If you're a Vancouver Canucks fan, a devoted hockey aficionado or if you are, like me, a reasonably uninvolved hockey fan who has suddenly become weirdly puck obsessed during this season's NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup (Go Bruins!), you've probably noticed the Green Men.
They're Force and Sully, two devoted Canucks fans who dress in unflattering neon green body suits and sit next to the visitors' penalty box at Rogers Arena, taunting opposing miscreants with a variety of physical gags, props and the mere threat of proximity to a spandex-covered thrusting rear or crotch.
Already icons in Vancouver, ESPN has made heroes of Force and Sully, both apparently recent journalism school grads, over the course of the Stanley Cup showdown with the Bruins. For the media, the Green Men have become the ultimate super-fans, Vancouver-style, like the Canadian equivalent of Jack Nicholson at Lakers' games or John Adams, the dude who bangs the drums at Cleveland Indians games.
The Green Man character first appeared in the "The Gang Gets Invincible" episode of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" as the Eagles-loving alter-ego of Charlie Day's Charlie. The character has popped up in at least two other "Sunny" episodes, most recently in hilarious fashion in "The World Series Defense."
I was on the set of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" with a handful of reporters on Tuesday (June 14) the day before Game 7 between the Canucks and Bruins and it seemed only appropriate to get their reaction to the very well publicized (but only occasionally attributed) homage.
"I think those guys are awesome," said Glenn Howerton. "Those guys have credited our show numerous times. I've gotten a lot of tweets about that, like 'Why are those guys stealing your s***?' or whatever, but they actually haven't. They've credited us a number of times. Now that ESPN's been giving them a ton of attention, ESPN literally cuts out their references to our show, because they don't want advertise our show. We're a rival cable network. But that's got nothing to do with those guys. They're just taking an idea and running with it. I think it's great."
A little bit less sure, albeit clearly kidding, was Charlie Day.
"Well, I'm more of a Bruins fan, so I'm not so excited about it," said Day, who soon amended that he's more of an "apathetic Bruins fan." "I don't know. If two kids want to go to a hockey game dressed in green... it'd be pretty moronic to try and stop them."
Day had an important caveat.
He added, "If they can keep boners to a minimum..."
Kaitlin Olson agreed, "That's the thing. It's not the most flattering costume."
Howerton concluded, "I think you either know that it came from the show, or you don't. I think that's kinda cool."
I'll obviously have lots more from the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" set as the show's September premiere gets closer, but with the Game 7 puck dropping in less than an hour, I wanted to get this crucial story up.
Oh and Go Bruins.
If you haven't seen Force and Sully at work, here's their interpretation of Green Men (video after the break):
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A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.