Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Look Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask
New Episodes Tuesday Nights
Directed by Josh Greenbaum
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

The most compelling Sports Documentary or Sports Docu Series you will see on television this year will not be about a Sports Hero or a Legendary Team or a momentous Sports Event.

And you will not see this show on any of the usual places on television for sports documentaries like ESPN, HBO, Showtime or any of the big networks.

The brainchild of Josh Greenbaum (The Short Game), the ten episode  Behind the Mask series takes us behind the scenes to glimpse at the usually unconsidered and secretive world of the sports mascot.  The show can be seen on and is one of their original series.

New episodes are released every Tuesday with the first episode being released this past Tuesday (10.29)

The Documentary simultaneously follows the lives of four sports mascots on four different levels.

There is the High School Mascot "Rooty" from Lebanon High School in Massachusetts played by a shy teenager, Michael, who magically transforms his personality when he puts on his mascot uniform, a tree, for the Cedars of Lebanon.

From the Collegiate level there is the Mascot "Hey Reb" from the University of Nevada Las Vegas played by sixth year college student Jersey.

The Semi-Pro level is represented by "Tux" the mascot of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Minor League Hockey team played by Chad.

The Professional level is represented by "Bango" from the Milwaukee Bucks Basketball team, voted the best NBA mascot, played by Kevin.

The documentary alternates between the fun or the funny to the serious and compelling.  One moment we are looking at "Hey Reb" trying to get into a car and drive with his big head to wondering what Jersey, the college kid that plays "Reb", is going to do with his life when he graduates from College and can no longer be the mascot.

One moment we see "Rooty" leading the cheers and attempting to dance in a "dance off" with a competing mascot at a high school football game, the next thing we see is the socially awkward Michael who plays "Rooty" trying to ask a cute cheerleader to the Homecoming.

Then we go out to Pennsylvania where "Tux" is hitting a taunting fan with a cream pie at a hockey game and talking like a penguin and the next thing we see is Chad (Tux) trying to make it to the next level as a professional mascot, being turned down by the Tampa Bay Lightening, or trying to make ends meet for his family by taking other gigs.

Meanwhile in Milwaukee, we witness what it is like to be possibly the best well known of the sports mascots, the Milwaukee Buck's "Bango" played by Kevin as he rehearses for the most incredible of stunts like doing a back - flip dunk off a high ladder in full costume.  Balance that with his family life (and the worries of what he is doing) and his multiple trips to the physical therapist as he deals with the physical consequences of his outrageous stunts.

From the very first episode, you will be instantly drawn in to the lives of these four people and want to see more as the series progresses.

Almost lost in this show is how we are watching it.  It is becoming commonplace now.

It truly is another wave of "The Golden Age of Television" where we can watch our shows on demand through a wide range of devices and the non-traditional avenues where the programming is coming from.

This particular show is worth a watch and as it's predecessors House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix, should garner attention at Emmy time.

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