NHL Playoffs Game Seven vs. A Game of Thrones Episode: The Sports Vs. Scripted TV Debate


by Teddy Westside

The Blackhawks just won a crucial Game 6 on the road in Los Angeles on Friday night in a game that was almost as wild as Gimler’s slut sister. Down 3-2, the Hawks came storming back to score twice to win the game and send the series back to Chicago for a righteous Game 7 on Sunday night.

But all of a sudden, sports fans – in particular sports nerds – are faced with a dilemma bigger than finding out who Jon Snow’s whore mother is…What do we watch?!?!

Ever since The Sopranos aired on HBO one Sunday night in January 1999, the Home Box Office has been pumping out quality television shows on Sundays. None has been as big, popular and wide-reaching as Game of Thrones, which is currently in its fourth season. Game of Thrones is currently averaging around 8+ million viewers every Sunday night, which is about 7 million more viewers than an NHL playoff game.

Damn. What should we watch? Which Kings would you rather see die? Do you prefer watching a game with sticks and armor?

Or a show with swords and armor?

On the surface, it should be an easy choice.  You always watch the live sporting event and then go back and watch the scripted TV show.

With the invention of DVR and other live TV recording devices, not to mention HBO GO and other streaming services, it is easier than ever to NOT watch live TV and instead watch it whenever you want. However, TV producers and companies have tried desperately to create a “must watch now” atmosphere to their shows. They are pushing this through the use of social media, posting articles and happenings from current episodes right away and generating buzz. If you didn’t watch the episode right away, you might be on the outside looking in. You might even run the risk of reading a spoiler. In fact, this whole social media thing has fucked people over so much that we need to include the phrase “spoilers ahead” or “only for book readers” before we type out thoughts or feelings or hypotheses.

This whole “must see ASAP” buzz-generating is a producer’s wet dream. It gets people’s attention, it gets people to watch, it gets people to talk about their show, and then, hopefully, it gets people to buy shit so they make money. Game of Thrones, perhaps more than any other show out there, fits this “must see ASAP” show template. You could argue for the reasons why it does for the next 13 hours, but the fact is that it does and there isn’t anything you can do to stop it at this point. It has already had siblings fucking, kid killing, baby slaughtering, gratuitous tits and cock showings, betrayal, debauchery, drunkenness and regicide. Guess what? People are still fucking watching it.

This used to be sport’s wheelhouse. Everything that Game of Thrones is doing used to be what sports was all about. Well, minus the kid killing maybe.

Buzz. What happened last night? Did you see the game? Holy shit, that Patrick Kane is good as fuck, hey! I should go buy his jersey.

So, the question now is the same question I am sure people were asking 20 years ago before DVR…what do we watch? When 8pm CDT rolls around Sunday, are you going to be watching an unbelievable Game 7 between two powerhouse clubs battling to go to the Stanley Cup Finals? Or are you going to be watching a man from Dorne uphold the honor of a little imp shit against a man so large he can cut the head of a horse clean off with two strokes of his sword? Chances are you will be rewarded with compelling and wonderful TV either way.

My suggestion?

If you read the books, you know the end of this current season will hold a lot of beautiful and violent moments. I personally cannot wait for the Viper/Mountain scene, which was always one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. If you are a book reader, you know what is about to happen. Go ahead and watch the game first and then go back to your beloved show. It will still be there. You need not worry about spoilers. In fact, you can even take your elitist attitude with you to the message boards saying “it wasn’t as good as the book” before you even see it this way. Treat yourself to some Patrick “Red Viper” Kane (who scored the game winner Friday night), a small, quick-as-shit guy who can strike super-fast killing blows (who by the way will be dressed in red all night) taking on Dustin Brown, a mountain of a man who has all the skills and agility of a smaller warrior.

And Gimler told me to say that if you don’t read books, then you’re probably a hockey fan, and you’ll end up watching the game over GoT as well…

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