Thursday, September 10, 2015

The NBC slap in the face

I'm pretty sure NBC stands for National Broadcasting Company. In my area, they're on channel 4. Have been since forever. Remember the word "national".

Well OK. Yours truly freely admits he's not the brightest star in the sky, the elevator typically struggles to make it to the top floor, and I've been called a lot of things over the years, many which I can't mention in this forum. And they might well have a point. Let's just say opinions vary.

And on top of being a hack writer, I have a geek side as well. I'm a Jeopardy! addict. Have been since I was a little boy. My mom got me hooked on it. Even as an adult, when I couldn't be home to watch it, I'd program the VCR/DVD to tape/record it.

During the last week and a half, Alex Trebek and Co. have been showing a teachers' tournament. After 8 days of whittling down the field to the final 3, the two-day cumulative finals were to begin earlier tonight. Promptly at 7:30, I turned on the flat screen, clicked on channel 4, and ----- what the hell?

It's a pre-game show, a whole hour's worth, before Thursday night football kicks off. The Patriots hosting the Steelers. Sure, I planned to watch that game, but it didn't start until 8:30, so what kind of sadistic network lunatics decided to give us Jeopardy! fans an hour's worth of breathless announcers spewing worthless hype, stats, and predictions instead of our beloved trivia show?

Yeah, I get it. The NFL is a HUGE deal, the veritable gorilla in the room of America sports, and yours truly is as hard-core a fan as anybody else. I couldn't wait for the season to begin. Let's also remember the NFL stands for "National" Football League. There's that word again. The name itself is certainly appropriate, given all 32 franchises are located in the continental United States. As American as it gets.

And if the game started at 7:30 instead of 8:30, no problem. Preempt the quiz show. But it didn't.

So what did we see? Some band nobody ever heard of singing a song on a makeshift stage in a parking lot. Then back to the talking sports heads. Oops, here comes another band. Never heard of them either. Then another dose of the hypesters still blathering on. Hey, we don't need all this. The opening act of the 2015 NFL season is coming up in a few minutes. We get it and will be watching it.

There was absolutely no reason -- ZERO -- to zap Jeopardy! only to force-feed the viewing audience a couple bands and the usual gang of chatterboxes trying to pump up a TV audience that was already geeked.

Back to the magic word. National. The National Broadcasting Company was about to show the debut of the National Football League. This was big news, so they brought in the big guns. Even Mr. Toupee himself, sometimes known as Bob Costas, was on hand to stir the football masses yet further into a frenzy with his thundering words from on high. Break out the red, white, and blue, let loose the dogs of the gridiron, and God bless America. The only thing missing were whips and chains with the fans flogging themselves in pure ecstasy.

[Idle thought. If NBC and Costas want even bigger ratings, he should whip off that rug he's been wearing for years on the air and show the world his chrome-dome that lies beneath. The numbers would go through the roof.]

But if one looked closely, guess who was sponsoring the whole works? The sign was prominent behind the bands on stage. Hyundai. You know, the South Korean corporation that has been flooding the USA with cars and other goodies in recent years.

So we have a "national" broadcasting company televising a "national" football league, and some suits in South Korea get to call the shots????  And they decided to zap the Jeopardy! final so we could watch a couple stupid bands and listen to mindless drivel from the talking heads???

Something is very, very wrong with this picture.

And the damn game didn't even start at 8:30. Oh no. They had to trot out yet another bimbo on yet another stage at midfield in Gillette Stadium to sing the National Anthem. And what gives with all these military color-guards always having to be on hand for such spectacles? Aren't we paying them to defend our country? If they're not fighting wars, they should be swabbing decks or painting ships. Or going through various drills. Or practicing in flight simulators. Or getting ready for cold weather hand-to hand combat if the geniuses in the Pentagon ever get bored and decide to invade Canada for some reason. Or at least doing push-ups. They're supposed to be ready -- dammit.

They do not, repeat NOT belong at a football game holding flags. There's plenty of cheerleaders that can handle that duty, and would be a whole lot easier on the eyes to boot. What would you rather see? Grim faced soldiers standing like statues (on tax-payer money), or beautiful cheerleaders (that a team has to pay for) with their various body parts bouncing around?

Such a slap in the face is almost enough to drive a geek/sports nut to watch soccer.

Good Gawd-a-mighty. What am I saying?

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