Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making a Spectacle of Yourself, Dept.

So, I watched the Olympic opening ceremonies this afternoon.  Well, not the parade of athletes.  Because life's too short.  But the "creative" part.  As far as I can tell, this was the general scheme:

In the first of three parts, the hobbits are happily playing in the Shire until the orcs come up from underground, led by their imperious, cigar-chomping lord, Sauron (Kenneth Branagh), and raise foul smokestacks and look generally disgruntled and rhythmic.  But they forge the gold Ring, which flies into the sky in The Hobbit III - Ka-Ching and joins the four other Rings of Marketing Power.

In the second part, England says "Eat shit and die" to Republican viewers of this broadcast by producing the largest mass propaganda piece I've seen outside North Korea.  It's called "Socialized medicine rules, and you, my friend, drool."  So, all the well sick children are wheeled out by energetic health care providers for whom they didn't have too wait all that long, all things considered, and their beds light up, and everything's all jitterbuggy, mostly by the non-Anglo Saxon Britons in the ensemble.  But then a 100-foot Voldemort shows up, the crowd goes wild and Warner Bros. says, "C'mon, we can do a Robin trilogy, can't we?!"  But then, Mary Poppins and her revenue streams show up and kick Voldemort's ass by caring for children, apparently finding the work-life balance that everyone craves.

In the final leg of the stool, a Black Briton has an East Side Story-kind of thing with a biracial girl who's more charismatic than he, to the extent that he has to wear a comic hat to distinguish himself.  And their story introduces "Danny Boyle's Frenetic Goulash of Popular British Culture."  I really would have liked it in a different execution.  It was like Glee: The Quadrennial.  That said, I can only imagine Her Majesty got as nostalgic as I did when we had Keith Prodigy 10 times larger than life filling the screen declaiming "Firestarter."  And I did enjoy the snippet of "Born Slippy," my fave from Boyle's Trainspotting soundtrack.  "Lager lager lager!" underscores the importance of the Olympic spirit.

Then, more stuff happens, and Arctic Monkeys play a John song because the show's going to end with Paul and one of his songs, and it all has to balance out.  But, why "Hey Jude"?  Really only for the na-na-na-na-na-na-nas?  Didn't he have another song in the book that might have some relevance to the occasion?  "Hi Hi Hi" would have spoken to altius in the Olympic motto.  There.  Done.

At any rate, to the photo above.  I love the caption, all the more so for the shots of Kate Middleton looking like she's dead bored and when will she get to say, "May the odds be ever in your favor"?  QEII held up well, but she was not amused by silver confetti that made her look like a homeless woman at a snowy bus stop.

We were similarly unamused by the musings of Matt Lauer and his work wife, Meredith Vieira.  Can you imagine having to script meaningful things for them to say?  Again, it's like North Korean propaganda.  Except more empathetic.  Lucky people elsewhere got to see it without commercial interruption and, more importantly, without Mattedith.

And how did they do a British Olympics without Sir Elton?  Ouch.  Good for funerals, but otherwise...  

I am looking forward to Rio's opening ceremony in 2016, though.  That'll be a firestarter.