Culture

Rambling Dispatches: Ryan Lochte

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Every Thursday in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he pleases.

So if there’s one constant in the universe, it’s that E! Television will produce some of the worst, most mind-numbing crap to ever grace a living room. I was checking Facebook one night and saw one of my friends mention that they’d just watched the Ryan Lochte television show, and couldn’t believe how bad it was. I didn’t know there was a show with him as the lead, because I often refuse to acknowledge that E! exists. I just close my eyes and scream, “La la la” every time I hear about or see a Kardashian. I’ve written about the many facets of reality television before, but Jesus, when a reality television show staring Ryan Lochte is staring you in the face, you have to look into it. This was a mistake on my part.

For those of you who don’t know who Ryan Lochte is, he’s a multiple Olympic medal winner in swimming from the 2012 London Games. He’s the reason you don’t hear about Michael Phelps as much anymore; well, that and the whole marijuana thing, which is unfortunate, because I thought he was a decent guy. Another reason people know Ryan Lochte’s name is because while winning all those medals (five total), he made an ass of himself and proved to be one of the most brain-dead athletes to ever wear the colors of the United States. This is a guy who had to be told that he couldn’t wear his red, white and blue grill on the Olympic podium. You know how many times that issue has come up? I can promise that there was no page in the Olympic handbook to handle that kind of situation, but there probably is now. It makes about as much sense as telling someone that their coffee is hot when handing it to them in an insulated mug, or telling people not to jump into the lion enclosure at the zoo. If you don’t know just how dopey this guy is, there’s a great Funny or Die video that features him with the famous grill alongside Sir Patrick Stewart and Aria Stark from Game of Thrones. He plays the stupid athlete that gets tricked, a reenactment of a typical Tuesday for the dude.

Let’s look at the teaser for the show, titled What Would Ryan Lochte Do? You know, just like the What Would Jesus Do? phrase, but where the answer is always “I don’t care.” But don’t let the title throw you off; we still have a lot farther to fall. Watch this and come back to the article:

So either you’ve watched the “superteaser,” or stopped reading this, but if you’re still here, let’s just digest. You might be asking “did this guy just say that he can’t remember how many medals he won?” He sure did, because that’s what you do when you’re a participant in a sport who has won medals at the highest level of competition in your sport. If you stuck through it after that 10 seconds, you get to see how the word “Jeah” is pronounced (in case you were wondering) and then get to see him try to explain what the thing he created (The Lochte Edge) means, only to find out that he doesn’t know either. That takes us to around one minute in, after which I decided that I’d had enough internet for the day. The video goes on to show some of the usual reality television show flair. Ryan goes on the town and lays down his finest game on a lady, which consists of him telling a girl he won’t cook for her. I imagine that Ryan making cereal is a lot like this. The rest is some bromance crap with him and his manager (that’s how the show describes it), and some family stuff where he cries about his family being around when he won those medals that he completely forgot about.

We all love watching the bright starts crash and burn in “real life,” but with Lochte, we apparently just don’t care as a nation. This is the first time that I’ve been proud of America in a while. The show, on premiere night, drew just over 800,000 viewers, which sounds like a lot, but considering it was following a Ryan Seacrest interview of the Kardashians, is actually a major flop. Let that sink in. It was so bad that I was actually unable to find a stream of the episode or clips anywhere on the internet. And it shouldn’t be surprising, because the man is so dry in any interview he’s in. Take, for instance, the interview on Fox 29’s morning news show where Lochte did his best to promote his new show and only ended up breaking the anchors and production crew.

I just don’t understand why someone like him would get a television show. He might be one of the most attention-seeking athletes of this new wave trying to make it big in Hollywood, and he might be the most damaging. He was the young golden boy that America could be proud of, with him and Phelps cleaning house in the swimming events in 2012. It turns out that two of America’s best-performing athletes have been busted smoking weed and can’t seem to form a coherent thought. Maybe we’ll get lucky with the 2016 Olympics, or maybe a breakout star will appear in my favorite Olympic event, curling, next year.