November 22, 2012

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Our usual coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade continues, courtesy of the National Broadcasting Company's telecast.

0901 - Matt Lauer and the recently-promoted Savannah Guthrie are the main commentary team, selecting from amongst the Today team. I vaguely remember Jane Pauley as being reasonably good at the job.

Amy Kule, the parade's executive producer, introduces the apparent equivalent of Eagle Scouts from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and they count down the ribbon-cutting. Here we go!

We'll apparently be unimpressed by McKayla Maroney, to remark on an ancient meme.

0912 - The Al Roker promo for a Jillian Michaels project annoys. Back to Guthrie and Lauer. One wonders if Natalie Morales intends to strangle Martha Stewart---I managed to miss the majority of the last cooking segment, but such is life.

0913 - A musical version of Elf? You'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat Zooey Deschanel, but this is more interesting than other acts they've had here in the past.

0917 - Looks like the centering bug from last year has reappeared. If it can be fixed, it will be. Jets-Patriots on NBC, apparently.

0920 - Nice Work, If You Can Get It sounds like an interesting musical. Mr. Lauer, it's prounounced "Swonderful". There's a strange allure to the 1920s, essentially a Caprica-before-the-fall world, even when we know what sort of disaster was coming in the 1930s.

Matthew Broderick needs more bass in his voice---he sounds like a slightly grown-up David Lightman. I can't say that I'm crazy about the arrangement used here, but then again, there's only two voices. His female counterpart's reasonably good at her job and the sofa dance wasn't objectionable. I'm currently reading a biography of Alice Roosevelt and the 1920s seems like a world that might as well have taken place on Mars, featuring John Carter.

0927 - Milton DeLugg gets an extended thank you for his 40 years' service as music director of the parade. Up next, excerpts from Annie. Oh, here we go, Franklin Roosevelt. Bringing a New Deal for Christmas sounds to me like something that you get for being bad. I suppose the 'W' on the childrens' sweaters must mean they're in a Warbucks-supported home, but that's not made clear. This little pig-tailed moppet doing tap-dancing for the rural couple is doing pretty good for an imitation of the Warner Brothers characters, which is a staple of such things.

0934 - Rogers and Hammerstein wrote their version of Cinderella, I believe in the 1950s, and we're going to get a preview of what'll open on Broadway relatively soon. I wonder what it costs a production to get a slot in the parade---it can't be cheap. Oh, interesting: Julie Andrews had the lead in the original telecast, a 1957 production of the Columbia Broadcasting System.

0938 - Oh wow, it's Sidney from Once Upon a Time, Giancarlo Eposito. Of course, he's in NBC's Revolution, which I've only vaguely heard of. He was a good actor when I saw him, so it's good that he's getting leading roles. Nobody else seems interested in Roker, which is weird.

0941 - "Hail to the Chief Life Officer" fails as a campaign.

0942 - American Airlines has a nice ad regarding veterans.

0943 - John O'Hurley's voice is so different than Roker's. Looks like someone told the kid with balloon to move.

0945 - The viewing audience has revolted in the face of NBC's coverage; we switch immediately to the CBS version and get Charlie Brown and the elusive football. There's horribly bad Peanuts fanfic that has Charlie Brown kicking Lucy van Pelt in the face. Henry Winkler is infinitely more interesting than anyone that NBC has brought in, so we'll watch him.

Bring It On is gently invited to go away.

0950 - The CBS position must be somewhere ahead of the NBC crew because Guthrie & Lauer are just now showing Charlie Brown.

Ah, the Rockettes. An antiquated thing from several eras back, but hey, pretty women dancing. They're popular among the family, but I'm simply not getting into this particular routine. Camera work, maybe? Or perhaps it's not much of a Christmas theme to the music.

0957 - Savannah Guthrie announces a troop of NYPD motorcycle officers and the arrival of the parade in the NBC broadcast area at 34th Street.

NC A&T out of Greensboro has a visually impressive band. Twenty-five hours per week of practice appears to have paid off; I liked hearing them. Good for them!

1000 - Chris Isaak aboard the Ocean Spray Thanksgiving animal float singing "Great Balls of Fire". I don't know why he continues getting work, but someone likes him, which is fine. He's not as good as Jerry Lee Lewis, but then who is?

I'm not sure why a "rapper" gets time on a Macy's parade. The Ocean Spray "Unofficial Official Fruit" ad is funny. Nobody can tell dates and figs apart anyway.

1006 - Texas State University's Strutters are left hanging during a commercial. Music written for the Macy's effort is annoying. Here's the Macy's turkey---that float's nicely assembled and animated. Robin what's-his-name is on top of the float instead of having to walk the route, so good to see him again.

1007 - There's a new Muppets single featuring someone named Cee Lo and Kermit the Frog gets about fifteen seconds of discussion. Now we have kids playing hockey while Carly Rae Jepsen autotunes her way though a disposable pop number.

1010 - Niceville HS, of Niceville in Florida's jazz rendition of "Jingle Bells" is not bad. Their uniforms feature some sort of fringe band that looks vaguely reminiscent of something that Michael Dorn would have worn in his capacity as Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation. OK, so they did well.

1011 - Charlie Brown comes back on the NBC telecast. Guthrie mentions the endless determination and hope of Charlie Brown---more like his ignorance. Yay, Woodstock signaling with flags while Snoopy, Linus and Lucy wave from the float. Up next: Jimmy Fallon and his band, Trace Adkins and Muppets.

1015 - An ad for Deception features Victor Garber, who's doing well for having drowned in the North Atlantic in 1997 aboard RMS Titanic.

Sesame Street's float is next. How do you get to Sesame Street? Well, you make a right turn at Lucrative Avenue, whether CPB funding flows to the Sesame Workshop or not. This musical number failed to make an impression, but the float

Kenton Ridge out of Morefield or Springfield, Ohio (Lauer stumbles here) plays "Alexander's Ragtime Band". Good coordination for amateurs. I enjoyed watching that---more than the Sesame Street float.

1019 - I'm not really interested in Kung Fu Panda.

1020 - Jimmy Fallon and the Roots on a Gibson float, covering Queen. Looks like they've grabbed some of the cheerleaders shown before the parade started. The guy rapping really takes away from the strength of the original song, which did have some appeal. The Gibson float's new and I like it, whether I like Fallon or not.

1025 - Banda Musica Delfines out of Vera Cruz, Mexico. I don't realy remember much effort being expended on attracting non-American acts until the last year or two. This slot could have gone to an American high school band somewhere, but someone thought differently.

The girl on top of Louis the Duck is relatively attractive. She's billed as a pop duo Karmin. Er, yes. One woman is actually two. This one's brought to us by Homewood Suites, which I've never heard of it. I have heard this song before, something about not leaving someone broken hearted tonight. Maybe the keyboard guy is the other half?

1028 - The Oneida Nation gets a creepy-looking Thirza Defoe to sing a Thanksgiving song. Well, that almost works, something about a tree of life. OK.

There may be nothing left of Squanto's people, so I suppose the Oneida will have to do. Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell of Virginia has received the annual tax tribute from our local tribes, so there's that.

There's an ad for Wii U but The Hobbit looks interesting. Geez, Phil Mickelson's got a fixed stare in his ad. It sounds like taking Enbrel is a serious risk to your health, something you take as an absolute last ditch effort.

1033 - The star-spangled chapeau from Macy's features Olivia Culpo of Cranston, Rhode Island. OK. That was fast---now is South Dakota's Mount Rushmore float. Don McLean sings at the foot of this one, the one song of his I know. He invites the crowd to sing along, but we can't hear them. His "Good and loud" is unsynchronized. Well, that was nice.

1036 - Spider-man is back again. Now we have the USAF band, which is, of course, visually impressive. Their rendition of "This Is My Country" impresses, as does what little of the Air Force theme we get to hear.

P.S. 22 from Staten Island has children singing something, but they're not really clear---Don McLean had the same problem. Must be an audio mix thing.

The JP Morgan ad really, really strains credulity.

Power Rangers Megaforce, the 20th anniversary team that's been assembled for whatever reason, has a dance gig that's barely seen. They'll be on Nickelodeon---oh, the Hess float. It has a helicopter aboard a bridge and some Brit pop quintet. I don't know who "The Wanted" are---I don't appear to be missing much.

1045 - Pokemon apparently still going strong---I prefer Garrymon (available in 1 episode)

Father Ryan HS from Nashville, Tennessee in very strange uniforms. Laure doesn't other to say what they're playing, but it sounds like there are familiar strains in it. Oh, they've got some kind of robotic theme. Maybe the flags are supposed to convey circuitry. Roker now arrives in the NBC broadcast booth.

Now the TMNT float. The lead for Neon Trees looks like someone who's escaped from the evil tower stage in Fable II with the black jacket, red headband and shaved head. That's not a compliment---I hated that arc and levels associated with it.

1049 - At least B&N aren't using Jane Lynch to sell their Nook HD. I've got a friend who swears by his Nook Color against any other electronic reader, so apparently people like them.

Tom Brady and the Patriots versus Rex Ryan and the Jets. One wonders if there's something to the fact that Rex Ryan doesn't play, yet is the headline name there.

1051 - The Spangles Dance Company---dear God! I had hoped to eventually forget certain elements of the 1980s and this doesn't help. The Zhu-Zhu Pets float may wipe that strange sight from the memoy; the group Kidz Bop will probably induce a sugar coma, but go figure.

1055 - I wouldn't describe Whoopi Goldberg as a national treasure, but well, at least she was shuttled off quickly. Rex the Happy Dragon, class of '60, is a welcome sight. NBC appears to be running very fast on individual segments. I don't have timing data, but the impression stands.

Saratoga H.S. from Saratoga, California, plays a "2012 American Overture" that owes a certain debt to a Russian composer who used artillery in his composition. Roker brags that the band has 20 languages.

Papa Smurf---head of the Smurfland soviet---shows up to advertise Smurfs 2. I missed the recent movie but watched hours of that as a child. The Windows Phone ad is weird, but I like the USPS ad. American Airlines with another military ad.

The Spirit of America dancers at least have an interesting mix of music supposedly inspired by the work of Stefani Germanotta. I could have sworn I've heard elements of this in 1980s soundtracks, but maybe not. I wouldn't recognize Germanotta if she walked right past me---indeed, I thought this was a remix of Coldplay's "Clocks". A 649:1 female to male ratio. One hopes he's taking advantage of those odds. "May the odds be ever in your favor."

The next float is off the signature work of an artist named "Coz", spelling uncertain. The NYPD marching band follows it, playing "Proud Mary". The New York Daily News Big Apple float trails them, with kids in Rangers' jerseys. Flo Rida covers an old 1980s song that I can't remember who sang it. I'm distinctly unimpressed.

1105 - Now the character from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Ah, here we go: the Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team. Hooray! This was funny and half way amusing. I could do that kind of work; it'd be fun and exciting.

1108 - Net10 cellular ads annoy.

Ah, NBC will be re-running the parade this afternoon. That's more interesting than ads for the McRib, although the latter is like a barbeque on the bun without the bone.

The Breakfast Clowns is interesting, but we don't get to see them. I'm curious as to what the red crosses on performers mean---nothing's been said about the American Red Cross. Sing along with Chica, do the squeak squeak squeak. This is oddly interesting.

1112 - Kool-Aid Man is always welcome---Oh yeah, indeed. I miss the era when him smashing a wall was new. Now comes the Macy's Great American Marching Band, something about "Up the Lazy River".

Marion Carole has a veteran employee whose name I miss; she's 93 years old and retiring soon. Whoever these two are, they're disposable. Up next will be the 2012 US womens' gymnastics team.

Meanwhile, Windows 8 commercials continue to leave me wondering what the point of the OS is other than tablets and gestures.

1600 Penn looks like a disaster---give me Bud Hammond and Elaine Barrish any day, with a bit of Susan Berg on the side. The King Charles Unicycle Troupe is interesting---that looks difficult. Jumping rope on a unicycle is a worthy talent. Meanwhile, Lew Alcindor and Christian Laettner appear briefly.

Sonic the Hedgehog shows up. They might as well play "Sonic Boom", which would be nice.

The Wyoming All-State Marching Band, playing the Silverado theme is up next. I don't recognize the work, but they're pleasant to watch.

Ronald McDonald went by too quickly and the sustainable Mr. Peanut annoys.

Colbie Caillat performs atop the Morton Salt float. She's a decent act, but I don't consider her albums to be must-haves. Her voice is pleasant and all, but generic. "Christmas in the Sand" fails to impress.

1129 - The Pillsbury Doughboy is always a welcome sight. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette band is good, the Pride of Acadiana. Black and red are overdone as a color scheme but the few seconds we see this band is acceptable.

1132 - Heartland Hoedowners cloggers are youthfully entertaining, out of Elkhorn, Nebraska. It's a good show with choreography that seems for older people, but these kids pull it off. Congrats!

1135 - Penelope Cruz sells me coffee. I don't drink it, but Penelope Cruz has my attention. Tap-dancing Christmas trees? OK. They've tapdanced for three-plus miles, so they have my respect.

AFLAC's duck rides a toboggan and Lauer says he's nearly ended a career---must have been another miscue---so here comes the Oak Ridge HS from Conroe, Texas, playing a carol medley. I'm not getting enough time to really enjoy these performances, which is unfortunate.

1141 - Trace Adkins appears with a song while people in the stands try to be be seen. The Cookie Express float from Domino Sugar looks interesting, but I didn't get a good look of all of it.

1143 - The "Elf on the Shelf" is a brand new Christmas tradition, spanning generations, having started in the early 21st century. Oh wow, human candy canes.

1146 - Universal Studios will apparently have elements from the parade on display until New Year's Day.

Cody Simpson of Australia sounds like a lot of other tenor-voiced pop types whining about their desire to be with you while dancing and beating his chest. It must be some sort of lower-class thing.

Buzz Lightyear cruises in, looking relatively like the character in question.

1150 - The Pepperidge Farm float has someone named Jeanette McCurdy, who looked like Taylor Swift from a distance, but doesn't sound like her at all. The people in the background aren't paying attention.

1155 - The Macy's ad is always great. Delta pays for Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller, but they didn't buy much---this piece is cut short, like pretty much everything else. Good job, NBC. The Macy's Virginia balloon is always a treat.

Stagedoor Manor puts on a song about the universality of Santa Claus, but it's my understanding that the concept of Santa Claus is generally a Western thing. Meanwhile, Charlie, Kit and CJ "clear the way for Santa Claus"; and here's Santa Claus himself, along with Mrs. Claus. I didn't get a good look at the belief meter, but one can imagine it's full now.

Confetti snow rains down---the meter's almost full---and it's now the Christmas season. Next up, something I'm going to be watching. Thanks to Macy's and the National Broadcasting Company.

Posted by Country Pundit at November 22, 2012 09:00 AM