Monday, March 1, 2010

Gotta Love Canada

photo; nhat meyer

Did you see the Olympic closing ceremonies? I was absolutely delighted. It was one of the silliest things I've ever seen. Please don't be offended if you're Canadian, I mean that with admiration.

China gave us amazing choreography, high-tech magic and a cast of thousands.

Canada did all that, pretty much, but they added in giant inflatable beavers.

Neil Young's farewell song was perfect - but I love Neil Young. So I'm not a good judge. But I found it touching; sweet, wistful, real.

I naively thought that's where it would end. Oh no. It was just beginning.

They paraded out some of their famously funny people, (it was all just a tad flat, which kind of added to its charm), dressed Michael Buble up as an overstuffed Mountie, then had him croon through an extravaganza with snowboarders, Mounties and a pretty audio visual display. I was thinking it was okay, but not a big deal.

Then the beavers showed up. I started roaring and my guy, who is not one to laugh out loud easily, joined me. I continued to sputter as the beavers were followed by moose. Then the cutout skateboard guys were surrounded by the huge inflatable RC Mounties.

"They are just this side of hip, aren't they?" my guy asked with great admiration in his voice.

That's what I've always liked about Canada.

Look at the outfits the teams wore for closing night. America was dressed in their Ralph Lauren red white and blue, looking like a preppy rowing team. (I hate Ralph, sorry. He's the one who airbrushed a skinny model to look like a skeleton to sell his rags, then denied he did it.)

Then here comes Canada, moose sweaters and Rocket J. Squirrel flap hats with "Canada" emblazoned across the forehead. That was one happy and cute as hell bunch of athletes.

I love this about Canada: they are who they are. They make no apologies (despite what Katherine O'Hara said) and they make no pretense. They're real.

I haven't been to Canada for about ten years; maybe I've got it all wrong. But that was my sense when I was there, and that continued last night. On PEI, when we visited ten years ago, we took the kids to an amusement park that was as low tech as it could possibly be. My kids were amazed. I recognized it as the kind of small town park my parents used to take me to, way back when. The kind of thing that has been replaced with bigger, faster, more expensive in the US. My kids adored it.

The people we met seemed to be missing a hard shell that many Americans have developed. I think we in the US are very concerned about seeming cool. Maybe we're still feeling like it a genetic self-doubt left from the first Europeans to settle here?

China certainly seemed to think it had something to prove: it went all out in Beijing proving its coolness.

I think Canada knows it's cool. It's the kid in class who is totally comfortable with who he is, the kid that at first glance makes the other kids laugh, but who eventually becomes the most popular kid in school.

Canada, I have just one question. Where were the MacKenzie Brothers? I honestly thought they'd be sitting on top of that huge Mountie hat at the end, inviting the crowd to sing along, eh?

"Coo roo koo koo koo roo koo koo...."


Jo said...

I think Canada knows it's cool. It's the kid in class who is totally comfortable with who he is, the kid that at first glance makes the other kids laugh, but who eventually becomes the most popular kid in school.

You just described my Freddie. :-)

Canadians have the best sense of humor in the world. That's why all the best comedians have come from Canada, from Jim Carrey, to Dan Aykroyd and most of the guys on Saturday Night Live (including Lorne Michaels), Mike Myers, Howie Mandel... But yes, where were Doug and Bob McKenzie???

It was fun, wasn't it? I loved the mime who got the fourth leg to work. What a hoot!

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Oh, you're so funny. I didn't see the whole thing, but from what I saw, I was thinking the exact same thing...

Susan said...

I missed the mime! Damn it! I have to go find it now.
Maureen, I think if you can't find inflatable beavers hilarious you've lost your will to live, don't you?

Russell said...

You won't believe this, but .... when they started raising the Russian flag and seeing the Russian anthem I figured the closing ceremonies were about over.

I figured, oh well.... and turned off the TV. Apparently that is when all the GOOD stuff began!

I did hear a flap about NBC cutting away to show its new show, Parenthood, before the closing ceremonies were over. Not sure if that is true or not.

After the hockey game that afternoon I was pretty well spent.

Take care.

Reya Mellicker said...

I didn't see any of the Olympics, but your description sounds perfectly Canadian.

Big inflated beavers, eh? What's not to love??

Beebs said...

The funny thing about the closing ceremonies for me (A Canadian) is that I didn't even see them! haha to be perfectly honest every Canadian I know was celebrating in the streets after we won the hockey. For Canadians when we watch these things like the closing ceremonies or opening ceremonies it's usually just embarassing because it's always just about us trying to look the Americans and it's silly and embarassing. After the hockey game there were riots in the streets, people came out of the bars and pubs and were hugging strangers in the street, cars honking everwhere draping canada flags, people singing our anthem, high fiving and cheering everywhere for like five hours after the game lol. No one even watched the ceremonies we're just so proud of our country :) The reason I love us is because the real closing ceremonies weren't on television for us, it is in the streets or in the living room with family and friends just celebrating what we'd done! so thrilling!

Susan said...

That's a terrific comment, made me like Canada even better. Now just ban the seal hunting and you win the "You're cooler than us" award hands down.