Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness: Entertainment Style

Do you enjoy the bracket-style competition of March Madness but could care less about college basketball? Then you're like me, and it turns out plenty of other creative thinkers who have come up with other more interesting uses of the bracket formula. A couple years ago someone came up Lost Madness, a tournament to pick your favorite Lost character (spoiler alert: Desmond won). And of course we all remember the classic How I Met Your Mother episode in which they used March Madness to figure out which of Barney's exes had been messing with his pick-ups.

So what do we have this year? Well, I've scoured the web and found four different games all transposing the March Madness brackets into an entertainment context. They are:

In this game, Hulu users pick their favorite TV shows in one-on-one matches. It began by separating categories (comedy, workplace comedy, detective drama, medical drama, etc.), and it's already on to Round 3. What have I learned from this game? That Hulu users have TERRIBLE taste. I mean seriously, Community has somehow managed to beat both Modern Family AND Glee. How does this make any sense? Almost as bad: Parks and Recreation beat The Office and 30 Rock. The only show I watch that's still in the running is Lost, and if that somehow loses to Parenthood then I give up.

It's pretty much what it sounds like - Esquire matches up women from music & fashion, television, sports, and movies, and you pick which one is hotter. They're taking a full 3 weeks for each round, and with good reason: there are some toughies. Rachel McAdams vs. Anne Hathaway? Freida Pinto vs. Zoe Saldana? Kristen Bell vs. Marion Cotillard? Megan Fox vs. Helen Mirren? Ok, maybe not that last one. Best one they came up with: Heidi Montag at 19 vs. Heidi Montag at 23. Too bad you can't put none of the above.

For the more literary among you, here's a site that every day gets someone to read two books from the past year and declare definitively which is better. So far the more well-known titles have generally won out (The Help, Wolf Hall, Let the Great World Spin), with a few surprises (poetry book The Anthologist beat well-loved short story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned). Bottom line: nobody reading this blog has heard of any of these books, and I only know most of them from literary awards. No room on there for John Irving and Jonathan Tropper, really?

Finally, the New York Times linked me to this sci-fi website's tournament in which they put classic characters from fantasy and sci-fi into cage matches with each other and declare who would be the victor. The site must be pretty hardcore nerd though, since just about anyone you've ever heard of got beat by somebody out of a Dungeons and Dragons game in round 1. Though still in the running: Aragorn and Gandalf from LOTR, Aslan from Narnia, and Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Better luck next year, Ender Wiggin and Arthur Dent.

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