Perhaps someday we will live in a world where the Olympics are always happening all of the time. Alas, we currently inhabit a cruel reality where the Olympics take place for a mere fortnight every couple years. And so last night we said good night to the Olympics in Sochi. Good night, teenaged figure skaters! Good night, jokes about curling followed by the epiphany that curling is pretty cool! Good night, insipid NBC commentary and insipid snark about the insipid NBC commentary! Good night, awkward cutaways to Putin!
The Closing Ceremony of Sochi 2014 took viewers on a journey through Russian culture. Who better to guide us through the festivities than Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, Sunday Night Football commentators and world-renowned Tolstoy scholars?
They were joined by Vladimir Pozner, a Russian journalist/alleged propagandist/person on NBC who was actually capable of pronouncing Russian names. Pozner was basically there as a hype man. When a boat appeared onscreen flying through the air, rowed by a pair of clowns and three children, Pozner noted: “[The boat is] being rowed into what I would call the Russian soul.” Pause to imagine the Russian soul, filled with metaphorical clowns.
And while you’re picturing those metaphorical clowns, keep in mind that the Closing Ceremony also involved a metaphorical bear. What we learned at Sochi 2014: Russia is a country populated entirely by clowns and bears and figure skaters.
But don’t take my word for it! Let’s take a closer look at the Closing Ceremony, with EW’s last Olympics Recap until Rio 2016. (Unless maybe they slip some Spring Olympics into 2015? Like, bowling?)
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The closing ceremony referenced the malfunctioning fifth ring in the opening ceremony:
But this time the fifth ring did open. So there.
The Klondike Staircase.
South Korean-born Viktor Ahn might have gotten his Russian citizenship, but that doesn’t mean he’ll sing the anthem. It’s a long anthem, guys.
Polina Edmunds and a fellow American Olympian did an adorable little Gold Diggers of 1933 soft-shoe number during their parade onstage.
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The Precise Moment That Everything Got Weird
When the bear came out.
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The moment that the gigantic bear mascot stared into the mirror and witnessed the cold deadness behind its own eyes.
In that moment the bear experienced total consciousness. Perhaps it tried to speak — “Why, Creator, Why?” it wanted to scream, “Why did you make me an imperfect reflection of your divine image?” But alas, its creators had not granted the poor misbegotten creature the power of speech. And so it suffered in silence, descending into the madness that consumes all things cursed with sentience.
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“Ivan Bunnyovich, Dmitri Bearovich, and Alexei Leopardovich are…The Brothers Bearamazov.”
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The bear blowing out the Olympic torch.
And, In Conclusion, Here Is Everything The Bear Looked Like When It Shed A Single Tear