October 2, 2023

“House / Let me come house / House is wherever I’m with you.” Sorry for the earworm, however these Edward Sharpe lyrics just about sum up the primary theme of this episode. And really, the track’s later lyrics “… do not forget that day you fell out of my window…practically broke your ass?” sort of contact on its different themes. No, nobody really breaks their ass. (Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s home sort of does, however we’ll get there once we get there.) Anyway, issues aren’t trying so good for lots of season two’s penultimate episode, personally or professionally, for any of those characters. Nonetheless, there’s some belonging to be discovered; we additionally discover locations for some arcs and gadgets to land.

And so we start. After Pat Riley acquired actual and rallied the Laker boys on the finish of final episode, we skip forward to simply after their 1982 Championship win in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers. The workforce bursts into the locker room leaping round joyously, pouring champagne on one anothers’ heads and usually being joyful guys. Magic says, in voiceover, “I’m on high of the world, and proper there’s the place I’m gonna keep.” Except, it’s not.

We skip forward from right here to a giant previous Finals loss to these Sixers in 1983—with a brand new man on the Philly roster, Moses Malone, in addition to returning stars Andrew Toney and Dr. J. We see, in montage as textual content on display screen publicizes every title, that Norm Nixon couldn’t tango with Toney, that Kareem Abdul Jabbar proved no match for Malone. And Magic Johnson? Dr. J swats him and dunks on him for good measure. They get swept, and it hurts like Nixon’s bruised shoulder. Jerry Buss sits smoking and sulking alone within the stadium, and the lights shut off on his unhappy face as Jeanie takes a cab house.

In all that point we omitted, going from the ’82 win to the 83 loss, Jerry West has taken over as GM for Invoice Sharman. He tells us about this (breaking the fourth wall, a tool they’re returning to a bit extra because the season winds down) and the way he managed to select James Worthy within the draft. He will get to do extra scouting/buying and selling, wheeling and dealing stuff with this new job improvement, and that appears to be West’s joyful place. However it sends our pal Nixon to a tragic place: San Diego. Clippers proprietor Donald Sterling (eager to construct himself a “poor man’s Lakers”) demanded a starter in change for Byron Scott, and so Nixon was traded—on his birthday. They’ve a celebration for him at The Discussion board, the place he will get to bop it up along with his lady Debbie Allen (in an earlier Discussion board dancing scene, they record her many accomplishments onscreen as she’s groovin’ within the membership earlier than revealing her title and relationship to Nixon), however sadly, our man has to discover a new house now. He mourns the reminiscence of when he first stepped into the Lakers’ locker room, a spot to which he received’t return.

In the meantime, as Magic watches Nixon and Allen collectively, hecomes to appreciate that house, for him, is wherever he’s with Cookie. He surprises her at a convention in San Diego (Nixon’s new sports activities house) the place he reveals up mid-interview to assist her impress some fashion-business guys she needs to work for, after which she agrees to grant him yet one more probability. (These style guys suck, by the best way. Earlier than Magic reveals up, they inform her, “We’re after the complete nation, not simply the…city demographic.”) By the tip of the episode, he has proposed to Cookie, and it’s all fairly good for them. I imply, we all know they’re nonetheless collectively. She wrote that e book Believing In Magic. There might be additional drama between them, in all probability quickly, however their future collectively is established not less than; they’re formally “taking part in home.”

You understand who’s performed taking part in home, although? Honey Buss. She’s irritated that Jerry’s not house a lot, at all times worrying in regards to the workforce. He has even delayed beginning a household together with her till he has his Lakers stuff located. She comes house excessive from a celebration within the Hills and drinks OJ out of a jar within the fridge like a surly teen. Come to search out out, she’s fairly justified in her saltiness: Good ol’ Buss by no means filed the divorce paperwork from his earlier marriage, that means theirs was by no means authorized. So she walks out on him—really, she insists she’s “fucking operating”however don’t really feel too unhealthy for her. Seems she sucks. When Honey’s lawyer slaps him with a $100 million lawsuit as Buss is watching TV alone at midnight, cradling his high hat Monopoly piece, he explains, “Honey’s an inexpensive lady. She’ll accept Magic and Kareem.” Barf, once more with treating these males like property. How freaking dehumanizing—and thrown on the market in such a gross, informal approach.

Solomon Hughes
Photograph: Warrick Web page/HBO

In KAJ’s arc, shit actually goes down within the house division: His home actually burns down. However earlier than that, we see him as a free agent, looking for a brand new basketball house. Jay Mohr performs his agent, so it’s like smarmy sports activities agent Bob Sugar from Jerry McGuire traveled again in time, which is sort of humorous to consider. Sugar calls himself “The Nice White Knight” and explains that nobody needs to signal KAJ as a result of the Lakers misplaced in 83, and he’s not pleasant and smiley sufficient. And…I don’t actually like this. Keep in mind again in season one when that child on the set of Airplane! requested him for an autograph and he instructed the child to “fuck off?” (The actual KAJ hated this and wrote an essay addressing this particular side of his portrayal.) Yeah, apparently it was constructing towards this second the place his home has burned down, his document assortment has been destroyed, and he’s moved to vary his methods when a younger fan provides him some uncommon jazz vinyl to interchange a few of what he has misplaced. All of the sudden, he turns his frown the other way up and desires to encourage individuals, giving his all to the followers, which incorporates breaking the all-time scoring document (which LeBron James simply handed) and turning into a softer, cuddlier participant. Figuring out how adverse they took issues initially to construct this arc, it falls a bit flat, feels a bit manufactured. It’s a part of the fictionalizing course of that doesn’t land so nicely, however it’s what it’s.

Now, to tie up the basketball stuff, we actually e book it by way of the 1984 season. They do it in a cool approach, with the ball passing from workforce to workforce as playoff sequence outcomes flash ondisplay screen, but it surely goes by fairly quick. We finish on Recreation 5 of the Jap Convention Finals: a Celtics win. Buss walks into the locker room, the place the workforce is listening to the radio broadcast of the sport, and publicizes that they’re not going to have fun; that Lakers v. Boston shouldn’t be the best rivalry, as a result of the Lakers are 0-7 in opposition to the Celtics within the Finals—ouch. Put up-win, Auerbach provides the Celtics his personal corny little speech, evoking Paul Revere: “the Lakers are coming.” We see Celtics followers cheer, “Beat L.A.,” and Lakers followers scream, “Fuck Boston.” The Celtics break the fourth wall and yell “Beat L.A.”; the Lakers do the identical, and shout, “Fuck Boston.” Now it’s actually on.

Stray observations

  • Once they’re taking part in in Philadelphia within the opening scene of this episode, Buss says to somebody,“You guys acquired a cheesesteak? They’re horrible. Not cheese, not a steak.” Any Philly followers have a retort?
  • West suggests they welcome Swen Nater to the workforce in a gathering with Sharman and Riley, and Riley excitedly responds, “Seven toes of Swedish meat!?” He’s Dutch, really. If something it needs to be… “7 toes of Dutch…meat.” I couldn’t consider something higher. Should you throw out another nickname potentialities within the feedback, that may very well be a enjoyable exercise for us.
  • You understand what’s candy? Norm Nixon and Debbie Allen are nonetheless married to this present day! And Nixon’s son DeVaughn portrays him on this. I feel everyone knows that by now, but it surely nonetheless feels value acknowledging, as a result of it’s a cool reality and he does job.
  • Talking of Bob Sugar, this interview by which Cameron Crowe explains how he got here to call that Jerry McGuire character is kinda neat.
  • Honey tells Buss, “I’m the primary bare lady in a book filled with bare ladies. That’s all you need anyway.” So she is aware of about his creepy scrapbook. That’s gotta be bizarre. Additionally, they have been actually taking part in the lengthy recreation establishing that line displaying him gazing at that e book in earlier episodes.
  • You understand what else confirmed up in KAJ’s article? How a lot he beloved The Nice. I guess he’s unhappy it was canceled.
  • One final little factor about Jay Mohr/Bob Sugar: He simply married Jeanie Buss. 

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