In an article I wrote about the Olympic Games a couple of months ago, I opined as to whether I would be a an ardent naysayer or a flag-fluttering obsessive; baking Olympic ring donuts in my kitchen and ramming them down the throats of passers-by as a reminder that the games were happening, right now! Right at this minute there were records being broken and tears being shed! Eat my donuts, games doubter! Eat them and feel the Olympic spirit coarse through you like hepatitis! What? You can’t breathe? Have another donut! That’ll fix you right up!
I can happily report that after a week of on-and-off games observation, I’ve slipped somewhat unabashed, into the camp of the sporting optimist, though not so much inspired that I felt moved to bake Olympic confections nor indeed feel spurred to pick up a bike, a javelin, or, reassuringly; a shotgun.
I predict that as a result of the games, sycophants throughout the country will be spontaneously buying up all sorts of sports equipment with the well-intended notion of becoming the next Bradley Wiggins, with said sports equipment destined to accept a fate of dust, disuse and darkness in a shed or attic somewhere. Essentially, the Olympics will be directly responsible for a chronic lack of storage space some months down the line, causing a national catastrophe as households up and down the country struggle to find space for their kid’s old toys and their unwanted-but-still-kept-for-some-reason cassette tapes.
Storage crises aside, I’m quite surprised at how ‘on the ball’ I’ve been with the games so far; I’ve even been watching it on television! And not just as background noise whilst I do the ironing! In fact, watching anything else is nay on impossible; it’s like having this great party going on in your back garden, but instead choosing to stay indoors and play kerplunk on your own.
I do however admit to drifting off a little during the punditry and interviews; there’s only so long you can watch people talking around a table and there’s only so many times you can endure buzz words like ‘motivated’, ‘focussed’, ‘giving it everything’ and ‘push hard’ before they start to sound pornographically descriptive or stop meaning anything altogether.
Just imagine Clare Balding enthusiastically describing an athlete having ‘really followed through’ whilst she clenches a fist. I’ll leave you with that image.
All of this was bearable when compared to Sunday nights airing of Deal or No Deal. This week’s charade saw the fifth contestant winning the £250,000 prize in what many described as a brave move, choosing to ignore the banker’s offer of £68,000 and gambling on the possibility of winning a fiver instead. I find ‘brave’ a very hard word to swallow when the incentive in this case was buckets of cash; greedy, certainly, but not brave. Our banks did exactly the same thing with all our cash and look at the shit we’re in now. ‘Brave’ is certainly not the marque they deserve. The athletes on the other channel putting to use the many years of hard training in front of thousands of spectators were brave, opening a box completely at random because you have a ‘hunch’ is something else entirely.
Deal or No Deal has always been a wishy washy parade of emotionally unstable individuals intent on airing their personal laundry in front of an audience of credulous sentimentalists who have thoroughly blurred the lines between logic and bullshit and probably account for at least 90% of a spiritual medium’s income. They are then corralled into the sad circus of misplaced hope by the ringleader of the tormentors, Noel Edmonds, who looks like a polystyrene wig stand that was pulled out of a house fire just as it started to melt and was consequently patched up with a bit too much studio makeup and eyeliner.
Noel Edmond’s own interpretation of emotion doesn’t seem to be based on any genuine personal experience, judging by his attempt to milk tears from his own tear ducts when 21 year-old Nong from Swindon finally opened the winning box after ten minutes of melodramatic foreplay by Edmonds. Noel’s attempt at empathy during every show is comparable to an AI robot attempting to learn what it is to ‘feel’ by typing ‘emotion’ into Google and scanning the results pages at a rate of hundreds per second, using its cybertronic viewing module (or ‘eyes’ as Noel would like you to believe).
Whilst Andy Murray was busy winning medals for his country on BBC1, a semi-circle of shit-sacks on Channel 4 were bawling their eyes out because a woman had opened a box.
A woman. Had opened. A box. To win money. For herself.
You could argue that watching someone jumping into a big sand pit or running down a piece of track is equally tedious, but it’s a feat of human physicality and endurance. Sure it smacks of corporate and social elitism, but it’s an impressive execution or years of preparation nonetheless. Deal or No Deal is also a feat of endurance; how anyone has endured watching this tired format for so long should also be winning gold medals.
So there you have it, the Olympics are surprisingly good and Deal or No Deal isn’t.
Join me next week when I compare dry toast with root canal surgery.