“Screw you NBC”: Bob Costas as the ugly American
Watching the Olympics’ opening ceremony I oscillated between pride and embarrassment which in itself is a perfect encapsulation of what it is to be British.
What has left me unimpressed, however, with the games has been NBC’s abysmal coverage.
From their decision to time delay the opening ceremony, their cutting of the memorial wall tribute from the ceremony as they didn’t feel it relevant to a US audience (because NBC knows what’s relevant to a US audience), their role in the suspension of journalist Guy Adams from Twitter, to the God-awful library-esque set they designed their studio around. really awful library-esque studio they’ve set up for Bob Costas.
However, what irritated me most has been the commentary for the opening. It has been
disappointing to see Matt Lauer, Bob Costas and Meredith Vieira prove so adept in their roles as ugly Americans. There has been a lot of criticism online, so I thought I would list for those of you fortunate enough to avoid NBC’s commentary the comments that really caught my attention.
“By the way if you think he’s been so busy, he couldn’t get a haircut – this is his haircut.” On Boris Johnson. Actually, fair enough.
“A billion – that’s with a ‘B’ – will watch at home on what they call “the telly” around here.”
“I don’t know whether that’s cute or creepy.” Matt Lauer on the reveal of the giant baby. Coincidentally, I had the same thought on seeing Meredith Vieira.
“If you haven’t heard of him – we haven’t either.” On Tim Berners-Lee. Yes Meredith, let’s revel in our ignorance.
“Australia was famously settled as a penal colony in the late-1700s.”
“Belgium, as you know, is homeland to IOC President, Dr Jacques Rogge, who competed as a sailor for them three times in 68, 72 and 76.” We’re meant to know that, but not about Tim Berners-Lee?
“Central African Republic is made up of more than 80 ethnic groups and they each have their own language, which I’m guessing makes subtitles at the movies a major undertaking.” Jesus Christ, it’s like watching the games with your unfunny uncle.
“And that leads me perfectly to Croatia, their flag-bearer Veno Losert is the goalkeeper of the handball team. This is a sport that just doesn’t have a great foothold in the United States, but if you’re looking for a way to get a medal in the Olympics it would be a good sport to take up.” Yup, the US doesn’t play it, so handball must be a piece of piss.
“Bob Costas: Matt as a golfer you’d know that North Korea’s greatest athletic achievement belonged to the Dear Leader King Jong-il who according to his official biography carded 11 holes in one. Not over a lifetime, but over the first he ever played. I’m guessing the ones off the windmill and the clown’s nose were especially impressive
Matt Lauer: Sure, you joke. You’re not going to vacation there.
Bob Costas: Unlikely”
Feel free to contribute my Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds to send Bob Costas to North Korea for his vacation.
“Bob Costas: If you’re looking for badminton coverage, and who isn’t, you’ll find it on our cable networks and streaming live on nbcolympics.com throughout the games.
Matt Lauer: Let’s not make light, this is not your backyard, picnic variety badminton. This is tough stuff
Bob Costas: No, that shuttle cock moves at ‘daunting’ speeds”
Like those competing in handball, the badminton players should be thankful Bob Costas isn’t playing their easy-peasy sport. Bob can also bitch-slap Chuck Norris.
“Djibouti now, there’s a few countries whose names simply make you smile. Djibouti would win the gold medal in that category. Maybe Cameroon taking the silver.” Don’t leave us in suspense, Matt. Who comes in bronze?
“Germany is next. Long-time Olympic power, the medal count has slipped in recent years so they’ve now returned to East German-style Olympic schools to better train their young athletes, but they’re quick to point out their talking about the positive aspects of such a program.” Thank God, for a moment I thought they’d brought the Stasi back.
“Madagascar – a location associated with a few huge animated movies.”
“The Maldives are the lowest country on earth. A couple of medals here might boost them up a little bit.” A few medals will ease the pain of losing your country to rising sea levels.
“Next is Pakistan. While world leaders keep a wary eye on this country, of much less importance Pakistani athletes to keep an eye are likely to be found in field hockey.” Seamless, Bob. Absolutely seamless.
“Bob Costas: I don’t know if you can sense this folks but we’re having to edit through our notes. We have never seen a parade of nations move at a clip like this
Matt Lauer: Just means we get to the United States and Great Britain a little earlier.”
Tsch, we have to sit through all these other countries.
“As all these Olympians enter, smiling and quickly, I think part of this is in deference to the 86-year-old Queen who made – along with James Bond – one of the great entrances in Olympic history earlier.” I mean what other reasons are there for an athlete to be smiling at participating in the Olympics?
“Winston Churchill once described the African nation of Uganda and its lush landscape as the pearl of Africa. Of course, Churchill never met Idi Amin.”
“You’ll see signs in the windows of London pubs sometimes saying no football jerseys allowed because the mere sight of the wrong jersey can ignite a brawl. But nobody is in a brawling mood tonight.” That ending is worthy of Alan Partridge. Also, as someone who has drank in far more London pubs than Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, I have never seen such a sign.