After 17 days of unfinished hotels, and Zika worries, and mysterious color-changing pools, and sick horses, and corrupt officials, and a missing Mary Carillo, and more sexist commentary than you could shake a stick at, and the reignition of the Cold War, and Phelps Phace, and one actually robbed athlete and, of course, Ryan Lochte, it’s time to drain the green pools and call it an Olympics here in Rio. Go get into your feathered headdress, wax up Mr. Tonga and let’s get this spectacle started!
Having been recently released from whatever Rio basement they’ve been keeping her in, the much-missed and much-loved Mary Carillo is here with elfin king Ryan Seacrest and some guy named Mike (I don’t watch the NFL; sue me) to guide us through the colorful and baffling closing ceremonies with helpful insights like, “the closing ceremony is supposed to take the feel of the place,” and “the Olympics won’t save Rio,” and “colors!”
Before the ceremonies actually began, Mike informs us that thanks to the soccer game that had been held in the stadium the night before, there hadn’t been much in the way of rehearsals for this event, a point hilariously illustrated by the actor who played that one guy the Brazilians keep trying to claim invented the airplane (sure, Brazil) who is standing in the stadium, looking tense and clearly indicating that he can’t hear what is going on.
This is the last we will see of Senhor Santos-Dumont. Tchau, Senhor Santos-Dumont!
The stadium is filled with 200 people dressed like parrots who, like a talented high school band, arrange themselves in shapes representing different places in Rio, including Cristo Redentor and Sugarloaf. Unlike a talented high school band, the parrots are not playing instruments when they do so. Point: talented high school bands.
After the jaunty Brazilian national anthem is played, there is a long-overdue tribute to Carmen Miranda and her fruit hat. And then the athletes march in with the flags, including our own teensy Simone Biles who I’m deeply concerned is going to be picked up and blown away by the winds that had reportedly gusted up to 50 mph. I KNOW SHE’S STRONG, BUT THAT FLAG IS JUST ONE BIG SAIL, SOMEONE TIE HER DOWN, SHE IS A NATIONAL TREASURE. The rest of the athletes then pour into the stadium and it is very slow and very boring in large part because each and every one of the 11,543 other athletes need to take selfies with Simone Biles. (And you would, too, don’t lie.)
While we endure this, Mary Carillo, Ryan Seacrest and Mike blather inanely. At one point Dr. Seacrest informs us that he didn’t use DEET once, so I guess Zika is cured, everyone! Hooray!
Once everyone is in the stadium and seated, some woman in an alarmingly green jumpsuit sings a song about the new Olympic Channel. It is Very Not Interesting — that is until a still-greased-up Mr. Tonga joins her on the stage, having only recently escaped the thirsty clutches of Hoda Kotb.
Then a bunch of children celebrate the indigenous people of Brazil by waving orange kites around, which I might have understood had NBC aired Mary Carillo’s very important piece on Brazilian kite-flying in primetime, BUT NOW I’LL NEVER KNOW. ~shakes fist~
One of the loveliest segments is about lace-making? Nostalgia? Both? I don’t know but the lace ladies and the lights and the music all come together really beautifully and I’m not mad at it.
But we’re not done with dancing, not by a long shot. There are some half-dressed sexxxxxy “ballerinas” (ok, Brazil) who miraculously do not slip and fall in the pouring rainstorm. And then there are a bunch of people dressed up as dead-eyed dolls that are supposed to represent …. dead-eyed dolls? DO YOUR JOB AND EXPLAIN THIS, RYAN SEACREST AND MIKE. At least Mary Carillo is keeping it real over here talking about how Brazil had more slaves and for longer than anyone else. I mean, what that has to do with dead-eyed dolls is beyond me, BUT AT LEAST SHE’S TELLING US SOMETHING.
We endure the final medal ceremony of these Olympics, which is fittingly enough for the marathon, before getting to the FLAGS! FLAGS! FLAGS! portion of the evening. The mayor of Rio, the mayor of Tokyo and the IOC president are all sent out to the stadium floor to raise the Greek flag, lower the Olympic flag, wave it around for a while, and then raise the Japanese flag, all of which is far less interesting than everyone involved seems to think it is.
Then it’s Japan’s turn to show the world what they’ll do when they host the Olympics in 2020. It turns out what they’re going to do is OLYMPIC THE OLYMPICS BETTER THAN ANYONE HAS EVER OLYMPICKED BEFORE.
After a team of lady robots wheel onto the stadium floor around the rising sun symbol, Japan’s video presentation begins, showing us what we have to look forward to in 2020. And if this video is any indication, we learn that Tokyo’s Olympics will be Very Jazzy and include — and I’m not even kidding about this — Hello Kitty, school girl uniforms, PacMan, anime, what I assume are Pokemons, I don’t actually know, samaurais and so much Super Mario Brothers.
In fact, towards the end of the video, the Prime Minister of Japan worries that he isn’t going to make it to the closing ceremonies in time, so he transforms into Mario before entering a Mario Brothers’ sewer pipe that has been plopped down in the middle of that one busy intersection in Tokyo. Through this, Mario/The Prime Minister of Japan travels through the center of the Earth and then pops out of the other end of the sewer pipe which is in the center of the Rio stadium. Here, the Prime Minister tears off a break-away Mario suit to reveal that it was him all along!
WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING WHAT IS THIS MADNESS I LOVE IT BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND BUT I LOVE IT THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN/MARIO FOR U.S. PRESIDENT, 2016!
Then there are a bunch of dancers waving around light sabers and flags and light-up boxes and I assume at least half of them are Crazy 88s, I don’t know, I’m just can’t wait to learn who wins the gold in PacMan in 2020!
Finally, the president of the IOC declares the Rio Olympics closed, and the SALAD PORTION OF THE CLOSING CEREMONIES OFFICIALLY OPEN!
So VeggieTales happens for a while, until someone named Mariene de Castro sings the “Extinguish the Olympic Flame” song. After that, a giant vegetable strainer is dragged out onto the stage …
… which for reasons that I assume make sense to the Brazilians signifies that it’s time to undress and get their samba and carnival on. There are feathers, there are mostly-naked supermodels, there are floats, there is ass, there is confetti, there are giant parrots, there are clowns, there are fireworks, and it is all SO MUCH and it goes on for SO LONG and for all I know, they are still sambaing in that stadium, I would not put it past the Brazilians for a hot second. GO TO BED, BRAZIL. WE ARE ALL TIRED, BRAZIL. PUT ON SOME PANTS AND GO TO BED.
And with that, we are officially done with what was by no means a perfect Olympics, but also one that could have gone much, much, much, much worse. So we’ll call it a success for not being entirely the shitshow we all expected it to be! Onto Tokyo and Olympic-level Pokemon Going!
A huge thank you to my synchronized blogging partner, Bobby, without whom I could not have made it through these past 17 days. You’re the D’Agostino to my Hamblin, B. Thank you to our once and future Supernatural blogger, Whitney, who helped kept me company on the twitters during the Games. And thank you most of all to those of you who found us here on Foolish Watcher and read and shared and commented on our Olympic coverage. You made our transition to this new site a fun and exciting one, and we can’t wait to watch more TV with you!