So remember how a couple of days ago I wrote that since the Olympics were over I wasn't going to be writing about them?
I spoke too soon.
I forgot about the closing ceremonies. Unfortunately, the Vancouver Closing Ceremonies took a lot of flack. Why? Well ... we'll get to that. I would like to say for the record that I enjoyed the ceremony immensely! As soon as those giant Beavers came out, I was alight with smiles. What I didn't appreciate was NBC cutting out of the last bit of it, just so that we wouldn't miss one precious moment of the Marriage Ref. UGH. I'm back to hating you, NBC! Oh. All I missed was Nickelback and Avril Levigne? Never mind. Thanks, NBC! You're a pal!
Apparently, from several people on my facebook page, the closing ceremonies were "highly disappointing," "lame," and "ill conceived." I was even told "offensive" by one friend. These are all Americans, mind you. My very Canadian girlfriend thought it was cheesy, and someone told me that the Globe and Mail wasn't too pleased. On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly, and The LA Times liked it very much. In fact, I believe the phrase, "O Canada ... You're funny!" was printed.
And O my goodness, Canada. You are!
Tonight I was talking to my friend, the one who thought the show was offensive (which she didn't quite explain, but that's okay), and I was telling her that I enjoyed them, but that I thought they didn't take the jokes far enough. And she said, "What do you mean?"
1) I think that they should have taken the amazing, brilliant clown that popped out at the very beginning to fix the pillar glitch, (letting Katrina Lemay Doan get her torch lighting!! BRILLIANT!) and centered the closing ceremonies around *him* ... now, I realize he was probably an after thought; an idea sprung from some brilliant director's mind after the opening ceremony snafu. So take the brilliant idea, and use it for all it's worth. Add the clown in as a thread, connecting all the sequences together. That clown made my heart shine with theatrical and comedic joy.
2) Shatner. One of Canada's favorite sons, the King of self-mockery himself. The script they gave him was ... sub-par. It limited Shatner's real potential. What would I have done? Let him do his speak/sing schtick for the Canadian National Anthem. Bold? Certainly. Ballsy? Maybe. But here's the deal ... having Shatner up there talking about something (which is already) completely forgotten serves no purpose. All we're left to remember is the fact that he was there. And he spoke. But Shatner speaking the Canadian National Anthem?? That's the top youtube video for at LEAST the next year, that will be resurfaced with the approach of 2014 in Russia. Cold, Siberian Russia. Joyless, humorless, colorless Russia. For those of you who think I'm completely Philistinian (and I know you're out there), my second choice would be to have Shatner speak-sing through that piece that Michael Buble did. Ha. Awesome.
3) Cut Catherine O'Hara. I hate to say it - I really do. But she's too obscure. Most Americans were wondering what she was doing up there to begin with (they think she's American, you see...). And I love her desperately, but her script was crap as well (though the curling bit *was* genius). So either keep her and the curling bit and give her a better script, or? Bring in Mike Meyers and let him have some Canadian commentary. YES.
4) Jim Carey. I know folks have highly strong feelings about Jim Carey, one way or another. But don't let him be Jim Carey. Let him be the living Dudley Do-Right. Seriously. The voice, the costume, the whole deal. Have him come on with the Mounties, give that terrible, terrible dance some context and stylize it. Give the bit about Mounties being tried and true and squeeky clean. Take the stereotype and make it bigger. This is what the attempt was, but it fell flat...again...because it didn't go far enough. Jim Carey will take it there ... and beyond.
5) The more stereotypes the better! Canada on Parade was wonderful, don't get me wrong. However, there needed to be more. Oh yes, I said it. MORE. You need Igloos and Polar Bears and men wearing touques with beers! That's right, we need the Mackenzie Brothers! Snow shoes, dancing trees, Sasquatch, giant bottles of syrup, add bruises and cuts to the faces of the hockey players. Special Guest appearance: Father Christmas - with the tag line: "Well where do you think the North Pole is?" And bring in a giant "Eh?" balloon. Canada, you have the best sense of humor out of any country who participated in these Winter Games. You deserve to go out with a bang! But we NEED the bang! And we didn't get it. And if the clown is orchestrating all of this craziness, and he brings out the entire Cirque du Soleil clown posse? Oh man. You'll be showing Russia up every day for the next 5 years! Bam!
6) The Bands. This was the most disappointing aspect for me. Avril? No. Nickelback? Oh HELL no. Alanis? Schmeh. Here's who you should have had: The Hip, The Weakerthans, Arcade Fire, Metric, The Bare Naked Ladies, Feist. Again - we're going with bands that can make a bang (and a laugh!), rather than ones that make a thud as the door kicks them on the way out. Special bonus? Shatner speaks the words to the National Anthem as Arcade Fire plays it. In a word? Epic. And if you're brave enough to have Shatner do the National Anthem, give Feist Michael Buble's song. For SERIOUS. And take the female mounties away! For the love of all things maple-flavored!
7) Michael J. Fox. Give the man better lines!! For frak's sake! Your script was killing me.
Those were the major points I had. I'll stop now. Anyway, Canada. I'm available. Call me. I work pretty cheaply.
(I'm just throwing this photo in because it makes me RIDICULOUSLY happy)----------------------------
This blog post is brought to you by:
My friend Jamie Stoops
The Great Canadian Sense of Humor