Part 2 of my conversation with Club Trillion co-founder and writer, Mark Titus. In case you missed yesterday’s first part, the link is here
Attic Fan: It must have been pretty cool as well for a sportswriter of Simmons' stature to want to talk to you on his podcast. He is probably one of the biggest influences in sportswriting today, and that is evident in columns that we wrote in August (I wrote a 10 Levels of Being Athlete column on August 25, and you had written a 10 Levels of Fame column on August 19th. Swear to God, I hadn't read your column up until that time. I actually thought you had stolen the idea from me until A) I realized that it looks like that I was the one who stole the idea and B) Even if the column you had written was written after me, there was a 0.0001% chance that you had ever seen/heard of my column. Anyway, we both saw his 13 Levels of Losing column).
To have one your biggest influences continually ask you on his podcast must be a pretty big deal, am I wrong? What has it been like to rub elbows with guys on ESPN, especially since it sounds like this was unimaginable at the beginning of your blog?
Mark Titus:Yeah it's definitely crazy to think about. I came to Ohio State to study math, go to med school, and not play basketball, and by the end of my four years, some people suggested that I was the most popular guy on our team even though we had the POY. I disagree that I was the most popular, but the fact that it was even suggested is pretty nuts. As things have progressed, I've kinda learned to just take things in stride because when I get too excited about stuff, I usually end up making a fool out of myself. By now, I'm pretty much used to everything, but when I take a step back and realize how I got to where I am, it's pretty unbelievable, especially considering that doing these kinds of things (national interviews, "rubbing elbows" with celebrities, etc) was never my intention when I started the blog.
AF:Going back to the whole "rubbing elbows" deal, what is it like to now (within the last week really) be writing college basketball columns for ESPN? Other than the insider cost I am too cheap to pay, your fans must be ecstatic with the news that are now writing for probably the most well-known sports media organization in the world. When did you know that you would be contributing to ESPN, and is this the way that you see the "Club Trillion" blog evolving in the future?
MT: It's obviously a lot different from writing my blog because I don't have the freedom I usually have, but the general idea of writing for ESPN is pretty awesome. They approached me this summer about contributing some stuff during the basketball season, and I agreed I'd do it, mostly because it's ESPN, but also because it gives me a chance to try something different. Most of the fans were pretty excited about it, because it's not just that I'm writing for ESPN - it's that a benchwarmer managed to turn a negative into a positive and ultimately ended up writing for the worldwide leader in sports. It's not so much a win for me as it is a win for benchwarmers in general, and that's probably the coolest part of it all. Just being an example that benchwarmers are usually the coolest guys on basketball teams is rewarding enough for me.
As for the future, I still plan to keep my blog going but I'm trying to make it more about the walk-ons around the country rather than about myself. There are tons of guys who have similar stories as me and I think it would be cool to give them a chance to tell some of their stories. I'll still write most of the material on the blog, but hopefully I can open it up a little bit and give fans some different perspectives.
AF: I like the idea of adding the other walk-ons to the site, because you are definitely going to get more perspectives. You could get guys who maybe are frustrated with their role as a walk-on, and give them a chance to air their grievances. You could also get guys who are maybe even legitimately contributing to their team's basketball success, the way Lee Melchione did for those mid-2000 Duke teams. That is probably the best way for your blog to go, since the core idea of Club Trillion should still stay relevant even as you are out of college. That is the perspective of the walk-on or the 13th man.
Switching gears here, I am offering you a rare opportunity. Here at the Attic Fan we, (meaning me) are hugh LOST fans. You are too. I want you to give your take on the series finale, something you have not gotten to do on your blog. Odds are, ESPN would not be too pumped about you giving your take on a series that ended 4 months ago. Where would you place LOST in the illustrious "Greatest TV Shows of All-Time" list. Did it annoy you the way it did myself, when people would ask you what LOST is about? Because I always sounded like a mentally insane person when I tried. "Uh, there's like time travel and a guy who is 500 years old who keeps coming in visions to a big fat guy. Also there is a now a magic river where humanity's goodness comes from".
MT: Yeah, I'd feel more comfortable explaining the electoral college to 7-year-olds than explaining LOST to anybody. Even though it's confusing as crap, I still think it's gotta be one of the top 5-10 dramas ever. The only reason I can't give it #1 is because it didn't answer enough questions for me. I'm all for leaving some questions unanswered and leaving the audience to interpret things, but they didn't tie up enough loose ends for me. Every time I think I've got a solution to what LOST was about, somebody brings up something that contradicts my theory. Oh, and the other reason I can't give it #1 is because Kate was labeled as the babe of the show, even though Juliet was clearly much more attractive. That's inexcusable.
AF: I kind of feel as if I re-watch the entire series, I would have a better understanding of what went on. But I do not have a the free time or brain cells available to watch all 6 season without committing some kind of confusion-caused homicide. I will freak out when I see the seasons that were committed to the Dharma Initiative, since in the end of the series, the Dharma Intiative serves no real purpose. I would probably end up throwing things at my TV. There is the Dharma Initiative, Walt, and the whole pregnant women subplot that would probably end up making me really angry, just because they are totally irrelevant to the story as a whole.
As far as Kate is concerned, what?! No matter how bad an actress Evangeline Lilly was, she at least had her looks. I like Juliet a lot, but I thought Kate had her beat pretty easily. I even thought Claire was in the running, until she went bats--t crazy in season 6 and began to look like a Rastafarian.
When you say LOST is in the 5-10 range for best drama, what do you think was the best drama? The best comedy? (Although I think I know the answer for best comedy).
MT: I'm sticking with my guns here. Juliet was smoking. Kate had her moments, but if I'm stuck on a deserted island that isn't quite as deserted as I originally thought and has some sort of weird magnetic properties, I'm making a play for Juliet.
As far as my favorite shows of all-time, I really think Jersey Shore might be both my favorite comedy and drama ever. But since most people don't consider it to be either of those, I'll have to go with something else I guess. The best comedy is definitely Seinfeld, not only because it was a huge commercial success, but also because it is easily the most rewatchable comedy series ever. That one's a no-brainer.
Drama, on the other hand, is tricky. I really don't watch a lot of dramas cause I enjoy laughing a lot more than trying to figure out why polar bears are on tropical islands or why all of the other doctors always think House is crazy when he diagnoses a disease, even though he's been right the last 243 times they have doubted him. With that being said, I think The Sopranos has to be considered the #1 drama, even though Mad Men and The Wire are making a strong case. Also, let the record show that I don't think VIP starring Pam Anderson gets the credit it deserves. I remember thinking that show was awesome when I was...just hitting puberty. Oh, well no wonder I loved it so much. Nevermind, forget I said anything.
AF: Seinfeld is one of the series that just really ages well for some reason, although all the plot lines probably could have been solved in a matter of minutes if they all had cell phones. People relate to it really well, but it is so exaggerated and over-the-top that it doesn't remind people of their dull lives too much, which is important. People want to see stuff they are familiar with but not too familiar with, if that makes any sense. It doesn't. I just got into Seinfeld pretty recently because they re-run it constantly, and me and one of my friends spend most of our English class talking and yelling like the Costanzas. It is still relevant today, and that is the only example I can provide.
As far as drama's go, it really is the case that you cannot have a successful network drama anymore. It just isn't possible because none of the major networks would ever take a chance on a show about an advertising agency, or a show about ghetto Baltimore. Instead, the public is stuck thinking that Glee is a great show (For my money, I have to take LOST just because I was so emotionally invested in it. And shows like The Sopranos and The Wire were just before my time. That is weird to say since they were early 2000's)
And VIP sounds great. Wikipedia's plot line for it was: Anderson stars as Vallery Irons, a woman who accidentally saves a celebrity and then is hired by a real bodyguard agency as a famous figurehead while the rest of the agency's professionals work to solve cases.
That sounds so ridiculous it looks great.
Moving towards another form of entertainment, you are working on a book about your career at Ohio State. How far along is that, and when should we see this in bookshelves? Will there be any shocking, Reggie Bush-esque revelations that you couldn't say on your blog in college because the NCAA would s--t a chicken?
MT: I wanted to put the book on hold for a little bit until I got a deal signed, so there hasn't been a lot written yet. However, I'm probably going to sign a contract within the next week or two, so I'll get to writing it relatively soon. I originally wanted it to come out this March, but my publisher wants to push it back a year and have it out next March. It's going to be awhile, I know, but that will hopefully give me a lot of time to put together the best book I possibly can. In other words, it will give me a lot of time to make sure I have all the juicy stories from my four years in the book. Rest assured, I won't leave out anything that's even remotely entertaining.
AF: Well, at least the book does sounds like it is going to come out eventually, which is always good. Do you have any final thoughts before we end this? Eastbound and Down? Greg Oden? Politics?
MT: Yes. I'm ready for these midterm elections to get over with. I can't even watch Oprah anymore without being bombarded with ridiculous political ads. Don't these people realize that it's her farewell season? She deserves better than this.