Saturday, February 8, 2014

NBC Fails the Olympics

Dear NBC,

You have ruined the Olympics. Two and four years ago, you started messing with the sports we loved, blending different events until my husband and I were exhausted by staying up until midnight every night to finally see what we were most interested in. Eventually, you managed to satisfy us to some extent. At least we could switch to the Canadian channel when we couldn't see the whole picture. Or we could sit down at the computer and pull something up on the Internet.

This year is different. Your stupid domination is so complete that in the three days the Olympics have been on television, we haven't seen more than three minutes of programming we'd like to see. That's it. Three minutes. I'm sure we've watched ten times that much in commercials just trying to hang in there. You might call that a success, but it's not if we stop watching. Right? You're losing us here.

My husband and I like to watch figure skating. That's pretty much it. Oh, we'd watch curling and the biathlon if you managed to show them at any hour but 3:28am, but we'd be happy simply seeing the skating since you can't seem to cover much else of what's happening in Sochi.

First, you aired the men's short program the night before you advertised the Opening Ceremonies. Shoot, as far as I knew, the Opening Ceremonies was the beginning of the Olympics, so I didn't know that we had already missed a sixth of what we most wanted to see before things even started.

Then, you buried the women's short program this afternoon. We had no idea we were missing another sixth of our favorite part of the Olympics.

Tonight, at 7:00 pm, my husband dutifully sat down and started watching. Nothing. Oh, you've shown guys crashing on snow boards and people flouncing around, dancing, in ridiculous outfits on ice skates, but you didn't show him anything he wanted to see, so he went to bed. Done. Tried that. Three hours later, he was done. Cooked. Finished. Great job, NBC!

At some point, rather than give his full attention to the television, he got onto the computer. You did want his attention, didn't you? Lost it! He looked for the men's and women's short programs, the third of what we were really interested in, remember? He figured we could watch it somewhere on the Internet. Somebody, YouTube, maybe, would show some of the spectacular falls and surprising grace of figure skaters around the world. He couldn't find any of it on the computer. Anywhere.

We were willing to watch your damned commercials in order to see it, but where the hell is it?

He checked Xfinity On Demand, but you have your hooks into them as well and all we could get are two minute highlight clips. We want to watch the whole thing, not just a couple of the Americans or a famous Russian. You know, there are more than just two countries in this world. Have you checked the map lately?

Years ago, when we first started to watch the Olympics, we could sit down and see someone from Indonesia floundering on the ice. It was great! We could compare Russian skaters, Canadians, Japanese, and Chinese to each other and to the skaters from the United States. It was riveting. There was so much going on in our living room and it was all focused on that one television station.

Oh, there were a lot of commercials, but it we loved it and sat absolutely glued to the television. It was like having a Super Bowl party over a period of a week or so. We invited friends! Then, there was the analysis afterward. We even watched that. You had us, NBC. We watched falls and foibles over and over and over again. We loved it, commercials and all.

Four years ago, you started blending other sports together with what we really wanted to see. Our interest waned. We'd flip channels back and forth until a piece came on. We stopped inviting our friends over to watch The Olympics. We tried to see what was happening in other countries as you made them fade into the background. Then, it seemed as if there were only three or four countries and little content. Same volume of commercials, but we were stuck watching skiing, speed skating, and the luge. OH MY GOD! It was boring.

I have no idea what you're up to here. Are you systematically driving us away from watching the Olympics? Would you like us to simply give up and wish the athletes that we love all the best without ever seeing a single event?

Seems like it.

You need to know that it's 10:46 pm on Saturday night. My television is off. I don't intend to stay up until 12:53 in the morning to see my favorite part of the Olympics because you thought you could keep us hanging on, watching other crap, until then. In the past three and a half hours, I hadn't seen a single thing I sat down to watch. Why should I keep trying?

It's as if you've blended the Super Bowl, the NCAA final four championship, and the world ballroom dance championships into one event. Your avid Seahawks fans would tear down the pergola if you tried to make us sit through that shit. Well, they already did that, but you get my point.

You can't make us fans of downhill skiing if we aren't. You can't keep our attention during snowboarding. You can't expect us to begin to enjoy ice dancing if we don't. You're right up against losing your entire fan base in this house.

Is that really what you want to accomplish?

Thank you for listening, jules

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