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Watching this Landon Donovan documentary will literally drive you to madness

Written by Will Parchman

In 1943, Abraham Maslow released his Hierarchy of Needs, a pyramid of etched social and psychological desires embedded into our consciousness from birth. At the top of the pyramid, morality, problem solving, spontaneity. In the midsection, sexual intimacy, family, friendship. At the bottom, in red ink, sex, sleep, breathing, excretion.

In 2002, ESPN released its EOE doc entitled “The Life – Landon Donovan.” Were Maslow alive to see it, he’d have realized that for the first time in recorded human history, a profile of a single man has, at once, fulfilled every human need. If looped on a continuous stream, the endpoints of the universe would bend toward the continuum and touch, creating an endless stream of black holes filled with Romulans with closely cropped bleach-blonde hair and an infinite number of Pablo Mastroenis butchering The Beatles’ “Blackbird” on a pock-marked, out-of-tune Fender acoustic.

When watched for long enough periods of time, it will also satisfy all future need to make use of your body’s excretion system. I consulted a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts and was not rebuffed on this matter. It would not be wise to dispute me.

For 22:37, a 19-year-old Landon Donovan literally holds your brain in his hand and squeezes so tenderly, so gently that it seems more a moment that Neil Diamond is singing rhinestones into your eyeballs. Let’s go inside the video and discover why sunshine makes us happy, why we have a clinical desire for dogs and wait Landon Donovan is wearing what the hell is Landon Donovan wearing.

Oh. No. This is not starting well. I hope I don’t lose all sense of the human experience over the next 22 minutes and 37 seconds.

Our opening montage is what Run DMC vomited out one Saturday morning after shooting back tequila for six hours and simultaneously having Flava Flav scream foreign policy suggestions through YEEEEAH BOYEEEEs. It’s got a WICKEDY WACKEDY guy doing some spraypaintin’, and whoa hey it’s our first view of LandWHOOOOOA ANYBODY GOT A BREATH MINT????

Man, no, I’m out, but you oh that was. Rhetorical. Man.

This is crazy lifelike. I see a bike. A guy FLIPPITY FLAPPIN on his skateboard. So cool, man. There’s the Brooklyn Bridge, which is good because I clicked on this to watch a documentary on 21st century New York bridge trolls coping with the rigors of exacting their revenge on weary travelers via a tricky series of riddles that, wait, no, that’s not what this is at all. Oh sweet, there’s LandTHIS WEEK WE’RE KICKING IT WITH LANDON DONOVAN!!! Who is speaking to me and where are you and what are you.

2:16 – Was that… was that the dredlocked chick from 4 Non Blondes singing about Landon Donovan? “And I said, HEEEEEEYAYYYYY.” What’s that you say? That was Pablo Mastroeni warbling over lines like “You can’t even get into a movie that’s Rated R?” Honest mistake. Meanwhile, while 4 Non Mastroenis’ hit single “LANDON WE HARDLY KNEW YE” sits over the video like a post-chili bender John Goodman sits on Kate Moss’ lap, Landon complains about too much hotel-room pooping and signs autographs for a group of 12-year-olds who are both bigger and have deeper voices. Good start, good effort ESPN.

2:30 – “Forget about the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet.” Oh. Wow. Okay. *picks up golden scepter, spears soccer ball with a trident, throws at television*

3:06 – What have I done to myself. My god, what have I done. I just saw Bruce Arena in a white generic WalMart hat. I have 19 more minutes of this. My sanity is shouting Dane Cook jokes to me now. Walter White is hunting us.

4:40 – Is this Landon Donovan getting an enema? With a hoodie on? And the hood up? Is this turning into some kind of strange German snuff film? LITTLE RED RIDING LANDON GOES TO DR. FISTIES. Surely ESPN is punishing us for something we did? Why are we here at all? What’s happening? Is this a documentary?

5:33 – Oh, it’s a dentist’s office. Set to crackly carnival music. Of course. My life is spiraling out of control.

6:18 – Look at this bro. LOOK AT HIM. After hitting on no fewer than three dental hygienists in 10 seconds, Landon responds to the statement, “He likes southern accents” with, “MY FAULT.” Brobro Broiest the Bro’d.


7:08 – 4 NON MASTROENIs makes its triumphant return, its dulcet tones hovering over our necks like a guillotine. His lyrics are odd and getting darker: “You’re so great that they call you phenom. I can’t believe you bombed those kids in Vietnam.” Mastroeni is losing his purchase on reality. I can’t vouch for what happens next.

12:39 – I blacked out for a few minutes. I woke up… where am I exactly? Oh god is that… is that what I think it is? Is this video still playing? WE CAN’T STOP HERE, THIS IS BAT COUNTRY.

13:22 – Sorry guys, I’m back, I think. And I’ve arrived just in time to see a Broseph Landon The Broster hop onto a lawn chair in somebody’s backyard, awkwardly tilt his body sideways and speak to us as though we asked him why did you fart just then and he’s responding that I didn’t fart that was just my career in Germany. That’s what that looks like.


14:49 – An old woman just showed us her crocheted Earthquakes hat.

15:23 – Can no longer feel fear. Emotional cognizance has disappeared, replaced by a frayed sense of time and space. I have torn off my G key and eaten it for fear of Landon Donovan finding me in my sleep and removing G’s from my lexicon. Tell my mother I loved her in Breaking Bad but her role in the Greek mythological tale of Icarus left something to be desired. I have renamed myself Thomas The Tank Engine.

16:47 – Agoos, Meola, Donovan and Beasley are playing spades. They’re playing spades and we are watching them play spades. I’m going to say this again. Spades. Four grown men are playing spades clustered near a round particle board table and we are watching Jeff Agoos tell DaMarcus Beasley that he’s done something he’s not supposed to do while they are playing spades. And now the cameraman has zoomed in on Donovan’s head and Agoos laughs and DaMarcus Beasley says “He’s zooming in on his head.” DaMarcus Beasley has won the game and now Agoos is saying something and oh I’ve lost control of my bowels.

18:43 – We’ve reached some sort of time meld where Donovan has found 4 Non Mastroenis, who has completely lost his mind in isolation. “Landon, you are my greatest kitchen utensil. I use you to shave my back hair. Can we American together?” Landon smiles, aware of a man who has no bearing. He is lost in the Gary Busey Forest.

20:31 – They’re showing soccer spliced with Landon reclining on a sofa in an SAE frat house talkin’ ’bout stuff. Just, you know, FYI.

22:05 – As the credits spiral us down the final mortal coil into hell, we are shown a tubby old man in his underwear, standing in front of a backdrop of colored cubes, blowing bubbles into the ether. That man is you. That man is me. He is Landon Donovan.



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