Friday, April 11, 2008

CBS' annual befouling of the airwaves.

CBS does some good things. Their national news isn't one of those things, and neither is hour drama (they seem to be stuck in this forensic detective rut), or NFL coverage (an abysmal group of pre-game anchors and some truly unskilled game analysts). CBS does an outstanding job with NCAA tournament coverage, and their shining moment comes nearly every weekend when they cover a golf tournament. CBS is very, very good at golf coverage.

And that's great if golf on TV is your thing. It's not, for me. It's not most of the time, I'll say that. Golf is great when you're stretching out on the couch after a big family meal, ready for a nap. It's great when it's in HD, then again I'd watch almost anything on HD, maybe even crappy CBS forensic dramas.

Maybe not.

And still, I'll watch. It's a major.

But the Masters coverage is different. Every year, when the Masters rolls around, CBS goes through this incredibly disgusting display of maudlin behavior that makes me rush not to the fridge for a beer but to the hallway closet for a few belts of pepto-bismol. The segways to commercials, the displaying of the leaderboards, highlights of earlier play are all shown while this..."music" plays. And when I say music I'm using the term very loosely. What they play is a somber, sleep-inducing combination of the softest piano keys intertwined with gentle acoustic guitar strumming. "Music" that would be overkill for even the most depressing of funeral visitations or memorial services. "Music" that makes me picture some old fart in his wheelchair, sitting in a private hospice room, gumming jello and smiling feebly while the logo of his nursing home is superimposed onto the screen.

I hate it. It's terrible. It makes the broadcast unwatchable.

The normally soft voices used by analysts during a golf broadcast become even softer, like their trying not to wake the kids, or the viewing audience for that matter. Jim Nantz creeps me out because he mutates from capable analyst to over-emotional menstruating gasbag. And when he gets excited, the soft voice becomes slightly more masculine and drawling, so he sounds like he's doing his best Barry White impression. "Ahw, guuuurl, bury that ball deep into the hole."


The promos for the Masters employ the same horridly soft keys of the piano, the screen is fuzzy as if recollecting a sacred memory, and Nantz's cooing blather comes through the speakers; "A tradition unlike any other, the Masters, on CBS." When one hears this, it's hard to imagine good old Jim is still wearing pants when he cradles the mic in-studio to deliver this holy scripture.

I would normally think that any deviation from FOX Sports' bloviating, screaming, graphic-laden garbage would be a welcome change. The overly-masculine in-your-face treatment that FOX gives every sporting event is pretty bad too, but the Masters on CBS is something different. It's life-altering in it's horridness, it's annoying, and I wish they'd stop.

I've gotta go. I have to run to the store and grab more kleenex, refill my prescription for Prozac, because coverage of the second round starts in a few hours. I've gotta be prepared. My mom's on speed dial, but hopefully things won't get that bad.

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