In 2004 The Washington City Paper commissioned the Wizznutzz to write a piece on Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz. Awesome right?! So we did, and we spelled everything right and everything and took out the stuff about the dead lady and it was good to go till #1 man at City Paper was a #1 pooface and KILLED it because its truth was too important but also because he didnt want us to use the name "Wizznutzz" but Wizznutzz is what we are so thanks for nothing City Paper.
So here it is RAW and UNCUT extreme edition!!:
Awesome art by bossman graphics!
THE BROTHERS GRIMM
The Wizards have found new enthusiasm. Why are their TV announcers so depressed?
By the WizzNutzz
The new-look, young, and energetic Wizards look fab tonight at the MCI Center against the Dallas Mavericks.
Free-agent signee Gilbert Arenas is playing with lawless abandon. Jarvis Hayes is finding his spots on the floor like a dog on a city sidewalk. The Manchild, Kwame Brown, is playing with perfectly unfocused flash, his legs and arms akimbo at every opportunity. And Etan Thomas is making better use of his left hand than a seventh-year boarding schooler.
The Wiz drive down the court, Arenas tosses the rock up to the machosensuous Christian Laettner, who, with his long hair and beard, looks every bit the over-friendly dorm RA, eager to teach the kids about Michael McDonald and where to get a good fake ID. Laettner makes a touch pass to the poet Thomas, who completes a wicked-hard slam-dunk.
Washington fans are going wild, the Mavs look stunned, and the Wizards look fired up.
You'd expect the team's TV announcers, Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier, to be screaming positives about such a potentially tide-turning play.
Instead, Chenier blandly chides, "Now, now, Etan, don't hang on that rim."
The Mavs, perhaps sensing this new depression that begins to shroud the MCI Center like so much cold mist, ignore Thomas' dunk, start a fast break, and score an easy basket. Buckhantz immediately pulls out his signature line
with such clinical purpose it sends shivers down your spine.
Meanwhile, it's a 12 to 10 game and we're four minutes into the first quarter.
But to Buckhantz the game is over. When the dagger is drawn, life is snuffed out. "Forget it, stop dreaming," he seems to be saying.
Suddenly, you notice youself thinking, "Do my kids respect me? Would anyone even notice if I fell off the face of the earth? Is that pain in my side maybe a tumor?"
Darkness rises from deep inside Buckhantz's call. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
All hope is quashed. Hope is humbug.
Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier have been paired together since 1997. Buck has 25 years of broadcasting experience; Chenier, the color man with fewer hues than an Ansel Adams retrospective, has been broadcasting for 18 years and was a member of Washington's last championship team--in 1978.
Together they make up the Basketball Brothers Grimm. And they are a broadcast duo cloaked so deep in an existential pall from viewing Wizards losses over the past 25 years, that they simply can't get up for this year's nubile and vigorous Washington hoops club.
For example, take the November 19 game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the Wiz won 106 to 95. Arenas scored 25 points, hitting four of eight three pointers. Instead of praising Arenas' touch behind the arc, all Buckhantz could muster was: "It's good to see those three-pointers falling for Gilbert. Lets just hope he doesn't fall in love with that shot."
The Wiz were leading!
Chenier is no better than his black-hearted partner. In a November 23 game against the Seattle Supersonics, the Wiz fought back in the 4th quarter to pull ahead for a second. It was a remarkable comeback considering Washington had its lowest-scoring first half in team history! Instead of celebrating the team's fortitude and fearless energy, Phil deadpans, "Yes, but they have to finish it!" Chenier said it like he knew they wouldn't--and they didn't, losing 88 to 85.
For Buckhantz and Chenier, the end is always nigh.
No one ever said that being a Bullets/Wizards fan is easy. Hope has forsaken these lands long ago. For the story of the Wizards fan isn't one about glory; it isn't a story about triumph and trophies, ESPN highlights, pedestals and parades. It's a story about pushing open the very heavy, groaning doorway that is life, and for all your flaws and failings, once again throwing yourself back through it like a mating-season salmon.
It's a story about past-their-prime free agents, trading away the future, and 10-day contracts. It's a story about medical marijuana, plantar fasciitis, Rod Strickland, Chico DeBarge, and the redemptive power of the half-smoke.
It is a story about overcoming odds--but mostly, it's a story about not overcoming odds.
Two years ago Michael Jordan came to town, and that all threatened to change. But MJ played Salieri to young Kwame's Mozart. He brought in his yes-men--his "mules," as he liked to call them--and he brought the weight of his insufferable narcissism, and so Abe Pollin asked Michael to leave the circle of friendship.
But this year's team is unburdened and dynamic, filled with potential and personalities. They are incredibly easy to root for, unless you are in the woebegone backcourt of Sturm Buckhantz and Drang Chenier.
With their melancholy offerings, they wait out games like a prison sentence. Their dialog is like a failing libido, with its pseudo-climaxes and nonarrivals, and their broadcasts are the equivalent of Waiting for Godot--and waiting for him in bad suits!
For like Godot's, Vladimir and Estragon, Steve and Phil are nearly without attributes: aging tramps locked in an aimless relationship, full of uncertainty about the purpose of their existence.
Perhaps Buckhantz and Chenier have simply waited too long for the Bullets/Wizards to be good. Estragon complains, "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful."
So true, Comcast, so true!
So depressing are these broadcasts that you can imagine Buckhantz as poet Philip Larkin calling games:
"Etan grabs the rebound, though it means little. Phil, I work all day, and get half-drunk at night, waking at four to soundless dark, I stare. Rebounds? Pfft!
Etan passes to Gilbert, who sets up the offense, but what will that mean in time, as the curtain edges will grow light? Till then I see what's really always there --Arenas shoots!-- unresting death, a whole day nearer now, making all thought impossible but how and where and when I shall myself die, like that last shot: Arenas misses. Steve Nash grabs the rebound and passes up court to Antoine Walker who lays it in! Dagger!"
In English we have no single word to describe the dour ennui that these two embody. But they do in Sweden. And the word is vemod, which means "life in a chronic state of sadness." And with Buckhantz and Chenier, we endure a broadcast so Swedish, as to be almost Bergmanesque.
Now our personal response involves home-made alcohol and wearing headphones tuned to 980 AM while gathered around the TVs at our local Circuit City. We love the energy of radio broadcaster Dave Johnson, with his calls of "Ohhhhh, Rod, Rod, Rod, Rod, Rod!" and "Ham slam!" (which are especially inventive considering neither Rod Strickland nor Darvin Ham is with the team anymore).
Johnson has no place for dismal complaints, preferring to call the game with an unchecked homoerotic enthusiasm that rivals Tom of Finland.
That's the way we run our Web site, wizznutzz.com.
And that's the way Buck and Phil should call Wizards games on TV. Because if this new game - with its heaving, athletically splendid younger men in shorts - can't get a rise out of you, then maybe it really is time to pack up the moon and dismantle the sun - turn in the dagger and leaves us our fun!