Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gold Medals

Well, it’s finally come to an end. For weeks I have been glued to the television so as not to miss one, momentous second. The competition, the nerves, the interviews, the swimming, the running, the mistakes that cost the entire event, the back-stories.

I’m speaking, of course, of Wipeout!, ABC’s spectacular summer showcase, wherein athletes and the most uncoordinated souls on the planet alike compete on an adult-sized obstacle course trying to win $50,000. Watching it was a family event at the Craig Home. We gathered the children around to teach them the value of speed, the importance of balance, and the hilarity of people getting punched in the face and/or groin by The Sucker Punch.

May the gods of television have mercy on me, but for me, Wipeout! left the Olympics... a little underwhelming. Sure, Michael Phelps, you broke some world records – but you did it swimming in a pool. A POOL! Not in a sea of foam, nor after having bounced off a spinning wheel in The Wipeout Zone. Or how about you, Mr. Usain Bolt? I bet you think winning the Men’s 100m and 200m makes you pretty fast, huh? Well let’s see you do that while running on The Dreadmill, with inflated pool toys AND tennis balls coming at you! I thought not. Felt pretty comfortable winning the Women’s 100m Hurdles there, din’tcha Dawn Harper? Well, maybe that’s because you did it ON THE GROUND, and not standing on a post 30 feet IN THE AIR, while The Sweeper tried to knock you OFF into the icy water below!

Let’s be honest, people. Who are the real athletes here? Okay, yes, the Olympians. Of course they are, what, with all their “training” and “conditioning” and 12,000 calorie breakfasts. (Actually, I pretty sure a handful of Wipeout! contestants were on that same diet. But you don’t hear them braggin’ about it!) 

All I’m saying is, would you rather be on the front of a Wheaties’ box? Or would you rather be hauling yourself out of a pool of mud, with your spandex crawling downward, showing a little bit more of your derriere than you intended to the entire broadcasting world, while commentators make fun of you for it? Did I mention that the spandex option carries the opportunity to win $50,000 and meet John Henson, former host of Emmy Award-winning Talk Soup on E! Entertainment Television? How about that for sweetening the pot?!

And I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. ABC has already picked up Wipeout! for a second season; and from what I hear, the Olympics won’t be on for, like, another four years. So good luck all you Olympic commentators. Looks like you’re out of a job for another four years, Rowdy Gaines.

For this judge, it’s Wipeout!: Gold, Olympics: Silver.

Wait, wait, wait.

Wipeout!: Gold. Olympic Highlight Segments: Silver. General Olympics: Bronze. 

WAIT, wait wait…

Wipeout!: Gold. Olympic Highlight Segments: Silver. So You Think You Can Dance/Olympics: Tied for Bronze.