First of all, I have a complaint to lodge, and it is that the Olympics should not start before the Opening Ceremony. By definition, these Olympics games have not yet been opened. My body is not yet ready to be paying attention to figure skating. This is not how this works! This is not how any of this works!

My bitching aside, the Figure Skating Team Competition is one of those things that I was very snooty and opposed to when they originally announced it and it’s actually really fun and I love it, so. (See also: the BCS playoffs and like about a million other things I thought were dumb and then turned out to love, like camera phones.) The Washington Post had a good explainer of how it works, and the first half happened on NBC last night, with the men’s short program, the rhythm dance, and the pairs short program, and the way the time zone worked out, we here in the United States saw basically everyone, which is unusual. You can REALLY see the difference in quality between the top five and the bottom five, even in just a group of ten skaters. Let’s discuss! (I am sort of confused about how/when the events are happening/airing, but we’re just covering events that have already aired on primetime NBC so folks don’t get spoiled.)

My bullet point thoughts, and of course we’ve got noteworthy looks and further thoughts in the slideshow:

a. Ice dancing is sincerely a hoot, please always let me see people skating to Usher. I also enjoy how the subtext — or even honestly the text — of NBC’s piece about Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue was literally how they used to bang and whether or not it makes them better skaters. (Yes, seems to be the consensus.) Thanks for leaning into that full gossipy place, NBC. (I also love their Janet Jackson routine. Of course, you should dance to a song literally called Rhythm Nation during the rhythm dance!)

b. Nathan Chen looked GOOD; in fact, he got his best ever score for this short program last night. (Today? Time zones make my head hurt.) It turned out, actually, that all of the Americans who skated last night (today?????? When am I?) scored personal bests. USA coming in HOT and is currently in gold medal position. This will not last, probably, but the Americans are in way better shape than we expected at this point. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought that about any topic!!

c. Johnny Weir told a story about how Germany’s solo male skater got engaged before the previous Olympics and told his fiance they could get married after he was “done” with the Olympics and then he decided to go for the NEXT Olympics even though he was originally going to retire, pushing their wedding way down the road. I feel like his fiancee had to have been like……………

d. I enjoy that ice dancers Zach Donohue and Nikita Katsalapov almost had a FIST FIGHT in the warm-up because they almost ran into each other (I may be exaggerating). ICE DANCER RUMBLE!!! And then Katsalapov had a random error during their skate — there is nothing like watching a Russian ice dancer (and the reigning world champ!) almost bite it in a bowling shirt to the dulcet tones of “Brick House.” I hope this leads to a scandalous feud!

e. Pairs skating is truly a wild undertaking. “Here, let me THROW YOU real far while you TWIST AROUND and we should be doing this at high speeds on ice!” Related: The Chinese pair of Sui and Han is so good. They have one lift where I actually said, “WOW” aloud to my room. They feel so much more modern to me than their big competition, the Russians Mishina and Gallyamov — but I haven’t see a lot of the international skating this season, so please do weigh in on this — and everything! (She seemed peeved that they didn’t beat the Chinese but like…your routine was corny, babe!)

And while we’re here, if you missed it, we covered the US Nationals earlier this month, and I wrote a big post about Olympic Figure Skating Costumes of Yore.

[Photos: HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Shutterstock, YUTAKA/AFLO/Shutterstock, David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock, David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock, Bernat Armangue/AP/Shutterstock, MATSUO K/AFLO/Shutterstock, Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Image]