Nothing could tarnish the great Olympic party Vancouver threw the last two-plus weeks. But Sunday night’s closing ceremonies were ridiculous. Balloon beavers and moose? Kids dressed as hockey pucks? Lumberjacks? Jokes about bacon? Mountie rockettes? Who wrote this thing, Bob and Doug MacKenzie? It was such a Canadian cartoon, it was as if Mel Brooks had produced “Springtime for Canada.”
On NBC, Bob Costas showed restraint. “The always enjoyable giant inflated beaver,” he said as things descended into a Macy’s parade.
The intent, I guess, was to send up the nationalism and extravagance that pervaded the opening and closing of the Beijing Games, but, please–William Shatner?? As an American colleague messaged, the whole ordeal took the gold in cringe inducing.
There were a few moments. Give me Neil Young, alone with a guitar and a harmonica, any day. The first bit, goofing on the opening ceremonies giant pole malfunction, was a terrific idea–except they wrecked it with a mime. Have Brent Butt come out of the pit in overalls and shrug.
I love Catherine O’Hara, but she’s not a stand-up comedian and her comedy bit seemed lost in that giant arena. Was Russell Peters booked?
The notion of pounding the jokes home by projecting the punchlines on the large sheets suspended from the ceiling of the stadium did not come across to home viewers. Cartoon images and sound effects were supposedly beamed onto the screen through a remote held by O’Hara, Shatner and Michael J. Fox. It just reminded me that I could change all of this with my own remote.
Alannis Morrisette cleaned up nice (and graciously congratulated the athletes), but Michael Buble as a Mountie? Stephen Colbert’s head will explode.
Lost completely was the usual Olympic closing ceremony notion that we’re all one big world. The symbolic mingling of all the nations got drowned out in a chorus of “The Maple Leaf Forever.”
NBC had already cut away to the Marriage Ref (at least on the Buffalo affiliate) before the MuchMusic part of the evening kicked in, with Nickelback and Avril Lavigne.
The hockey game was a tough act to follow, they should have ended it all right there.


  1. I agree. Canada is much more intelligence then what was shown on the closing ceremonies. If they wanted more Canadian based jokes they should have gotten Rick Mercer from CBC Television to do it. At least it would have been intelligent humour and not embarrassing bathroom jokes.
    I am still cringing! I was always taught “less is more”. They should have stopped it after the 4th torch was lit and a few speeches were made. The rest of the world must be giving their heads a shake. I am a proud Canadian…that certainly did not make me proud.

  2. the closing ceremonies showed that we can handle making fun of ourselves. It did show out culture, but it also said “yeah, this is us, so what?” Over the last 17 days I’m pretty sure people saw that Canada was not what they thought it was. The events were held in big venues and aerial shots of Vancouver proved that we do not all live in igloos. It was a “tongue-in-cheek” performance that many enjoyed. I think you’re reading a little too much into it

  3. The Aussie producers have only one show and they just plug in Canuckistan equivalents.

    Have a young pop star : Was Kylie Minogue at the Sydney Olmpics, here Avril Lavigne.

    Have an icon: Sydney: Hills Hoists, here: beaver or canoe.

    Get a classic tune mildly cringeworthy and such a singer:
    Sydney “Waltzing Matilda” Singer: Slim Dustry, here the anti-quebec Maple Leaf Forever (more sung in Ontario that elsewhere) and Michael Bubles.

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