Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Fever

By now, the whole world is wrapped up in the spectacle that is the Winter Olympics, celebrating the best that athletics has to offer. And yet, I still feel like there's something missing. I couldn't put my finger on it until today. What the modern Olympics is lacking is the sheer terror of imminent death.

Back when the USSR was a world power, there was a certain tension among the athletes from the Soviet bloc countries. A look that said, "If I screw this up, I'm gonna die." Every time a prancing pony gymnast from Belarus didn't stick the landing or a Polish ice dancer fell on his sequined butt, everyone watching knew that it was all over for them. It was the ultimate in reality television.

These days, it's just not as exciting if you know that the only consequence of missing the triple salchow is that the pairs skaters might have to go to couple's counselling.

But I have a plan to bring back that edge & apply it to American reality television. Up the ante for the losers. Think how much more thrilling it would be if, say, the losers on "Survivor" didn't get to meet Regis & Kelly, but instead would meet Boris the former KGB interrogator. Or, if after finidhing second on "American Idol," Clay Aiken had been sent to Siberia instead of making crappy records.

So let's reclaim that Schadenfreude that we've lost & make people who think they can dance be very, very certain they can before auditoning.

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