Fans' View

Fans’ View: The Focker Effect

Photo: Earl Gardner

Fans’ View contributor Seth Finck sent this piece in before heading to “the middle of nowhere” in Kentucky — and before Sunday’s win.

There’s not just one moment, there are many, when watching the Ben Stiller comedy Meet The Parents, that cause you to think “nothing else could go wrong.” And then of course, it does.

And then, of course, you realize you’re not watching Meet the Parents at all. You’re watching the 2015 Philadelphia Union season.

There’s no denying it: Everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong, and will continue to go wrong. The Union are Greg Focker and everything else is Jinxy Cat. Or something like that.

Now, personally, I have been having trouble parsing out why 17 year-old Seth could revel so much in the misery heaped on Ben Stiller’s character in scene after scene with no end in sight, while 32 year-old Seth is depressed by the run of increasingly depressing Union occurrences.

I don’t even want to catalog the shame spiral the Union are in and trust me that’s what it is. The schadenfreude associated with a movie like Meet the Parents just can’t apply to something like your favorite team. As a fan, you’re too close to the action, it feels too personal. On the other hand, I’d rather not feel like I take professional sports so seriously that I can’t find a little humor in it.

In fact, when He Who Must Not Be Named returned to camp, I let out an audible laugh. Not one of actual humor, but one that reflected the resigned nature of this season’s Union fans. And maybe that’s where we find our joy: in resignation. Relinquish the idea that this team will be able to accomplish anything more than moderate failure. Give up the idea that we’re building a contender with YOUTH. Throw in the towel on the front office and kick them out of the Circle of Trust.

For years, authors and entertainers of all walks of life have used the trope of a series of unfortunate events to wrangle laughs. This season has gone beyond that and has become something more sinister, more depressing. But there’s a belief in comedy that if you repeat something long enough, it will go from funny to not funny and come full circle back, so when’s this going to be funny again?


  1. alicat215 says:

    Great movie, but I just remember saying to myself: dude, screw her family if they are treating you this way…..dude, get the hell out of there, have some freaking dignity. That movie while funny, also drove any guy bat shit crazy too…….

  2. Life unwinds like a cheap sweater. But since I gave up hope, I feel a lot better.

  3. This is good stuff. Really a good read. Well done.

  4. James Lockerbie says:

    Great read, I laughed at the return of the unmentionable because I too busted out in laughter as I read the breaking news bulletin.

  5. Dont forget that Focker eventually won the girl.

    I feel much better now

  6. pragmatist says:

    I can’t watch that movie because everything about it just makes me squirm. I can’t deal with that level of discomfort.
    That makes this analogy perfect. I’ve already turned off about 4 games this year because of how uncomfortable they are.

    Damn, I hate how accurate this article is.

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