Film and TV

Surprise! There Are Other Things on TV Besides the Olympics

Can you believe that those crazy Olympians have been at it for almost a week and a half already? On the one hand, it feels like the games just began with memory of the interpretive dance version of London's health care system still burning in our brains. On the flip side, it feels like the Olympic Games have been dragging on for at least half of the summer, probably because in the end they will have been. It's only day 12; there are still five more days of this to go! And with "Canoe Slalom" all wrapped up, it feels like there is no more reason to be tuning in.

Guess what? You can change your TV dial. You are allowed. Repeat after me, "I am not a bad American because I am over the Olympics." There, do you feel better? I can put it to you another way: You are paying for cable and watching network television. This act in and of itself is completely against everything our forefathers envisioned this country to be! Think of all the amazing reality shows you have been missing during the past two weeks, many of them competitions in their own right.

If the thought of hearing John Williams's theme song one more time makes your ears bleed in anticipation, tune to one of these Olympic-alternatives, none of which will make you feel bad that you didn't go to the gym this morning.


Tuesday, August 7

If you are still looking for a heated match, but one that screams, "Let's sit on our fat asses like real Americans," then you should tune in for the World Series of Poker. ESPN will air the WSOP National Championship part one tonight. It's as much of a nail-biter as any Olympic sport, with way less movement or athleticism.

Wednesday, August 8 Did you even know that Toddlers & Tiaras, the show where redneck mothers exploit their daughters for fame and fortune, had a spin-off? Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, an unfortunate name for a television program, premieres tonight on TLC, and boy are we as a nation lucky that it does. Who needs Gabby Douglas in sparkly spandex when we can mock and scorn the bedazzled, bedizened body of little Honey? No, she can't vault nor work the beam, but boy can that girl "Redneckognize."

Thursday, August 9Discovery Fit & Health channel is this generation's equivalent to Barnum's exhibition of human freaks and oddities. Show titles include The Man with the 200-lb. Tumor, Bubble Skin Man, 650-lb Virgin, Conjoined Twins: Sister Bond, Manar's Story: Born With Two Heads and Born Without a Face. Given these subjects, Thursday's new episode of Virgin Diaries sounds tame, but watching two sexually repressed adults stare at each other awkwardly and longingly is anything but. And if you think about it, this show is also something of a competition -- there are people out there not getting laid at all and that means you won.

Friday, August 10While the rest of the world watches with anticipation for who will take home the gold in Women's Hammer Throw, you could be drinking a brew watching the dramatic rivalry of Storage Wars Texas on A&E. Who cares about Men's BMX when you can see people buy crap and fight about its value with ascendancy.

Saturday, August 11We are getting down to the wire and most likely there will be some history-making match-ups including the finals for Women's Volleyball and Men's Javelin Throw, which is always cool to watch. But forget all that; beginning at 5 p.m., the Game Show Network (GSN) is airing six hours of the Family Feud. You're welcome.

Sunday, August 12I dare you not to cry while watching this promo The Olympics have finally reached their apex. While you could end the games by tuning back in for the closing ceremonies to see all of the Olympic heroes wave and smile before they come home to their IRS bills, you know at least 50 different Web sites will have a morning recap that will allow you to tell people you watched when you really didn't.

Give NBC a run for their money and find out how one of the other major networks plays up a heartwarming story of struggle and strength; Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition is on ABC. Shedding pounds is an American sport.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig