The London Olympics, it must be noted, are just a little over halfway finished, and the major focus will now shift from the swimming pool to the track and field stadium and team sports. World-record holder Usain Bolt will attempt to make history today in the 100 meters, the Dream Team is still on course for gold in hoops, and the American women’s soccer team has its eyes set on an Olympic threepeat. For those of you numb from Bob Costas’ measured tones tucking you in at night, however, there are plenty of other gold-medal-caliber entertainment options this week. By plenty, I mean seven. So you may as well just succumb to the Olympic spirit, vow not to harp about NBC’s tape-delayed coverage, and try to mix in a little Full Metal Jacket Blu-ray or The Bourne Legacy in between all the U-S-A! chants. Good luck with that.
SUNDAY, AUG. 5
Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago
Olympics Primetime: Who is the World’s Fastest Man?, NBC
Lollapalooza might be the best example of Olympic counter-programming ever conceived. I doubt many folks in Chicago for the weekend festival have been obsessively following the sweaty jocks 4,000 miles away. Tonight, the festival closes with performances from Jack White, Florence + The Machine, and Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Community’s Donald Glover), among others. You can watch a live stream online.
Sometime around 4:50 p.m. ET, Usain Bolt will defend his title as the World’s Fastest Man in the men’s 100-meter final. He coasted through his preliminary heat – winning despite nearly stumbling out of the starting block. NBC’s primetime coverage will surely celebrate his repeat gold, or the crowning of a new champion.
MONDAY, AUG. 6
Pete Seeger on The Colbert Report, Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.
Olympics Primetime: Men’s 400-meters final, NBC
I have this hope that Colbert’s sit-down with the 93-year-old folk legend will be as electric as the host’s interview last year with Maurice Sendak, who died earlier this year. (Hmm…, maybe “electric” isn’t the right word for Seeger.) But can they close with a duet of “This Land is Your Land”? Please.
American sprinter and 2008 Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt injured himself in his qualifying heat, so the 400-meter title is wide open. So far, no one’s come within a second of Michael Johnson’s 13-year-old world record.
TUESDAY, AUG. 7
Full Metal Jacket 25th Anniversary Blu-ray
Olympics Primetime: Final day of men’s and women’s gymnastics, NBC
Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam epic wowed critics with its stark portrayal of Marine boot camp and the multitude of contradictions that soldiers faced in southeast Asia. A new Blu-ray looks back, and passionate fans can dig even deeper with Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary app, which chronicles the actor’s own tour of duty with the unknowable director.
In London, hard-luck gymnast Jordyn Wieber goes for gold in the women’s floor exercise, and three other golds will be handed out during the last night of gymnastics competition.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 8
Dallas season finale, TNT, 9:00 p.m.
Olympics Primetime: Women’s beach volleyball final
Tonight on Dallas!
Please let Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings make the beach volleyball final: May-Treanor has not yet thanked everyone she has ever met since she was 7 years old during her post-match heart-to-hearts with the camera!
THURSDAY, AUG. 9
Childrens Hospital season premiere, Adult Swim, 12:00 a.m.
Olympics Primetime: Women’s soccer final, NBC
As someone who’s been to a hospital once, let me say that Childrens Hospital is the best, most realistic medical docudrama on television. These doctors – heroes actually – make other, similar shows seem like a childish game of Operation.
The U.S. women’s soccer team faces Canada in the semifinals, and the winner of that game will face either France or Japan – yes, the same Japanese team that thwarted the Americans at last year’s World Cup – in the gold-medal game. It’s unlikely that NBC will tape-delay the entire game in primetime, so tune in for it live at 2:45 p.m. ET.
FRIDAY, AUG. 10
The Bourne Legacy out in theaters
Olympics Primetime: Women’s 4x100 relay and men’s 4x400 relay finals, NBC
Finally, Jeremy Renner’s got his own blockbuster vehicle. After driving shotgun in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol and squeezing in to the back seat for The Avengers, the two-time Oscar nominee takes the wheel from Matt Damon in this unique “sideboot” of the Bourne franchise. “You think Jason Bourne was the whole story?” says a bad dude in the trailer. “There’s a lot more going on here!”
Olympic relays are high-stakes affairs, especially since American women sprinters have an infamous reputation for dropping the baton. In the men’s 4x400, medical marvel Oscar Pistorius, who lost his own legs and runs on prosthetic blades, will compete for South Africa.
Jeff Ross Roasts America, Comedy Central, 11 p.m.
Olympics Primetime: Men’s 50K walk, 4 a.m. ET
Somehow, Jeff Ross has made insulting people to their faces a noble deed. As the Roastmaster General, he produces many of the Comedy Central roasts that help pay for many celebrities’ continued addictions. On Saturday, he sets the mood for Sunday night’s ritual tar-and-feathering of Roseanne with this one-hour special documenting his cross-country tour.
On the Olympic front, I’m calling you out, posers. You think you’re an Olympic fan? But just how committed are you? Wake up early to see a stampede of skinny men wiggle for 50 kilometers as if they’re racing for the last Porta-John in London. Watch this whole race and earn the right to light the torch in Rio 2016.
SUNDAY, AUG. 12
Olympics Primetime: Closing ceremonies and men’s basketball final
Will the Spice Girls reunite for the closing ceremonies, book-ending the Games with the Beckhams? Will One Direction, Pink Floyd, Annie Lennox, The Clash, George Michael, and Russell Brand perform? Will the Queen bungee-jump from Big Ben?
More importantly on these shores, will America’s NBA stars be smiling as they take their final Olympic stadium bows? LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and the rest of the undefeated American have already been tested, nearly losing to Lithuania (population: 3.2 million). On Sunday morning at 10 a.m. ET, they’d better be playing for – and winning – gold or an entire nation will welcome its hoops squad like the city of Cleveland greeted the Miami Heat.