Look, I'm not proud of this, but I really like to watch gymnastics. True, I forget about it for three years out of every four, but there was a moment a few months ago when I was like, "Huh, 2012 is an Olympic year, right? GYMNASTICS!" and then I did a little happy dance. When I was a kid, once every four years I spent the better part of a weekend on the couch with my mother trashtalking some Russian diva or an underdeveloped Romanian and cheering on American gymnasts. These were some of the best times I had with my mother.
During the last Olympics, I was pregnant with a daughter. As I watched the American women gymnasts earn silver, I whispered into the confines of my uterus, "In four years you will be three-and-a-half and we will watch gymnastics together, but in the meantime you are going to have to take my word for it that this girl from China is obviously 12, but she can do insane things on the uneven bars." Now that little nugget in my tummy is a preschooler who takes tumbling classes at the YMCA and leaves footprints on the walls from practicing her handstands.
So you can imagine, NBC, that I've been looking forward to watching the Women's Team Finals with my own daughter for a long time. I was going to explain to my child, "Look at those young women. They are amazing and they're Americans just like you." I would tell her that those gymnasts have been working their whole life to bring glory to our country, perhaps I'd even squeeze out a sentimental tear or two as I rooted for Team USA. I'd tell my daughter how lucky we are to live in a meritocracy, where children can work very hard and then grow to be Olympians if they are the best. Sure, I'd be glossing over the strange iron grip that the Karolyis have on USA gymnastics and the bizarre selection and judging practices of the sport, but it was still going to be a nice moment with my daughter.
But then you ruined it, NBC. You ruined it.
The morning before your prime time broadcast of the Women's Team Gymnastics Final, I went to your website to see what time it would be on and there at the top of the page, in huge letters, was, "USA wins gold!" on top of a photo of an American woman gymnast. How hard would it have been to use the headline, "Click here to find out who won the Women's All Around"? HOW HARD? You're still reporting the news, but if you hide the spoiler you're allowing me to play along with your dumbass time delay crap.
I put up with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer's commentary on the opening ceremony. (Why yes, Matt and Meredith, those people are from the very same Madagascar where the movie Madagascar takes place. Good job.) I was going to let it go when last night you announced an upcoming interview with "First-time Olympic gold medal winner Missy Franklin" before her race aired. I was even tolerating that you're time delaying the Olympics even though... INTERNET! (You could at least put live events on some of your lesser channels instead of re-running clip shows of old Real Housewives reunions.) But now you've done it, NBC. You've ruined America for me.
See, in pretty much any other country the people making these screw ups and idiotic decisions would have been fired or never elevated to such positions in the first place. But here's a dirty secret about America, one that I'll have to break to my daughter one day when she thinks she can get a high-powered job in media just because she's qualified to do so: this isn't really a meritocracy. Sure, a few lucky people rise to the top based entirely on their merits, but skill is the least important component of success. It's much more vital to be born into the right families, with enough financial cushion to be able to intern without pay, with the right physical attributes, and a stomach for endless politicking.
I watched the Team Finals that night anyway. I tried to put on a chipper face for my daughter and tow the party line about how awesome it is to be American. But I was lying, NBC. So you know what I did? I did a little research on proxies and figured out how to access BBC in the United States and that's how I'm getting my Olympic coverage now. And guess what? Over at the BBC they have access to Greg Louganis, American treasure. Why couldn't you get Greg Louganis, NBC? See what I mean?
P.S. And screw you for firing Dan Harmon from Community.