The XXX Olympic Opening Ceremonies or What the Hell did I just watch?

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The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games were in a word amazing. All the precision, the timing, the effort that went into a spectacle of human synchronicity and performance. You have to honor the spirit and talent that went into creating such an amazing spectacle. So I would like to take the time to congratulate Beijing, China on an amazing show.

An almost frightening display of precsision.

The kind you can only get when there may be a gun

to your child’s head just slightly off stage.

My mother and all her ancestors were British. I’ve lived, gone to school and worked in the UK. Which in no way gives me any right to say the following:

London? What the fuck were you thinking?

What gives me the right to say that is, like most of the civilized tv watching non-athletic, couch potato(e), and vastly untalented mass of the great unwashed citizens of the world I was waiting for someone to run out and say; “Just kidding! and a big Monty Python foot to come down out of the sky and then start the real Olympic Opening Ceremonies that the Brits had 4 years to plan.”

And now for something that makes sense.

Lets break down the show: We start off with a pastoral scene of England. A nice tableau of Glastonbury Tor (Once considered to be the actual Isle of Avalon in the legend of King Arthur.) And I thought to myself. That’s kind of nice. Showing the beauty of England. The lush green fields. Framed by a historic site of mystical power (The tor) and they didn’t go with the old standby of Stonehenge. Cool.

The model. Before someone ‘Cried Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.’

Just when you thought maybe you were going to see something the rest of the world considers as British. I don’t know; something like Knights in armor, castles, kings, queens, princesses, fish and chips…

I would have settled for A knight in armor fighting a plate of fish and chips.

But just when you were ready to sit back and watch some real Medieval Times (remember go on your birthday and you eat free!) These extras from Charles Dickens’ novels rush in and start rolling up the grass.

What says welcome more than displaying the most socially repressive period in your history.

What’s next? Taking the bikinis out of women’s beach volleyball?

I guess building a set that depicted the great plague or cutting the heads off of Henry the VIII’s wives was considered too much of an expense. So they went with the destruction of the pastoral lifestyle and highlighting an era of class struggle, child labor, orphanages and workhouses instead.

By no way am I criticizing the history of the British. Every country has history they aren’t proud of. Every country just doesn’t highlight it as a multi-million dollar opening to a world sports event. Maybe we should. Maybe the Utah games opening ceremonies should have been an homage to the Donner Party.

We could have sold Donner-pops. Think of the marketing people! Mitt Romney dropped the ball on this one.

The Atlanta games could have highlighted a ceremony showing the benefits of slavery in the pre civil war south.

Doubt Mary Poppins could make this nightmare go away.

Lake Placid games could have shown a bunch of settlers killing native Americans.

Enjoy your souvenir blanket.

OK. Maybe that was a bit harsh. But lets move on. We pass the Dickens – Industrial revolution era where people were pulling back and forth on cranks and large smokestacks were being erected. Which has no sexual overtones whatsoever.

Federico Fellini says: Sometimes it’s just a train going into a tunnel.

What could be next? Victory of WWI and WWII. Showing the true resilience of the British people and how they pulled together during a time of unbelievable horrors. Showing the London Blitz and Saint Paul’s Cathedral standing proudly in the background as a true symbol of British perseverance through times of trouble?

No… Let’s bring out a bunch of children in hospital beds which looks like a tuberculosis ward and then bring out the nightmares of sick children.

Nothing says national pride like sick children!

And just so you remember that we’re still relevant we can drag out J.K. Rowling and Lord Voldemort.

According to NBC commentators

the only reason children read.

If you missed it at one point his wand had a sparkler in it

Spare no expense…

Someone, anyone, who can make this stop? Where is our national hero when you need her.

Oh good. Mary Poppins. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I’ll have a spoon full of sugar, and a shot of Ny-Quil.

However if you want Julie Andrews to scare away nightmares perhaps a remake of Blake Edwards’ S.O.B where she did the topless scene would have better to defeat Lord Voldemort.

Would have pacified me as a child.

So after Mary Poppins cures Tuberculosis and scares away the nightmares of tortured children we get to the only good part of the entire opening ceremonies. (Besides the part where the athletes march in and you get to see how hot other countries athletes are!)

I want one day in my life that I can be this Hansome

And this Oily at the same time.

Ok. So Brazil was an easy choice.

The highlight. Or the only light. In the entire thing was:

BEAN!

Would have rather seen him do a Black Adder thing rather than Bean. But let’s all be happy he didn’t go with the whole Johnny English route.

The entire Chariots of Fire part, the Piano, everything was great. But is that really saying something considering everything that came before or after this segment. And we’re not done yet. Now we get to celebrate the greatness that is British innovation. So they drag out Sir Tim Berners-Lee. And 99% of America said “Who”? And then the TV said inventor of the World Wide Web. And 99% of America said; “I thought Al Gore invented the internet?” And %98.5 of Americans said that last statement without being ironic.

Invented The Web. Thanks for all that porn!

And how do we celebrate the British invention of the World Wide Web. This amazing piece of technology that has changed the way everyone in the world interacts, studies, learns, shares information and writes crappy blogs about how much a show sucked even though they couldn’t be bothered to get off their lazy ass for once in their life and create something original?

With an inflatable house, the worst of British music, and a story of two teens that fall in love via text messaging.

I’m not going to trudge through the entire story of the Frankie and what’s her name falling in love while they play Relax

But enjoy if you want to listen to it:


Anyway. We end up with some rapper that no one outside of England has even heard of Frankie and what’s her name run back into the inflatable house while they show images of British movies on it. Like Trainspotting. A movie about Scottish Heroin addicts where a baby dies in it’s crib. (Way to keep a love story on an up-note there England.)

We finally get to the point where the people who actually matter in this thing get their welcome. The Athletes.

And During this time I wonder to myself: “What’s the Queen thinking?”

NBC commentators keep remarking how fast the Athletes entering the stadium is going.

Of course it’s going fast. Everyone is dying out there. This show is a disaster. Someone quick get to the end and maybe Sir Paul McCartney can save all of this.

Hey Jude? Really. Someone explain to me what Hey Jude has to do with the Olympics without making any reference to the 1972 Munich games massacre of Israeli athletes? Paul, Sgt Pepper, Revolution, Blackbird, you had Glastonbury Tor right behind you get up there and B-side us with The Fool on the Hill! I would even have accepted something from Wings! Even Here Comes the Sun would have been something positive.

So we get to the end with an extreme midnight hard out to my NY local news where they commented quickly and with a straight face on how wonderful the Olympic Ceremonies were.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe even with all my British exposure I didn’t get the cultural beauty that was Dickens, child sickness, nightmares, and Prodigy singing ‘Firestarter’. Maybe it’s because I’m not this guy:

Will the Brits be able to close this out with some class and something original. Something new and not tired or awkward. Something the British people can stand up and be proud of? Who’s slated as the musical guest for the Closing Ceremonies?

Fuck…

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