August 8, 2012

Olympic Fever

London Olympic Rings on the River Thames OK, so I haven't really been watching the Olympics all that much. There's a reason for that.  I've been doing other things.

However, I have (on three occasions) let myself get sucked into a multi-hour Olympics-watching festival, chanting "USA, USA" every time we qualify for a medal round or win some hardware.  I couldn't really find myself that into sculls when it was on during our anniversary outing, but I have been sucked into Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings' run at women's beach volleyball, and the track and field events sprinkled in between.

What I have found myself annoyed by, primarily, is the commentary and production of the Olympics for U.S. television.  Thanks, NBC.

While I can overlook the delays to prime time to attract more viewers (I mean, I wouldn't be watching in the middle of the day, so I get it), the delay should add flexibility to the production schedule, but apparently it doesn't.

Let's contrast some things:

  • Good Production: Consolidating a men's high jump heat into back-to-back jumps, showing the entire heat in under a minute.
  • Bad Production: Cutting to commercial in the middle of a volleyball game only to return with the score changed by 5 or more points.
  • Good Production: Showing entire races during track and field events
  • Bad Production: Showing dead-time in between events when there are other events with action being cut out.
  • Bad Production: Pretty much half of what Bob Costas says.
  • Bad Production: Comments made during the intro parade that some countries (like the one currently on your screen) are just fodder for the others to beat.
  • Bad Production: incessant talking over the entire opening ceremonies (because we are too dumb to figure it out).
  • Bad Production: cutting to commercial during the (delayed) opening ceremonies and returning with chunks missing (Sex Pistols anyone?)
Anyway, the opening ceremonies were the worst of it, and someone probably should never be involved in a live event (on delay) again for the way that was handled (go produce reality TV on a B-tier cable network), but the problems have persisted even into the coverage.  It's too bad, really.

The delay I can live with (though the first couple of times I "spoilered" myself by using Wikipedia to look up an athlete only to see what medal they won in the event I was currently watching made me smack my forehead).  I should know Wikipedia and our other internet friends will be far faster than delay reel to US television.  My bad.

The inane talking head business, though?  That I could do without.  And the "good stuff" on the cutting room floor?  That's inexcusable.

Still a few days left, NBC.  Fix it.

Oh, and I'm probably not watching anymore anyway.  Unless I get sucked in again.

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