Creepy London Olympics mascots chase Will Rockwood Comic
Sunday, July 29, 2012
3:25 1:09 0:26
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The Celebrity Olympian

What happens when you cross the Olympics and reality shows? Why would you want to?

The warm afterglow of Queen Elizabeth's stunt double jumping out of a helicopter is gone and now the Games are fully underway. If you watched any Olympics at all during the day, you saw live volleyball, dressage, cycling, basketball, rowing, and more. If you're watching tonight... well, I hope you like gymnastics and swimming.



* We start tonight at the women's 3-meter springboard synchronized diving. Unlike gymnastics, they still use a 10-point grading system, so at least I'll know how good the scores are. But who came up with the idea for synchronized diving, anyway? Was this really necessary? They should really make some synchronized track-and-field events. I'm thinking that synchronized javelin would get some hearts racing.


* The American synchronized divers, Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston, even have synchronized coaches. Both of them have bald heads, rimless glasses, and stood up to clap in exactly the same way. It's kind of creepy, really.


* Speaking of Bryant and Johnston, NBC has inserted what I can only call "fluffette." Three 20-second fluff pieces about the two divers, one piece before each of their dives. When it's only 20 seconds long, fluff is actually tolerable.


* Kim Rhode, American skeet shooter, won a gold medal today in that event. She also likes to build cars from the ground up. Is this fluff? Well, it probably would be if it was longer, but it was news about an event that I didn't see, so I'd say no.


But then Bob goes right into a segment of Phelps versus Lochte and what happened in their race last night. Then Bob Hicks and Rowdy Gaines have to get in on the action. Is this analysis or fluff? I'm torn, but given that these two racers aren't competing right now, I'm going with fluff.


* Dana Volmer wins the 100-meter butterfly for the US and in her victory interview she tells NBC sideline reporter Andrea Kramer that she lost her swimming cap in the middle of the race. Shouldn't they have video of that? And they do! Well done, NBC!


* American swimmer Rebecca Soni is the swim team captain. Yay! Let's play some chick rock and watch her walk hand-in-hand with her boyfriend as they get their picture taken. Fluff!


* Do I want to see "Go On" because I like Chandler Bing, or because I like the way Matthew Perry interacts with Shawn Johnson on these commercials? I can't decide.


* Dana Volmer's medal ceremony. She said she was excited. Is she excited enough to sing? Yes! Yes! Yes! If she tears up at the end, she'll be my new favorite Olympian.


Well, no tears, but you're still in my top five, Dana! YAYYY!!


* Get ready to throw down Kosuke Kitajima. US swimmer Brendan Hansen is coming for you in the men's 100m breaststroke! They're rivals! It's the last chance for either man to beat the other! Grrrrr!! Fluff.


* The race! Kitajima and Hansen are side-by-side the whole race. It's coming down to the end! Who will win? Who? WHO?! And in world record time, first place goes to...


Cameron van der Burgh of Russia? Followed by Christian Sprenger of Australia? Hansen finishes third. Kitajima fifth. We previewed this with fluff? Looks like NBC profiled the wrong two swimmers.


* More swimming fluff? Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain won a couple of gold medals in 2008 and, shockingly, became famous for doing so. Now she's a famous swimmer. Will she be good enough to win a medal tonight? Well, if the curse of the fluff holds up, I'd say no.


* Addlington takes the bronze. The curse is broken!


* To women's gymnastics! Al Trautwig says the only thing the "Fab Five" needs to do is "be fabulous." Segue to fluff! This is sad. NBC isn't even trying anymore. This is less like fluff and more like the title sequence of a reality show. While American-Idol-winner Phillip Phillips sings his song "Home," we see some shots of the US gymnasts training, then a closeup of each girl looking into the camera while their name appears beside them. There isn't even any voiceover.


What would you call a reality show featuring gymnasts? "Extreme Makeover: Gymnast Edition"?


* McKayla Maroney does her vault and NBC shows us a replay. Whoa! Bullet time! They freeze frame her in midair then spin around to a different camera angle. I knew it! Real humans could never actually move like this. All these gymnasts are from The Matrix!


* Another fluff reality show title sequence? Well, at least Bela Karolyi is doing voiceover for this one. How about "Keeping Up With The Karolyis"?


* We take a break from gymnastics to go to swimming, where the expected people win the expected races. Ryan Lochte must not have been competing, because we didn't have to look at his closet again.


* Meanwhile, back on "The Real Gymnasts of Olympic London," the Fab Five has moved on to the balance beam competition.


* As a child, Gabby Douglas had a great smile. Then she had to move away to get a better coach, so she got homesick when she left. She almost came home, but then she didn't. It turns out it was all worth it. Because now she's a fabulous part of the Fab Five and Al Trautwig has given her permission to be fabulous tonight. Fluff!


* All of the Fab Five gets "yellow" scores on the beam. What does that mean?


* Back to the pool. Lochte and Phelps! Except they're competing together tonight in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Let's get some fluff history! I'm not going to recap it. That would take two minutes out of my life and I've already lost that to this fluff.


* AAAA!!! The US lost to the French? They were ahead for three legs, then Lochte got beaten by the last Frenchman, Yannick Agnel. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan... maybe you can console yourself with that closet full of shoes.


* We're back with the Fab Five on "Floor Exercises With The Stars" and we get some fluff about how all of the gymnasts remember each other when they were little kids. Aren't they still little kids?


* The number of cameras at the gymnastics competition is astounding. I don't know if I've seen a single shot of a gymnast competing on the floor that didn't also have another camera somewhere in the background. And once they're off of the competition floor and back in the waiting area, there are even more. It's like paparazzi. I'd hate to be the director trying to keep track of all of these people.


* To the studio where Bob Costas talks to Bela Karolyi about whether countries should be able to have more than one gymnast in the individual finals. I don't really care what the answer is, but watching Bela talk is awesome. Is this fluff? Oh yeah, but I'd watch could watch this all night. They should just give Bela his own NBC channel throughout the Olympics.


* Russian gymnasts are divas. So says their coach. Fluffski!


* Russian and Chinese gymnasts compete. Are gymnastics really such a big draw that showing other countries' athletes is a bigger ratings grabber than showing a sport that the US is competing in? I guess so.


* Mary Carillo tells Bob about her trip to the Tower of London. The Tower is really more of a fort than what you think of as a tower. It holds the Crown Jewels of England and, during the Olympics, all of the medals to be presented to the athletes. It even held my attention for five-and-a-half minutes while Mary talked about it. Well, at least in this year's fluff piece Mary picked something in the same time zone as the Olympics to do a story on. I guess that's something.


* We end the show with the French being presented their gold medal for the Mens 4x100m freestyle. Let's all sing along with the French national anthem. Good times.



I love, love, love that NBC has enough partner channels to show all of these events during the day, but would it kill them to give me a little more variety at night? I do like swimming and gymnastics, but that doesn't mean I don't want to see other events as well. At least the fluff count is still low. Let's keep it that way, NBC! See you tomorrow!