Vancouver: Opening CereWHOZA?

Welcome to the first of our nightly updates on the Olympic Games. The Tubular team will be applying our usual brand of snark and sass that we’ve honed watching lots of good (and terrible) television to the Olympic viewing experience. For in-depth Olympic coverage, visit Here’s an earnest look at the Opening Ceremony, if that’s what you’re looking for.


Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle

Oh, you know there were Mounties.

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games officially kicked off tonight with an opening ceremony that can only be described as, well, perplexing.

Of course, two huge shadows lingered over the event. The first was the unspeakably tragic death of a young luge athlete from the nation of Georgia. The second was the the lingering memory of Beijing’s Olympic spectacle. Surely our neighbors to the north couldn’t top that, but they certainly upped the head-scratching factor with their effort.

The whole shebang kicked off with four giant ice statues rising from the ground.


Paul Chinn / Houston Chronicle


And then all these aboriginal Canadian folks came out. And they just kept coming. And then they danced. And danced and danced. They danced to the sort of aboriginal drumbeats you’d expect, and they danced to a duet by Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams. In fact, they kept dancing, inexplicably, throughout the entire parade of nations. So very much aboriginal dancing.


Paul Chinn / Houston Chronicle

It’s like a less blue version of Avatar.

The U.S. Team looked the worst, if you don’t count the other very Canadian-looking dancers in white puffy skirts and pleated pants who just sort of appeared and danced non-committally in the background. (See more of our fashion notes on the parade of nations at the bottom.)


Paul Chinn / Houston Chronicle

Those thick-knit, beige turtlenecks and moose caps look like something the less-likable neighbor in an ’80s comedy would wear.

Eventually the parade wrapped up and the real show started. The opening ceremony would focus on a centerpiece that resembled something in between a layercake and paper chandelier, and a giant screen floor that would transform and interact with the performer on top of it. First it was ice and then it split. Then digital whales swam across it. Then it filled with maple leaves. All things that make sense.

But then things took a turn for the crazypants. Suddenly there was this guy? With horns? In a canoe? Playing fiddle? All these punk-rock dancers came out and started fiddling and tap dancing and it all got very Thunderdome all of a sudden.


Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle

Costumes by Avril Lavigne, presumably.

It just got more and more aggressive and the TAP TAP TAPPING was maddening.

From there it just transformed into one big Magic Eye poster gone wrong (as Twitterer nahtzen said). There was a bit with tromp l’oeil fields on the floorscreen and some kid in a harness running and “flying” over them and I guess it was supposed to be very majestic, but mostly it was boring and just a little uncomfortable.

A guy from YouTube shouted some terrible spoken-word poetry about Canadians referring to the letter “z” as “Zed.” I was too transfixed on his neckbeard to pay too close attention. k.d. Lang sang “Hallelujah” and it was lovely.

After what seemed like a big, boring load of FOREVER, four torch-bearers came out to light the cauldron (one of which was Wayne Gretzky), they got out there and one of the four pillars never came out of the floor to lead up to the cauldron. So that was a big FAIL. Not like it matters because since this cauldron is inside, they need to light another cauldron outside that can be visible in the city? Sure. Fine.

Overall the entire event was laughably even more ridiculous than usual, especially given Beijing’s epic shindig still fresh in everyone’s mind. Granted, they only used a fraction of the budget and I guess it’s harder to enslave recruit 9,000 drummers or whatever when everyone already has a pretty agreeable Canadian life and universal healthcare. Still, would it have killed them to hustle out Alanis or Celine? What about Shatner?

Oh well, we still have ICE DANCING to look forward to.

Fashion notes from the parade of nations:

  • Azerbaijan had awesome hats and pants.
  • Bermuda wore Bermuda shorts and everyone was embarrassed like they were all our collective dad.
  • Czech Republic gets the silver for wacky pants.
  • Estonia looked super cute.
  • Everyone cried for Georgia and you know you stood up and applauded in your living room all alone. Admit it.
  • Germany’s outfits were totally ’80s.
  • Bjoergvin Bjoergvinson is the most Icelandic Iceland name to every Iceland.
  • Kazakhstan gets the gold for hats.
  • The U.S. have the worst hats. And sweaters.
  • Shaun White looks like a lady.
  • Lindsey Jacobellis looks like Courtney Love.

For all of our thoughts and lots more insight from our fantastic Twitter followers, read the record of our Opening Ceremony eParty here.

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