The pendulum on my love/hate relationship with television has completed its arch back to love.
With the advent of the 2012 Olympics, I once again care about TV. And, frankly, since the start of the games, I’ve accomplished very little aside from watching as much of the games as possible.
I’ve always liked the Winter Olympics better than the Summer Olympics. I think that’s probably because the Winter Olympics have hockey and skiing while the Summer Olympics - while growing up, at least - meant two weeks of watching gymnastics. I may have pink checks but I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of gymnastics.
I also can’t watch Olympic basketball. There’s nothing good that can come from watching a sport your country is expected to dominate. If we double-up on other teams, it’s expected. There’s no margin we could win by that would be impressive to Americans. Maybe that’s why Kobe Bryant has been spending all his free time watching other events. Good for Kobe.
There are several events I enjoy in the Summer Olympics, though. I enjoy watching the track events, both beach and indoor volleyball, tennis, rowing, swimming and — even though I have trouble believing it’s really a sport — water polo.
Honestly, though, water polo may be fun to watch, but any game that I could or would play in a swimming pool with my kids can’t be a real sport. What’s next? Don’t let the balloon touch the ground? Because my family would completely dominate that sport. In fact, we’d challenge any Russian family to a game. Any time.
The global politics of the Olympics is very interesting. Remember when we wanted to beat Russia at everything? It wasn’t all that long ago. Now it’s China that we feel the need to beat. That’s a good thing since I tend to root for any Russian women’s team. Apparently I have a thing for Russian women. Who knew? Now everyone does.
I find myself rooting for the underdogs nearly all the time. In fact, Sunday I was rooting for the Chinese water polo team against the Australians … simply because the Australians were supposed to win. I guess I’m difficult like that.
There have been some great human interest stories in the Olympics — as there always are. And NBC has done a good job in my opinion of relaying those stories to the world. Overall, I think NBC has done a good job with the Olympics, no matter how much flack they may be taking on Twitter, Facebook and the like. The coordination that goes into bouncing back and forth from one event to another without dead air is amazing.
The peacock network has had a great opportunity to showcase their fall lineup during the games. If only their fall lineup didn’t look so horrible. But the show with Matthew Perry looks good at least.
Of course, I can’t concern myself too much with the fall lineup quite yet. In fact there are only two things on television that I can even think about. This week it’s the Olympics. And next week it’s Shark Week. And honestly, after that, the pendulum will probably swing back to hate and I’ll finally get a chance to read “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
Scott Leffler is an avid television viewer … except when he’s not. Follow him (and his television viewing habits) on Twitter @scottleffler.