November 28, 2013

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013

Our annual tradition is, of course, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade telecast on the National Broadcasting Company. Today's initial personnel are Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie from NBC's Today, covering the 87th version of the parade.

0902 - The Macy's house band has drummers strapped to rolling stars, dressed in something that looks Daft Punk inspired. Interesting.

0904 - Macy's Executive Producer Amy Kule is, of course, chatting with Al Roker. They've got robots from some STEM organization named FIRST. We haven't seen robotic scissors yet, and that's interesting.

Joan Jett and Kristin Chenoweth ought to be interesting; I've heard of most of the acts they're mentioning, but the NBC stars are unknown. The Duck Dynasty crowd and Sandra Lee ought to be interesting. Vic Matus seems to consider Sandra Lee some sort of evil force; when I dig up the article, I'll link it up.

It'll be good to see Namath and others; good to see that they're still getting work.

0910 - Hooray! Savannah Guthrie informs us that there will be balloons. The massive storm that headed to the East Coast from the middle of the country had placed the deployment of balloons in question.

0911 - Hines Ward and Al Roker. Ward doesn't miss playing football, while Sonic the Hedgehog drifts by in the background. Tonight's football will be Pittsburgh versus Baltimore. Up next is Motown: The Musical. I like this guy's suit. I've never been a big fan of Berry Gordy's very profitable enterprise, but it's arguably a powerful part of our mid-century musical heritage. From what I'm seeing, Motown is probably a variety show that covers a lot of chart-topping hits. Those poor actors and actresses are probably freezing.

0917 - Oh boy, a stupid husband commercial from Chevrolet. Whoever Kristen and the blonde are in the M&Ms ad are attractive. Meanwhile, I'm simply not interested in the Wii U. Maybe your correspondent has gotten old, but nobody's been able to sell me on the notion.

Allstate's "People Live for Good" ad falls flat.

0918 - Sanrio's Hello Kitty float is vaguely creepy, while Al Roker gets a jacket from Chicago Fire. This musical, Matilda, is something about revolting children, if I understand their lyrics right. I've never read much Roald Dahl, so this one's not aimed at me. Whoever sings the "When I grow up" song is eye-catching.

0924 - This may be a Wells Fargo ad, where a snowman group feed carrots to a Wells Fargo wagon team is great. I hate that they had to dump on the USPS for the set-up, but this commercial was a hit with the TCP viewing audience. Meanwhile, I think I'm over the notion of Black Friday.

I've never read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Roker may have gotten someone in trouble. Now we have Harvey Fierstein, Cindy Lauper et al. I think we could have done without Kinky Boots. That really doesn't seem family-friendly, especially men in high-heeled sequined boots. We'll check and see if ABC or CBS has anything. Nope.

0933 - A commercial featuring James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell is almost guaranteed fun. Well played, Sprint. On the other hand, Tyler Perry's newest movie doesn't interest me.

0935 - There's an excellent chance I'll watch The Sound of Music as a live performance. Carrie Underwood circa 2013 isn't as attractive as Julie Andrews circa 1965, and certainly can't sing as well, but not liking that story is a right reserved only for Christopher Plummer.

0939 - Whatever musical that was, I missed it. Meanwhile, I had no idea that NBC had a series named The Blacklist. Megan Boone sounds somewhat entitled. I think we've seen the story of "High-grade criminal wants to deal with a junior FBI agent" before. Hello, Clarice.

Robin Williams for St. Jude is always good. "Never wear sandals on the farm" is funny, and the mission of St. Jude is eminently worthy. Danny Thomas' project does good for a lot of people who often don't have the resources to slug it out with some sort of eminently hostile illness.

0944 - I can't say that I've ever heard of Betsy Brandt. I'm getting tired of Roker's Twitter reference.

0945 - I'm a fan of live performances on television. I liked seeing George Clooney's Fail-Safe two decades ago; I'll probably tune in for that, despite not being a fan of Carrie Underwood. This girl playing Liesl is well enough, but Charmian Carr is preferred. Rolf's actor makes me think of David Tennant or his successor as the Doctor.

I'm very interested in watching the Tom Hanks vehicle about Mary Poppins, but if I remember right, Mrs. P.L. Travers hated the film. I've been a fan of the "Scary Mary" re-cut trailer for years, so take a look at that.

0954 - The Rockettes are up next. This is a good thing. They must be really cold, but those women are probably accustomed to a certain degree of hardship.

0958 - A kid in Lazer Tag gear for Netflix. Oh wow; that was always a fun game.

1000 - So it's an hour for Amy Kule and company to reach the NBC booth, preceded by the NYPD. Here's the Macy's turkey, followed by the James Madison University marching band, all the way from Harrisonburg. Congratulations on their pride of place!

In an amusing degree of cross-promotion (intentional or not), their piece is "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.

1004 - Hooray for Snoopy. The Ocean Spray float is always a welcome sight. Gavin DeGraw sounds auto-tuned. I think I'd rather hear something more representative of the heritage of Thanksgiving, but I'm not Ms. Kule. One wonders what the original pilgrims would have thought of this float.

Now we get the New Englanders from Ocean Spray. You've got to love America's regional accents.

1009 - Well, thanks to the Spirit of America dance team for burning out the TV; if they weren't thrashing about to someone's inspirations, I'd probably have burn-in. That is, if LCDs are capable of burn-in. Our old friend, Sonic the Hedgehog, returns yet again. Sonic boom, indeed.

1011 - Yay, it's Chica. A friend whose baby daughter loves this show told me about this; it's truly a kid's program. One can't really be hostile to a squeaking chicken.

1014 - NBC's apparently too cheap to give me an ID banner for this band, who's doing a good job with their piece. The AFLAC duck comes along while Lauer and Guthrie demonstrate why their day jobs don't involve comedy.

Rangers-Bruins in Boston with Mike Richter and Cam Neely is a good float, and Kellie Pickler is a bad thematic mismatch; there's nothing Nashville about hockey (Predators notwithstanding) but oh well.

1020 - Jimmy Fallon and The Roots are led off by The Count, which is strangely appropriate. I think they've finally jettisoned Bob from the Sesame Street float. I was never one of the kids who watched that program; I think I was busy watching 1980s cartoons, chock full of commercial messages and middling-quality animation. We get our second look at the Hello Kitty float.

1023 - Concord Community High School from Elkhart, Indiana performs a Ted Nugent song, something about journeying to the center of the mind. Ted and I have never been acquainted, so I can't comment on their faithfulness in their rendition, but I do like the quality of the work. They leave playing "Anchors Aweigh", so congratulations.

1024 - Fin the Goldfish is something I don't recall having see before; the Pepperidge Farm float must be new. I'm not sold on the value of the act on the float, and I've never heard of them. This too shall pass.

1027 - Big Hugs Elmo is viscerally unnerving.

1028 - Another stupid husband/father commercial, this time for something called Halos, which look like oranges. Not buying. Cloggers handing the BTO song about keeping one's hands to oneself. That was strange, but clogging is hard. It has to hurt.

1029 - The Hess float doesn't really interest me as much as previous years, but Cher Lloyd, who I've never heard of, is annoying. Fun fact: When Leon Hess had an ownership interest in the New York Jets football franchise, the colors of the Hess gasoline concern soon became the colors of the Jets.

1032 - Florida-Georgia Line, a country act that I've heard of, rides a Gibson Guitars float. I'm not a fan of their brand of country music. I can't exactly quantify it, but this low-grade music seems less authentic, more calculatedly trashy than say, Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash.

Dear Ms. Guthrie: We can do without references to Richard Simmons in shorts.

1036 - The Native Pride Dancers seem to be dancing to R&B, which I'm fairly certain didn't exist in pre-Columbian times.

1038 - The Sea World float is nicely done, but I've never heard of the people who're singing "One Song". Sea World is probably very interested in positive PR recently to offset the recent documentary regarding their orca practices.

The Union High School Renegade Regiment of Tulsa, Oklahoma doesn't appear to be very renegade, but they are fairly well regimented. Ahem.

Kool-Aid Man appears to the tune of "Born to Be Wild". Eleven thousand gallons of Kool-Aid would be necessary to fill that balloon.

1043 - The riverboat Marion Carole carries the crew from Duck Dynasty. NBC shuffles this one off the screen in seconds. Mr. Peanut gets more time and focus than the Robertson clan. That's curious.

1045 - The East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band demonstrates the Corps' reputation for precision and skill. If memory serves, they either have now or did have a silent drill team that threw rifles and bayonets back and forth. Intimidating and impressive.

1048 - The South Dakota Mount Rushmore float had someone that I didn't recognize. The Big Apple Circus wagon is really good-looking. I'm not sure if it's a true calliope or not, but those things never fail to impress when they show up.

1054 - Good grief, three miles of jump roping. We appear to have missed part of their performance. Zu Zhu Pets apparently are big business, but I can't say I've ever seen one in-hand. Disney's latest replacement for the non-Ashley Tisdale/blonde slot is someone called Debby Ryan. Never heard of her. Spongebob Squarepants is still big? Interesting.

1058 - Tarpon Springs HS from Tarpon Springs, Florida has some sort of "American Reunion" theme. I'm not seeing it reflected here, but they're clearly evoking the 1940s. Royal Caribbean's float follows this with Kristin Chenoweth, singing an ode to New York City. Eh.

To be honest, I'd rather be on a White Star liner leisurely crossing from Southampton to the Chelsea piers. If not that, racing across the same route with Cunard, or perhaps defying the Jet Age with the United States Lines.

Michael Strahan for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Also, a Rocky-inspired commercial for the National Dog Show. Heh.

1103 - Ah, a Cirque du Soleil float. I'm impressed by the guys on the

1106 - I'm sure the CBS ad that's constantly in the NBC field of view isn't accidental. This chocolate float brings us the Goo Goo Dolls. That's an act I haven't seen in a long time. If I didn't know better, I'd suggest that Martin Short had found a new gig as front man of a band.

1108 - Ooltewah High School from Tennessee brings us a Wizard of Oz performance. I don't recall there being such a direct correlation between bands and other events within the parade framework; I'm sure it's deliberate. The rainbow bolts of cloth work fine to convey an element of the Oz mythos. By the way: A group named Eltanin Publishing is in the process of reprinting the Oz series for e-readers with the original illustrations.

1115 - Joan Jett's crying. I presume that this means the wind is really up in the artificial canyons of New York City. Seeing Spider-Man reminds me that Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends isn't out on DVD that I know of.

1116 - The NFL float gives us Namath, Ward and someone whose name I didn't catch. One wonders if Broadway Joe will say anything to Ms. Kolber.

1118 - The NYPD marching band covers "Eye of the Tiger" for a few seconds. The Hobbit ad reminds me that Evangeline Lilly's character was apparently created for the movie. Why?

Michael Jordan makes an ad and now there's Monopoly with a cat. Er. That's weird. Now we have the next NBC series ads; neither of them interest me.

1121 - People from the Power Rangers franchise. I think that's still a Saban property; that must have been very profitable since oh, the mid-Clinton Administration. Now comes the UMass-Amherst Massive Minuteman Marching Band. I've never heard of these people, but I've also never seen a band charge.

1123 - Speaking of 1990s franchise, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float appears next, along with Fall Out Boy. Time to nod off briefly.

1126 - Hey, a group to provide diversions for Chicago youth. Well, that's a good thing, given that a primary pastime for people in Chicago seems to be murder.

1130 - Hooray, the Pillsbury Doughboy.

1131 - Mountain View H.S. from Arizona does something called "Sonoran Desert Holiday". Their Bicentennial-inspired uniforms are a nice mix of red-white-and-blue.

1138 - The parade crews seem to be holding the floats lower, especially visible with Buzz Lightyear, who's flying nap-of-the-earth, it seems. Domino Sugar has a train theme of sort and features Brett Eldredge singing about a woman in tight jeans. He seems to be a vocal clone of someone I can't place.

Marion Catholic HS from Illinois stops by with "Sleigh Ride", a perennial Christmas favorite. There's one guy with sunglasses, a trombone player, I think, who looks like he's got Agent Smith-style lenses. I'd come with up with some witty riff on Hugo Weaving's lines, but company's en route and ahead of schedule.

1142 - Dennis Haysbert for Allstate. The M&Ms Santa commercial always works.

1159 - Between computer complications and preparation for imminent relative arrival, our commentary track has been interrupted. A personal favorite was the Mannheim Steamroller locomotive float; it's always a good thing to see an American 4-4-0.

Meanwhile, Santa is here. That's odd; I don't see the belief meter. Much thanks to the NBC for their coverage of the event.

Posted by Country Pundit at November 28, 2013 09:02 AM