Friday, August 15, 2008

The 16 day grind

It's right around this point on the Olympics schedule, just like clockwork, that I begin to loathe NBC. I'm not going to whine about why they're not doing this or that instead of what they are doing (or not too much, at least); I know how much they spent for the broadcast rights, and I know they have to recoup their money. But still.

Beach volleyball? Every freaking night? Live?

Seriously, this might be the most overrated, boring sport at the games. This is how pretty much every single game progresses: serve, set, smash, point. Repeat until one team scores 21. Volleys are rare; sustained volleys are all but nonexistent. In between games loud music blares and cheerleaders run out for a brief booty shake.

I won't pretend I'm not aware most of this inexplicable popularity has to do with the fact that the female athletes' "uniforms" consist of a minuscule bikini barely large enough for their names and numbers. One of my friends at work more or less confirmed that as the reason he watches. Which is fine, I guess, as far as that goes, but it meshes poorly with an athletic event. If skinny women in empty bikinis are your thing, great. Go service your thing on line. But don't watch an athletic event for the wrong reasons, driving up the ratings, and making me have to watch it too.

I'm not sick of Michael Phelps yet. Yet. Fortunately he seems like a genuinely nice guy, as opposed to arrogant buffoons like Gary Hall Jr., so he wears well.

NBC's jingoistic, xenophobic coverage of US athletes is irritating, but that's not a battle worth fighting. I would like to see all the athletes covered equally, but obviously most people want to see their own athletes. I get that, and I get that it simply isn't possibly to give all the athletes equal coverage. But NBC really dropped the ball on Wednesday night during the finals of the mens' gymnastics all-around competition. They were all over the US and China athletes all night long, with some brief glimpses to the Japanese athletes. Not once did they cut away to the French athlete -- and he ended up winning the bronze. Come on, NBC. You can do better than that.

Or...maybe you can't. And it's not like I'm not going to watch, so all you can do it suck up any annoyance you're feeling and enjoy the spectacle. I said before that I love the Olympics, and that hasn't changed. I suppose what's going on is, while I love the Olympics, I hate the way the TV broadcasters have decided I must watch it.

Bring back the Triplecast!

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