Creepy London Olympics mascots chase Will Rockwood Comic
Saturday, July 28, 2012
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The Royal Olympics Begin

Spandexed bottoms and lobotomized tennis stars kick off the Games

I've long railed against Jimmy Roberts for filling the NBC Olympic coverage with hours of fluff. What if it turns out there was actually somebody worse than him? Or worse still, MORE than one somebody worse than him? The horror. Let's begin.



* The first day of competition and Bob Costas reminds us that although there will be no live competitions in primetime due to the London-America time difference, the primetime broadcast will act as though they are live. The industry term for this is "live-to-tape," although tape is long since dead at this level. "Live-to-hard-disk" would be more accurate.


This sets up a series of interesting segues. Bob throws it to Al Trautwig in the gymnastics arena, who then throws it to Dan Hicks at the swimming pool, who then throws it back to Bob in the studio. So were any of those commentaries "live" or were they all pre-recorded and edited together?


* Out to women's beach volleyball, where Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings will once again be showing their skimpy bikini bottoms to the entire planet. Never let it be said that NBC doesn't know what sells advertising. Their Australian opponents, however, are wearing ankle-length spandex pants and full shirts. I guess NBC didn't get them the memo.


* Back in the studio, Bob narrates a recap of women's non-beach volleyball. You know what you never see in regular volleyball? A closeup of someone's posterior as they give a sign with their fingers. You think that's an accident? Noooooo.


* So, John McEnroe is the new Jimmy Roberts? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!


* McEnroe tours Ryan Lochte's house. Well, mainly his closet. Should a man really have that many pairs of shoes? He has more shoes in that closet now than I've owned in my entire life. Then he and Mac talk about Ryan's new training program that will allow him to compete with Michael Phelps. Doesn't this seem a little creepy? "Hey, Ryan, can we come hang out in your closet and talk about working out?"


Anyway, McEnroe just seems a little flat. Back in the studio, Bob asks "Johnny Mac" about his rivalry with Jimmy Connors all those decades ago. That barely even gets a rise out of him. Remember when McEnroe made tennis great because he had such an outrageous personality? What happened to that guy? This is like the Stepford McEnroe. Please, oh please don't make me ask for Jimmy Roberts back. Fluff!


* Back at the beach, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings wrap up their match, and Kerri runs around the arena high-fiving all of the Olympic volunteers. Commentator Kevin Wong says "she'll high five anyone who would listen." How do you listen to a high five? That sounds like it would be painful.


* To mens' team gymnastics, where a minute of US-versus-China fluff leads to China starting with a "replacement gymnast" who is taking the place of an injured Chinese teammate. What? I didn't see that in the Injured Reserve report. Now my Fantasy Gymnastics team is screwed!


* As Irish gymnast Kieran Behan takes the floor, Al Trautwig tells us his hard-luck story: he had a leg tumor when he was 10 years old, a balance problem, two torn ACLs... and yet we were able to get all of this information while he was walking up to the floor exercise instead of having to watch a three-minute fluff piece. Well done, NBC!


* Seacrest! In! Mr. American Idol is talking to Michael Phelps and his family. He has a mom and two sisters who love him. That's all we really found out in five-and-a-half minutes. Team Rockwood member Sandy does point out, however, that Ryan Seacrest is easier on the eyes than Jimmy Roberts was. Still, fluff!


* To the pool! Phelps versus Lochte. Am I a geek for saying I'm excited about this race? No. I mean, I am a geek, but it's not this race that makes me one.


Wow. Lochte first by a mile. Phelps didn't even medal. That was a little anti-climactic. It makes you question that pre-Games assumption that Michael Phelps is guaranteed to become the most decorated Olympian ever, doesn't it?


* Back to men's gymnastics, where Al Trautwig introduces us to some shirtless American men. Please tell me we're not going to end up in their closet, later. That's 60 seconds of fluff.


* By the way, two of the US gymnasts either attended or are attending the University of Oklahoma. Just sayin'.


* Tim Daggett knows his gymnastics, but he's not telling me what he knows. The Americans on the pommel horse look impressive to me, but Daggett sees the mistakes that I don't. Tell me, Tim! As the analyst, it's your job to tell rubes like me what to look for. Just saying "Oh no!" doesn't help me at all.


* Another Bourne movie? As a radical twist, in this one, Jason Bourne is working with a government agency that isn't corrupt, actively supports him, and is actually fighting the bad guys. Ha ha ha ha! Like anyone would ever make that movie.


* What was wrong with scoring gymnastics from 0 to 10? I don't know what these scores mean, anymore. Perfect used to be 10.0. What is perfect now? 17.5? 18.6? Who knows? Tim Daggett, this is something else you could be telling me.


* Meredith Viera returns with some fluff. We're STILL talking about James Bond and the Queen? So this is the real reason Viera wouldn't lay off those questions to Danny Boyle last night: she already knew she'd be making this piece tonight and needed Boyle to say certain things to make her segment work. She wasted time last night so she could waste our time tonight. Blech.


* Seacrest back in again! He's talking about what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook. If I really wanted to know that, wouldn't I just get on Facebook and Twitter? Seacrest! Out!


* "Gymnastics in the Bronx? I don't think so." So says US gymnast John Orozco's father. But it turns out his father thought wrong. John has overcome hardships in his life and now he's an Olympian. What were the hardships? Injuries, medical dramas, family issues... really, they're not any different than half of the other fluff pieces on NBC. There's no reason to go into the details on this one either. Fluff!


* Ryan Lochte's medal ceremony. This is the first American gold, so you know what I'm expecting: sing, Ryan, sing! Bah! Nothing! At least he had his hand over his heart. You know, the "Star Spangled Banner" is actually about a victory over the British, so singing that would be an insult to any English opponents. You should think about THAT next time you try to psych out your opponents, Ryan.


* Swimming, then gymnastics, then swimming again. Why haven't I commented? I'm just watching! Without fluff interrupting, it's fun to watch the Olympics!


* NBC's Sunday Night Football kicks off on... a Wednesday. Hmmm...


* "Look kids," says Bob, "It's Mary Carillo." She's hosting the Olympic Late Night show. It's already 11 pm. How late are we talking here?


* The last item of the night is the Australians getting their gold medal for the Women's 4x100 relay. Let's sing along with the Australian national anthem. "I come from the land down under." Have I used that joke before? Oh, probably. But it's still good. Besides, what else would you use for an Australian national anthem? I guess you could try this Aussie band. Ohhhh yeah.



It's pretty bad that 21 minutes of fluff makes me optimistic, but it does. I was really encouraged by Kieran Behan's non-fluff story, but then --in much the same way that Kieran has been eliminated from competition-- I have a feeling that it's just a matter of time before NBC simply can't help themselves. Oh well, maybe the old Johnny Mac will come back and assault someone during an interview. We can hope. See you tomorrow!