Well, the end of the Olympics. Kudos for Canada’s men’s hockey team for winning gold. Kudos to Team USA for putting the effort to try to beat Team Canada.
Although, this meant that President Obama owed Prime Minister Harper a case of Molson’s beer for losing the friendly bet. Oh well.
The pictures on tv of Canadians in Vancouver taking to the streets in celebration over the hockey victory was great tv to see. Seems like all of Canada is happy (Montrealers taking to the streets of downtown!).
Kudos to Vancouver for the effort in making a memorable Olympics, even if it was a little snow-deprived.
The Closing Ceremony was odd – yes, it was nice to see the clown help “fix” the missing fourth column of the Olympic cauldron. Nice to see William Shatner, doing a whole patriotic thing (as NY Times’ live blog noted, by reporter Ian Austen, “Shatner’s opening line ‘I’m Bill and I’m proud to be a Canadian” is a riff on an exceptionally popular beer commercial from several years ago” – so cool that I wasn’t the only one who caught it! Yes, it was a funny twist of a very popular Molson’s commercial – one of which I remembered actually did get aired in the States; see below). Catherine O’Hara and the curling thing was funny. Michael J. Fox – kudos!
But, parts of the closing ceremony was way over the top – the Michael Buble’s Maple Leaf Forever, the inflatable Monties, and beavers. The giant table hockey figures with gold medals – now that was terrific. But, really, the whole thing was total Canadian camp.
The handover to Sochi 2014 was a bit surreal. I won’t enter the whole arena of international political intrigue, but sometimes, with the Olympics’ attempts at being about goodwill and sports, the whole patriotism/nationalism thing can be a bit grating on the nerves. At least the Russian salute to Sochi felt a little (a) abstract and (b) heavy-handed at the same time. Yeah, we know you weren’t happy with your medal standings and you’re a little peeved that the world doesn’t fear/admire you like it was during the Cold War, but get over it. Can’t you be like the Canadians and be nice? (well, except for hockey, which as Newsweek’s Mark Starr notes, Canada really did needed it more).
Neil Young’s singing his song, while the torch was turned off (both the one inside the stadium and the one outside) – that was poignant. Strangely, that was the same song he sang on Conan O’Brien’s last “Tonight Show.”
On a tangent, kind of twisted that, during the Olympics, NBC otherwise promoted the return of Jay Leno, as if Conan never happened.
John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Games, had a nice speech, praising Vancouver and Canada for the efforts; but, his attempt at the French portion of his speech was on the range of not good French (and I’m not saying my French is any good, but he could’ve been a little careful about it). Otherwise, I liked how he was sensitive about acknowledging the tragedies and triumphs of this Olympics.
The rest of the closing ceremony was pretty much a hit or miss for me; unless one is a fan of the music, it really was to entertain the crowd at BC Place, rather than for the tv audience. The big negative was NBC’s shifting to Jerry Seinfeld’s new show at 10:30pm. Yes, it was made clear in the promos and the tv guides that this would happen, but that it actually DID happen was disgusting. Bob Costas telling us viewers to come back at 11:30pm and then shifting to Seinfeld’s new show just like that? Ugh! Graceless, NBC! Absolutely graceless!
Then by the time we return to the closing ceremony at 11:30pm, the whole time delay was what it was; but the Times’ live blog made it clear that the ceremony actually ended at 11:07 EST. So, NBC – you blew it. You could have made up for your showing of the Olympics (which was nice with the hockey game live, as was the 50K men’s cross country skiing live, but not so nice for lots of other things) – but you chose not to. Granted, you probably have some kind of contractual obligation to Seinfeld to air his show, but sticking it in the middle of the last night of Olympics – so not cool, NBC. So not cool.
And then you stick in a reminder to watch for London 2012. Okay, sure – but couldn’t you have waited until the end of the show to stick in the reminder? This was still the Winter Olympics and they just did the handoff to Sochi! Have a little consideration!
I’ve come to the realization that the NBC coverage was most irritating because the Olympics was actually on our continent. Then again, I don’t remember being very pleased with how either Salt Lake City or even Atlanta was covered so… oh well. At least, it’d be nice to just have a time stamp for when what occurred, if you’re going to do things on tape/time delay. Just a little nice, just for the sake of, say, accuracy on tv.
I’ll check more of the reactions/analyses during the next day or two; no doubt, there are reactions…
Oh, and yes, this is the Molson commercial (I’m pretty sure that the actor in this commercial is the actor from the series “Strange Days at Blake Holsey High,” the tween/teen sci-fi series that had aired on NBC and otherwise on Discovery kids channel – Canadian-made, I think, since most of the cast was Canadian). (checked imdb.com, Jeffery Douglas, who played Professor Z, in the boarding school setting of the series, and the user comments seem to confirm that he is Joe of the Molson commercial. And, yes, he is Canadian). Oh, and William Shatner did do his own mock up of the Molson commercial – but he says he drinks Labatt (oops).
I’d like to embed these odd videos, but will have to figure that out another time.