So how is it that these wacky and wondrous Winter Games—a.k.a. Many Nations, Many Peoples, Many Cultures and Absolutely, Positively No Sports to Speak Of—axe piling up in our living rooms like so much dirty laundry?
Did I mention that of its 116 hours of coverage, CBS is doing 115½ hours of figure skating? This is wonderful for ratings, but let me point out—and I know I'm on thin ice here with many of you—that figure skating is not a sport. It is dinner theater. Athletes do not dress in sequined costumes with skulls on them. And what about those gnomes of many colors who give the skaters flowers after each performance? It seems to me that the gang over at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY should cover the skating. This is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, for goodness' sakes; if I don't see at least 15 pages on the Professional Spring Football League in this issue, I'll be disappointed. I don't give a damn if the league is folding, I WANT TO SEE PSFL TRAINING CAMP ROSTERS!
Every night CBS insists on telling us that we—as in the U.S.A—have a chance. We don't have a chance. We never have a chance. Why? We don't have to ski in this country; we have automobiles and good roads. Now if the Winter Games were to include the 3,000-mile-oil-change-and-front-wheel-realignment-while-listening-to-ZZ-Top-at-airport-runway-decibel-level as a medal sport, then Team Jiffy Lube would bring home the gold for us.
This was supposed to be Brent's Olympics. Instead we got Paula Zahn and Tim McCarver. (I am disqualifying myself from assessing McCarver. CBS sees a likable, genial prime-time presence. I see a guy crouching in a catcher's mask, talking about the sweep tag. This is how it works in TV: McCarver goes from baseball player to baseball analyst; meanwhile ABC sends him to the Calgary Games in '88 to do features on pin collecting, then CBS decides he has such depth of knowledge and hit-and-pun wit, he ought to cohost an Olympics. Next thing you know, he'll be eyeing the anchor chair for the NBC Nightly News.)
For prime time it's McCarver; for slime time it's Pat O'Brien. The late-night anchor is so slick, I can't believe he doesn't slide off his late-night anchor chair. O'Brien is beyond cool; he's cryogenic.
Idle inquiry: Why is it that every time I see Katarina Witt, all made up with nowhere to go, I think of painting by numbers?
And now a word about our good friends at TNT: No!!!!!!!!!!
With its 45 hours of cable coverage, TNT is giving us all the events and analysts no one wants to see. It's like the remainders table at a bookstore. Let me quote TNT's Svein Romstad at the start of the women's luge: "Va ooh speeeden foueurrr da güüüüüüdderthal mååågen Visa card spånkå vüünderfüüüüül!"
I will give TNT this: Anchors Fred Hickman and Nick Charles, with a wintry backdrop on their set, are in Atlanta but look as if they're in Albertville, while Zahn and McCarver are in Albertville but look as if they're in Manhattan.
I would like to continue, but mogul skiing calls.