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"We don't need to imagine we're running the Olympics and we've got problems, we are running the Olympics and we've got problems!"—John
The Games was an Australian Mockumentary television series about the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) on the run-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It had two seasons of thirteen episodes each, the first in 1998 and the second in 2000.
The main characters were:
- John (played by John Clarke), the "Olympic Supremo', and apparently a former Olympic champion (though he never said what he got his medal for)
- Bryan (played by Bryan Dawe), the head accountant
- Gina (played by Gina Riley), the head of marketing
- Nicholas (played by Nicholas Bell), the Secretary to the Minister for the Olympics
In one episode John Howard played himself. That's John Howard the actor, who is not the same person as John Howard (then the prime minister of Australia). In that episode John Howard [the actor] gave an apology about the treatment of indigenous Australians that John Howard [the prime minister] had been notoriously refusing to give. (Since then Kevin Rudd, the succeeding prime minister, has given the apology).
Season 1 of The Games was released on DVD in 2005, and Season 2 is now out in Australia.
In 2011, Channel 9 was going to air The Games: London Calling, where the cast are hired to help with the London 2012 Olympics. Unfortunately, it got cancelled. There's a possibility that London Calling might get picked up by another network, though. Cross your fingers.
The Games provides examples of:
- Acting for Two: Actors who play minor characters often reprise their roles as other minor characters.
- Australian Politics: It came cruelly close to what happens in real life politics (and not just in Australia).
- Bittersweet Ending: They got the Olympics on, but they couldn't fix the Closing Ceremony and all the cock-ups and over-budgeting means that they have to get out of there.
- Character as Himself: John Howard (the character) played by John Howard (the actor) in order to be mistaken for John Howard (the Prime Minister).
- Crap Saccharine World: Sydney, portrayed as a city where everyone double-crosses you, the media will crucify you if you say one bad word, your co-workers will lynch you and run off at the first opportunity and nobody will help you.
- The Danza: All the main characters had the same name as their actors.
- Taken to an extreme by John Howard: See Character as Himself above.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of the cast, but John Clarke raises it to an absolute artform.
- Double-Speak: In one episode, it's explained that 'X has my/our full support' means that the person in question is about to be fired.
- In another, the IOC is said to talk in 'code', with one example being 'all host cities in the near future' (Athens).
- Epic Fail: The video designed to be an introduction to Sydney. It contained a fuckload of errors (such as referring to Sydney as the capital of Australia, the home of the world's most famous athlete, and containing even more visual errors, like shots of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens, the Bank of Melbourne, and a shot of the freeway in Queensland) and was too hilarious to be anything but a failure.
- Three words: 'No wuckin' furries'.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
Gina: Does it involve ropes?
Nicholas: No, it's a petition.
Gina: No, the ropes course.
Nicholas: Yes, it does concern itself with ropes, it is a ropes course.
- Fridge Brilliance: '4 Corners': The tape was leaked by Nicholas so he could force the three of them into his scheme. The complacency of the ABC staff? They never planned to air the footage, they already had their story and were using the tape to distract Nicholas.
- Fridge Logic: In-universe, the show often raised some interesting questions, such as 'Should a genetically engineered horse be allowed to race?' 'Can a transsexual still compete even though she can't defend her title?' and 'How do we deal with the media?'
- '4 Corners': Say Nicholas' scheme wasn't revealed and John, Gina and Bryan became part of the fictional department to bring in a republic. How could he pull it off? Eventually they'd figure it out when nothing happened.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one episode, John is asking Gina questions relayed to him by a group of construction workers she's been watching and criticizing. After the first few, he quietly asks Bryan, 'What are funbags, Bryan?' Bryan flips off the workers.
- The Ghost: The Minister for the Olympics, who never appeared but was often referenced.
- In one episode, Joseph Williams, a businessman who basically gets whatever he wants and has his eyes on the Olympics board. He gets shot before anything happens.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: John Clarke and Bryan Dawe now do sketches on The 7:30 Report, and Gina Riley went on to be Kim in Kath and Kim.
- Hilarity Ensues: The team have to deal with the Millennium Bug, and John is convinced that it doesn't exist. To prove it, he sets the date on every mechanism he can to January 1st, 2000, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Hypocritical Humor: One episode had John repeatedly shouting at Bryan and Gina for focusing more on future job opportunities instead of on the Olympics. And then it turns out he rigged the entire events of the episode so he'd get a job at Athens.
- In one episode, John and Nicholas continually wonder where their funding is going- as they're eating expensive gourmet food and wine.
- I Never Said It Was Poison
- Jade-Colored Glasses: The amount of cynicism in this series is enough to sink a battleship.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In the 4 Corners episode, John and Bryan point out that the footage can't legally be shown because neither of them were aware that they were being taped or consented to it. Nicholas points out that the public's right to know would outweigh that, but John and Bryan were right- especially since they were talking about the possibility of changing the tax system as opposed to the planned change of the tax system, and neither of them had the power to implement such changes.
- Loophole Abuse: Oh yeah, in spades.
- No Fourth Wall: Everyone remarks on the fact that they're doing a TV series and often talk to or about the camera crew.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Of course, they didn't mean to be obstructive, it just happened that way.
- Oh Crap: "We are stuffed!" "Oh, we're doomed." "We're buggered."
- One of Our Own: When Bryan's job is threatened, Gina and John do their best to make sure he keeps it.
- In another episode, John gets very mad when Nicholas tries to sack Gina and refuses to let him.
- Poisonous Friend: Nicholas, quite often.
- Pun-Based Title: 'The Games' refers both to the Olympics, and the psychological games played by John, Bryan, Gina and Nicholas.
- Springtime for Hitler:
Gina: What just happened?
John: I think we won.
Gina: Why don't I feel like we won?
John: Well, because I think what you wanted was to create industrial chaos so you could teach the Minister a lesson you thought he deserved.
Gina: And yet I have, in the process, singlehandedly brought industrial stability to the Games, and saved millions of dollars in wage demands.
John: Yeah, so it would appear, Gina.
- Stealing From the Till: Everyone souvenirs something in the final episode.
- Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Referenced in "IOC Man" when Bill Ten Eyck says his son is named "Bill, Jr.".