Monday, September 10, 2007

Wouldn't "Shana Tova" have been more appropriate, Tony?

Wow, someone at ESPN finally figured out what to do at halftime of Monday Night Football. For years (and I'm sure I wasn't alone) I've been ranting to everyone--okay, it was usually just to my friend John most Monday nights--that MNF halftimes would be much better if they just put some football writers on and had them analyze what happened over the weekend. In fact, I said a couple years, why don't they just do a short version of Pardon The Interruption? Instead, ABC and ESPN continually did all they could to actually make me change the channel. This reached an all-time low point in complete waste of televsion time a couple years ago when they had that football version of "Punk'd" where players played pranks on teammates, and last year's halftime (which featured something called "Jacked Up" where the announcers would yell "Jacked Up!" while they played highlights of big hits) wasn't much better. But tonight, someone actually realized that doing PTI at halftime might be a pretty good idea--especially considering both Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are actually in the stadium anyway.

Of course, it was much too short--three thirty-second segments and the filler which maybe added up to two minutes total. They could have more than doubled that, but apparently Chris Berman's "Fastest Three Minutes in Football" shtick is sacrosanct. "The Fastest Three Minutes" was great on Sunday nights to get you caught up quickly with the most important plays if you had been busy during the day or not seen some of the highlights yet, but by Monday night at 10 p.m., I think any football fan who wanted to see the highlights from Sunday has had ample time to watch them. But I guess Chris Berman contractually has to have a chance to do his Howard Cosell "He could go all the way" ripoff once a week. (Having said that, Sunday Night Football, after basically doing a version of "Fastest Three Minutes" at halftime last year, last night showed four quick highlight clips of "stars" of the day, without scores, and then turned it over to Keith Olbermann for his new "Worst Person in the NFL" segment, which already seems forced two games into the season.)

More interesting than the mini-PTI's length, though, was Tony Kornheiser's signoff from the segment. He said "Mazal tov." But why? For those who aren't familiar with Judaism, "Mazal tov" means good luck or good fortune, but isn't used the way an English speaker uses the term "Good luck." It's customarily used to congratulate someone, after a birth, or a wedding, or some other good fortune. But who was he congratulating? Wilbon on their first halftime PTI? Didn't seem like it.

Which led me to wonder, did Tony mix up his Hebrew greetings? It is less than 48 hours away from Rosh Hashana, and it would made a lot more sense, and been a lot more appropriate for Tony to wish viewers "Shana Tova," the traditional Jewish New Year's greeting. Was he just confused? But I'm sure he has enough Jewish education to know the difference and has been doing television for years, so was he just saying "Mazal tov" as some kind of half-hearted "funny" sign-off--even though it wasn't funny and didn't make sense? I really find the whole thing very odd and want to investigate, but I'm not sure how. Can someone out there ask Tony at shul on Thursday? And why am I worrying about this so much? Was anyone else bothered by it? But who doesn't love a good Rosh Hashana mystery?

***P.S. By the way, in addition to a "Shana Tova," Tony also could have recited the Shehecheyanu, the Jewish prayer for doing something new. But now I'm being ridiculous.

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10/19/07, 12:07 PM  

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