Olympics Opening Ceremonies: Wow

I was in class Friday night and all day yesterday, so I’m just posting this now. The Opening Ceremonies were totally worth watching, but of course I have some comments:

1. Bob Costas is a disgrace. If he wasn’t saying something horribly offensive he was saying something utterly inane, and vice versa. It was cringe-inducing, and frankly, we deserve better. NBC, I will announce the next Olympics Opening Ceremony for you. I won’t compare any athletes to terrorists, mention brutal dictators, call a technical glitch a “controversy,” or seem shocked that the rest of the world calls it football and we’re the only ones who call it soccer. And I can pronounce the names of the countries. Tweet me and we’ll figure out the logistics for Sochi, ok?

2. Uniforms for the Opening Ceremony. The US and Great Britain had some major problems, obviously. While watching the parade of nations I realized that the best ways to go are either with tracksuits since they’re athletes (and, in theory, might need to run all the way around the track at any second) or dressy since it’s a fancy event (and someone might hand them a martini at any second). That makes the uniform winners Canada and Ireland for the Tracksuit Division, and Nigeria and San Marino for the Dressy Division. Special mention, Elaborate Embroidery Division: Jordan and Mexico.

3. Independent Olympic Athletes. Yes.

4. That big wacky spectacle before the parade of nations. So in the nightclub scene, she dropped her phone, and he found it, and then…called her with her own phone. What did he call, if she didn’t have her phone? How did she answer? It made no sense and I was really confused. Her hair was fantastic, though.

5. British people, were there a lot of in-jokes during the Opening Ceremonies that you all got? Because the whole thing kind of baffled me.

6. Me: “All these people are volunteers?”
My friend Sarah who was watching with me: “Yes! 10,000 of them! I can’t believe they’re so talented.”
Me: “They’re probably out-of-work actors.”
Sarah: “10,000 out-of-work actors?”
Me: “There are that many just in the subway in New York at any given time. Why not London?”
Sarah: “You haven’t even been drinking…”

7. Meredith Viera, I do not think “money shot” means what you think it means.

46 thoughts on “Olympics Opening Ceremonies: Wow”

  1. I watched the opening ceremonies as I bartended with the sound on the TV off and a loud jukebox cranking out the a bizarre soundtrack. This is the not so kind consensus from me and the crew at the bar watching.From my odd perspective it at times looked like The Industrial Revolution the Musical and Fun with Plague and Death alternatively called Killing Kids With Germs Can Be Fun.
    Then it looked like it could be called Various Wars The Musical.
    Paul McCartney looked like he had too much plastic surgery on his face and not enough on his neck.
    I had more than a few patrons who were transfixed and thought it was rather interesting and trippy.
    I wish I had recorded it because it would have been fun to know what the heck was really going on LOL

  2. Danny Boyle’s “big wacky spectacle” was totally delightful, and way better than any of the other ones in recent memory. I loved Mr. Bean on the keyboard, and James Bond with the Queen. If you can’t go big and wacky at the Olympics, where can you?

  3. The funniest part was when Bob Costas talked about how fun it is to say “Djibouti.”I generally think Danny Boyle and co. did a good job, given how hard it was to follow Beijing. Does anybody remember on 30 Rock when Liz was dating that British guy Wesley and he said, “I can’t go back to London for the 2012 Olympics! Did you see the Beijing opening ceremonies? We don’t have control over our people like that!”
    So I think they did a good job of not trying to best Beijing, but instead making it uniquely British.
    Here’s my question on the American outfits for the parade: Are white sneakers with ankle socks an acceptable look? Because that’s a look I generally associate with middle-aged tourists from the sticks.

  4. Sorry to disappoint but very few of the volunteers were out of work actors. In my section of 900 they were mainly nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and students. I was the odd one out as a lawyer. In the other sections it was also mostly regular people not professional actors or dancers. Admittedly we did a couple of rounds of auditions to make sure we knew our lefts from outer rights and could remember a series of physical directions but other than that no arts training required. We loved being in it and we hope everyone enjoyed watching it!

  5. Sadly, NBC cut Akram Khan’s choreography of Abide with Me, which was apparently one of the highlights of the Opening Ceremony as seen outside the U.S. It commemorates the 52 victims of the 7/7 terror attacks, which were carried out days after London was named host for the 2012 Summer Olympics. It has been suggested that the performance was a memorial to the war dead, which may be why NBC cut it, but YouTube has it. http://bit.ly/ObV9Uv

  6. Yes there were a lot of in-jokes. But of the gentle kind. Danny Boyle, the creator, is from a working class, socialist background which influenced the kids going up chimneys and the downtrodden industrial proletariat in the Industrial Revolution.And the emphasis on the NHS national health service which must be said was an enormous post WWII achievement.
    And the Suffragettes for votes for women( With real descendants) and ditto for the Yarrow marchers. Out of work men in the 1930’s.
    It was more moving than I expected. The industrial revolution part was rather confusing in that we had 1730 to 1945 at dazzling pace.
    It had lots of symbols tying together, like the wheat and poppy field in the first bucolic part and then the lone poppy for WWI and WWII. He directs movies, so he’s good at that.
    Wars in which ordinary men and women died. Then it was on to the new post War Britain.
    The third part was really about how radically Britain has changed since the empire ended, and where the nation is now.
    Very much the sound track and televisions shows of people’s lives. Lots of injokes there.
    It upset the organisers that the IOC didn’t allow any memorial to the victims of the 1972 terrorist attack on the Israeli team.
    The day after it was announced the games were coming to London there were the 07/07 terrorist strikes. Abide with me was accompanied by photos of the people who were killed then. So a memorial to them.That may have been seen as political to broadcasters.
    Meanwhile of course it had Mr. Bean and Elizabeth II in her first acting role with James Bond.
    Very bonkers and moving. For us it was fantastic to see the Thames and our Isle of Dogs come by, and to see local boy Dizzee Rascal perform his hit. Bonkers as it happens.It was great to see the local area.
    I liked the Arctic monkeys but I am sad that they got Paul McCartney back to close it. Yes he is a beatle, but he looks strange by now and most of all his voice is gone. He wasn’t great at the end of the Jubilee concert but this was disappointing.

  7. Agree with you about the unis – the sporty American sportswear thing is overdone, I think we might need a switch from Ralph Lauren.And possibly they should have Stephen Colbert call the next one, in character.
    Did you guys watch the Men’s Road Race yesterday! Soooo exciting.

  8. My son said the same thing about the girl’s phone: “How is he calling her if he has her phone?” I was too busy being gaga to notice at the time, even though I thought that entire part of the show was meh. But who cares! It’s the Olympics! Rael and I still joke about bizarre opening ceremony symbolism, including giggling about the Vettas from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehamer, Norway.

  9. The phone thing really bugged me, too! But I kept my yap shut, as it was really late by the time we (and friends, and all our kids) watched the DVR’d version, and I’d had *mumblemumble* glasses of wine by then. I thought it was just me. :)Overall, I loved the spectacle. It was quirky and fun, and often quite moving. My kids were transfixed. I know we missed some jokes, but we got a lot of them too!
    However. Paul McCartney, do please retire. You are an icon, but you are no longer a singer. That was a very unfortunate ending to an otherwise spectacular show.

  10. Thanks again for calling out Bob Costas. What a tool.Also, loved your BSA post. Wish more parents were talking about it.
    Loved the nutty ceremonies! Crazy and didn’t make sense, great music, and too much Botox Sir Paul!
    Did you catch that wild US-CHN women’s table tennis game today? Super fun!

  11. Bob Costas is a total embarrassment and NBC’s broadcast plans are so inane and technologically inept. Tape delays suck–why play gymnastics on past 9am for all the kids who look forward to seeing every pike and flip of their heroes? Why does the streaming video stop working at a key moment in a race? Why can I not then see the missed moment on the website until past prime time? It made my nostrils flare when Costas said that there “will be no spoilers”–maybe for people without access to the internets, where I learned of medal winners before I could see semifinals. Grrr.

  12. The sense I got from what I saw of the opening ceremonies (3 & 1/2 hours? Really?) was the statement “we have a history”. Overall I thought Danny Boyle did a pretty good job, especially when you consider his was an impossible one; follow Beijing.One disappointment: I kept waiting for the baby from Trainspotting to make an appearance, but alas.
    Magda, you might be close enough to Canada to get CTV? They’re the official broadcaster up here and in general the coverage is a bazillion times better than the US/NBC. Ours is much more internationally focussed (we need to; our athletes aren’t going to sweep the podium any time soon) so you get a much broader sense of the games as a whole.
    Worst case scenario I can set you up with a Canadian IP so you can watch online at http://ctvolympics.ca/ – let me know. Because, really, no one should have to suffer Bob Costas, ever.

  13. Being a Canadian and therefore having British history and culture being a huge component of my own (Queen E 2 is my queen, too), the spectacle made lots of sense to me. It was wonderful and funny and weird and just overall awesome. It was kind of like Britain stood up and said, “most of those movies and books and music you love, we made, you’re welcome” but in a goofy, polite sort of way.The NHS segment actually choked me up. While the US is in the throws of dealing with what is merely a sniff of socialised medicine, Boyle use scads of actual NHS peeps in an NHS themed dance/drama because that’s how fundamentally important socialised medicine is to a country. Brava!
    I had a playdate during the concert portion but was squeeing constantly over the music chosen for the modern portion. Just flat out cool!
    The Olympic host countries all make such serious, desperately earnest “high art” performances and this just sorta flipped all of those dry boring shows the bird in such a fabulously punk way.
    I was watching the CTV feed and I swear I heard the two commentators Brian Williams and Lisa LaFlamme say that everyone was a volunteer about 10 times in an hour! You’d think they’d have better talking points!

  14. I didn’t watch it as I was exhausted and went to bed. But huh? Actors and NIH people and some guy calling a girl on her phone and the queen and James Bond and Mr. Bean? I am so confused. Why did they do all this? What does it have to do with the Olympics? It sounds like some kind of bizarre ad telling space aliens about the British. I don’t get it. I don’t really remember other opening ceremonies so I have no frame of reference. And why commemorate the victims of a terrorist attack at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics? It really seems like they went way off track. It’s about SPORTS. And the ATHLETES.Now since I criticized it without watching it, I suppose I am going to have to watch it.

  15. The phone bothered me too, but I decided that he must have used the “most calls” or “recent calls” or “ICE” list to get a hold of her girlfriend/sister and she handed over her phone for the main character to use. They just didn’t show that part because it was not interesting.

  16. The phone thing was annoying, yes.I loved the whole thing, including the inside jokes. I got them, no problem. Maybe because we watch A LOT of BBCA here! 🙂
    By the end of the parade of nations, I was verrrrrrrrry stabby with Costas, Vierra, and Lauer. If I never have to see or hear them again it will be too soon. I am even DVRing the prime time coverage just so I can skip over Costas.

  17. Didn’t see all of the opening ceremonies, but wow, the lighting of the flame at the end with the cauldrons brought in by each country was amazing. Getting DS, 4, hooked on to the games. His favorite so far is diving. Everyday now he asks if he can watch the ‘Olumpics’. Heee.

  18. My husband and I decided that SHE borrowed a friend’s phone and called her own phone to find it.We hope this is the case. Otherwise, wow. Major oversight.

  19. Kathleen,Your are ridiclous!! Of course there should be a tribute to the 7/7 victims since it is something that occured in London. Even more so it happened the day after London was annoumced as the venue. The 2002 Salt Lake Olympics had a very moving and appropriate tribute to 9/11 victims.
    The bigger question is why did the IOC deny the request to honor the 11 Israeli athleates murdered at the Munich Olympics. Not only is it the 40th aniversery of that anit semitic tragidy, it is only fitting to hold a tribute at every Olympics in my opinion since they were Jewish altleates who were murdered by terrorists. Oh wait I just answered my own question: they were Jewish that is why the request was denied so sad to know that some things never change.

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  21. she trains 6 to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week- with emhpsais on core exercises (jah- but of course)- says she watches video of the men skiers and tries to copy them. Clever-but Killy did say copy the best . (However .. rumor has it that little does the Vonntourage know that Jules has been training 24/7 with Hans und Franz -yes, even as she sleeps. She has already built a brick wall 4′ high x 300′ long, and has a deal with the biggest buffet restaurant in Vancouver to wash all their dishes. She was heard yelling from the kitchen leggo of that gravy tureen it’s MINE !- I can wash dishes faster than ANY of you , hear !? ). The Vonnlion must be carefull or the agile Julescheetah will nab some metallic disc-like carrion from under her nose.

  22. – but I also chalk it up to conintiondig. If he had Vonn’s conintiondig, watch out. Also- if he could blow out of the gate like The Hermanator did, I bet he would have won some more races- don’t know how many times he missed the podium by a slight amount, but there would have been the difference. Based on a start of his that I saw on You Tube ,The Hermanator needs to pay him a visit an’ slap him around.

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