A cold shoulder to Winter Games
BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It started this way: "You have to see this," she said. She being my wife.
"Don't bother me," I said. "I'm watching 'The Shield.' "
This is better, she said.
There was no winning this argument.
"We have to see if they hug," she said.
"Shut up and watch," she said.
The essence of it was this: The Italian ice dancers had fallen during their original program, whatever that is. Actually, the guy had dropped the girl like a pound of cappicola. Afterward, she stared at him with death in her eyes.
The idea was to see how they would deal with each other after this second performance. Would they hug? Or slug? That's really all you need to know about the Olympic Winter Games.
That, and this:
"Nothing is off limits," said American ice dancer Jamie Silverstein. "Everyone is trying to sell sex."
"Oh, yes," her partner, Ryan O'Meara, told the New York Times, "lots of people will be tuning in, just to see if they can catch a peek."
They were talking about costumes. Or lack thereof. Nothing says "incredible feats of athletic excellence" quite like costumes.
In the same story, apparently about the ice dancing competition, the paper noted that an Italian skater was "looking sassy ... two strips of sparkling flowers and leaves grew from her navel, to cover her breasts."
Evidently, TV ratings for the Games have fallen faster than skier Bode Miller. I wouldn't know. I'd rather take an iceball to the retina than watch the Human Tomato.
The Flying Tomato.
OK. Whatever, dude. Nice nickname for an athlete.
There is no denying these folks are great jocks. I'd walk on the sun in a pair of cardboard boxers before I'd attempt a triple axel on ice, wearing skates with blades sharp enough to slice garlic.
But here's a fact: We don't think the Winter Olympics are as relevant as "American Idol." Some of us don't see much sports going on. No sports require a Kiss and Cry Area. Nothing is Olympian about athletes who'd rather show off and have a great time than win a gold medal.
Sorry, but Olympian efforts require Olympian purpose. That excludes Whatever Nation, that shaggy crop of baggy-pantsed Gen-Xers currently halfpiping and snowboarding across our vacant TV screens, "advancing" their sports. Sorry, no style points for Lindsey Jacobellis, showboating to second place after what was most assuredly a gold-medal run, because she thought it would be cool to hot-dog her way across the finish line. Some of us prefer substance to style, especially when public money is spent to train these people.
USA Today on Friday offered 10 suggestions for vitalizing interest in the Games. The paper suggested fans be allowed to participate in judging, as they do on "American Idol." The sports marketers queried also suggested "hipper music" so the Games might "look more like a music video." Experts also favored putting "more reality" into Olympic TV. Real life isn't real life enough, apparently. I came up with a few of my own ideas:
Drive-by Bobsledding: Put biathletes in the sleds. Have them shoot things on their way down the track.
Dead Celebrity Luge: Strap in your favorite deceased celeb. Give him a shove and watch him fly! The sled is dead-ready, already. It resembles a coffin. Allow fans to vote online to see who
races. Please, no write-ins for Dick Clark.
Curling Refrigerator Perry: Instead of shoving a hunk of aerodynamic granite, watch the legendary stars of curling as they put a heave-ho into the former NFL defensive lineman.
Slalom With Chad. In a tribute to Bengals wideout Chad Johnson, competitors catch footballs while schussing downhill.
Skeet-Shooting the Ski Jumpers. Pull!
Head-As-Wick: Use the Flying Tomato's bean to light the flame at the Opening Ceremonies. And anything else that needs lighting.
Whack-a-Bode: Installed in the Kiss and Cry Area. Instead of sobbing, making excuses and grabbing tissues from that ornate box, skaters simply slug a life-sized Bode Miller blow-up doll.
Smackdown Zone: Men skaters throw sequins at each other. Women skaters throw sequins at men skaters. Losers have to do the winners' makeup. Mascara for men, optional.
That ought to do it. Now excuse me while I watch Vic Mackey slam a perp's head onto a lighted stove-top. That, friends, is reality TV.