Monday, March 01, 2010

Final Olympics notes on Closing Ceremonies

My sporadic coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter-ish Olympics concludes tonight with a few thoughts on the closing ceremonies.

I loved the mime hauling up that reluctant fourth leg of the Olympic flame, Catriona Le May Doan’s welcome redo on lighting the torch, Neil Young’s solo rendition of Long May You Run as the torch expired, and even the speech by VANOC ceo John Furlong (Was there ever a worse public speaker? And his French is a national disgrace!). I also liked that he subtly, quietly, thanked Jack Poole.

By the way, I was pleased there was a much higher Quebec and French-language presence in this event than in the Opening Ceremeonies. The Olympics aren't just about BC.

I also loved the artistic and technological boldness of the Russian tribute, and even the giant Mounties, table hockey players and flying moose of Michael Buble’s big Busby Berkeley number.

There was big thinking there, and a tremendous sense of humour and irony. Although using O Canada over and over in an over-the-top takeoff seemed out of place.

The comics, however, from Bill Shatner to Michael J. Fox, were woefully underscripted (as Dragons’ Den stalwart W. Brett Wilson, at left wearing his moose hat, noted in his Twitter feed). They were painfully un-funny. (Is Canada really the ‘Final Frontier”?)

Besides, I was hoping the comedy would address and respect the global audience that waited up so long to watch – not just dig up old in-jokes that only Canadians would care about. (NBC signed off at 10:30 and shifted to Jerry Seinfeld.)

And the random bands getting one song each – I dunno. Not enough for those who love them, and too much for those who don't care for rock and rap. And why no boffo, emotional ending? Suddenly there were fireworks and it was all over.

It would also have been nice if a few members of the Canadian men’s hockey team could have made it to BC Place to join their fellow Olympians. According to CTV commentators, they were celebrating “quietly,” “with their families.” (Although they did say captain Scott Niedermayer tried to make it to BC Place, but no one seemed able to spot him.)

A few random remarks from folks on my Twitter feed:
startupcoach: RT @AdeleMcAlear: After the high of winning hockey gold, I hang my head in shame at the worst closing ceremonies ever. I'm so sorry ...

startupcoach: Agreed! RT @DavidLutzy: Ohhh yah! ... Closing ceremonies are over! .. we all deserve a gold medal for watching!
KevinGaudet: so much for a big ending.

MFBazzo: Il est temps que Stephen Harper proroge la cérémonie de clôture des JO!
KevinGaudet: There are audience members over 30, right?! country fans too...

WBrettWilson: Energy in the stands is slipping to the point people are leaving early. I was the biggest fan of the show until it became a random showcase.
derekhat: RT @gresco: This closing ceremony is why Canadians drink so much.

SusanDelacourt: Ok. Bring out Harper, let him play another Beatles tune and let's be done with this.
derekhat: I get the impression that a thirtysomething middle manager was given the job of selecting the performers for #van2010 closing ceremonies.

SusanDelacourt: Cdn host rules: hog good stuff, play music meaningful to only us, do comedy only ironic if you live here. And force ppl to eat seal.
rayluk: Oh no! Nickelback. Those poor Llamas

Overall, the Olympics were a huge success, and the performance of Canada’s athletes should make us all proud.
But I believe the city and people of Vancouver were the real stars. Friendly, efficient, world-class, and smiling through the rain.
Congratulations from a jealous Torontonian.


Unknown said...

Rick - once again - an honest, insightful review of any given situation. I agree with all you've said - and love the way you used people's Twitter feeds instead of quotes.
Meh....I easily dealt with the closing ceremonies by turning it off. Not so easy if you are there. People are hammering NBC for switching at 10:30 - but come on..if you were an US TV exec - wouldn't you?

Rick Spence said...

But the Opening Ceremonies were magic...