Sports Sequels Always Turn Their Champs Into Losers Again
We love watching underdogs win. Against the odds, they overcome all of their obstacles and reign as the new champs. Of course, now they're not underdogs anymore. Which wouldn't be a problem, except for a little thing called "sequels." Hack writers solved the underdog paradox long ago: Knock the champ back to chump for no good reason, so they can montage it up again like the fans want.
At the end of Rocky II, Rocky wins the World Heavyweight Championship, but the story wasn't allowed to end there. Figuring that "awesome dude stays awesome" doesn't make for a compelling sequel, Sylvester Stallone (who wrote and directed Rocky III) tossed out all of Balboa's development as a boxer. Suddenly, he just sucks again, like he's got a terminal case of suck-itis.
Ultimately, Mickey confesses that he'd been handpicking Rocky's challengers and feeding him easy opponents, which unfortunately means that when Rocky finally faces a decent fighter, he gets completely slaughtered. But at that point, don't you deserve it? Isn't Rocky the corrupt bad guy of this film?
By the end of Karate Kid II, Daniel-san has been waxing off so hard that he could probably deflect bullets with those hands. He is, unquestionably, a bona fide master in both karate and nose-tweaking:
But in Part III, he's suddenly scared to enter a tournament (again), gets his ass kicked by Cobra Kai (again), and needs to be trained by Miyagi (again). They may as well have called it a reboot and titled it Karate Adult.
This pattern pops up in every cynical sports sequel. Mighty Ducks turned jabroni hockey players into world champions, then made them struggle to compete with a varsity team. Major League saw the Cleveland Indians go from total losers to ALCS contenders, to total losers again who have to montage their way to a playoffs shot. If you're going to do that, at least use the Marlins -- make it believable.
Jason Iannone can be found on Facebook and Twitter if you believe in him hard enough. Michael Battaglino is a contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article. Jordan Breeding also writes for Paste Magazine, the Twitter, himself, and has super pillowy synthetic lips. Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs.
We're begging somebody to write another Major League sequel starring Charlie Sheen as General Manager Wild Thing, so maybe pick up a beginner's guide to Celtx and start writing?
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For more terrible characters in sequels, check out How Sequels And Reboots Ruin Your Favorite Characters and 6 Characters Whose Lives Fell Apart In Little Known Sequels.
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