“The Haney Project: Charles Barkley” Recap: Lights, Camera … Hesitation?

By Ryan

It’s been two weeks between new episodes of The Haney Project. The previous episode, “Welcome to Arizona,” was filmed just before Christmas 2008. This episode, “Lights, Camera … Hesitation?” begins at the Barkley, Bean, Bryant & Friends Celebrity Skins Game at the YMCA Par 3 in Lakeland, Fla., which was held Feb. 6, 2009. So what happened in that monthlong span between episodes? Well, Barkley had his infamous DUI in the early morning hours of Dec. 31, and he was put on leave by TNT. He was still on leave from TNT at the time this episode was filmed. I guess I’m a little surprised there wasn’t even a mention of the incident anywhere in the episode — did he use any of the time on leave and disappearing from the public eye to work on his golf game?

Charles spends the first part of the episode schmoozing with people and kissing babies at the charity event. I’d say it was some kind of PR ploy, but he’s done this tournament for the past three years, and it’s good of him not to bail on it. Charles tees off, and there’s no hesitation on the first hole. He’s not hitching, but he’s not hitting good shots, either. The ugly hitch shows up again on hole 3, and again on hole 4. Charles is cursing on the tee box at a junior golf charity tournament. Classy. Charles is struggling, so Champions Tour player Andy Bean decides he’s going to raise the stakes: If Charles shoots par on the ninth hole, Bean will donate $5,000 to First Tee. Charles bogeys the hole, and the children weep.

Three weeks later, Charles is going back to Texas to visit Hank again. Hank is getting desperate now. He’s pulling out all sorts of weird contraptions and gimmicks and hocus pocus. One of them is the Super Tee, which hides the golf ball in a split second during the swing. The other is “random hitting,” in which Hank put little paper cups on the ground. Some have balls under them, some do not. The idea is to get Charles to focus on the swing, not the ball. But we never actually get to see Charles doing random hitting, which might have been fun to see him whack at cone-shaped paper cups all day.

Pro golfer Anthony Kim shows up, and Charles plays a four-hole “virtual match” against him. They’re giving Charles a stroke lead on every hole. But Kim doesn’t even have to swing a club. He’s not actually playing, but somehow has a score. I miss the point of this. There is a funny moment in which Kim challenges Charles to a footrace, possibly with money on the line, but it never happens. And then there’s a really annoying noise from an ambulance nearby, which leads to all kinds of jokes about Charles (or his golf game) dying on the course. “The operation was a success but the patient died,” jokes Charles.

Haney is pleased with the progress they made over the past two days, but looking at the big picture, he’s disappointed they didn’t have Charles fixed months ago.

The next new episode is May 11, and it’s also the season finale. Originally, GOLF CHANNEL told me that the series was planned for eight episodes, but the order was later cut to seven. Based on what we’ve seen, there’s no way Haney’s going to completely fix Sir Charles in seven episodes. Maybe Haney will continue to work with Charles off camera, and they can do a little reunion show or something in a few months to see if he’s made any progress.

[Update: There will be two new episodes after May 11. The season finale will be May 25.]

But if you still need your Barkley fix before May 11, there’s the new Barkley Zone coming to nba.com today:

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley takes center court on NBA.com with the debut of The Barkley Zone, a new video channel that will feature exclusive videos of the TNT analyst throughout the 2009 NBA Playoffs. The Barkley Zone will be one of five video channels available on NBA.com as part of the site’s new look for the Playoffs, which will launch on Thursday, April 16.

The Barkley Zone will include video content such as Soundoff with Barkley speaking his mind on a variety of topics, and Where They Been? where he catches up with former teammates to find out about their post-NBA lives, beginning with former Phoenix Suns teammate and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Photo: Credit: GOLF CHANNEL

About Ryan Berenz 2126 Articles
Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife