It was like being in the movies next to some idiot who would.not.stop.talking.

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!, I yelled. Again and again I yelled. But they wouldn’t.

And so, for me, went the Opening Ceremonies of the 30th Olympiad. The  ‘narrative’ from NBC was intrusive, ignorant, not respectful and utterly, utterly annoying.

During one of the loveliest moments of the entire ceremony, hundreds of ethereal creatures floated around the stadium on invisible bicycles, finally sending one of their own skyward. Matt Lauer talked over the entire thing (apparently I needed to know who invented the bicycle). The music? Who needs music.

Their greatest sin was that they stripped away the majesty; dozens of nations gathering in friendship and competition has, even amidst the celebrations, a solemn aspect. It is always history. They don’t get that part.

Lauer even  talked through the transfer of the torch –  drowning out the articulate and relevant stadium announcers – and, in fact, getting a lot of it wrong.

“This is the most moving part of the Olympic ceremony” said Lauer, as the Olympic flag was carried in. “I think it’s best to just watch.”  But he couldn’t. Eight seconds in he was back at it.

Plus the camera angles were terrible. Shut up!

UPDATE SINCE I WROTE THIS: I see that The Guardian had the same reaction.

Commentators Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira reunited for the cameras as if it was Beijing 2008 – or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or just a regular morning in 2011.

Theirs was the job of interpreting, explaining and trampling all over Danny Boyle’s fast-paced, high-def presentation of Great Britain from the time of maypoles and hay bales to the current day. And they did what they were paid to do. . .

The most egregious moment of commentary had come earlier when Matt and Meredith mentioned that there was to be a tribute to “someone” called Tim Berners-Lee.

“If you haven’t heard of him, we haven’t either,” chuckled Meredith about the inventor of the world wide web sitting on stage.

“Google him,” laughed Matt with no apparent sense of irony.

Way to go NBC, play into that old stereotype of the unschooled American.

11 responses to “It was like being in the movies next to some idiot who would.not.stop.talking.

  1. The media just keep dumbing us down.


  2. Matt Lauer is an idiot. He has dumbed down what used to be a good morning show. I do believe it is beyond repair.


  3. I usually enjoy watching the opening ceremony but missed most of it this time. Looks like I didn’t miss much after all. I really hate American TV coverage of the Olympics. I miss the Canadian coverage I got when I lived in Canada. Perhaps I should have moved back there for a couple of weeks during the Olympics. Or at least taken my vacation there.


  4. Parades and specticals, I’m there but after less than two hours, I’m gone. It was the worst of the Macy Parade coverage. Though I DID really love the salute to the Nation Health Service. I wish they had shown Mittens face during that piece.


    • I loved that too – it was certainly the most puzzling part of the show and I wondered if it wasn’t a secret dig at our American view – odd to the extreme – of how to deliver health care. After all, Republicans constantly trash their system, so why not hit back.


  5. I watched the BBC One version last night – they made about two or three comments in four hours. Some dry british understatements.
    And the show was awesome!! The brits have so much great music. Hats off.


    • Is it online? I’d love ot take a look (not the four hours I don’t think) just for comparison, although I think I know alrready what it was like. Honest mac, it was just so awful.


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