Unlike the Rio Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies which lasted approximately 3 1/2 days, in part because they felt the need to do entire bits about how beautiful Rio is SO PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT ALL THE MURDER AND E COLI, and in part because NBC wanted to remind everyone that actual merman Michael Phelps was going to be in attendance so please clap, NBC gets straight down to the business of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
I mean, obviously, there’s a patriotic feel-good YAY USA LOOK AT THE COWBOYS AND FIGHTER JETS WOOOO AMERICA FIRST video package reassuring us that Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn are going to be in attendance, and introducing us to the other five athletes that NBC is going to dedicate 99% of their coverage to. It’s not unlike that segment on the first episode of any season of The Bachelor where before anyone gets out of the limo, they introduce us to 7 women of the 30 women because they’re really the only ones you need to remember.
Also, there is a Katie Couric interview with Mikaela Shiffrin and her momcoach, but who cares?
What there isn’t are any in-depth pieces about PyeongChang or South Korea or North Korea, just Katie Couric mentioning in passing that South Korea has its “challenges.” Mark Tirico points out that Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, will be in attendance, marking the first time since 1953 a member of the ruling North Korean family has visited South Korea. Remarkably, she sits in the same dignitaries’ box as Mike Pence during the ceremony, leading to this amazing moment:
(Update: the original tweet that I included of this moment was taken down by the original tweeter after he received a bunch of backlash for glamorizing Kim Yo-jong. Somehow, I managed to still have a bit of video of it and made you a gif, because BRING IT ON, CRITICS.)
First of all, THE SHADE OF IT ALL.
But second of all, these motherfuckers kill their enemies with aerosolized poison in public places and y’all are just going to let them get that close to the Vice President?
I mean, I don’t like Mike Pence either, but this seems … daring.
Joshua Cooper Ramo also tells us that it is VERY IMPORTANT that North Korea and South Korea athletes are marching in the hat parade together, but that no one knows what it means in the long run.
And then it’s pageant time. After a bunch of fireworks that literally spell out “welcome” in English, there’s a video about five Korean kids playing in the snow with ghost tigers, which leads to some actually very cool animal puppetry in the arena.
There are also dancers with some clothing fitting issues:
As a bunch of lady drummers perform, Joshua Cooper Ramo reminds us that culturally, Asians place more value on the concept of the group than the individual, and then starts burbling about the concepts of yin and yang and “circles:” “A circle of life, a circle of generations, a circle of change.” AND THEN THE DRUMMERS MAKE A YIN AND YANG, YOU GUYS.
Then it’s hat parade time, although this hat parade is particularly disappointing because it’s so fucking cold in South Korea that everyone is just wearing variations on a ski cap. Boo.
The highlights of the (not)hat parade:
- The badasses who are the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team, the first ever African bobsled team. Bonus points for AMAZONG headwear:
- Mexico knows what’s up:
- The emotional Iranian flagbearer:
- The Colombians who embraced the hat parade:
- As did India:
- As did Kazakhstan:
- The New Zealanders who continue to engage in Game of Thrones cosplay:
- The Americans’ gloves which Ralph Lauren stole wholesale from Dumb and Dumber. I literally have in my notes: “UGH ANGRY. HTESE GLOVES MAKE ANGRY” (Oh, shut up. As if you weren’t getting your box wine on while watching this, too.)
- Our favorite greasy Tongan, who, GOD BLESS HIM, is BACK, having qualified for cross-country skiing. What can’t he do? (Besides put on clothes without ruining them?)
- And finally, the team having the most fun at the Olympics: Jamaica. Give them all the prizes.
Once the parade is over, there’s a bunch more dancing and singing and speeches and robot people and people running around with fire on their heads and brain holograms and the Kumon face for some reason:
It’s a lot.
And finally, FINALLY, some Korean hockey players on the unified team arrive with the Olympic torch which they hand off to gold medal-winning figure skater, Yuna Kim, who puts it into a giant fire peen which, in turn, lights the Olympic cauldron.
I’m already tired.