Don’t get me wrong. I still think they’re idiots.
But so does everyone else for a change.
Let me break it down:
- In 2006, I proposed turning the ‘primetime’ coverage into a clip reel
- In 2008, I bitched about NBC’s inability to run a website with accurate news
- In 2010, I snarled at NBC for cutting off the closing ceremonies
An Olympics does not pass without me bitching at NBC. And this time everyone else is complaining about them too, and I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Now all of you understand what I’ve been raging about for twelve years. I didn’t blog my attack on them over Nagano in 1998, or 2000 for Sydney, and 2002 in Salt Lake, because I didn’t really blog as much then but rest assured, I did complain just as loudly as in those three posts.
I didn’t drop the idiocy of NBC’s website telling us the US women’s gymnastic team had won gold, when their own TV show had announced it was silver. And I don’t forgive NBC for cutting the opening ceremonies and the tribute to the dead soldiers.
It’s 2012, we need to stop having ‘spoiler alerts’ when social media is so pervasive, we broke the GPS system for the bicyclists by tweeting too much. Give up, the news is out there. And to that one person who tweeted a complaint that NBC TV spoiled her, I have news for you. The ship sinks.
NBC still argues ‘But people watch!’ and I reply ‘Of course we do! It’s the Olympics! We’d watch it without you!’
Look, I get it. It’s just this sporting event that happens every two years, and it’s really not a big deal. Except… The Olympics really are a big deal. This is when people from other countries spend 16 days sharing a room with someone they’ve never met. My mom’s friend, Gunter (Seidel, not that other Gunter), once told everyone about how he was rooming with these massive men from Samoa, and how they went to each other’s events to cheer them on. I know it seems silly, but when we can get all these people together, yes, we compete against them, but we also celebrate with them. The Olympics somehow manages to defy our petty egos.
I don’t care about medal counts, I just love seeing sports played for the beauty of them, and people coming together as people. This is why I love the closing ceremonies, where we walk together as one world, irregardless of our nations. We mix and mingle, we make friends, and while the people who lose will, indeed, cry and be as, they can still celebrate knowing they did something most of us never will. And they have friends to share that feeling with.
So go on and bash me for having a lot of optimism about the Olympics, but I really do feel that if we have any hope as a planet to come together and learn how to be a people, it’s going to happen because we have the Olympics. And that’s why, to me, it matters greatly that we start showing them to Americans the right way. When you factor in how much TV and Internet is consumed by Americans, this is the fastest way to actually teach us global awareness. And NBC is failing at it, big time.
I’m revamping my regular proposals this time. Here’s how we fix it:
- Dump Ryan Secrest and all ‘entertainment’ reporters. This includes Matt Lauer. You are not a reporter anymore, Matt, if you ever were. If you can’t actually talk knowledgeably about something, get off the TV.
- Get real reporters to talk about the parade of nations, with actually interesting facts like how Kiribati is moving to Fiji. I’m tired of hearing Matt Lauer and Bob Costas make fun of other nations and their names. Also learn how to pronounce Niger, it’s not that hard.
- Get Dick Button to train sportscasters to teach us about the event while we watch so we can actually learn something. Sports casters shouldn’t be saying ‘He’s hitting the ball really well today.’ Also cheer Elfie up a little, or replace her. She’s really a vulture these days. What’s Keri Strugg doing these days?
- Speaking of that, let’s get some more past Olympians who are up to date on their sports. I know about the Brandi Chastain vs Hope Solo controversy, it’s complicated, but it highlights the issue.
- Get rid of the ‘interesting locale’ clips from Prime Time (or move them to their own show). Yes, I’d like to learn about the nation hosting the Olympics, but wouldn’t a 2 hour (or 3) special about ‘London and the Olympics’ the weekend before be even cooler?
- Everyone in the Olympics has faced hardships and tough decisions. Except for the professionals whom I hate anyway. The point is we already know that most of the athletes in the ‘lesser know’ sports are broke, tired, hungry, and ready to win. Don’t tell us their sob story unless it’s new or they won.
- Air everything live. You have enough channels, NBC. Don’t play ads that cut the action, but maybe split screen. Shrink the TV window, show silent ads, and go back to full size.
- Opening and Closing Ceremonies should be aired in full, no edits, no cut to commercials. You’ll make your money later, and you know it. Show in-line ads in a way that don’t block out what we’re trying to watch.
- Prime Time: Go over everything that happened. “Lochte wins! Phelps loses!” Show the event as it happened, and have the athletes there to talk about it. Now we show the ‘I was hitting the water really well’ replies from the athletes. Heck, imagine watching Phelps watch himself lose. “What were you thinking here?” “I was thinking ‘kick, breathe, stroke, breathe…'”
- Skew the demographics. We’re the US, fine, show 75% of prime time as the US. But that other 25% should be everyone else. Remember the Olympics is about the world. Tell us how the Iranian women did, in their first Olympics. Show us the pregnant woman who won at air rifle. Go find
Hiroshi Hoketsu (the oldest Olympian). Get the interesting and awesome, the inspiring and the heart breaking. Make us cry not with your scripted drama, but with what actually happened, because we know, we know, that most people who go are going to lose.
- Stop filling time with watching people walk around. Now that we’re tape delaying everything, cut out the fluff and filler as much as you can and get to the meat and potatoes. We weren’t going to eat our veggies and you know it.
Do this, and we’ll have a show fit for the gods.
What are your ideas?