Fully loaded ice bucket next to couch? Check. Bottle of Prosecco in it? Check. Bag of Funyuns? Check.
That’s right. Time to watch the season premier of “Breaking Bad.”
Wait! The phone’s ringing? Son of a bitch, phone off hook, not-check!
Well, it was my mother. I always answer when it’s my mother because she’s in the habit of falling down and snapping her bones in half. At her funeral I don’t want to be the asshole standing there in mourning weeds thinking, “I could have saved her, but I was too busy gnawing on Funyuns while watching a TV show about the moral decay of a fictional suburban white drug lord.”
To my horror, my mother, whose bones were not broken this time, wanted to know if I was watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. This meant, in effect, that I had to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Summoning all the courage of the Fasters, I poured myself a glass and hit the remote.
The thing had already been underway for some minutes. I understand there was supposedly some story arc involving England Thru the Ages or whatever, and that I had just missed a fake queen skydiving, but even those two contingencies could not mitigate my confused, quasi-enskeevedness over the incomprehensible spectacle of about 28,000 children in luminous insane asylum beds, attended by an army of parlour-maid-looking female nurses. So it’s true then, what generations of Americans raised on Dickens have always suspected? That all English children are raised in Victorian orphanages? But what of the unsettling giant baby? What the fuck was that?*
And oh, they can’t be serious. A British Invasion medley? Really?
Of all the nasty, below-the-belt showbiz conventions, medleys suck the worst. There is no pleasure, no gratification, no philosophic value in a medley. There is only a sort of jarring pain, a stab of yearning, in being forced to endure 3 seconds of a beloved rock classic interrupted by 3 seconds of another beloved rock classic, many times in rapid succession. You just want to hear one whole fucking song, even if it’s fucking “Stairway to Heaven,” although one would of course prefer “Kashmir.”
By the way, all the featured medley artists were dudes. In Swinging London, birds didn’t rock.
At some point during the 3 seconds of “Bohemian Rhapsody” one of the commentators broke the sobering news that another dude, Sir Paul, was scheduled to appear at any moment. That did it. My filial obligations be damned! I immediately switched back to “Breaking Bad,” and you would have done the same. Can anybody even look at Paul McCartney — especially now that he’s an irrelevant geezer — without experiencing that haunting, guilty pang? You know, the one that whispers, “they killed the wrong Beatle”? Alternatively, I understand that when some of the younger set look at Paul McCartney, their pang says “Who the hell is Paul McCartney?”
The subject is nominally the Olympics here, so I’ll have to mention with a curled lip the women’s beach volleyball male fantasy/beach blanket bingo outfits.
Talk of cold weather had created panic in the British press that the female players would go for long-sleeves instead of the standard bikinis – a longtime but little used rule in international volleyball […] But the beach party atmosphere was augmented by the dancers, who filled the downtime with kicklines and even one tango that ended up with the dance partners flopping suggestively in the sand. [Huffington Post]
The “Playboy Prince” Harry has front row seats to the women’s final. Need I say more?
Probably not, but I will anyway. Just in case you were anxious that coverage of the sport would fail to sufficiently objectify the athletes, the Huffington Post comes through with this classy booty shot.
* I have since been apprised that the hospital beds spelled out “NHS” and were meant to represent Britain’s national health service. It still seems strange that national health would be depicted by 19th century sick people, but whatever. England’s just quirky like that!
Beds photo from Christian Science Monitor