The lead-up to Sochi was filled with dire signs that Putin's games were doomed. The toilets are weird! There's no Chobani! They're butchering thousands of dogs! My honey packet had a bee in it!
And so a breathless public tuned in to minutely scrutinize the opening ceremony, waiting for disaster, narrated by hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer. What do you remember? Test yourself.
1. Bob Costas had pink eye. How many athletes had pink eye? A. 3 percent B. 35 percent C. 78 percent D. 98 percent
2. During the opening video montage, were you surprised that Russia: A. Invented the television. B. Invented the Dirt Devil. C. Invented hard candy. D. Invented sprinklers.
3. The montage, which used the Cyrillic alphabet to list the names of famous Russian artists and inventions, was confusing to many. At what point did you finally figure out that the producers were not just screwing up their regular western ABCs? A. The whole time, baby. B. Right after my Dad told me to shut up and stop laughing at the Russians. C. Never. I can recognize a Cyrillic alphabet in my sleep. D. That was an alphabet?
— Meredith Vieira (@meredithvieira) February 7, 2014
4. During the opening video montage, what did host Meredith Vieira not say: A. "Those corn mowing machine aren't drawn to scale, Matt." B. "What kind of name is Tchaikovsky, Matt?" C. "We still haven't seen the dashboard cam, Matt." D. "I'm sorry, but having 'parachute' for P is amateur hour, Matt."
5. True/false: Meredith fell off her chair when she saw "Space Station" under the letter O.
6. In your opinion, should the tiny, adorable fifth-grade girl have soared much higher into the air given the size and breadth of the arena and her oft-reported fearlessness? Explain.
7. Quite a few columnists, like Slate's Simon Doonan, have called Sochi's opening ceremony "the gayest ever." Can you elaborate without your answer going viral?
8. Did you see a drone or an X-Wing zooming around the floating land masses? If not, explain. It seemed like such a good opportunity.
9. True/false: Russia has enough goddamn bioregions.
— Bridget Hickey (@bridget_hickey) February 8, 2014
10. What did the host Meredith Vieira not say during the unveiling of the Olympic symbols. A. "Are those snowflakes or floating buttholes, Matt?" B. "Matt? Floating buttholes, Matt?" C. "Looks like one floating butthole didn't open, Matt -- a political message?" D. "I will apologize to no one, Matt."
11. True/false: Did you first consider that watching this whole thing was a terrible mistake during the interminable raising of the flag?
12. True/false: Do you know medieval Russia was not so wonderfully psychedelic?
13. Later that night, how angry were you when you realized NBC cut the segment with the giant crazy skating mascots; specifically, the horrifying blinking bear? A. Mildly furious -- I like a good terrifying mascot as much as the next asshole. B. Significantly furious -- I had my Twitter jokes all lined up. C. Goddam furious -- my dog and I waited up all night for those. D. Fucking furious -- I guess NBC stands for "Screw You, Viewer."
14. True/false: Did you die a little death when the thunderstorm of Peter the Great morphed into people dancing to War and Peace? Be honest. It's OK.
15. During the parade of nations, what did the Americans wear? A. Shit-eating grins B. All-American undergarments. C. GPS devices. D. A thinly veiled contempt for the Belarusians. E. Tommy Hilfiger's Christmas storage unit.
16. What did you think when you first saw Shaun White? A. B. C. D. Did he cut his hair?
17. How many members of Finland's team were in a Twitter fight with Bob Costas as they walked up the ramp? A. 3 B. 5 C. 7 D. 9
18. What did Matt Lauer define YOLO as? A. You Only Love Oxen B. You Only Like Oxen C. You Only Lick Oxen D. You Only Lacerate Oxen
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) February 7, 2014
19. What did Meredith Vieira not say during the parade of nations: A. "Should countries with just one athlete really be allowed in the Olympics, Matt?" B. "So far I've counted eight fake countries, Matt -- oh, here comes 'Venezuela.' Nine." C. "What are all those little rectangles they're holding, Matt?" D. "An Australian has dreads -- that can't be good, Matt."
20. Did that part with the athletes projected in the stars remind you of a Dark Side of the Moon laser light show at a planetarium? If so, what are you, like 45? Please explain.
21. Was the number of dancing '50s hipsters on stage more or less than the actual number of hipsters in '50s Russia?
22. How many stray dogs wandered into the arena and sat in empty seats, watching the show? A. 4, and it was adorable. B. 20 -- still cute, but people were on notice. C. 50 -- damn ominous; they watched in silence, unmoving. D. 435 -- back to being cute; they had a whole section!
23. On the way to the light torch, Vladislav Tretiak stopped to: A. Take off his shirt. B. Fight a bear. C. Drink vodka and sing songs with the locals. D. Set fire to a dog. E. All of the above.
24. How many times did Matt Lauer chuckle to himself and say, "In Russian Olympics, torch lights you?" A. 1 B. 14, if you include those he mumbled under his breath. C. 56, if you include those he said to his wife that night D. 439, if you include those he said to his mirror the next day.
25. Which statement best describes your familiarity with the history of Russia, given how confused you were with the majority of the opening ceremony. A. "Sputnik -- prog band?" B. "How about those big Russian tractors?" C. "I have been wrong about the alphabet all this time." D. "Industrialization looks fun."
26. Ten years ago, did you ever think you would associate the workers of communism with the plumbers of Super Mario Bros. at the Olympics in Russia? Please explain to my parents.
27. How many Daft Punk songs do you think appeared in the opening ceremonies of Putin's Olympics in Russia in 2014? A. 1 B. 2
27. Which host began a humorous aside with, "So, I was sitting on double toilet astride this Russian fellow when he pulled out a tub of peach Chobani ..." A. Matt B. Meredith
Answers on the back of the Internet
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.