By: Eric Thomas
The last thing the Internet needs is more pictures of cats or several hundred words of media criticism, so consider this an apology at the jump. I will keep this brief, but I have to render my displeasure about the NBC coverage of the Olympics. Usually I stay out of this arena, I always keep in mind that just like everyone else, play by play people, color analysts, and studio hosts have bad days. They didn’t get any sleep last night / wife or husband just yelled at them on the phone / they just had a momentary lapse of judgment / are on medication / just quit smoking / have to use the bathroom. Whatever, I usually lend the benefit of the doubt. The problem with the NBC coverage lies in its conception, direction and focus.
Last night I watched gymnastics, the women’s vault and the men’s floor routines. This held my attention a whole lot longer than I thought it would. I found myself fascinated by the guys that can do that many flips in the air with only a running start. In my workouts, the running start IS the workout, and afterwards I wind up doubled over and retching. These guys run so they can start flipping at an unbelievable height, twisting all the way. The women doing the vault are more focused than dogs staring at a dinner plate, and the devastation of their losses is, well, good TV.
But at the announcer desk sat a man with nothing to add. He had a deep voice and knew nothing at all about gymnastics. It was hilarious. He was paired with two people who competed at the Olympic level and they gushed like teenagers for the bulk of the broadcast. The announcer would chime in occasionally, I suppose only to signal a camera switch, and the poor man had absolutely nothing to add. Before the pommel horse competition, the camera switched to a close up shot on Kate Middleton. The announcer said (I swear), “Kate Middleton. The Duchess is sitting in the front row. There is nowhere else closer that anyone can sit than where Kate Middleton is right now.” Breaking news: The front row is in the front. I feel bad for the guy. He has to say something, they flew him there and are paying him, but he just doesn’t care about gymnastics. I’m with him. I empathize.
It’s the Ryan Seacrest segments that are an absolute abomination. Seriously, what is going on with this guy? It doesn’t matter to me that he knows nothing. I don’t think Bob Costas really knows anything, either. Seacrest is a pro; he could take a second and learn some stuff. Prep before he goes on the air. But instead we get a segment last night where he actually did a breakdown (WITH GRAPHICS ON A TOUCHSCREEN) about which Olympian has the most Facebook and Twitter followers.
Seacrest, after revealing that information so useless my jaw dropped, then went on to reveal that people were pointing out that Gabby Douglas’ last name is an anagram for ‘USA Gold’. He actually said that. Someone flew him on a plane at great expense, put him in front of a camera on network television, so that he could point out that some brain dead Jethro on a message board was doing anagrams in their basement. Dear lord.
I have no problem with Seacrest being on the TV for the games but please at least give him something to do.
Okay, media rant over.