode. Like porn or yogurt-covered pretzels, it was strangely fascinating upon initial exposure, but then, upon reflection, not as good as it first seemed.
The teasers promised unprecedented access behind the scenes of one of the world’s most famous football clubs. Here’s what going behind the scenes brought us:
* Steven Gerrard is a really nice guy.
* Brendan Rodgers is a humble guy who was born with a “silver shovel” rather than a “silver spoon,” and yet the living room in his super-modern house is dominated by a giant Brendan Rogers portrait.
* The South American players on the team (including Luis Suarez) hang out with each other in a more modest house, and are actually shown playing Monopoly. (Suarez is filmed rolling the dice; he’s not shown landing on Boardwalk when he rolls his dice off the table “by accident,” claiming he rolled a five even though no one actually saw the dice when they landed, buying Boardwalk, and then being a dick whenever another player lands on Boardwalk for the rest of the game.)
* The Liverpool training center’s fancy curved treadmills are a lot sexier than anything in your gym.
* While Liverpool was in the U.S. on its tour, Rodgers and the players got to meet the Red Sox players – highlighted by Adrian Gonzalez showing how many games pro baseball players how to play, and how little time they get off. (Though it doesn’t show that you could cram all the non-standing-around activity in baseball into your average session of stoppage time.)
* Rodgers and his players also got to meet Bobby Valentine, a manager regarded by some critics as being both arrogant and tactically unsound, who is in the process of being thoroughly eviscerated by Boston fans and media, a manager known for coloring outside the lines a little – like the time he was managing the Mets, got thrown out of a game, and returned to the dugout wearing a “disguise.” In other words, Liverpool got to see what life with AVB would have been like, only if AVB was crazy and American.
(Note: Red Sox fans will laugh bitterly at the irony of the linked article’s headline.)
* Also, we got to see Liverpool players at practice, in a scrimmage in which the winning team got the kind of trophy you win when you’re 10 – though it was arguable more impressive than the Carling Cup.
* We also got to see them do yoga. Note: This is not a flexible team. They’d be even worse at pole dancing than they are at PKs.
It’d probably be more fun to put Joey Barton, John Terry and Mario Balotelli in a house for a season Real World-style, but this is the soccer reality show we have. Note to the editors: More disgruntled fan shots; less Monopoly playing.