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Super Rockwood Watch

Sunday, August 8

High School Musical.

What if they gave a Closing Ceremonies and nobody came? That might have been better than having just some people. At least then there would be an excuse for lack of applause. Judge for yourself!

About the 2021 Rockwood Olympic Watch

What exactly is going on here?

For those of you who haven't been here before, welcome! Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to watch all of NBC's prime time Olympic coverage and break it down into three delightful categories:

  1. Events
  2. Advertising
  3. Meaningless fluff

Why would I do this? I'm probably crazy. I mean, really. Just read the above description again.

But seriously, why would I do this? Well, if you've read any of the previous Olympic Watches you know that I love the Olympics and always have. Yes, it's probably one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known, but I only have to think about that for a couple weeks every two years, so I don't let that trouble me while I learn all about the Malaysian badminton team.

But over the course of many years, something interfered with my mindless pleasure. The Olympics TV coverage started to focus less on strange events (is skateboarding really a sport?) and more on the stories behind the athletes ("...the story of Ollie Kickflip's rise to skateboarding success can be told through his tattoos..."). Or so I thought. But did I really know? There was only one way to find out, and that was to keep track.

So I did. And now, some 21 years later, I've built up quite a resume of crazy tabulations. When Elon Musk finally settles Mars, he'll need someone with detailed knowledge of just how often NBC has produced stories about Simone Biles' cats, and I'll be there. Does this matter in real life? I can't believe you made it all the way down to this paragraph and still need to ask that question. Of course not.

But, there may be one moment during the Games when you see something so amazing that you, too, will vow to watch all 10 zillion hours of Olympic TV coverage with me. And that's when you'll understand the depths of my madness. There's a spot right here on the couch. I'll keep it warm for you. Swifter! Higher! Stronger! Let's go!

Rockwood Olympic Watch Rules

Ads: good. Fluff: bad. I have spoken.

The immediate temptation when grading a major network on its content is to criticize it for the quantity of ads it broadcasts. Let it be known right up front that Team Rockwood thinks that NBC should run ads out the wazoo. The fact is that NBC has done what most of you haven't -and in this year, couldn't- which is pony up a zillion dollars for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Then they packed up all their gear and went all the way to Asia to show you pictures on that idiot box in your living room. For free. If NBC needs to show advertisements to pay for your lack of access, then by God, you should watch them and be happy. That's the price you pay for not going to Japan yourself. Of course, this year, even if you wanted to go, you couldn't, but that's besides the point.

However, the Rockwood 2021 Olympic Watch will still be documenting this advertising time, if for no other reason than it qualifies as neither "events" nor "fluff." We just want you to know how they stand. But once again, let us restate that under no conditions will we tolerate any whining about all the ads they show on TV. If it wasn't for NBC getting companies to pay for advertising, literally no one would be watching the Games this year.

With that said, what will we be grading? Essentially, it comes down to two categories, events and fluff. Sometimes the two intertwine, in which case, Team Rockwood will make a judgement call. Much like the Olympics themselves, the decision of the judges is final, so no beefing about that either.

Some of you may be asking "What's the difference between events and fluff?" Good question. There are always exceptions, but here are some guidelines:

  • Events are obviously competitions and only competitions. If people are competing in an Olympic match, that is an event.
  • If the event the person on screen is competing in is NOT at the Olympics, it is most likely fluff.
  • Medal ceremonies, being something that only happens at the Olympics themselves, will be counted as events. 
  • Video of past Olympics will be counted as fluff. 
  • Because there are so many events that no one (not even members of Team Rockwood) could possibly watch them all, news about the current Olympics will be counted as an event. 
  • Any story featuring someone who is NOT an athlete is fluff. 
  • Any video that is posterized, mosaiced, overexposed, purposely-blurred, or otherwise enhanced is fluff. 
  • Anything with a musical background intended to enhance emotion is fluff. 
  • Interviews conducted immediately following the event will be counted as events. 
  • Interviews conducted in dramatic lighting will be counted as fluff. 

These are just a handful of the rules that Team Rockwood will be using during the games. In short, if something is live and unpredictable, then it's an event. Anything staged or obviously pre-recorded is fluff. Any time two anchors are talking to each other instead of talking about what happened qualifies as fluff. Of course, that could easily be your local news.

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