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A Romantic Comedy In Cleveland

Does this comedy end well for Cleveland or is it darker than expected?

There’s a reason that romantic comedies work better in the movies than on television. In a movie, we figure out who’s going to fall in love within about fifteen minutes, and then they spend the next hour dodging their obvious attraction. Once they realize that they are perfect for each other, external forces conspire to keep them apart until they overcome the obstacles. As the movie approaches the end, both characters collapse in each other’s arms — usually in an airport or train station — as the soundtrack hits the crescendo and you hand your wife a tissue.

On television, they spend an entire season or two building up sexual tension, generally accompanied by witty banter and innuendo, until the inevitable happens. But once they fall in love, the series still has to sustain itself without the sexual tension. As any fan of Castle — or before that Cheers and Moonlighting — knows, everything after that usually sucks. That’s why reality shows like The Bachelor work: nobody sticks around long enough to annoy you, unless the entire premise annoys you.

The Cleveland Browns have found a way to keep the romance and mystery going. The Browns will find a quarterback, eventually. But since they have been so coy about not letting you know his identity, you keep tuning in to see which one will work out. We have heard rumors for a year about Jimmy Garoppolo, but he ditched Cleveland for San Francisco. Hue Jackson, who seems more like the roommate who we know won’t be around to see how the movie ends, let his most intimate friends know that Garoppolo was his one true love. Unfortunately for Hue, he said it loud enough that everyone else in the room heard it. How awkward is that? The Browns responded by setting up a one-night stand with A.J. McCarron, who knew Jackson from better times. Unfortunately for Hue, yet again, McCarron went to the airport while he went to the train station, or something like that. Ah, well, it was never meant to be.

So Jackson goes back home, looking at DeShone Kizer and thinks of what might have been. It’s not that he doesn’t love DeShone, but there’s no passion there. Not like it would have been with Garoppolo. With Jimmy, Hue could call a play, and the ball would go to the receiver it was supposed to go to, not to the other team. It could have been…magic!

Hue has been teased before. He thought he was going to get Carson Wentz, but the ugly stepsisters in the front office sent him away to Philadelphia. They let him get close enough to Deshaun Watson to exchange text messages, then traded Watson to Houston. Hue sees Wentz and Watson on TV. Sometimes he sees them in his dreams late at night. And when being 0–8 hurts the most, he sees them leading their teams toward the playoffs, and thinks, that could have been me.

So we’re at the part in season two where Hue is at rock bottom. He knows that sticking with DeShone and his interceptions will get him fired, but sees no way out. This is the point in the movie where Hue drinks wine with his friends as they tell him that he’s a good person and any quarterback would be lucky to have him. Hue says something nice about Kevin Hogan and his friends shake their heads, “Hue, you can do better than Kevin Hogan.” Then one day as Hue is walking his dog in the park, he hears a voice from afar saying, “Sam Darnold…Sam Darnold.” Suddenly, it’s a sunny day and the future is clear for Hue. Just eight more losses and Sam can be his! Sam is mysterious, young, and wild. But that arm. Oh man, that arm! Hue gets misty-eyed thinking about that cannon. That arm can do things for Hue that no quarterback has ever done.

But will Hue still be around when the time comes to draft Sam, or will the ugly stepsisters in the front office lock Hue in the attic and let another coach go to the draft? They have a history of fickleness, and Hue has only danced with the prince once in 24 tries. Maybe Sam will stay in school and Hue will have to go 0–16 again next year in order to get his man. Maybe they’ll let Hue go to the draft and then trade Sam at the last minute like they did with Carson and Deshaun. Maybe Sam is really Tim Couch — hey, wait a minute, Hue thinks, “Tim Couch is the same age as Tom Brady, maybe I should call him?” No, let’s stay focused on Sam. Hue wonders if Sam likes dogs.

Will Hue and Sam live happily ever after, or at least as long as Tom and Bill have? Can Hue stay strong amidst all this heartbreak? Or will Hue find that happiness has been there in front of his face all along in Cody Kessler? Is this a comedy or a tragedy? Stay tuned.

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