In an event crammed with superstar athletes, Gabby Douglas stands apart.
In fact, she leaps, flips and flies through the air too, and she did it so well that she was crowned the world’s gold medal champion in women’s gymnastics this week at the Olympics, easily earning the top spot in this week’s Top Five.
1) With the greatest of ease: Well, not really — it only looked easy for 16-year-old U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas to ace her routines at the London Olympics — which is a sign of a true champion.
The Olympics almost always produces a fresh crop of international celebrities, and with the current London Games now at the halfway point in its two-week run on NBC, we already have a new superstar who is head and shoulders above the rest. She’s a joyous, regular teen who just happens to be the world’s best gymnast.
She won the individual gold medal Thursday, and the news was reported far and wide hours before her triumph would be shown in prime time on NBC Thursday night. And yet, knowing the outcome in advance didn’t stop more than 42 million viewers from tuning in to watch her win anyway.
2) Chicken wars, Part 1: The Olympics weren’t the only thing going on this week. Back here in the USA, a debate raged about a chicken restaurant — or, more to the point, about the restaurant’s owner, who said on a radio show that he’s not on board with same-sex marriage. OK, that’s his opinion, though it had nothing to do with his restaurants — the Chick-Fil-A chain. He never suggested that gays and lesbians — “married” or otherwise — were not welcome to eat his chicken.
Nevertheless, another battle in the ongoing culture wars erupted as public officials in big cities with large gay constituencies threatened to bar this chicken chain from setting up shop in their towns, and activists called for Chick-Fil-A boycotts and the like. That ignited the usual firestorm in the media, with, among others, Bill O’Reilly weighing in. He devoted not one but two “Talking Points” memos to the situation on consecutive days on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel.
3) Top Five — always fair and balanced (Chicken Wars: Part 2): In the interest of fairness (and that’s a big interest with us), we bring you another point of view on the Chick-Fil-A controversy, this time from Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central who declared a “cluck-pocalypse” when he heard that some Chick-Fil-A stores had so many customers for lunch on Thursday that they ran out of chicken.
Well, Stewart devoted his show’s first segment that evening to the Chick-Fil-A story, discussing it in terms that were off-color to say the least (consider yourself warned).
4) Late-night’s stubborn contrarian, Craig Ferguson: Not counting “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” (since they’re not quite like all the other late-night shows anyway), two weeks of Olympics telecasts stretching far into the night on one of the major broadcast networks is usually an occasion for all of the network late-night shows to take some much-needed time off.
With the Olympics taking up residence on NBC until the wee hours this past week, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon took the week off, and so did David Letterman on CBS and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC. Conan O’Brien came to work, and so did Craig Ferguson — zigging while the other guys zagged, so to speak. And so, by sticking to it no matter what the odds of anyone watching him while the Olympics are on, Ferguson has earned his way into this Top Five this week with one of his monologues. And that’s another thing he does differently — his monologues are like no other in late-night TV.
5) Ever get the feeling you’re missing something?: Well, I do — and the TV show that triggers this thought is the series called “Bunheads” on ABC Family. Maybe this show isn’t on my radar because I’m not a teen — the group this show is for. But I’ll tell you this about “Bunheads”: It seems to be one of the most talked-about shows currently on the air, which means quite a few people (among them, the people who write about TV) must like it. As a result, I hereby pledge to check out an episode or two (especially since we happen to have them here on this very Web site).
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, “Bunheads” is about a former Las Vegas showgirl who moves to a small town to mentor some ballet students (they’re the “bunheads” because they wear their hair in buns).