OK, I admit it…I cheated.
I looked at the photos from the closing ceremonies online before the program started.
It wasn’t really my fault. First, to get in the true Russian mood I started drinking at 4 pm. Then NBC, in a last ditch attempt to rescue their ratings, (which are down 17 percent from 2010) used drones to attack any outlet that dared play the ceremonies before the network premiere.
Anyway…back to the pretty pictures. I saw the program mostly presented the Russian cultural scene which was basically ballet, classical music and the circus.
Add a Jewish comedian, a puppet show and a pop group and you’ve got the Ed Sullivan Show.
First we got a teaser for the upcoming Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janerio.
“Did the grey attire and frown of Putin leave you feeling a little less, well…Olympic? Well hang on to your seats because we’re takin’ the whole thing south of the border in 2016 to RIO!
That’s right folks, get ready for an Olympics that bans grey – not gay! Hell the whole city is gay! That’s right! Wall to wall cariocas and transvestite salsa dancers. Just imagine what Bob Costas will catch next time….in Rio…in 2016!”
The choice for commentators for the closing ceremonies was a little strange. Football buddies Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth who are excellent at…I don’t know…sports, are assigned to comment on the pageantry of Russian culture. Wouldn’t this be the time to haul out the happy talk Today Show phonies? This is why I’m not running NBC.
Of course, if I were running NBC I’d still have Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. A cardboard cutout of him behind the desk would still be be more entertaining than the hosts of late night in the last 20 years.
And so…On With the Show!
We open in the Fisht Stadium which was built exclusively for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Annnd here comes the flying boat. Two clowns and three kids float in about 500 feet above the floor…without seatbelts, OSHA inspectors across the land gasp in horror.
Beneath them a crowd of Russian youth dressed up in tinsel outfits begin a program that’s one part dance, one part high school band halftime show. Did anyone notice they formed the Pepsi logo? They must have been spinning on their heads at the Coke marketing division.
Then came the much awaited forming of the Olympic rings. But wait a minute! Look! One ring group has declared independence. They want to remain a snowflake group in honor of the opening ceremonies snowflake (who is now working as a crane, logging trees in Siberia). After the group was sent an Instagram of a scowling Puten they hurriedly re-thought their position.
Al and Cris then struggled with trying to explain why Chagall’s village was hanging upside down, and flying. After that they let the spectacle continue with little comment. I think they said “To hell with it” and went to the beer stand.
Despite my usual tone, I want to say I think the whole show was really cool.
My favorite parts were the salute to Liberace with the worlds largest chandelier, the Battle of the Tutus between the Bolshoi and Mariinski ballet companies (I give it to the Bolshoi, by the way – did anyone else notice the Russian ballerinas aren’t the anorexic sticks that seem to be in American dance troops? Two thumbs up for a little Russkie T&A), and of course, the girl behind the President of the Olympics talking on her phone during his speech.
Now, I’d like to comment on NBC cutting some performers from the opening ceremonies. The mascots for the games – a bear, a rabbit and a leopard. Oh, did I mention they are 100 feet tall? These suckers are big enough to take on any of the Transformers and still KO the giant Stay Puft Boy from Ghost Busters. And we watched a commercial for pimple cream instead?
Fortunately they returned to scare the bejesus out of small children and blow out the Olympic Flame.
And then we got another flying boat.
This one sailed in with the same three kids dangling their feet over the side as a substantial Soprano belted out a song nobody seemed to remember to write down.
What is it with the Russians and the flying boats? Was it one of Putin’s campaign promises? “Vote for me. I promise a flying boat in every garage…”
A good time was had by all and they ended by 10:30.
Prior to the Olympics coverage we had an hour long program about the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding beat down in 1994 called “Nancy and Tonya…don’t mess with Trailer Park Trash”. I missed it because, like most of America…I didn’t care.
However, following the Olympics was a new show. It could be described as “Darma and the Insurance Guy”. I expected him to say “At Farmers we make you smarter, because what you don’t know can hurt you. What if you didn’t know that marrying a ditzy chick who will divorce you so she can act like a 17 year old is a bad idea…especially if you’re blind…”
I think I’ll watch that show next week.