Monday, February 27, 2006

Bring me the heads (or tails) of Frank & Gordon

Despite my country's record medal-grab, the significant presence of a Menno from The 'Peg, and undeniably fetching figure skaters, I had a difficult time whipping up interest in this year's Winter Olympics. Three things killed it for me: the time-zone shift (the day I wake up and want to watch television is the day I've been rightfully set out to pasture), the Canadian men's hockey team, and the commercials.

There's nothing you can do about the time-zone, so I'll move directly to Hockey. I think it was a big mistake to let the pros into Olympic hockey. I know the Eastern Block made a mess of things with their nettlesome "Socialist" definitions, but the Curtain is down, and I think we can all agree: when you're employed by the NHL, you're no longer an "amateur". The sort of "Dream Team" competition that erupted in the 90s is a bore no matter who wins gold, and I'd like to see Olympic hockey (and basketball, for that matter) return to its amateur status.

Alright: Commercials. Man, did PETA ever take a blow to the chin with those freakin' beavers from Bell. Leg-holds, piano-wire, boiling oil ... it's all too good those annoying rodents. And this lack of, shall I say, quality only made the brain-numbing quantity of commercials that much more difficult to endure.

I realize the Corp. relies on this deluge of free-market bucks to sustain what programming it can, so I'm almost willing to cut it some slack for the 3-to-2 ratio of commercial-to-event minutes (and no, I don't consider a McDonald's sponsored "Portrait of Courage" an "event"). Sports-loving viewers are subjected to this onslaught of ads, in aid of keeping "Canadian content" alive and well. Alas, "Canadian content" means another Ken Finkleman indulgence, while the truly entertaining stuff (specifically DaVinci's City Hall) gets deep-sixed.

Strangely enough, I'm truly saddened to see DaVinci get the axe. I say "strangely", because it's been years since I was a regular DaVinci watcher. My wife and I were DaVinci fans when it had its original Friday night slot. This suited us just fine: after a week of work we were too bagged to rent and watch a movie, but a one-hour episode was just right to keep us awake and entertained. Then CBC moved it, and lost us. I recently spotted it while channel-surfing, and found myself hooked in after several years absence. Why DaVinci isn't bigger than House, MD, I'll never know (and I say this with all due respect as a Black Adder/Frye & Laurie fan) -- DaVinci has better acting, directing and writing than Hugh Laurie's vechicle. I figure playing fast and loose with scheduling can't possibly help, but maybe I'm simple that way. Open letter to the CBC: why not take a page from the BBC strategy-guide, and give DaVinci more than one time slot. We've already got 24 hours of CSI -- what could it possibly hurt?


DarkoV said...

WP, Humility being the national Canadian characteristic, I was happy to read that you are following that character tendacy and not rubbing it to the Lower 48. What with a populaiton of (2004 figures) 31,946,000 and a medal count of 24, Canada had .000075% of its population winning medals. The USA, on the other statistical hand, ahd .000009% of its 293,655,000 populaiton winning medals, based on 25 medals won. That means, using that fine arithmetical idea of division, that Canada won 9 times more medals than the USA, based on their respective populations.

And that takes into account that neither country's GEEZER hockey teams showed up for a cance to win even a bronze medal.

You have to admit, even though you may not have enjoyed the Olympics, that the Crash 'N Burn USA squad was an interesting show. I would have really enjoyed some in-depth stories documented in the offices of the companies that were underwriting (and overpaying) Bode Miller, the bobsled teams, and Michelle Kwan. You just know someone at the corporate offices will be axed over that failed strategy. And justifiably so! Why the heck no company really backed the women's hockey teams (well, at least down here) and the curling teams should be questioned. Those events were actually quit interesting and the athletes seemed to be passionate about their participation.

..there's always the next one in four years. My greatest fear about the Vancouver Games? Any one who doesn't know how that whole part of BC looks (and that person is a true Luddite), will see the beauty and want to move there. Hey, what's that about? In my wildest dreams, that's where I'd love to retire. Any more folks mover there and the onlyu thing I'll be able to afford is a used refrigerator packing box.

Trent Reimer said...

I think Bode does a good interview though. I liked his comment about the miracle on ice: "As a young person my dreams had me coming from behind to win the gold, just like the U.S. in the miracle on ice. Of course now I'm the Soviet Union."

I think by now Canada's men's hockey team has become another Soviet Union which world wide fans can only enjoy seeing beaten. The women's teams were real teams, groups of amateur athletes who put all else on hold and train with the Olympics their ultimate goal. The mens teams are largely clumps of NHL super stars striving for an alternate prize, soon overshadowed by the Stanley Cup playoffs. That the two favourites, Canada and the Chzech Republic, were both beaten by *Switzerland* was at once both sweet and sad. Sweet because it showed that a true team of amateurs can still hope to defeat the ocassinal Goliath. Sad because it removed the one point of arrogance for the Canadian people :) Perhaps now instead of pretending to be humble we will have to attempt the real thing?

Whisky Prajer said...

DV - really? You'd choose Vancouver over, say, Montreal? I do like Vancouver, but retiring to a place that endures overcast days more frequently than Toronto does would probably bring out more of my "depressive" side.

re: Bode "Satva" Miller (sorry - I couldn't resist!), I have to agree with TR: he might not have been a genuine contender, but he certainly gave an interesting interview.

TR - much as I enjoyed the gold medal for the Cdn Women's hockey team, the actual games weren't especially entertaining. Perhaps if we'd agreed to another round of Salt Lake City Rules (Canadians play short-handed for over a period), the contest for Gold would have been more interesting.

DarkoV said...

WP, unless I missed it, NBC minimized the amount of interview air time Bode had. Perhaps the Canadian coverage was able to follow him around or just do a better buddying-up thing. Since the press and tv down here were so anti-Bode after his 2nd disqualification, he may have preferred the kindness of (foreign) strangers.