question of the day: Has the Olympics been a break from the excesses of reality TV, or just another example of the same?

crazy Olympics

It’s over! No more Olympics for another two years. It’s been a nice change from the usual crap on TV. Or has it? Tom Keane in The Boston Globe:

For two weeks Olympic reality has pushed aside TV reality. Instead of debauchery, drunken binges, and aimless lives, we’ve had hard work, uplifting stories, and fierce competition — not to mention an awful lot of very buff bodies. The athletes in London seem far different from the kind of people the media normally celebrate. Yet is the line between the two really that distinct?

Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was booted before the games for a bigoted tweet. Swimmer Ryan Lochte, he of the stupid grill-work and one-night stands (as noted by his mother, no less), came across as an embarrassment.

And over everything hung the specter of drugs. The Olympic spirit may once have been about trust and honor. The assumption now, however — and it is a correct one — is that most athletes would use performance enhancers if they could. So the International Olympic Committee has turned itself into a near-police state of aggressive, intrusive testing.

It’s this kind of stuff that makes one worry about the degree to which London 2012 really is different from “Jersey Shore.”

That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? A few athletes, out of more than 14,000 competitors, got into reality-TV-esque trouble… so what? Then again, the absurd kerfuffle over gymnast Gabby Douglas’s hair suggests that today’s audience can turn the clearest sort of athletic triumph into something pointlessly petty, so maybe that’s the tenor of the culture today anyway.

What do you think? Has the Olympics been a break from the excesses of reality TV, or just another example of the same?

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