Did you know that the only thing I like talking about more than baseball is television? That’s right, I’m a weird TV geek! I got this idea to compare my favorite kind of shows to the players on my favorite baseball team. So here’s a list of Phillies players compared to current and former cartoons that have aired Sunday nights on the Fox network.
Carlos Ruiz – The Critic
Al Jean and Mike Reiss left the Simpsons writing staff after the show’s fourth season to create The Critic. Voiced by Jon Lovitz, Jay Sherman would become the most realistic and relatable human cartoon character of the early days of the ‘cartoons for grownups’ genre. The show was laugh-out-loud funny and it was really, really sweet at times. It had trouble finding an audience at first, but for two seasons it was some of the best comedy on television. It’s a favorite that I can go back and watch at any time. In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to go watch it again.
Ryan Howard – The PJs
The PJ’s was a stop-motion animated show starring a post-Nutty Professor but pre-Shrek Eddie Murphy. It’s stock was high when it debuted and it was actually pretty damn good for a while. But it was super expensive to make and ultimately not worth the headache. Fox dumped the show onto The WB and the financial toll was devastating. I’m only now realizing that despite premiering on a Sunday, the show actually aired on Tuesday. So technically it doesn’t belong on this list but I made a damn good point there so it’s staying.
Chase Utley – Futurama
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening tabbed legendary Simpsons writer and producer David X. Cohen to help guide his next greatest hit. Groening and Cohen (who’s middle initial isn’t really even X by the way.) assembled one of the smartest groups of writers around and the result is a science-fiction masterpiece. Its middle seasons are among the best of any cartoon ever and they even warrant considering as some of the best in the history of the medium. But Futurama was just too smart for its own good and television audiences started to lose interest when Groening and Co. stood firm on their principles even in the face of reason. The show wouldn’t exactly die a dignified death as it bounced from cable network to cable network and while its older seasons are still pretty good, you have to wonder if it would have been better had it gone out on as gracefully as it emerged.
Jimmy Rollins – The Cleveland Show
This one isn’t (just) a cop out because Jimmy Rollins was on the Cleveland Show recently. I wanted to like this show when it first aired but it just didn’t really do much for me after a while. I was happy when Fox brought it back for a second and even third season but after a while it was pretty clear that the show didn’t have the same kind of heart as it’s predecessors. But there’s no shame in any of that! The Cleveland Show had its moments where it was just as good as, if not better than the other shows in Fox’s Sunday night block, but the end of its tenure came at just the right time.
Ben Revere – Allen Gregory
On paper it looked good. We thought “Hey, Jonah Hill is the lead in this. He’s pretty funny, I guess. Like, he’s not really enough to carry a whole movie on his own but in a cartoon he might be pretty good.” We all kind of hoped it would be good but deep down, we knew that it wouldn’t. I can’t remember the plot of this show. I’m not even sure I sat through a whole episode. Hell, I keep screwing up the name. It turned out to be bland and unmemorable. And good God did we turn on it fast.
Laynce Nix –Napoleon Dynamite
I have no idea what Fox was thinking when they debuted this show a full eight years after the movie on which it was based. The network aired the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon after they had to cancel another high-profile show, so it was only ever meant as a Plan-B. But the Napoleon Dynamite movie was so obviously out of the cultural zeitgeist and since cartoons are so expensive to make, it’s unfathomable as to why Fox spent as much as they did on something that was destined to disappoint.
Kyle Kendrick – American Dad
Quietly, American Dad has cemented itself as one of the few shows in the current Fox Sunday night lineup that is consistently funny. It doesn’t get as much love from fans as it probably should but you have to admit that the show keeps getting better as it ages. The fact of the matter is, American Dad does not get the respect it deserves.
Delmon Young – Sit Down, Shut Up
Mitch Hurwitz was coming off the huge success of Arrested Development when he developed this cartoon which was adapted from, of all things, a live-action Australian sitcom. Despite having an amazing cast and a bunch of former Simpsons staffers at the helm, it was a colossal rating failure. It only made it four episodes before getting yanked from Sundays. Fox aired the final 9 episodes in the midnight Saturday timeslot which guaranteed that even people who liked the first episodes wouldn’t bother to tune in for the rest. Despite everything it had working in its favor; the show just had no business being on a primetime network slot.
Cole Hamels – Bob’s Burgers
Holy crap, have you seen this show? It is all kinds of awesome. It has an amazing cast and it has a cool, post-modern sense of humor that is still really inaccessible for people who aren’t into that sort of thing. It’s consistently funny and even the weaker episodes are still fun to watch. Somehow, this show doesn’t get the kind of love that it should, but considering that it’s in the middle of a legendary lineup it kind of makes sense.
Jonathan Papelbon – King of the Hill
Mike Judge followed the runaway success of Beavis and Butthead with the tamer, more mainstream King of the Hill. It was on TV for-friggin’-ever so it couldn’t have been that bad but for some reason I never liked the show. At times I downright hated it. I know there are people out there that love it, but I seriously can’t see it. It just did nothing for me and it at times it seemed to insult my intelligence.
Cliff Lee – Family Guy
Do you remember how groundbreaking and subversive Family Guy was when it first aired? It was unlike anything most of us had ever seen on network television. And then it went away and everybody was sad. Then, against all odds, it came back! And it’s still pretty awesome, even if it can’t always live up to the hype it once had. Some episodes are 22 minutes of laughs and others are 22 minutes of groans, but when the show is on it’s on.
Roy Halladay – The Simpsons
The old standby. After the Cosby Show went off the air, the Simpsons was unquestionably the best thing on television. What else can really be said here? No, it’s not what it used to be. That’s a fact. But how can you expect something that was that good to stay that good forever? And occasionally this show is still able to do something that makes you laugh and it usually happens as soon as you let your guard down. It produced what is beyond a doubt some of the most culturally significant television ever and we are lucky to have been able to appreciate its greatness as it was happening.
- 700 Level
- Crashburn Alley
- High Cheese
- House That Glanville Built
- Philadelphia Will Do
- Philled In
- Philly Gameday
- Philly Gossip
- Phoul Ballz
- The Good Phight
- The Insider
- The Zo Zone
- Where's Weems?
- Who Does He Play For?
- Zoo With Roy