Fuck you, NBC

Here is a list of all the  disciplines of sport that make up the current Olympic Summer Games:

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • BMX
  • Boxing
  • Canoe/kayak (slalom)
  • Canoe/kayak (sprint)
  • Diving
  • Equestrian (Dressage)
  • Equestrian (Eventing)
  • Equestrian (Jumping)
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Gymnastics (Artistic)
  • Gymnastics (Rhythmic)
  • Gymnastics (Trampoline)
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Modern pentathlon
  • Mountain biking
  • Road cycling
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Swimming
  • Synchronized swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Track cycling
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball (beach)
  • Volleyball (indoor)
  • Water polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling (Freestyle)
  • Wrestling (Greco-Roman)

Here is a list of the sports I have seen on NBC prime-time over the past six days (many hours after the competitions have completed and results reported not only by every online, broadcast and print news organization, but frequently by NBC itself during its own promos):

  • Diving
  • Gymnastics (Artistic)
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball (beach)
  • Volleyball (indoor)

Oh, and I don’t suppose I need to add, the only competitions NBC was gracious enough to air were those in which Americans participated. Don’t even get me started on the jingoistic nature of the coverage. We were treated to hour after hour of the U.S. men’s gymnastic team having a terrible time in the team competition – yet we saw virtually none of their competitors’ (i.e. the winners!) routines. The rings exercises were not shown once. It’s really disgraceful. And I haven’t even mentioned the valuable airtime wasted with Ryan Seacrest (RYAN SEACREST!) “reporting” on which athletes are trending on Twitter. AAAUUUGGGGGHHH! The worst.

Here’s an interesting piece about the whole debacle. The sad part is, ratings are through the roof apparently. So we can expect more of the same in 2016 and 2020. I think at this point I ought to spend two weeks in London for every Olympics, just so I can enjoy the apparently marvelous BBC broadcast.

“Tonight, in a world television premiere…”

Just recently I mentioned how much I miss commercials with jingles. Nowadays, using current or classic pop music seems to be the only option advertisers are willing to consider – often with unfortunate and inappropriate juxtapositions.  For example, Iggy Pop’s paean to life as a heroin addict being used to sell staterooms on Royal Caribbean cruises.

But other forgotten and sorely-missed artifacts of the past are the elaborately produced and majestically themed  intros for movies aired on the major television networks (back when there were only three).  These fantastic spots reached their zenith in the 1980s, with all three networks offering amazing animation and soaring and inspiring orchestral accompaniments – solely for the purpose of bringing us tonight’s presentation of “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.”  What a time it was…

CBS – The Tiffany network provides a stirring mix of swooshing colors and letters interspersed with live-action shots of solid chrome movie-making equipment and the hard-working hands of all the behind-the-scenes crew who bring the magic of movies into our living rooms. The brass heavy music and the thumping drum line make this a real toe-tapper.  Dignified yet modern, not overly-theatrical, befitting CBS’ status as the classiest of the 3 then-extant networks.  Hard to believe this is the same network that has since brought us seven seasons of “Two and a Half Men.”

ABC – Perennial  laughingstock underdog ABC more than holds it own here.  The highly dramatic musical intro combined with the pulsating tunnel of stars stirs both our patriotism and our slavish devotion to the stars of Hollywood.  They lose points, though, for the ugly Bauhaus rip-off font used on the movie marquee.  And the music, while initially stirring, loses it it in the end with pleasant though uninspired brass-and-strings.  It can’t hold up to it’s competitors in this regard.

Oh and be sure to watch this whole clip – there’s an excellent teaser for an upcoming episode of “Dynasty” at the end.

NBC – The Peacock network wins, though in a tight race.  The stars-made-out-of-film-stock motif is ingenious – both more clever and subtler than ABC’s use of stars.  And the orchestration is superb, starting off almost suspensefully, drawing us forward to the first crescendo – the appearance of the network’s storied peacock along with a play on the NBC “bong-bong-bong” chime.  Then a nice little playful xylophone-and-strings interlude before closing out with a souped up version of the NBC Chimes – perhaps the three most recognizable musical notes in history. Truly excellent.

Hey NBC – Cut It Out

Go on with your bad self...

I’ve only been dabbling in my watching of the Olympics, sticking mostly to the homosexual events (figure skating and men’s nude curling).  Yet I must nonetheless lodge several complaints:

  • “Medal” is a noun.  One may indeed win a medal, but when I hear references to somebody’s potential to “medal” or the act of “medaling” from one of the jackasses on the TV, I can only assume that they’re referring to someone who is trying to get all up in someone’s grill, i.e. meddling.
  • Yes, to some extent the raison d’être of the Olympics is to celebrate one’s pride in one’s country and the sporting abilities of one’s fellow citizens of said country.  But, Jesus, NBC – your jingoism is as subtle as a sledgehammer.  “Shaun White wins the half-pipe gold medal! His teammate Scotty Lago gets the bronze!”  Apparently, there was no silver…  Or maybe they should have just added, “Some godless commie squarehead from some other country that is not nearly as awesome as America somehow came in second! WTF? USA! USA!”
  • Enough with the code words when describing Johnny Weir. “Flamboyant.” “Outspoken.” “Controversial.” “Pillow biter.” OK, I made that last one up – but it sure is implied…  Seriously, NBC, it’s just so sniggering and juvenile.  Would you be referring to Shani Davis as “dusky” or “articulate”?  Actually, you probably would…  Apparently, homophobia trumps the jingoism…  Oh, and Scott Hamilton can kiss my (and Johnny’s) ass – besides being a shitty announcer, his antipathy towards Weir (and his fabulosity) and his rah-rahing for Lysacek is vomitous.
  • Please show competition live on the West coast…  I don’t want to stay up until midnight watching skating – plus I have to forgo any use of the internet at all in order to preserve a total news blackout on the already-known results.
  • Finally, I suppose it’s not really NBC’s fault that I’m a crotchety old coot – but I find snowboarding to be a big snooze.  “Get off my lawn, you dang whippersnappers!”

The thrill of victory, the agony of the stupid.

What with the tulips, the legal prostitution, the charming canals and now this, how could one not love the Dutch? Congratulations Sven Kramer for your Olympic speed-skating victory and your gold medal performance in the post-race interview.

from Gawker.tv