An open letter to NBC regarding the Olympics by an insufferable yuppie parent

Olympic Rings

Dear NBC,

My name is Dorothy Robinson. My family and I don’t watch a lot of sports. And by “a lot,” I actually mean “any.” We don’t watch any sports. (I’m not sure why I didn’t say that first thing. I guess I’m a little sensitive that we’re weird because we aren’t enraptured by watching overpaid millionaires do things with balls.)

But! The Olympics are a different story. Our family loves the Olympics!  And because we’re slightly insufferable yuppies, we wanted to use the Olympics as a teaching moment for our 4-year-old, Sam.

We were going to use the Olympics to show him there’s a world out there much bigger than his one street in New Jersey. That people can work really, really hard and get ahead. That people who are different sexes, colors and backgrounds can come together for a common cause (we could all do with a little less Xenophobia in the world right now, no?). I wanted to give him a healthy taste of pride for your country. Explain about flags (author’s note: is “explain about flags” the most parent-y thing ever written? Yes. Yes it is.). Plus, I wanted to show him that there are sports other than soccer, the only sport in the world according to the preschool set.

And Sam was excited because we were letting him watch TV.

So, we let him stay up late to watch the Opening Ceremony. And boy, was he pumped; he told all of his friends and counselors at camp that he was going to stay up late to watch the Olympics. So we ordered a pizza, turned on the TV at 7:30, and watched …. 45 minutes of commercials. He went to bed before anything really happened. Not because we made him, but because he was bored.

If a 4-year-old puts himself to bed rather than watch what you are putting on TV, maybe you have a problem.

I get it. I know the Peacock needs to get basted. I’m not such an insufferable yuppie to think that you shouldn’t have commercials. And my son isn’t such a special snowflake where I think you need to arrange your programming around the schedules of children.

But last night we turned on NBC after dinner and instead of watching people compete in a sport (any sport! We’re not particular!), we got to watch some host of Access Hollywood smear body oil on the chest of Tonga’s flag bearer. And then they talked for 20 minutes about cupping. (Jesus Christ, what is the big deal about this cupping? It’s so Gwyneth Paltrow, circa 2004. Get with it, Phelps.)

Again! I get it! I know you run sports all day long and by all accounts have really upped your programming this year but why not between 5 and 8 p.m.?  This is when most people are coming home, especially kids. Waiting until 8 p.m. — or 8:30 by the time the commercials are over — is not in the cards for most of the children on the east coast who have bedtimes.

I know we need local news. But Access Hollywood? Really? That is such core programming that you can’t start your nightly Olympic block a wee bit earlier? Why do kids on the west coast get all of the fun? Why  do they get the Olympic programming that is more conducive to a working family’s schedule?

I realize it’s silly of me to even ask. But maybe in two years, we could have more sports during this viewing time and less Access Hollywood? I’ll even put up with the commercials. Promise.


Dorothy Robinson

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