Posts filed under 'Steaming Pile of Hate'

I’m Sick of Your Shit: NBC

It’s been six days and my love affair with the Olympics has ended. Or, to be more accurate, it’s been EIGHTEEN GODDAMN YEARS and NBC has BROKEN MY HEART.

I have not fallen out of love with the Olympics; no, I still go to bed every night during this fortnight murmuring “Citius, altius, fortius,” I’m still obsessively monitoring the Excel spreadsheet that features my Olympic pool (I’m currently in seventh place with six points, thanks, Shani Davis), and I’m still planning on, you know, watching the rest of the Games. But I would like to beat NBC with flaming sticks. For a couple of reasons.

First, the tape delay. Look, I know that NBC paid a shitload of money for the exclusive broadcast rights and wants to air as much of the Games as possible in primetime, because primetime commercials cost more and that’s how they make the fancy money. I work in media; I get it. But for the LOVE OF SHAUN WHITE. NBC was able to sweet-talk the Chinese into scheduling every single one of Michael Phelps’s finals in primetime, that is, at like 9:30 in the morning Beijing time. I understand that several Olympic sports, namely, the skiing, are dependent on daylight, and therefore can’t be held at 10 p.m. when it’s conducive to East Coast television schedules. But there are a number of sports that are competed indoors, namely, the massive ratings draw that is figure skating, and both snowboard halfpipe and freestyle moguls can be done at night, under lights. Not to be all EST-centric about it, but would it EFFING KILL YOU to schedule those at like 5 o’clock West Coast time and air them live? On both coasts? Because here’s the thing: I don’t like finding out who wins nine hours before I watch the race! It’s anticlimactic! It makes still-miked Lindsey Vonn sobbing happily into her husband’s chest somewhat less poignant for me! You know what I like? Suspense! Maybe if NBC put the tiniest bit of effort into preserving some of the element of surprise, we wouldn’t be all, “What, that? I heard about that five hours ago!”

Second: The Interwebs. So NBC has insisted on tape-delaying various events, including snowboard cross, skiing events, and all the short track events that don’t involve Apolo Ohno, which are relegated to the late night block with Mary Carillo and her dead eyes (more on that later). BUT. They still have live results on, so if you wander over there during the day to, say, check on how your pet luger is doing, you’ll see a great big animated graphic trumpeting Seth Wescott’s surprise repeat gold. When you had planned on watching that race after you finished your work.

I’m just confused about why NBC can’t manage to stick to one or the other. Either you’re going to tape-delay the events, and make us wait to watch them, OR you’re going to tell us who won as soon as they happen. WHY ARE YOU DOING BOTH?! It’s infuriating. Almost as infuriating as the fact that there’s nothing on the television for me to watch at work other than CURLING. SERIOUSLY. Today, there was nothing on except curling on USA until 3 p.m., when NBC started showing tape-delayed cross-country skiing. While the ladies’ downhill was happening, as Pat Kiernan’s Twitter told me. Pat, interestingly, is actually attending the Olympics with his family. And he’s a more efficient news source when he’s on vacation than NBC is while doing their effing jobs. DUDE, NBC. Stop sucking.

Third, the insane features. I know it’s a hoary clichĂ© with, like, cobwebs on it at this point to talk about how NBC’s features are maudlin, overblown, and ridiculous. But I think they’re even worse this year. Don’t get me wrong; I love anything that reminds me that Evgeni Plushenko is a Bedazzled Darth Vader. But in Beijing, we had NBA players wandering around the Great Wall of China, and that, at least, was kind of interesting, because Dwight Howard looks funny next to befuddled Chinese tour guides. In Vancouver, which from all accounts is a completely lovely city full of delightful people, good food, and high-qualify drugs, we have MARY GODDAMN CARILLO asking some poor Yukoner when he first met a polar bear. DURING LIVE SPORTS, Mary “I do love tennis” Carillo and her dead eyes are interrogating innocent Canadians about their wildlife! WHAT THE FUCK, NBC.

This is not to say there aren’t good things. NBC finally took Dick Button out of the figure skating commentators’ booth (although they retained underminery Sandra Bezic and excitable gnome Scott Hamilton), and they’ve hired some reasonably intelligent people to call sports they specialize in, like Jonny Moseley, who did a respectable job with moguls, and Dan Jansen, who barely looks like he’s aged since his Visa commercial. And have I mentioned how I enjoy Brian Williams? I do. And I like how the Today Show folks are calling their satellite studio “Studio 1-Eh.”

Oh! But one other thing? What the HELL is up with all the fucking Dreamworks promos? It’s not just that the creators of How to Train Your Dragon bought like forty-seven-thousand ad spots during these Games, NO. They actually paid to have the commentators kick to the ad with drivel like, “Well, if you thought that ski jumping was great, wait till you see what our friends at Dreamworks have dreamed up! They think they know how Vikings might have ski jumped!” And then there are some antiseptic animations that make Shrek look like Akira and it SUCKS.

I’m too tired and tipsy (happy birthday, Kyle) to look up whether NBC has already bought the exclusive rights to the London Games. I seriously effing hope they haven’t. I don’t remember much about how the networks covered the Games pre-NBC hegemony, but SOMEONE has got to give Dick Ebersol a fucking wakeup call. Because if they’re this inept when the Games are happening three hours before us, how viciously crappy is it going to be when they’re five hours ahead?

This does not mean I am not excited about the figure skating tomorrow night. It means I want to smack some sense into Dicks Ebersol and Button, because they are RUINING THIS FOR EVERYONE. Also, I am not too dignified to say that I kind of want to see Lindsey Vonn’s gnarly shin bruise. And I want to know what cheese can do for you. Fuck, that is some air Shaun White is grabbing, yeah?

February 18th, 2010

Gossip Girl: Doom. Catastrophe. Everybody dies!

This week on Gossip Girl: Everyone went broke because all their money was in Lehman and Merrill Lynch. Chuck hocks everything in the Palace Hotel and hops a container ship to Venezuela, because we don’t have an extradition treaty with Venezuela. Nate gets sent to Oz in his father’s place and becomes Ryan O’Reily’s bitch. Dan learns what it’s like to actually be middle class and has to go to SUNY. Jenny’s turning tricks at the Holland Tunnel. Blair and Serena get jobs at the Qdoba opening across the street from my apartment. Rufus’s lame-ass gallery goes under and he takes a job as a fact-checker at Rolling Stone. Bart and Lily learn where Target is and, faced with the ugly reality of generic breakfast cereal, Eric begins acting out by tagging the 7 train. Vanessa carries on with two-for-one lesbian taco night in Queens. Even Gossip Girl suffers—her cell service gets turned off and she’s reduced to Xeroxing a ‘zine in the finest tradition of up-by-the-bootstraps individualism.

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September 23rd, 2008

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take any more of your shit*

Sometimes I just want to strangle Studio 60. I'm not going to stop watching, because it's an interesting show and I don't want it to be my fault that it gets canceled, but what was once just mild eye-rolling has progressed into yelling and feet-stamping. It's a good show, at least in part, I think — but something about it just rubs me the wrong way.

studio60cast.jpgPlenty had been written — here and elsewhere — about how the sketches aren't funny. That isn't even my problem any more. Last night, there weren't any sketches. Though Matt and Simon were supposed to have discovered an amazing comedic talent whose jokes weren't all that hilarious, at least it was clear that he was superior to the first comic, who didn't even bother making jokes. 

And I've really grown fond of Tom and Simon and Harriet. They have a great rapport together. I even kind of love Jordan, who made a wonderful mess of herself at the wrap party. And I have a great fondness for Jack, who can be counted on to say the wrong thing (and quote musical theatre? He did it again last night, I think) and liven things up. 

Partly I think my problem is Matt: what kind of arrogance, what sort of enormous, fragile ego does this man have that he has the balls to be insulted by Simon's suggestion that he take the input of other writers? From the look on his face it was clear that there could be no other writer whose genius was as earth-shattering as Matt's. He eventually agrees to listen to Simon's advice, but the fact that he had to be persuaded to do something so sensible and reasonable and decent boggles my mind.

Partly, too, it's the stifling air of superiority shared by all the characters. They are making good TV, they constantly tell us, important, historically resonating TV for Alpha Consumers. But in order to buy into their mindset — that they are bringing a revolution to the small screen — you have to accept that TV in general sucks. People who say that TV in general sucks obviously aren't watching the same shows I am, or, for that matter, much television at all. It's small-minded and snobby to say that TV sucks.

I get the sense that the people who enjoy this show, who truly believe that the show itself, like the show-within-a-show, is bringing something revolutionary to the airwaves, these are people who turn their nose up at most TV. And that just makes me crazy.

Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, House, Lost, The Office — these shows don't go around talking about how important and meaningful and high-art they are. They just tell really interesting stories in novel ways. That's revolutionary.  

*George Clooney (not me) messing up Network in Out of Sight

UPDATE: Amelie at The Hater spells out more reasons this episode made us want to choke someone. 

3 comments October 24th, 2006

Steaming Pile of Hate: Seinfeld

This is the first of a whenever-we-feel-like-it series of taking on classic TV series and calling them out as crap. For every entry, another TiFauxer will provide a rebuttal in the series' defense.  We should also note that we stole this concept from The Onion.

Of all of television's sacred cows, there's none that I'd rather slaughter, grind, add cilantro/worcestershire sauce/finely chopped onion to, grill and devour than Seinfeld. 


That is, I hate that God damned show.

While I can probably expound upon a list of reasons to hate Seinfeld, most of them are based in this one sentiment: the characters are so unlikable and annoying that it sours any sort of comic nuggets the show contains.

I'm not saying all comedies must have likable characters.  Obviously, Dwight from The Office is a gas and a half even though no one would really say he's likable, per se. But, then again, Dwight isn't the heart of The Office — Jim and Pam are.  Even Michael, with his desperate clawing for affection and admiration, is sympathetic much of the time.

Now, given that Seinfeld is one of the Jewiest shows to ever hit it big, I feel like I can throw in some Yiddish here.  This whole series is full of mishigas ('craziness' for the goyim).  Everyone's just so nutty and neurotic, so full of irrationality, that I find it hard to get invested in any of the characters.  Whether it's Jerry's something's-always-going-wrong mentality, George's shrill complaining, Elaine's self-involvement or Kramer's collection of tics and mischief, I just want to throw my hands in the air and say "feh" at all of their antics. 

I find Kramer and George to be the worst characters, with Kramer having a wacky, rubber chicken approach to comedy and George just being endlessly grating.

Furthermore, I feel like there's an underlying meanspiritedness to the show.  It's not overwhelming, in fact, it's pretty subtle.  It's probably more apparent in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld mastermind (and basis for George) Larry David's current HBO series.  David is a curmudgeon and while (I guess) that can be played up for comedic effect in instances where he's a fish out of water, most of the time I just find it wearying.  Seinfeld's meanspiritedness is most evident in parts like the characters' interactions with annoying neighbor Newman and the death of George's fiance Susan. 

Funny material can come from a lot of places: exaggerated characters, outlandish situations and calling out bullshit/hypocrisy.  To me, being mean is the opposite of funny (Carlos Mencia, I'm looking at you), and the Larry David-inspired curmudgeonry (new word – I just made it up) never makes me laugh. 

I have one final point, but it's one that I can't really fault the show for.  But it adds to my general hatred of the show nonetheless: Seinfeld is one of those shows where people tend to repeat the jokes/plots of episodes and try to recapture the comedic essence.  Never works.  Whether it's saying in some sort of garbled, almost racist accent "No soup for you!" or doing the Elaine dance, it's the kind of thing that your pit-stained, cream polo shirt-wearing, fifty-something co-worker in accounts payable will try to "have a moment" with you about.  And it's always awkward and you try to force a smile before getting off the elevator.

By the way, when I say "you," I probably just mean "me."  And again, this isn't the show's fault, but it just adds fuel to the fire.

Kyle Responds:

Click to continue reading “Steaming Pile of Hate: Seinfeld”

14 comments July 11th, 2006


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