By Darren Franich
Updated January 21, 2013 at 09:06 PM EST

The Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama marked the beginning of a brave new American era of bipartisan governance and well-reasoned political discourse. No it didn’t. But it was a hell of a party, a grand and justifiably pompous power-pageant which reached an emotional climax when the stirring voice of the world’s most powerful human being echoed throughout the National Mall. But enough about Beyoncé. Here are some key moments frozen in time from a cold day in Washington:

Justice Antonin Scalia wore the ceremonial headdress of The Bad Guy From Assassin’s Creed, as is tradition.

A National Rorschach text. If you like Biden, then in this smirky moment he’s Han Solo at the end of Star Wars, accepting his medal and winking at the Princess. If you don’t like Biden, then he’s Han Solo at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back, a stuck-up half-witted scruffy-looking nerf herder. “Who’s scruffy-looking?” he responds, before going off gallivanting with fuzzy sidekick Wolf Blitzer.

Bangs: Officially happening.

Kelly Clarkson’s appearance at the inauguration confirms that the American government finally approves of American Idol, in the process confirming that the American government is always a decade behind the American people. Following the transitive property, the 2024 inauguration will feature President Cee Lo in a swivel chair.

The Most Perfect Moment in American history, Part One: Beyoncé plucks out her earphone mid-National Anthem, does not miss a beat. Scientists theorize that she is guided by the music of the spheres.

The Most Perfect Moment in American history, Part Two: Beyoncé Triumphant. Pay fealty, minions.

The Most Perfect Moment in American History, Epilogue: Representative Kevin McCarthy — Majority Whip, founding member of the GOP Young Guns, number three Republican in the House of Representatives — snaps an iPhone picture of the Knowles-Carters. FEALTY PAID.

On his way off the dais, the President turns and flashes a look at the huddled masses. According to NBC’s high-powered boom mike, he says: “I want to look out one more time. I’m not gonna see this again.” Malia responds: “Oh my god, dad, stop embarrassing me in front of Savannah Guthrie.”

Because every major televised event in America could use a touch of class, John Legend suddenly appears in the luncheon hall. Here, Legend introduces former President Bill Clinton to his ladyfriend, Swimsuit Model/Self-Deprecating Beautybot/Adorable Fangirl Of Your Dreams Chrissy Tiegen. Oh, to be a fly on the wall with a microphone.

Master of Ceremonies Chuck Schumer stumbled at the beginning of the luncheon, asking attendees to sit down several times and at one point mumbling: “What do I do?” Meanwhile, the sommelier didn’t miss a beat and carefully — but firmly — offered a healthy pour to the most powerful people in the country. Maybe the sommelier should run the Senate, amiright?

Majority Leader and Liberal Nemesis Eric Cantor gives the President the official gift: A pair of glass vases. “Join us,” says Cantor, “In looking at these beautiful vases…these beautiful vases…these beautiful vases.” The President, Vice President, and various other luminaries thus spend whole seconds of actual time looking at big glass containers. Doctor Mrs. Biden offers a notable giggle. Keep in mind: This is something our government did.

Meanwhile, Darth Vader looms in the corner, preparing to hurl Eric Cantor into the reactor core of the Capitol Dome.

Tom Brokaw sans context: “I’ve got a closet full of guns.”

The Gotham PD, shown here chasing the violent masked vigilante Batman.

The 44th President of the United States, shown here inside of the Presidential State Car. Little-known fact: The Presidential State Car is also known as “The Beast,” and is both completely bulletproof and impervious to chemical attack. It can also transform into a gigantic transforming space robot, through a process of transformation. It’s kind of like that one movie about the cars that transform into things. I think it was called Cars.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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