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Super Bowl Days And Baywatch Nights, With Dan McQuade

A store window display in Philadelphia displays Eagles merchandise in the run-up to the Super Bowl.
Mark Makela/Getty Images

I am too partisan in my personal fandoms and too bearish on the prospect of things actually improving in a meaningful way to say that things are "better" when the Philadelphia Eagles are good. That said, I would be denying a very obvious truth if I didn't admit that things are more fun when the Eagles are good. The football stuff is the football stuff, and the Eagles are undeniably and idiosyncratically good, albeit in ways that haven't generated a ton of fun-to-watch football games. But the fun part, during a good Eagles season, is the non-football stuff—the distinctly Philadelphian mania, the whipsawing between wild pessimism and wilder triumphalism and wilder-still property damage, the avant-garde approach to pronouncing some of your more common vowels, the way that a major American city can somehow all achieve the mind state of the Jeff Garcia Is It Baby guy. There is no comprehending it, but it is worth celebrating, and it was that in mind that we had Philadelphia Bureau Chief and hoagie ambassador Dan McQuade on the pod this week.

As with all the best Dan McQuade conversations, there was a pretty solid quotient of Eagles stuff in there, but a much higher percentage of Philadelphia Stuff. So while there is some conversation, and even a few moments approaching analysis, where the team's rapid rise to dominance is concerned, there was also an equally large and equally intense discussion of infrastructure-climbing culture and mass fan psychosis and the new location of a water tower in Bensalem, Penn. I will not give away the prize offered to winners of the lightpole-climbing event that McQuade attended, but I will say that I said "come on, man" when he said it, and will add that it probably won't surprise you.

Before we got to the dumb stuff—or, anyway, the designated back-third-of-the-podcast dumb stuff—we stopped to consider the case of George Washington University's fraught ongoing athletic nickname rebrand. While we all agreed that the already-rejected Hippos was the superior option, we walked through the other options, which ranged from the embarrassing (FogRiders, Ambassadors) to some that are so much worse that I will not type them out here. This is probably the most that we're likely to talk about Atlantic 10 basketball on the podcast for a little while, so St. Bonaventure's loyalists might want to pace themselves while listening through it.

The official Dumb Stuff portion of the podcast began with a shocking defense of Todd Pinkston's fraught legacy from Dan, and got only more unpredictable from there. In response to a listener question I did something I might have done anyway, which is "try to explain baseball's Hall of Fame voting process and wind up getting upset." The only other Funbag question we answered, which was about strange and unaccountable pandemic TV watching behavior, wound. up becoming a Dan McQuade Classic in which he explained everything he learned while rewatching all 11 seasons of Baywatch during one of the lowest points in recent American history. There is a lot in there—Beach Boy Mike Love's attempt to write a rap duet with Bart Simpson, music licensing fuckery involving David Hasselhoff, the evolution of Baywatch Nights from its Lou Rawls Is In It era to its David Hasselhoff Investigates The Supernatural one. I will not give away Dan's take on Pacific Blue, but I will say that it's in there. We'd already gone on quite a while by then, and so will share my own unconscionable television-watching habits in the comments upon request, and will share them nowhere else. This will at least save me from saying "well, we're a White Collar household" aloud, which is probably for the best.

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