30 August 2008

The Reality Show

Is this not completely cool? First we have 10 days of Olympics, covered quite well I thought by NBC. I found their coverage interesting, not too cloying, only very slightly off-topic some of the time, and in general quite good. The diving commentator Cynthia Potter was great--as a teacher, she just nailed it. We learned a lot about diving, a good dive, and how the judges were scoring such that we could spot things we'd never noticed before by the end of the competition. Tim Daggett for gymnastics was not quite as good on the teaching bit as Cynthia--I really wanted him to narrate a bit in the floor, like they do for the ice skating--in this next pass she'll try the triple, but she fell in practice--that sort of thing. He was strident in his assertion about the bias of the judges, which got him some bad bloggy press, but I found his commentary helpful, insightful, and in the end if you're watching US coverage of the olympics, you've signed on for a bit of jingoism my friends. And the beach volleyball was fabulous to watch, particularly the after-match interviews with the Americans May and Walsh--Kerri Walsh is about as type-A as you can get and she just makes you want to get out there and do something great! Great! GREAT!

I also thought the China culture segments were interesting (if at times a wee bit stereotypical--calligraphy, kites, kung fu, and fried scorpion??) but I was happily surprised by the rhetoric of 'we heart China' coming out of the NBC studios and various athletes paying tribute to China's hospitality.

Bottom line: Well done. Fun, watchable reality TV.

Followed by fun watchable reality TV II: the Democrats in Denver!

A caveat here--we are still reentering the US and so the cable news channels are the danger zone. Indeed, news of any kind here, aside from that gleaned from international sources, is a recipe for hyperventilation and hiding under the bed. So the first night we watched CNN's coverage which was farcical to the point of trying to beat the Daily Show at its own game. I suppose that's why the Daily Show is so good. I just don't want to know how close it is to those stations that claim to be delivering 'real' news.

Day two we discovered MSNBC. I heart Rachel Maddow. This was the first time I'd seen her at all--I had to look up her name on-line (they assume we already know everyone? where did the space for labeling the talking heads go?) but I just thought she was on the button in every one of her responses, rarely providing canned soundbite analysis and always showing us a different way to look at what had just happened. We'll see if she can carry her own show, but so far count me impressed. And let me add here: thank your chosen goddess that she doesn't look like the typical newswoman. I know that looks don't tell us what's inside the ol' brain, sure. But coming back to the US it's completely bizarre how many barbie dolls there are delivering 'serious news' with $400/tube lipstick next to aging 'distinguished' men (who, like their cohosts have also had botox, but that's another issue).

Either sex up the men or get some more intelligent women. Go Maddox go!

Up next: fun watchable reality TV III! GOP in MSP--our Return of the Jedi. Hm. who are the ewoks in this scenario?


sageblue said...

K, but um Cynthia Potter's accent bugged. I do hope that you caught some of team handball. Iceland almost won. It was riveting.

You of course know that Rachel is family, right? They are taking over...

fronesis said...

Neither of us knew that Rachel was gay, but it's obvious that for America today she looks very queer. Straight women today just don't have short hair, for one thing. It seemed likely to me anyway, but I suppose if I'd reasoned it out I should have known she was definitely gay, because I just don't think they would allow a straight woman who looked like her to be on national TV.

tekne said...

Yes--I knew, but I didn't know know. and I didn't want to go around being all homonormative or whatever. I suppose a part of me wanted her to be straight, because then she really would be queer. In a weird way. Right?