SHE SAID: Athlete Pet Peeves

January 28, 2010

This is one of the posts where I feel like, as the responder, I’m at a disadvantage.  Jeremy has been fuming for weeks now, compiling evidence for his post, and I am sitting on the couch oblivious to his angst, and now I have to post.  Premeditated irascibility is an advantage.

So, off the top of my head, here are my pet peeves.

1. Crying.  I’m not talking about someone tearing up after winning their first Grand Slam or an amazing athletic achievement. I’m talking about getting knocked out of a tournament, not performing as well as you had hoped, and crying about it.  As Tom Hanks said in League of Their Own, “there’s not crying in baseball!?”  Only, apply that to any sport or competition.  It’s okay to be pissed, upset, disappointed, etc.  But, Do.  Not.  Cry.

2. The Fox transformer football icon.  It’s not cool, even my five year-old son who loves Transformers thinks it’s lame.  Ditch it.

3. Grunting in tennis.  While I fully support an athlete doing whatever they need to do in order to perform at their best, when you’re still grunting as your opponent is hitting the ball, or the female spectators are thinking “I’ll have what she’s having”, I think it’s gone a little too far.

4. Olympics coverage.  In the past, we have one channel broadcasting whatever event they think will bring in the most viewers.  While I understand that there are people who have put an inordinate amount of time into figuring out how NBC is going to garner the largest audience who are probably incredibly good at doing so, I also know that there are many of us who are not that thrilled about watching hours of footage on Apollo Ohno or three weeks of figure skating.  I propose a change.  Throughout this latest Australian Open, DirectTV has offered six channels of tennis footage and it has been awesome.  A viewer can watch all six channels at once with a running score under each shot, or pick one to focus on.  Don’t feel like watching women’s tennis but want to watch the Open?  DirectTV is your answer.  It’s also answered my Olympics coverage issue.  NBC, or whoever is airing the Olympics.  Might I suggest you do something similar?  Let those of us who want to watch something other than figure skating have that choice!  And I’m not talking about showing Bode’s run and a heartfelt vignette about his youth and adolescence in a cabin in the white mountains and then cutting back to the fascinating coverage of Sasha Cohen’s pre-skate ankle taping.  Give us a chance to watch an entire event, or at least show all the American competitors.  Call DirectTV, figure something out.  You’ll make more money.

5. VS (or the channel formerly known as OLN).  For those of you who do receive this channel, you know how amazing it is, despite the terrible name change.  Bull riding, bike racing, hunting, it’s got it all.  Anyone interested in watching competitive road biking, has done the annual pilgrimage to VS in order to check out their amazing coverage.  For some reason, this channel gets in disagreements with DirectTV and DishNetwork and the like, over contracts, pricing, what have you, and I randomly find that while I have sought out the package that includes both NESN and VS, that package no longer includes VS because of some dispute between VS and my carrier.  I would like to say, after years of this repetitive bickering, FIGURE IT OUT.  Also, please stop letting another channel carry the bike racing on Sundays.  The coverage is not nearly as good and it’s annoying to settle for lackluster coverage.

6. Crossover.  Just because you are an amazing athlete, it does not mean you can subject us to your writing, acting skills, or the like.  Think of how much better off this world would be without The Rock’s latest movie The Toothfairy, or any of his movies for that matter, the badly written autobiography’s (even a ghost writer can’t help most of these), or Shaq’s album.  The only exception I can think of is the Foreman grill – perhaps the best way to make a grilled cheese ever.

As for the toweling off, while I’m not a Roddick fan 90% of the time and I agree that his overuse of the towel is needless, I do get why one would use extensive towel time when playing Federer on one of his tears.  You need to take time between the points because once he’s on fire, you’re five games down in a set in no time.  Towel off between each point.  It’s your only hope.

SHE SAID: American Idol

January 25, 2010

So it’s that time again. My television watching is getting interrupted with shooting stars, giddy teenagers holding microphones and the affected singing of overly gelled and highly scripted “singing sensations.” American Idol. It’s back. Apparently FOX is trying to one up the Halloween franchise and make more sequels to a mediocre original than ever before.

There isn’t one thing about this show I like.  These kids often times can’t hit the notes, screw up the song, sing too affectedly, or at the very best, give an overwhelmingly uninspired performance that is celebrated. Seems about right for FOX programming. If I wanted to hear bad renditions of songs I like, I would teleport back to college and attend more a Capella concerts (as a viewer, because yes, I was in an a Capella group*). And I certainly don’t want to hear bad renditions of songs I don’t like. That is just torture. And yet a lot of people I know and respect subject themselves to this week after week, season after season.

And then the judging. Paula Abdul (entertaining as hell because who doesn’t like to watch a heavily medicated, drunk train wreck try to come off as genuine and intelligent about the topic at hand but I’m sorry, when did the singer of Opposites Attract become an informed music critic?) paired up with Randy (annoying – strop trying so hard to come across as an in-touch black man and you might come across as an in-touch black man) and Simon (of course America villanizes the one person on the show who knows something about music and performing who is willing to tell the vast majority of applicants that they are not as amazing as they would like to be and to go home and figure out some other options) make up the trifecta that leads the American audience through the nightmare that is AI. I guess it’s better than Paris, Britney and Celine-things could be worse.

I hate that there are actual people out there trying to make it in the music industry while these instant gratification addicts audition image and talent (both rated equally on American Idol) and completely alter themselves as the stylist recommends a few weeks into the show and sell out to whatever genre needs a new star that year.  The industry is already awash with fraudulent entertainers trying to pass themselves off as the hippest definition of cool to whatever target audience they are trying to appeal to … do we need fourteen year-olds with an entourage of salaried FOX employees telling them how to cut their hair and what color eye liner to apply in addition?  Then, cue the seasonal fade to oblivion as America moves on like the fickle audience we are until the promotion of the next season or the obligatory record release brings the forgotten face to our screens in a heartfelt, falling star filled montage once again.

I hope once Simon quits this show it shrivels up without it’s villain or pill popping bobble head idiot. The world will be a better place without it.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I was also in the hand-bell choir while in college. White gloves and all. Look up “cool college student” in the dictionary and you’ll see me.

HE SAID: American Idol

January 25, 2010

In many respects, you are right, Nifer.  American Idol is overkill at this point, and while you and I wish FOX would cancel the show and replace it with something like an hour straight of “The Cleveland Show,” the problem remains that its ratings are still off the charts.  People watch the show, quite effing religiously.

I was thinking the above couple of thoughts and then realized A. “The Cleveland Show” is garbage, I think Fox should pour its resources into making ’24’ into the show it was the first five seasons or so and B. most people are stupid.  I’m not saying that all people who watch American Idol are stupid, I’m saying most people in general are stupid.  Thus, logically, it stands to reason that American Idol survives because our nation, collectively, is not a smart one.

BUT, and obviously, this is a huge ‘but,’ then you have moments like this (for those too lazy to click on the link, it’s the Pants on the Ground dude).  This shit is genuinely funny.  You can’t help but laugh at it.  And while generally there aren’t moments nearly as funny as this one, there are plenty of times I’ve seen those prelim episodes and found myself laughing a bit.  So, yes, I admit it…I catch some AI.  Typically those first few episodes will be my secondary or even tertiary option, depending on the amount of sports that are on.  And while your comments on Randy are spot on, I do find Simon Cowell entertaining enough not to want to throw rocks at.  But if you could lay off Paula Abdul, I’d appreciate it.

Do I wish the winners and runners up on American Idol weren’t actually famous, and didn’t make millions of dollars for typically having little musical talent (at least compared to bands like this or that – shameless plugs, I know, but it’s my blog post and I can do what I want)?  That being said, there are enough entertaining moments in the first few episodes of the show to make it worthwhile, which is more than I can see for most of the crap that fills our airwaves.  Why people would watch the serious episodes and actually waste time calling or texting to vote is waaaay beyond me though; but there is lots I don’t understand, like why Ronnie from Jersey Shore wasn’t on the short bus in middle school, but that’s a whole different story.