Saturday, February 20, 2010

"...And The Gold Medal Goes To...."

...NBC, for achieving the record in cramming the highest number of commercials into an hour's viewing time in broadcast history!

I LOVE the winter Olympics and watch all the events that make sense (Curling?  Biathalon?) but this is the first year that I've sustained my own sports injury and had to be carried off the official spectator couch.  Yep -- I'm now sporting a wrist brace for acute carpal tunnel syndrome from running the "fast-forward" and "mute" buttons on my TV's remote.  Seriously -- I'm not kidding.  My  right hand/wrist/forearm HURT!

I record every single thing that I watch - no exception - as I refuse to watch even one commercial, EVER.  My DVR is set to record every minute of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which makes it easy to scan through the kazillion hours of events for my favorites.  (I don't know how people watch the Olympic coverage without recording it -- their brain must feel like a pinball machine after all the commercial bombardment.)

NBC's coverage of this Olympics, however, means that for every two minutes of an event shown, we are forced to endure at least eight (or more) 30-60-second commercials  (I didn't watch them -- I counted them on fast-forward).  Since most of the individual events take under five minutes -- many under two minutes -- there's a ratio in there that is appalling, even with my limited mathematical abilities.

Has anyone told NBC that DVRs exist and I can't be the only person skipping their revenue-producing commercials?  No?  Then let the selling begin! 

I've long thought that some electronics genius could make a Bill Gates'-sized fortune if he/she perfected a way to interrupt the telecast just before each commercial and then resume play when the actual program starts again.  I know you can't patent an idea, but if you're reading this, genius person, I want a cut of the profits.

I know nothing about programming or the economics of producing a two-week event in a remote location, so this is from a laywoman's perspective -- but holy cow!  I wish I owned stock in GE, which is NBC's parent company.  I suspect they're making big bucks for their mediocre coverage.

Mediocre coverage?  Yeah -- in my opinion.  I know we're the USA and we're supporting the USA Team -- rah, rah, and all that -- and we have garnered the highest number of medals so far.  Yay for us.  But the NBC coverage I've watched has been limited to US athletes with those few from other countries who were direct competitors.  We're seeing about one-third, or fewer, of the competitors in each event.  Doesn't it seem a little weird that they show wall-to-wall coverage of cross-country skiing but only the top eight or so of speed or figure skating competitors?  It does to me.  Coincidentally, these are also the media "stars"  (spoiled brats)  with the cloying profiles put together by -- you guessed it -- NBC.

And my injury with the mute button?  As long as I'm bitching -- why does the proximity of a microphone mean that the person behind it has to talk through EVERY SECOND of every event?  It's as bad as NFL football coverage.

I appreciate a brief explanation of technique, particularly in something as wacky as half-pipe snowboarding or the terrifying danger of downhill -- but good grief!  I don't need commentary about every edge of a snowboard or ski, and I resent the wiseass commentator pointing out each imagined "mistake" when he's not up on that icy hill risking that wise ass -- even if he is basking in former Olympic glory.

The notable exception has been the restrained and very gracious commentary from Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic, who have had little to say during the actual performance, not talking over the music and the skating.  Ice dancing, unfortunately, will apparently be a different story with blabbering Tracy Wilson at the mike.

On a kinder note -- who knew British Columbia was so fabulously beautiful?  Check out THIS link.  I'm saving my pennies for my next vacation -- if I have any left after my medical expenses for my Olympic injury.

P.S.  Don't forget THIS link -- my adventure is only six weeks away.  Vive la France!

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