The Olympics, Take 2 (Or, Mary Carillo Cavorts with Polar Bears)

So, it has been over a week since my last contribution to this blog, and I am going to put blame where blame is due – the Olympics. I have been obsessing majorly over the Olympics throughout the past ten days, and, as they wind down here throughout the week, I want to record the duality of my feelings toward them (and, particularly, NBC’s coverage of them). Yesterday, I looked at the good. Today, the bad…

Like a gassy, bloated cow, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics continues to trudge forward toward its predictable end. Complemented by the talking puppets of the Today Show, NBC’s exhaustive (and exhausting, in most cases) coverage of various events spans many, many hours on many, many channels.

The biggest problem with the coverage is how thoroughly sanitized it is. The majority of the events are shown many hours after they occur, making the entire primetime broadcast a really compelling viewing experience… FOR MY GRANDMA! I mean, apart from the rare event taking place late into the evening, isn’t anyone who really cares about Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal pursuit going to look on the million websites where this information is readily available in real-time?

Each taped competition feels thoroughly and utterly drained of all real-world energy and excitement. If the announcers do not talk at length about the Americans competing, you can guarantee that they will do horribly. At the same time, if suddenly they start giving this complex back-story about this Norwegian who is the frontrunner, or this Russian whose husband died, then you can guarantee that they will come out on top.

Of course, the live events offer their own share of problems, as lengthy delays lead to some of the corniest taped segments in the history of the world. I will only describe the experience of watching Mary Carillo’s day learning about Canadian Mounties as SURREAL. Oh, and congratulations to Shaun White for making Janet Jackson blush with his foul-mouthed reaction after winning his second gold. I’m sure the person who had the bright idea to mic up White and his crew is about to go the way of The Jay Leno Show.

Ultimately, the Olympics will end with some endless closing ceremony (with the drama of “will the technology go horribly awry again?” being the only reason to watch) and we will all go on with our lives. Evan Lysacek, Lindsey Vonn, and Shani Davis will fade into our collective memories, and people will continue to recognize Apolo Anton Ohno more for his soul patch than for his skating.

Oh, and I guess I should at least mention Mary Carillo and those polar bears. Here is when you know you are in trouble. You are watching something – speed skating, maybe? – and you see a crawler on the screen advertising “In 19 Minutes, Polar Bears.” You realize that this is not, as you immediately assumed, a warning – it is an advertisement. Then you realize that the target audience for what you are watching will be INTERESTED in seeing what Mary Carillo and Bob Costas have to say about polar bears.

Tomorrow… Welcome to TIVO-lympics!






"I'm an Audience Member, Playing This Music for Us": An Interview With Keller Williams

Veteran musician Keller Williams discusses his special relationship with the Keels, their third album together, Speed, and what he learned from following the Grateful Dead.


Shintaro Kago's 'Dementia 21' Showcases Surrealist Manga

As much as I admire Shintaro Kago's oddness as a writer, his artistic pen is even sharper (but not without problems) as evident in Dementia 21.


Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad Proclaim 'Jazz Is Dead!' Long Live Jazz!

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad bring their live collaborative efforts with jazz veterans to recorded life with Jazz Is Dead 001, a taste of more music to come.


"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.


Electropop's CMON Feel the Noise on 'Confusing Mix of Nations'

Pop duo CMON mix and match contemporary and retro influences to craft the dark dance-pop on Confusing Mix of Nations.


'Harmony' Is About As Bill Frisell As a Bill Frisell Recording Can Be

Bill Frisell's debut on Blue Note Records is a gentle recording featuring a few oddball gems, particularly when he digs into the standard repertoire with Petra Haden's voice out front.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 4, James Chance to the Pop Group

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part four with Talking Heads, the Fall, Devo and more.


Raye Zaragoza's "Fight Like a Girl" Shatters the Idea of What Women Can and Can't Do (premiere)

Singer-songwriter and activist Raye Zaragoza's new single, "Fight Like a Girl", is an empowering anthem for intersectional feminism, encouraging resilience amongst all women.


VickiKristinaBarcelona Celebrate Tom Waits on "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" (premiere)

VickiKristinaBarcelona celebrate the singular world of Tom Waits their upcoming debut, Pawn Shop Radio. Hear "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" ahead of tomorrow's single release.


'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.


Jordan Rakei Breathes New Life Into Soul Music

Jordan Rakei is a restless artistic spirit who brings R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and pop craft into his sumptuous, warm music. Rakei discusses his latest album and new music he's working on that will sound completely different from everything he's done so far.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.