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It’s a well-established fact that — thanks to TiVo, Internet piracy, and increased
competition from video games — all traditional forms of popular entertainment are now a hundred times less popular than they were just a few short years ago. Naturally, then, we’d assumed this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing would suffer the same viewer antipathy that’s plagued recent awards shows, major sporting events, and American Idol finales. As usual, though, we were completely wrong! Friday’s opening ceremony was watched by 34.2 million people, the most ever for a non-domestic summer opener, proving that Americans can be made to care about practically anything, provided it only happens once every four years. What other entertainment events should be on an Olympics schedule?
10. The Grammys
Sure, everyone thinks it’s adorable when the Recording Academy gifts oldsters like Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana with the Grammy for Album of the Year. But if they expanded the eligibility to include all records released over the past four years, wouldn’t it almost force them to give it to somebody who’d actually made a great record, instead of whichever elderly former superstar is nearest death? Also, more time between ceremonies would give Clive Davis a chance to find some new protégés — Alicia Keys looks exhausted!
9. Movies Featuring Secondary Actors From The Office
Given that life is short and fame is fleeting, shouldn’t Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and Rainn Wilson be choosing their roles more carefully? Yes. (Craig Robinson — the guy who plays Darryl — however, can make as many movies as he wants.)
8. Joyce Carol Oates Novels
When was the last time she took a nice vacation?
7. Writers’ Strikes
Yes, it sucked when it was happening, but don’t you sort of miss our picketing Tina Fey graphic?
6. Seasons of American Idol
Sure, May’s all-David finale was a world-stopping battle of the titans, but the previous two or three seasons just felt like a forgettable blur of beat-boxing Sanjayas.
5. Woody Allen Movies
Threesome or no, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is pretty good for a latter-day Woody movie — but does anybody have high hopes for Whatever Works? If the guy’s capable of a decent movie every three or four years, doesn’t it stand to reason that he could make a great film in that time if he weren’t making all the crappy ones in between?
4. Ryan Adams Albums
We love Ryan Adams, but we’re still catching up on those three records he put out in 2005. Don’t even ask us about all that crap he’s posted on his Website.
3. Fake Memoirs
Wasn’t it a little disappointing in March when we never got to appreciate just how batshit crazy Misha Defonseca’s fabricated Holocaust memoir was (the one in which she was raised by wolves who protected her from Nazis) because Margaret B. Jones’s equally idiotic gangland memoir was revealed as a hoax just two days later? If only our lying autobiographers would stagger their releases so we’d be able to mock and jeer them for an appropriate duration!
2. The Oscars
The current window for Academy Award eligibility, combined with voters’ goldfishlike attention spans, pretty much necessitates that all Oscar movies be released between the first week in October and the last one in December, making it practically impossible to visit a theater in those three included months without leaving depressed. Just imagine how much happier everyone would be if all the films about war, broken families, misanthropic oilmen, and Nazis were spaced evenly over a four-year period? Also, wouldn’t it be nice to see a Philip Seymour Hoffman movie in the summer for once?
1. Presidential Elections
Changing the election of the leader of the Free World to a quadrennial event would surely cure the election fatigue that currently cripples the American political process. If voting for president was a responsibility that only came up once every four years, it’s certain that more than 55 percent of Americans would participate in our nation’s most sacred rite.