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'Drunk History' recap: This one time, at the Olympics

Season 2 | Episode 9 | “Sports Heroes” | Aired Aug 26, 2014

In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before Drunk History dove into the sports world. History and sports both involve a lot of numbers, and they’re both shaped by people who know what they want and won’t stop until they get it. Some of these athletes are basically super-humans, and we should follow their example, especially when they’re played by A-list actors. We all know that actors and athletes are the only people worth listening to. What can we learn from them this week?

1. Throw out your best running shoes. Someone might need them.

Jim Thorpe (Jason Momoa) was a Native American kid in Oklahoma. When he entered high school in 1907, he proved himself to be the best at football, but Thorpe’s coach thought he was made for even more. If you look like Jason Momoa as a freshman in high school, you should probably go to the Olympics. Thorpe took his coach’s advice, trained for the decathlon, and made it to the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm where he faced jealousy and racism from his teammates. At the end of the first day of competition, Thorpe was in the lead. On the second day, his shoes were gone. Everyone pointed fingers at Avery Brundage, a white American who’d been publicized as the favorite, but no one came forward, so Thorpe found two mismatched shoes in the trash and competed in those.

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Even in broken, ill-fitted shoes, Thorpe was unbeatable. He won the gold medal in both the decathlon and the pentathlon. When the King of Sweden shook his hand and called him the best athlete in the world, Thorpe could only reply, “Thanks.” Take note, everyone: That’s how you take a compliment. Back in the United States, Thorpe played professional baseball, basketball and football. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Olympic Hall of Fame, and in 1999, Congress deemed him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Think how this might have turned out if no one threw away his shoes that morning.

2. Drunk History creator Derek Waters wears a Youth-XL football jersey.

When Waters runs a few football drills with Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs, he might try a few moves that are technically illegal, but at least his jersey fits.

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3. Don’t let anyone turn you into a vaudeville act.

When Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Emily Deschanel) was young, she set a goal to become the greatest athlete of all time. Babe took up baseball, basketball and diving, and when she was old enough, her father built her a weight lifting machine. Track and field was her ticket to the 1932 Olympics where she set a world record in javelin. All told, Babe took home two gold medals and one silver, and she became famous in the process. (“Amelia Earhart’s like, ‘Hey, you wanna get in my plane and disappear?’ and she’s like, ‘No, but I’ll take a picture with you!’”) Babe went into vaudeville, where she was paraded around for her skills, but she still wanted to be known as the greatest athlete of all time. “The Terrific Tomboy” just didn’t cut it.

After a few visits to the driving range, Babe settled on golf as the next world to conquer. She practiced 10 hours a day, and since there weren’t any professional tournaments for women, she entered one for men. As expected, there was an uproar. (“Reporters bagged on her, like, ‘It would be much better if her ilk stayed at home, prettied themselves up, and waited for the phone to ring.’”) With one 250-yard drive, Babe silenced the haters. A young woman named Betty Dodd was especially impressed. Babe was married by this point, but she and Betty became lovers and Babe started a professional league for women: the LPGA. She won 14 tournaments in a row before learning that she had cancer. Betty never left Babe’s side as she beat her disease and made it back in time for the 1955 U.S. Women’s Open, which she won. Babe had her wish: Everyone called her the greatest female athlete in the universe. (“That includes space!”)

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4. There’s no quitting in baseball.

Born in 1967 without a right hand, Jim Abbott (Aidan Sussman) wanted to play sports. His dad suggested soccer, but Abbott was set on baseball, because this is America. In his first Little League game, he pitched a no-hitter. Years later, word about Abbott (Zach Gilford) got around to local high school coaches. They knew he could pitch, but they weren’t sure that he could hit—until he pitched, caught a hard grounder, and threw it to first in a matter of seconds. Abbott went on to pitch four no-hitters in high school, including a perfect game, and receive an offer from the University of Michigan Wolverines. By this point, the press was everywhere. His first two college games were rough. The press deserted, and Abbott flourished again. He proved to be a skilled batter, and he could pitch at 90 miles per hour in the ‘80s, which is not to be confused with pitching 80 miles per hour in the ‘90s. Pause for narrator Matt Jones to break into an unintentional comedy routine. (“Jim Abbott and Costello!”)

Abbott played in the Pan American Games with the national team, who eventually went up against superpower Cuba. The game was so important to Cuba that Fidel Castro (Derek Waters) was in attendance. (“Fidel loves communism and he loves baseball. Those are a couple things he loves.”) Abbott managed not only to win, but to win over the crowd of 50,000 Cubans, who gave him a standing ovation. Castro even shook his hand. After that showing, Abbott played for 10 years in the major leagues, where he was known for his positivity. (“Everyone has disabilities. Mine are just more visible.”) Being nice really does get you places. So does having otherworldly talent.

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Seth Meyers joked at the Emmy Awards that actors tend to run from athletes, but on Drunk History, they’re a perfect match. Jason Momoa is somehow both imposing and lovable as Jim Thorpe, especially when he follows narrator Preston Flagg’s riffs. (“I’m talking ‘bout e-ve-ry-thang.”) Emily Deschanel nails Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s utter delight at breaking down boys’ clubs, strutting past a row of male reporters and shooting finger guns in Betty’s direction. (“You’re my lady!”) Zach Gilford also makes it easy to root for his all-American golden boy, and he gets the best line of the night as narrator Matt Jones attempts to make his fat “banana” of a dog lie down beside him. Who was your favorite tonight? How much did you know about these athletes? Now go challenge the system somewhere.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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