Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Blurb: Bob Wants Those Whippersnappers to Slow Down!


All right, NBC. I have been avoiding my television and computer since 2pm this afternoon so I wouldn’t be spoiled by anything leaked on either of those two devices. I am in my pjs, sitting in front of my television, ready to watch the prerecorded Opening Ceremonies. Here we go – a prerecorded diary, of sorts:

Barely one minute in, and I already have an amusing quip. The narrator talks about “beautiful minds have defined the measure of our planet.” British writers highlighted include William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, and…John Lennon and Paul McCartney?

I’ve never really understood this opening highlight reel. It’s beautiful (this is my first summer Olympics in HD), but can’t we just get on with the ceremony? It’s pretty much hype at it’s most stressful. “These guys made our pre-game reel – if they don’t do well, they’re screwed.”

Wait…is that Ewan McGregor doing the voiceover? It is!!! He’s acted with many accents, but I can identify that brogue anywhere.

Bum! BUM! Bu-bum bum bum bum! Bum, bumbumbum, bumbumbum budadumbumbum!
Bum! BUM! Bu-bum bum bum bum! Bum, bumbumbum, bumbumbum budadumbumbum!

Hey Bob Costas. It must be Olympics time. He’s framed perfectly by the Tower Bridge up, letting a tall ship through the Thames. I wonder if NBC demanded that shot.

They bring in Tom Brokaw to talk about security and cost. And he just insulted the mayor of London’s haircut! Ouch. Tom has gotten biting in his older years.

Bob promises to make it to the Olympic Stadium in time for the parade of nations. Good – I can’t wait to hear what interesting tidbit of information he has to say about Myanmar.

We join Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer in front of a meadow…er, I mean Olympic Stadium. Behold: one of the main reasons that Track and Field doesn’t start till the second week of competition. Can you imagine Usain Bolt running around shepherds?

Best thing about blogging with DVR? I can pause to write down my thoughts! But I don’t have to in this first half hour because it’s just filler. In other words, it’s just Ryan Seacrest trying to be a real journalist.

Interviews in the NBC Studio before your event…I don’t like that. Win your event, then sit in those overstuffed chairs. I’m looking at you, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas. Team gold and all around gold better come from the two of you, or I’m going to be very disappointed.

So I was fast forwarding through the commercials, but then I realized I was fast forwarding through part of the opening of the Opening Ceremonies! Ooops.

Okay folks: forget Beijing, and just have fun with this one. You’ve all wanted to go to England, so just enjoy.

Can you imagine watching this opening section on the big giant screen? How awesome would that be?

All the old posters, and little kids with popping balloons. Two #6 balloons refused to pop.

A Tour de France winner – the first from Britain - ringing the GIANT bell. I guess if I wasn’t from the U.S. he would be a bigger name.

I wonder if this kid is lip synching. Remember that little girl from Beijing who sang a song but a prettier girl was picked to lip synch it? If he’s really singing, he did a fabulous job. I love “Jerusalem.”

Woot! Scotland! Land of my ancestors. Well, a few of my ancestors.

They are really letting the cameras get up close to the actors. That’s pretty cool. The highlights of football and rugby matches could be eliminated, though.

Kenneth Branagh!!! He’s awesome. Speaking Shakespeare, of course, from “The Tempest” while “Nimrod” plays in the background. And another awesome aspect of these games? English!

Fast forward through the commercials…yay!

These drummers are a little different, signaling the change in era. We really skipped a lot of history here. Any actors going to portray Roman soldiers?

Seeing men in turn-of-the-century clothes dancing the way they are is quirky.  Goodbye meadow. It sure wasn’t there for very long.

Any smokestacks going to malfunction, like the torch pillars back in 2010? Still one of my favorite Olympic memories – watching the Canadian torchbearers just stand there for a good five minutes not knowing what to do.

Suffaragists! Anyone hoping Mrs. Banks makes an appearance? Votes for Women! (“We're clearly soldiers in petticoats; And dauntless crusaders for woman's votes…”)

Pause to remember those who perished in WWI. Kinda wish they had Matthew Crawley amongst the soldiers.

This set sure has changed since the beginning. But when you think London at the turn of the 20th century, you think smokestacks and dirty workers. Steampunk, y’know?

Welcome to the ‘60s! Could this be Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? And British Army men (redcoats!)!  Is that molten steel? This is nuts! What the heck is happening?!?!?!

Matt explains – it’s a map of London now, including the Thames. Thanks Matt. I still wish you guys wouldn’t talk so much.

Kenneth Branagh looking sinister with his top-hat buddies. Kenneth Branagh doesn’t have to dance. He’s too awesome.

Ooh – more steel rings! Lots of scaffolding over the arena. I think I know what those rings are going to do…

Okay, this is all psychotic and crazy, but I really love this. Brits are crazy. I want to visit them.

And the rings are pyro-techniched! It must be the Olympics!

One ring just can’t stop leaking! Now it’s done.

Time for the royal entrance of the queen! To the screens – this is a film. It’s James Bond! Daniel Craig? James Bond?  What’s with the dogs? It is James Bond. Mr. Bond knows you don’t address the queen till the queen addresses you. And never turn your back on the queen. It’s just proper etiquette.

The helicopter rises…AW I WANNA VISIT LONDON!!

The Queen still waves even in a helicopter. And Churchill waves back! Kinda wish some evil villan was chasing them in another helicopter, complete with the Bond music. Oh well.

And just like that, the Queen changes the time of day! Wow – people say she has no power, but I say that’s really something!

Is James Bond really going to jump out of the helicopter?? Is the Queen?? Ah – there is the music. Did you know it’s the 50th anniversary of Bond? Did you know it’s the 60th anniversary of the Queen?

Matt and Meredith – it wasn’t the Queen. Just letting you know. But it’s still pretty clever.

I love that flag. This is so cool. I’m just so giddy! Thinking about a trip to London next summer.

Hope none of the flagbearers trips on the sod. That’s quite a climb they had to make!

Queen Elizabeth – love the feather in your hair.

Who else can say they sang in front of the Queen in their pajamas? They sounded really good too!

“Second to the right and straight on till morning…” It’s Children’s Literature Time! Teachers, sit back and enjoy!

It’s also saluting the National Health Service, and one particular hospital – GOSH – whom J.M. Barrie left all his money to when he died. J.M. Barrie – the author of Peter Pan.

One of those beds looks really big – it’s an actual trampoline – every kid’s dream!

J.K. Rowling! Introducing villans! Queen of Hearts! Captain Hook! Voldemort! Cruella De Vil! Ooh, Voldemort is really creepy. He’s huge! You may not want to put your kids to bed after this segment. There’s also a little girl suspended right by the Voldemort.

Mary Poppinses to the rescue! Mary Poppinses fighting evil! Y’know, when I think about the Poppins books, I think that there wasn’t enough fighting of evil by Mary. This just fulfilled my dream.

“Good Christians, All, Rejoice” – CW 52 – with electric guitar. Rockin’.

“Chariots of Fire!” What great music. It looks like it’s going to be a little more than a synthesizer or two.  Well, kind of – it’s a synthesizer AND MR. BEAN! Was not expecting that one at all. Mr. Bean has a smart phone. I feel bad for the pianist who has to play that awesome section whilst not laughing at Mr. Bean. Hilarious – my parents showed me some Mr. Bean shorts, so I know the humor.

The digital age – a parent’s worst nightmare.

Love the fluorescent tubes representing The Tube.  Oh, and while we’re talking about the digital age – NBC wants you to tweet!

Love all the music, by the way. So much good rock music has come out of Britain. The Stones, the Kinks, the Beatles (duh),  David Bowie (complete with star men!), QUEEN! , the Eurythmics, Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

And after the 80s, I don’t know British music very well. It’s a bit too techno for my taste. Kinda sad there was no Chumbawumba.

Is that Muse?

Tim Berners-Lee created the Internet? I thought Al Gore did.

The Torch is on its way!!!! I see David Beckham driving the boat. Well, “driving” the boat.

Here come the athletes!

More Ryan Seacrest journalism. Was Mary Carillo not available? What about Lester Holt? I love those guys!

Time for Greece to make its entrance. Athletes from my ancestors’ homeland!

Another awesome part of Britain hosting the Olympics: they’re going in alphabetical order according to the host nation’s alphabet. That’s English this year, folks. It will be easy to keep track of where we are in the order!

Unique costumes abound. But there’s a little girl with each delegation. What are those girls carrying? It looks heavy.

This is the first Olympics to feature men and women in every single delegation.

Argentina apparently hates Britain. They claim some islands. They also have boring outfits.

Oh – it’s a copper kettle. Thanks Matt.

The nameplate holders have it a little easier than previous years.

Australia’s up – and we’re reminded of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe – my first swimming crush. That was the first Olympics I followed religiously.

Austria – one of the rare teams that has more athletes for the Winter Olympics than the Summer ones.

Oh, cool – all the flags are going to be planted on the giant green hill.

After commercial, which happened to coincide with a bunch of countries NBC doesn’t care about. Well, not really. Maybe it’s because Bob couldn’t think of anything interesting about those countries.

Bangladesh – the largest of the 81 countries participating that’s never won a medal. Thanks Bob.

Benin? Anyone heard of Benin?

Bermuda – time to show off their shorts!

Bhutan has some pretty awesome outfits.

Look at those athletes – they are so excited. I love watching this. I love the Olympics.

Brazil – host of the next Summer Olympics. Where everything better be broadcast live, NBC.

Burkina Faso – awesome outfits.

Ooh – Burkina Faso, your outfits were overthrown by Cameroon. So cool!

Canada – I still have a sore spot for Canada since they dominated the medal count in 2010. And of course, Bob has to remind us of Cindy Crosby’s OT goal in the gold medal hockey game against the U.S.

I don’t think they are repeating songs during the parade of nations. That’s good – that got irritating in Beijing.

Here’s China – Yi Janlian takes over the flag for Yao Ming. They’re both really tall. Their contingency is a LOT smaller this time around.  Sidebar: I have seen the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube in person from the highway in Beijing. It was incredible.

Cuba has little globes! Cute!

WOOOOOOOO! CZECH REPUBLIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will root for the Czechs in everything they compete in. They also have awesome rubber boots.

The North Koreans have a giant flag as well as the normal flag – a reminder to Brits: “This one is our flag. Don’t forget it please!”

Aw that hill looks so cool with the flags.

Check out that Fiji flagbearer! He must be cold.

Dear Germany: your colors are not bright blue and pink. You look kinda ridiculous.

Bob just said the athletes are moving at a quick clip – faster than any of the nine Ceremonies he’s done. Really? We’re only on G!

Hungary – the water polo team to beat, apparently!

Four independent Olympic athletes – for the first time ever. Apparently, the Netherlands Antilles no longer is represented. Wow, those guys are having fun. How cool are they! Forget Team USA – I wanna be on that team! I hope they can urge all countries to have a flash mob dance when they enter.  Like Remember the Titans. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Ooh, Mexico has some suitably colorful outfits. That’s how it’s done, Germany. Take note.

New Zealand – Like Lord of the Rings.

St. John’s Jefferson – see Sweden’s shirts? You should get some like that!

Dear Ugandian flagbearer: You are flipping off the Brits by making that sign. Probably shouldn’t do that.

Wow – the U.S team gets a huge ovation by the crowd. Is that Grant Hill by Michelle Obama? Yes it is!

Some of those athletic uniforms looked like they were for the Winter Olympics.

And Great Britain is dressed in gold!

Noticing the crowd for the first time – I don’t see a full stadium. Is that on purpose? Or are they all using the loo? (Oh, I love how Matt and Bob have taken up the phrase “queuing.” We Disneyphiles have been using that phrase for years now. I hope it catches on.

The dignitaries speaking on that beautiful flag-covered hill. So cool.

Time for the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem – it always makes me teary-eyed. This time it’s sans voices. I think the best renditions were the opera singer back in Canada and the children’s choir – I think that was Beijing.

Whoa – he’s taking that torch up those steps three at a time! Careful with that torch, buddy.

I do love the “next generation” carrying the torch – that’s pretty cool. And my guess for the lighting of the torch – Robert Bannister – just got squashed by Matt. Are the youngsters going to light the torch?

And the significance of those copper pots finally becomes apparent – they all get lit up! All of the copper pots, representing each country, come together to burn as one. AW. HOW COOL!

Time for Sir Paul McCartney to sing one of my least favorite Beatles tunes – “Hey Jude.”

And that’s the end of the broadcast! It was a very fun show, and I am so looking forward to the next seventeen days. I hope you all enjoy the Games!