Hey, let’s check or TV listings to see which events we’ll be covering in primetime tonight (last night), shall we?
A bunch of swimming, some men’s synchronized diving, women’s beach volleyball and men’s team gymnastics finals? Cool! I am very excited about men’s gymnastics team finals! I sure hope we get to see all of that event! Can’t wait to see me some men’s gymnastics!
Instead, we begin our Olympic coverage with Men’s Synchronized 10m Platform Diving which is mostly an excuse to spend an hour watching 20-year-olds taking showers together in Speedos. And if that’s not porny enough for you, may I point out that one of the American divers is named Steele Johnson? STEELE JOHNSON.
Let’s just stop to discuss this for a moment. When choosing a name for their infant son, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, a nice couple from Indiana, apparently reached for the bestselling book, So You Want to be a Gay Porn Star, turned to the first chapter, “Choosing a Sexxxy Screen Name,” and went with “Steele” because they thought “Girthy” was just a little too subtle.
Steele Johnson’s partner is David Boudia, a Texas boy who took the gold in 10m Platform Diving in London, and it’s really important to the announcers that we know that he and Johnson are total besties. They must tell us some 15 times that Johnson and Boudia have a great relationship, which makes me wonder if this is unusual with synchronized divers? Are they usually frenemies? Mortal enemies?
As for the competition itself, we walk into it being told that before anyone has even taken a single dive, China all but has won the gold, so don’t get your hopes up for your new porn star boyfriend, Steele Johnson. In fact, just sit back and enjoy some more showering. I MEAN DIVING. Diving. That’s what we’re here for.
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In the end, China’s Chen Aisen and Lin Yue do, in fact, take the gold in The 10m Two People Somehow Managing to do the Exact Same Dive Right Next to Each Other. But Steele Johnson and David Boudia make America proud by taking the silver, and your London 2012 diving boyfriend, Tom Daley and his partner, Daniel Goodfellow, win the bronze. (Pausing to note here that when you do an image search for Tom Daley, the second-most popular subcategory is “Adjusting Himself.” Y’all are some perverts. Y’all need some Jesus.)
Next up: eleventy-threeve hours of swimming, including some number of hopelessly boring semifinal races.
In the first semifinal I don’t care about, Missy Franklin — whom the announcers helpfully inform us is now older than she was in the 2012 Olympics — falls short of qualifying. In the second semifinal I don’t care about, American superstar Katie Ledecky is beaten by that Swede, Sarah Sjöström. But don’t worry, Ledecky still qualified for the final.
We then move on to the first final of the night, Men’s 200m Freestyle, which if you ask me is a misnomer. How is it a “freestyle” when the racers all use the same regular swimming stroke? It’s not like this guy is going to do a backstroke while this other guy is going to do a doggie paddle while the swimmer in lane three is taking an unorthodox approach and working the dead man’s float. When I think “freestyle,” I think Marie Osmond dressed up like a terrifying doll, flopping her way across the Dancing With Stars stage, doing her own thing, and not caring in the least that this is not a recognizable “style” of “dance.”
Anyway, Official Olympic Villain Sun Yang wins the gold, some South African upstart named Chad le Clos (whom truly makes a name for himself later) takes silver, and Conor “I Don’t Know How to Spell My Own Name” Dwyer from the U.S. wins bronze.
Here’s what we learn about Conor Dwyer: his grandfather was responsible for hiring Harry Carey to be the Cubs announcer.
The next final is the Women’s 100m Backstroke, and America’s Kathleen Baker came in first during the semifinals, losing a pearl earring in the process. 1. Maybe you shouldn’t swim with pearl earrings on but 2. If you have to swim with pearl earrings on, you should probably make sure they’re screw back earrings and 3. If you lose said pearl earrings in the pool, the cost of putting a diver in full scuba equipment to go find your pearl earring is coming out of your pocket, missy.
In the end, Baker comes in second to that Hungarian swimmer with the questionable marriage. I guess having your husband run down the side of the pool shrieking, “As you all know first prize is a gold medal. Second prize is a silver medal. Third prize is we’re divorced,” is a strong motivator. Oh, and Canada and China tie for bronze which when we’re talking about calculating in hundredths of a second is pretty remarkable.
In the Men’s 100m Backstroke final, Americans Ryan Murphy and David Plummer take gold and bronze respectively (Xu Jiayu of China won silver) and NBC shows us a book Ryan Murphy made for his mother when he was 9, talking about how he was going to be an Olympic swimmer one day. Which, OK, FINE, is pretty cute.
The last final of the night is the Women’s 1000m Breaststroke and, taking a note from the popularity of Stranger Things, it brings ALL THE COLD WAR DRAMA.
Alright, so, this one Russian swimmer, Yulia Efimova, is one of the best breaststrokers in the world …
… and has won many a world championship and a bronze in 2012. But then! She started testing positive for all sorts of banned drugs, even as late as earlier this year. She was one of the many Russians who were banned from competing up until a month ago when the ban was lifted for her. For some reason.
And then, when she won her semifinal on Sunday, she raised her finger as in “I NUMBER один SWIMMER.” However, American breaststroker Lilly King was NOT HAVING IT, and watching backstage, got all sassy with her Russian competitor:
OH SHIT IT’S ROCKY IV ALL OVER AGAIN!
And so, when Lilly King beats Ivan Drago to take the gold medal, even though it was literally by half of a second, Ronald Reagan rose from his grave to lead the country in a glorious chant of “U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!”
Oh, and American Katie Meili, who has Crohn’s disease, comes in third, but who cares about her story. Does it involve taking down a cheating
Soviet Russian? No? Then who cares about her overcoming a debilitating, incurable, chronic and potentially life-threatening disease that would leave most of us curled up in a ball on our couches crying, and not, say, winning bronze medals for our country. Pfft.
Then we get to the Greatest Moment of the Olympics So Far: Phelps Face.
So, Michael Phelps was in the ready room before his 200m Butterfly semifinal, just trying to listen to his music and get in his mindspace when South Africa’s Chad Le Clos just gets right up in his face and starts shimmying.
Michael Phelps was not amused.
A dramatic recreation:
Anyway, Phelps, clearly thrown off his game by this shimmying fool, comes in second in his semifinal to some Hungarian, while Chad Le Shimmy comes in third. Hey, you know what would be a good freestyle stroke? The Shimmy.
And even though that would be a perfect place to move on to some other event, like, oh, I don’t know, the Men’s Gymnastics Team Final, for instance, we get more semifinals and are forced to watch some NBC correspondent subject herself to this cupping nonsense that all the kids are doing these days because Gwyneth Paltrow saw it in Dangerous Liaisons this one time and now it’s the new Pokemon Go or whatever. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a bunch quackery, Dr. Terry Dubrow of Botched said so himself on last night’s episode of Andy Cohen Gets People Drunk and Makes Them Stare at Celebrity Crotches.
In another semifinal I don’t care about, a bald Hungarian supervillain comes in first. In another semifinal I don’t care about that smart Stanford grad from the other night comes in second. And in the last semifinal I don’t care about, that Hungarian swimmer who needs to find a good divorce attorney wins.
So onto the Men’s Gymnastics Team Final, right? Because a FINAL is certainly more important than a RANDOM PRELIMINARY of anything, right? IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE NAME.
Well, not according to NBC, because even though they are handing out medals over in Men’s Gymnastics, and only handing out more sand in Women’s Beach Volleyball, we spend 41 of our last 60 precious primetime minutes watching Kerri Walsh and April Ross beat Team China. And though I find it hilarious that the announcers explain that Copacabana Beach is “the spiritual home of beach volleyball, though it was invented in Southern California” and even more hilarious that one of the announcers describes April Ross as a “sand panther,” I AM STILL NOT HAPPY ABOUT NBC’S CHOICES HERE.
IT WOULD APPEAR THAT NBC DOES NOT FULLY APPRECIATE HOW MUCH RED WINE IT TAKES FOR ME TO GET THROUGH 4 HOURS OF OLYMPICS EVERY NIGHT AND HOW SAID RED WINE MAKES IT REALLY DIFFICULT — SOME MIGHT EVEN SAY, “IMPOSSIBLE” — TO STAY UP TO WATCH THE ONE EVENT I WANTED TO WATCH WHEN IT AIRS NOT IN ITS PROMISED PRIMETIME SPOT BUT AT 11:35 AT NIGHT.
Which means we are left with all of 19 minutes of primetime Men’s Gymnastics Team Finals. And though math is hard, even I know that is not enough time to show all of Men’s Gymnastics Team Finals.
In fact, all we get in primetime is:
- Alex Naddour’s floor exercise in which he does the flippies and the spinnies and handstandies and where he lands on his knees (which he was definitely not supposed to do) for a score of 13.566.
- Sam Mikulak’s floor exercise in which he does the flippies and the spinnies and handstandies and he does not land on his knees for a score of 14.866.
- Jake Dalton’s floor exercise in which he does the flippies and the spinnies and handstandies for a score we never learn. IT’S A SECRET.
- A three-minute long promo from NBC telling me what I’m going to watch tomorrow night.
- Danell Leyva’s pommel horse where he apparently flubs the dismount for a score of 14.333.
- Sam Mikulak’s pommel horse which earns a 14.733.
- Alex Naddour’s pommel horse where he earns a 14.633.
- Lilly King’s medal ceremony.
That’s it. That’s all NBC thinks we want to see. No rings, no vault, no high bar, no parallel bars. You’ll get two American events and YOU’LL LIKE IT.
Or you’ll stay up all damn night to watch Japan take the gold, Russia win the silver, China win the bronze and the U.S. win nothing, coming in fifth.
Hey! Tonight we’ve got more swimming (always swimming, forever swimming), women’s synchronized diving, and women’s team gymnastics. That is if NBC gets around to it.
In the meantime, come post your favorite Phelps Phace in the comments.