Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Why I [Heart] Olympic Spoilers - And Girly Drama
There's an AP story making the rounds, title of which is "Avoiding Olympic spoilers is a sport of its own."
In case you care (which you probably don't, but I'm going to share my opinion, anyway), I have no desire to avoid spoilers - although I am picky about which ones I absorb.
I want to know who wins. Not how they win, just who. That way, I am still surprised by the details of how the participants get from Point A to Point B, but I am not panicked by them, because I know how things will play out at the end.
It's EXACTLY like watching a romantic comedy. You are mildly disturbed by the obstacles that crop up in the protagonists' paths, but not really, because in the back of your mind, you know that they will end up together. There's an underlying certainty that makes the tension less tension-y, and therefore more enjoyable. Enjoyable tension: is that an oxymoron? No. Not if you are a female person.
Case in point: last night's women's gymnastics team final. I knew that USA got the gold, but I didn't know how close it was going to be, or what ultimately was going to propel the USA team ahead of the Russians and others. So, when the Fab Five posted less than stellar scores on the uneven bars, I knew that they would rally. Or the Russians would tank. It ended up being both. And I am only a little bit embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed the Russian meltdown.
"Embarrassed," because: (1) I'm a mom, so I have a tendency to imagine that it's my child out there in total agony; and (2) I recognize that it's generally horrible to derive amusement from the suffering of others.
"Only a little bit," because what I enjoyed was the way that they demonstrated their suffering. It was so very Russian - dramatic, verging on the theatrical. Did that chick who sort of looks like Miranda Kerr when she looks down through her lashes, but looks distinctively less supermodel-y when she lifts her (lack of) chin, just HEISMAN that coach on her way to the ready bench? Are those two clutching each other and actively weeping before their teammates' abysmal floor routine has even concluded? Am I the imagining it, or do I detect a whiff of "THAT STUPID WENCH IS RUINING OUR LIVES" from their clutching and weeping pas-de-deux? Seriously, can you imagine if our athletes carried on like that while their (theoretical and alleged) sister girlfriend was still performing? The press would be all over them like white on rice. So, notwithstanding how they really felt about the situation, our girls would have continued to shout out words of encouragement - reserving the right, of course, to talk about their teammate behind their back later on. Because, in my humble opinion (and if you SAY "in my humble opinion," you can get away with anything; see, also, "I'm just saying"), American girls are encouraged to be passive-aggressive.
Whereas the Russian gymnasts are more prone to be ACTIVELY aggressive. I would characterize this as both a nurture and a nature thing: not a passive bone in their little Slavic bodies. (I speak from experience: remove the layer of fat that I have cultivated over these cheekbones, and you will see that these babies could cut glass.) Active aggression in young women makes for some high drama, akin to those old Krystle-and-Alexis throw-downs on Dynasty. AND. I. LOVE. IT. Probably in part because I do come from Eastern European roots, so wearing your heart WAAAAAAAAY out on your sleeve seems authentic to me. (Ask Spouse about the joys of marrying a woman with DNA derived from Austria-Hungary, Slovenia, Russia and the Ulster Scot-occupied part of Ireland . . . and he may scratch his head for awhile, because "joy" is probably not the first concept that will bubble to the forefront of his brain. "Reign of terror" is probably more like it.)
Oh, I failed to mention that agonizing scene after Anastasia Grishina's terrible floor exercise routine, wherein she failed to complete an entire tumbling pass: that image of the poor child staring up at the scoreboard like she REALLY didn't want to look, but, with her teammates gathered behind her, looking a little bit like an angry mob, she was occupying real estate between a rock and a hard place. My heart really went out to her.
And then the commentator said something like, "Could you deliver the death blow to a weeping opponent? We'll see if Team USA is up to the task." REALLY? AWESOME! D-R-A-M-A!
I did like the way that our girls held hands while they were awaiting the final tally on the tote board (after they delivered said death blow to said weeping opponent). They give all appearances of actually, factually liking each other, and I have to think that that appearance is reality, because they truly function well as a team - probably the first actual "team" that we have fielded in decades.
But would it be too much for one of them to have a non-Minnie Mouse voice? I would be so beside-myself-happy if Marta Karolyi could locate an up-and-coming, Olympic-caliber female gymnast with a whiskey voice. I had high hopes for Alicia Sacramone. And all I can think is, if only this were the seventies: back then, you could give a kid a budding gymnastics star a cigarette as a means of roughing her voice up a bit, AND as an added bonus the nicotine would stunt her growth. Win-win. I AM TOTALLY KIDDING. SORT OF. I really want to hear Lauren Bacall's voice come out of a 4'11" balance beam specialist with a cheerleader pony. Or I would take Kirstie Alley's in a pinch. I'M JUST SAYING.
Speaking of ponies: whattup with the samurai hairstyles, Team USA? The Fierce Five is supposed to succeed to the legacy of the Magnificent Seven, not the Seven Samurai. But you are sporting topknots straight out of a Kurosawa film, so I think that, possibly, you are confused.
And I won't even get started about the eyebrows. Instead, I will direct you to this blogger's opinions. Couldn't have said it better myself, so I won't even try.
At least we laid off of the glitter spray. Was the glitter on the Russians' eyebrows intentionally placed there, or did it filter down from higher altitudes? If so, it might explain some of their technical glitches: loose glitter in their eyes was affecting their depth perception. But you have to learn to play through these challenges, ladies. Refer to Michael Phelps' goggles filling with water in Beijing. Dude still got gold.
Okay, I'm done being catty. I can only "do" catty for so long, before the urge to shout at someone, or overturn a table, takes over. (What does the Big Kid call them? "Rage quits"? Eastern Europeans invented the rage quit. Mediterranean types would probably disagree with that last statement. To which Eastern Europeans would respond: WANNA TAKE IT OUTSIDE, MEDITERRANEAN TYPES?)
Gotta be true to my gender, but also gotta be true to my roots. I'm just saying.