Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thanksgiving! Also, I Attempt to Live-Blog the 2010 Macy's Parade
Which probably is a logistical nightmare that will not work. We'll see.
Heck, I may not even be awake in real life yet. I did have the foresight to set the DVR and my alarm, so we shall see what happens.
I recommend reading all the parade recaps at X-Entertainment (conveniently collected in this blog post), this Onion AV Club post from a few years back (very good but why the "Foster's Home" hate?), and this recent follow-up. And this terrific Homestarrunner.com cartoon (what the heck happened to those guys anyway?) They deftly summarize why I cannot get enough of this stupid parade every year. It is deeply strange, shamelessly commercial, and at times you almost feel ashamed for everyone involved. However, it also acts as a very odd yet accurate pop-culture barometer, and that is what makes it fascinating.
With that in mind, here is a (coffee!) Drinking Game I invented last year. Excellent examples of all these instances can be seen in the above-mentioned X-E articles. Take a sip...
* - Every awkward and/or off-model character float or costume.
* - Every time the hosts mispronounce someone's name.
* - Every time the hosts misidentify someone.
* - Every weird juxtaposition between the performers on a float and the theme of the float. (On that note, this year Kanye West is the equivalent of a "free space" in Bingo.)
* - Drink deeply when you notice how much bigger and more elaborate the Barney and Barbie floats are compared to the Sesame Street float.
* - Here's the big one. Take a shot every time it is blatantly obvious that the hosts only have a small notecard explaining (or not) who the fictional character, band, or other entity now visible in the parade is. (In other words, for you Tropers, Cowboy Beebop At His Computer = You Taking A Drink. The "Snoop Doggie-Dogg" incident still wins.)
What odd things shall we see this year?
JUST in case this is a total failure, I have for you a very strange and almost-totally-forgotten Holiday special appropriate for today: Nick's Thanksgiving Extravaganza!
If my foggy memory is correct, this was aired in 1989 and ran several times during Thanksgiving Day (making it seem like it went on for hours and hours). This special seems a little rushed in parts (especially the beginning of "Thanksgiving Dream"), but it showcases a nice variety of animation directors who made those wonderful Mtv networks bumpers. I rather like the shorts by Joe Ahlbum more than the longer stories. Kevin Altieri's "Thanksgiving Nightmare" is kinda fun, but gives me a nasty "Capitol Critters" flashback, and Joe Pearson's aforementioned "Dream" is just... strange. It feels too much like one of those "sappy" episodes of "Animaniacs", like "A Gift of Gold". Highlights are the narrator acting like it is an unimaginable horror that the story takes place in a pre-Atari world (really) and a bad guy who inadvertently made Oogie Boogie and Clayface my crack pairing. The special was uploaded by Youtube user Bbahalt, and her(?) Channel is making me gleefully rub my hands for Christmas...
Macy's Parade Live-Blog!
9:10 - I'm awake! I didn't forget! I was in the kitchen getting breakfast and they cut the ribbon and I put too much sugar in my coffee cause I got surprised and... nobody's actually reading this live, are they?
(Ahem) Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! So there's a squirrel who is stubbornly trying to attack my (squirrel-proof) feeder, and in Parade action, we have learned that for some people "Cotton Eye Joe" will never stop being funny.
9:17 - OK, the people who made that creepy rocket-baby photo commercial have *never* paid attention to the lyrics in "Brand New Rollerskates" have they? (At least they are more subtle than, say, "Ride My Pony".)
Also, DO NOT LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED IN THING THAT CAN ROLL AWAY GOD DAMMIT!!! (I almost died when I got to watch a family take a picture of their baby -in a carriage- on the f***ing edge of a T platform *as the train was approaching*. )
9:20 - There are lots and lots of "F*** it, let's just write a musical around our favorite band's popular songs" musicals out there, so this was only a matter of time. But... Green Day has one of these musicals now. I am old.
Also, the title of the song is "Good Riddance". Take a sip.
9:26 - So according to Coca-Cola, Santa Claus is... God. Also, we all live in the Tommy Westphall Universe.
9:29 - Could something like "Rent" even survive if it had debuted in this "Let's just write a musical around popular songs"/"Let's just turn a move into a musical" Broadway environment?
9:40 - "PLEASE watch 'Outsourced'! And we PROMISE that 'The Cape' is different from all those shows by Glen Larson in the 80's!"
9:45 - Yeah... "Elf: The Musical"... yeah...
9:50 - Jeez, American Girl dolls still exist? Except it looks like now, instead of having to pick from three girls from three different historical periods (later to be joined by at least two more "ethnic" dolls: an escaped slave and a pre-Columbian Native American. Yeah...), you get to create your own modern girl.
9:55 - Ooh, the Rockettes! That means the actual parade part of the Parade is about to start!
Ad thanks to a quirk of Spellcheck, I JUST got the Rockettes/Rockets pun.
10:00 - So there is a new Peanuts special coming soon? Also, horribly off-model Peanuts costumes! (Characters with heads bigger than their bodies tend not to translate well at all.)
10:02 - On the other hand, those old big-head pilgrim things have got to scare children.
10:05 - I take it Arlo isn't going to get to sing the later verses of this song (as with "Born in the USA", it was a protest song misconstrued as a fist-pumping patriotic anthem). Also, the sight of a giant turkey serving a Thanksgiving feast as on that float is... unsettling.
10:08 - I still don't know what to think of the new "Muppet" movie.
10:11 - D'aww, Sesame Street. And they didn't say anything in the spiel, but is Wimpy Kid the first literary character balloon?
10:13 - It strikes me as very odd that the whole selling point of the X-Box KINECT is, "Aren't Wii-motes soooooooo hard to figure out?"
10:16 - RE: "Hop!" I... I don't even know.
Actually, I do: they're asking us to get excited about an Easter movie on Thanksgiving. I've lately had the existentially horrific perception that time is speeding up as I grow older, and this isn't helping.
10:18 - I hope people are aware that The Roots predate Jimmy Fallon's show by a good... however long it's been since my freshman year in college.
By the way, anyone who hates on "Do They Know it's Christmas" can go right to hell. (I have seen a surprising amount of dissent for it in the past few years. Jeez, it's a charity single, who'd complain about something so well-meaning? [The recent remake of "We are the World" is up for mockery, however. I'll take Bob Dylan over Autotuning any damn day.])
10:22 - This is what the group of humans behind "Mannheim Steamroller" looks like. Huh.
10:24 - A McDonald's commercial where a mother lies to her adorable daughter about where her food comes from. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!!
On a happier note, the Chickadees are loving something in the bird feeder. Can't quite tell what though. I have experimented with Safflower this year, so...
10:26 - So... you announcers never watched "Despicable Me".
Also, the minions on the Statue of Liberty float. Take a sip.
10:29 - I know they want to remind us that the Disney Dream ship is setting sail soon, but wouldn't you love to have seen an "Epic Mickey"-style balloon?
10:30 - I have nothing at all to add to the pizza-twirling team.
10:34 - Pink and lime green = timeless.
10:40 - Oh God oh God! (No, I hadn't seen the "Yogi Bear" trailer yet. Yes, the dead-eyed characters are doubly horrifying in motion.)
10:47 - Kylie Minogue on a float made of creepy giant pull-toy ducks = Take a sip.
10:50 - Munchkins with bits of sausage inside. Dunkin' Donuts, what happened to you?
10:54 - That Shrek balloon is bound to frighten children. That grimacing face!
Also, the "Imagination!" song from "Fantasmic" in the Disney parks is "a patriotic march" according to the announcers.
10:57 - You know what, Takashe Murukami woke up in the morning, put that costume on, looked in the mirror, and liked what he saw. So, preemptively, shut up.
10:58 - You know what I just said about the Shrek balloon? Yeah. That goes double for whatever the heck that blue-haired thing is on the Princess Academy float.
Ah, the five minute long Barbie retrospective commercial is back! I can use the ladie's room and get more coffee.
11:07 - OK, I hope I didn't miss anything interesting. Here is yet another band I have never heard of. And they are singing the least convincing song about being a hard-partying rock star since that excremental Nickelback song.
11:09 - Listening to the announcers tackle the pronunciation of Reshiram and Zeckrom = Sublime. Bonus: "Po-kee-mans".
11:15 - A-a-a-a-n-d begin the "Turn Off The Dark" jokes!
11:17 - And so, Kanye rides on the Big Apple float. I was secretly hoping it really would be the Barbie float.
11:22 - The Horton balloon looks... odd to me. And what I sad about big-headed characters definitely applies to Dora. She looks like the infamously terrifying Rainbow Brite costume.
11:29 - This Dance Troupe: "Well, we have a great medly of holiday classics and a dance routine all set. Now, you want us to wear WHAT?!?"
11:30 - The Build-A-Bear float unleashes a hurricane of bear puns from the announcers. Oh, God, I feel like I'm stuck in a Xanth novel!
Also, ADD is a fun thing to sing about.
11:45 - I know the Macy's floats and balloons are going to go down to Universal Studios Florida but... why?
11:48 - Aww, it's good to see the Smurfs back in the parade.
11:51 - Ooh, the Snow Queen float is pwetty.
11:57 - SANTAAAA!!!
By the way, why the heck aren't they just singing "I Still Believe in Santa Claus"?
And is it me or did they slip something funny in Santa's coffee?
12:00 - Welp, this was fun, and probably would have been even more fun if I wasn't such a terrible typist. I'm off to enjoy delicious orange goo and T. rex-sized drumsticks. Everyone have a happy Thanksgiving and I'll post again on Tuesday!
Oh, hey, guess what?
Rock Pigeon 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Northern Cardinal 2
House Sparrow 25
Speaking of birds, here's a nifty Dinosaur Tracking post about things to pause and think about before you fight over who gets to crack apart the wishbone.