Not much to say about this Bill Simmons piece on Barry Bonds, but I can't let this go:
On the day after baseball's first, second or third Opening Day of the 2008 season—sorry, I can't keep track anymore—SoapNet ran the memorable Beverly Hills, 90210, episode with special guest star Barry Bonds. Actually, it can't even be called memorable anymore. It's incredible. Insane. A startling hour of TV. Imagine O.J. Simpson doing the voice of an aggrieved husband whose wife was brutally murdered by Homer in an early-'90s episode of The Simpsons, then triple the shock value, and you have this 90210 classic.
We'll get to the jaw-dropping details in a bit
Nah, Bill, let's just cut right to them:
I, for one, will have this memory: that 90210 in which Steve Sanders was roped into playing in a father-son golf tourney with his dad, Rush, against Rush's country-club nemesis...that's right, a father with a wisecracking baseball-player son named Barry Larson. (The casting of Bonds wasn't even the biggest leap of faith here. C'mon—we were supposed to believe Rush would ever belong to a country club that allowed black members?) As the tourney starts, Rush is cranking his longest drives in years, and that prompts Steve to confront him because, after all, nobody was allowed to cheat, engage in premarital sex, get drunk or use diet pills on 90210 without serious consequences.
When Steve (played with Emmy-worthy zeal by Ian Ziering) threatens to quit and take his blond curls with him, Rush breaks down and admits to using—wait for it—souped-up golf balls! Why, you ask? As Rush explains, he's past his prime and wants to become a club champ once more. In other words, his fear of getting old has forced him to artificially enhance his performance in an athletic competition against a character played by Barry Bonds! In 1994! I can't stop using exclamation points! Someone stop me!
Sorry for the all the long passages, but I want to make sure everything is clear, and since I've never, ever seen Beverly Hills, 90210, I'm not sure just how much info you actually need.
Let's write out the equation on this one:
ShockValue[(OJ as aggrieved husband) + (Homer brutally murdering someone)] * 3 = ShockValue[(A "cheating is bad" storyline on Beverly Hills, 90210) + (Barry Bonds as victim of said cheating)]
So not only is this 90210 episode more shocking than that hypothetical Simpsons episode, but it's three times more insane. This ignores at least two really basic points:
1. OJ almost certainly committing double murder has to be at least a thousand times more shocking than an aging Barry Bonds taking performance enhancers.
2. A Simpsons episode where Homer brutally murdered anyone would be a million billion trillion (or, as the kids call it, an octillion) more shocking than some tired 90210 piece on the vice of cheating.
I love hyperbole as much as the next guy (hell, just look at that last point), but Bill seriously needs to lose his hard-on for the unintentional hilarity of 90210, especially when he could just as easily enjoy the intentional hilarity of this: