Olympian TV

I’m probably watching too much or too little Olympics; or, rather, like everyone else, grumbling about why NBC’s coverage is so… schizophrenic (yeah, I know, it’s to get that casual viewer; but must you keep switching from ski jump to snowboarding and then back to figure skating in a three hour stretch?  The last 10 seconds of the USA v. Canada men’s hockey game on Sunday night, while MSNBC had to show the whole thing?  Could you put a little time stamp – like “This occurred at 12:30pm PST” so that I can figure out that this was not live tv and still feel okay about it?).

Watching the women’s figure skating short program round was pretty cool.  South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na taking the lead with her James Bond mix; that was a performance of energy and athleticism.  Plus a whole country putting tons of pressure on her.

But, the real powerful watch was Canada’s Joannie Rochette, as she skated despite (or inspired by?) the passing of her mother only two days previously.  The whole audience was trying to keep her going, and I admit that I felt teary watching her.   Scott Hamilton, US champion/analyst, was all emotional in his voicing that this was not about points.  Just reading the NY Times article about it made me feel sad again.  Plus, Mike Starr of Newsweek is right: the appropriate word to describe what Rochette had was “fortitude.”

Seriously, I’d hate to judge the skaters – how do you do it when the human element is involved?  Grief, strength, the weight of nations on their shoulders?  It really isn’t just points or what trick you pull off.

Spoilers about this latest episode of “Lost” – turn away if you don’t want to see my comments… So, I still managed to catch “Lost” – Jack and his daddy issues!  Alternate Jack kind of trying to resolve his daddy issues, with a heretofore unseen son (!) (who’s the mother?  Well, I’d say maybe the ex-wife was Jack’s ex from the main universe, but who knows?  Is it even important to know?).  Plus, I kind of like the portrayal of the sideways alternate universe lives of alternate John Locke and alternate Jack.  Not caring for the alternate Kate (who still seems like a crazy) or even alternate Claire.  Meanwhile, main universe Claire is creepy crazy.

I’m still not sure how much I want answers from “Lost,” but I think I’ll accept a resolution of some kind.  Seeing alternate Jack having hope – that was nice.  If main universe Jack can get something positive – well, it’d be nice to see; whether we viewers will actually get to see it – that’s another story.

Did catch a few minutes of Craig Ferguson’s interview of Stephen Fry – without an audience!  How cool; it was kind of like a funnier, wittier Charlie Rose (without the roundtable).  Reactions by critics (Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly; David Bianculli of Television Worth Watching; and Dana Stevens of Slate)  are that this was great tv and that maybe Craig should do it once in awhile to keep things cool on network late night tv.  I sure agree!

Oh, and great post by Ken Tucker about that Old Spice commercial: how it got made and how that actor in the Old Spice commercial ought to be on more tv.

Post Super Bowl/Lunar New Year/Winter Olympics 2010

I’m still not sure of what to make of a lot of the Super Bowl commercials this year.  (check out the coverage by Time’s James Poniewozik reviewing of the stuff) – I mean, really – two consecutive commercials of guys in their underwear?  Has the economy gone that bad to give us this crap?…

But, kudos to New Orleans; too bad for Indianapolis; and guess Miami is a really popular spot for Super Bowl (at least, they seem to keep going back to Florida).

Happy Year of the Tiger! (thought it was cool to see a little of the Lunar New Year celebration in Vancouver on tv; link here for the Canadian coverage of it).

And, Happy Winter Olympics 2010!  The opening ceremony was pretty nifty, I thought.  You don’t have to go all Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony extravagant (but having an LCD doesn’t hurt).  I’ve suggested on Facebook about shipping the snow on the east coast to Vancouver.  Otherwise, I’ve been on massive Olympic watching.  I think I really want to go to Vancouver – it looks so nice on tv (and is where many tv series are filmed anyway, so how cool is that?  And, the food?).

Fascinating story about Vancouver’s ex-mayor, Sam Sullivan, who I remembered was inspirational for waving the flag for Vancouver at the closing ceremony of the Turino Olympics 2006 (inspirational, because he was – and is – a wheelchair user who didn’t seem limited by his disability).  The article was compelling for how Sullivan keeps going, despite losing another term as mayor.

I have to say, Jonny Moseley did a pretty good job explaining moguls as a commentator on NBC; I really wouldn’t understand the sport, but he made it understandable and cool.

Very happy that Canada finally won home gold with moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau’s win.

I’ve been wondering about those blue lines in alpine skiing; thanks, NY Times, for an explanation (blue dye, not computer-generated for tv viewers; but to guide the skiers.

Seeing Shen and Zhao win the gold in ice skating pairs – that was nifty, since they have come a long way since their first Olympics.

Hooray for Evan Lysacek for winning gold in the men’s figure skating.  There’s a bit of a debate of whether to award the skater for the whole program or for the tricks (or, is it that those who don’t do the quad playing it too safe?  Frankly, when it got to a point where every man was doing a quad and then destroying their knees and getting shorter careers – the quad just didn’t impress me).  It gets loopy, when it’s about difference of perceptions and personalities and techniques and physical capabilities (Johnny Weir – well, he’s in his own category, which means he’s his own skater, make of that what you will).  So, sorry, but I’m for the whole program – be a skater, not a stuntman.  On t v, Dick Button, commentator and two-time Olympic gold medalist, pretty much said that (wish I could find the link to the video), and so have others (including Todd Eldridgebe the better overall skater).

Plus, it is about gamesmanship – know how to get the points and be a sportsman.  Hard work works.  Etc.  If it was about innovation and so-called progress, well, sometimes it isn’t about that all the time.  Plushenko didn’t get me excited; Lysacek did (probably because about the whole hard work and determination and pluckiness – I mean, really – no quad?  And being okay with it (i.e., not arrogant, as Plushenko seemed to be, in my opinion) – that takes a lot of personal guts).

Trash talking Plushenko, amid what is otherwise a nice time (I mean, really – Daisuke Takahashi got to win a bronze to be the first Japanese male medalist – graceful, even though he fell – we should be happy for Japan, but Plushenko – come on – let it go; you got a medal when you came back from retirement) –  hmm.

I think the future of men’s figure skating are: Patrick Chan, Canada; Jeremy Abbott, USA;  and Nobunari Oda, Japan.  They were impressive, even if they didn’t quite get the Olympics they wanted (they’re young; and Chan – well, he had that whole country on his shoulders – not easy!).

The Reed family of NJ – an interesting family of Asian-Americans, as the kids of Noriko and Robert – ice dancing for Japan (Cathy and Chris) and Georgia (Allison – who found a guy in need of a female ice pairs partner – well, that happens far more frequently in ice skating than we realize these days, especially with the Internet as a resource).

Oh that Apolo Ohno.  I’m just glad to be reminded that he’s more than a Dancing With the Stars champion.

Oh, and J.R. Celski – cool that he won the bronze, but the story of his pre-Olympic injury is pretty gruesome stuff.  (J.R. Celski is part-Filipino, so APA’s are being represented on the medal podium!).

Hockey – that Canadian national sport – apparently has a lot of guys named Ryan.

The commercials during the Olympics are actually more entertaining than the Super Bowl’s.  I like the commercial where various Canadian (Canadian-American) celebrities are telling us to go visit British Columbia (Ryan Reynolds, Eric McCormack, Kim Cattrall, Sarah McLachlan, and Michael J. Fox).  The Old Spice commercials where mesmerizing man tells men (via their women) to use Old Spice – hilarious hallucination!