>The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2008 Post-Mortem

>I’d be lying if I didn’t say this is going to be a special post-mortem. It will be (probably to the joy of the fuzzy sweater brigade who seem to stumble across these Thanksgiving Day posts) the last one I write before moving to Australia. The fiance swears that it airs down there–although I have my doubts, since why would anyone in Australia want to watch some daft ode of to American consumerism?

Hold on.  I think I answered my own question.
Now supposedly, the thing should be airing (it’s after 8 CST), but apparently WTMJ is still holding onto Today, for whatever reason. I’m guessing that Hoda Kotb has got the chance to be on air–sans Kathie Lee–before 10 EST and she is holding the network programming coordinator hostage to make sure everybody in Central sees her.
Or just WTMJ is weird. They do believe in bifurcating Today with a silly Live knockoff
Either way, the damn thing finally gets started at 9 am.
Deep-voiced announcer is rather unenthused until he gets to the fact it’s the 86th edition. Matt & Meredith make an entrance through a bunch of cheerleaders. Matt thinks that stating that it is 37F would elicit sympathy. It’s 25F here, Matty, so shut it.
They cut to Al, who is Uptown. Al appears via the (very talented) East New York Soul Tigers Drum Line. I must say that the Soul Tigers are the most genuinely lively thing so far, but then again, it is only 4 minutes in.
Deep-voiced announcer (DVA, haha) spits out celebrity names with mild enthusiasm. I don’t know how, because this is one of the most Z-list groups of celebrities I’ve either heard. I also thought Andy Williams was dead, but apparently not. Just his career, for those of us who are indifferent to Branson.
M&M get a second to intro the cheerleaders before their music comes on, and their music must’ve been selected by someone who had severe ADD. The routine, not so much. The smiles are frightening, to be honest. 
Al talks to Selma Blair, as part of the first of many WATCH NBC plugs. Selma does a good job of maintaining her dignity while plugging Kath & Kim.
M&M intro In The Heights.
Yeah, I’m glad you got the Tony, but I’m still not running to go see it. That being said, the cast must be wearing stockings if it’s 37F.  That’s brave. 
This number goes on a little too long, and the camera shots did it few favours. 
Oh well.
Next up, Hasselhoff mk. II plugs his pointless revival of Knight Rider. Hasselhoff mk. II is dumb. Hasselhoff mk. II must’ve put out.
M&M intro White Christmas and look for the white powder underneath the desk.
White Christmas looks and sounds the calibre of a third-tier suburban community theatre. But since Joe Bob & Minnie have gushy memories of the movie and they don’t want anything too new to tax their brains, it’ll do well.
I’ll need some Pepto if all the damn shows are going to be this unnecessarily OTT.
DVA says Harry Connick Jr. will being the helicopter tour this year. Now, if memory serves me correctly, we have gone from Martin Short (not bad), to Bob Saget (surprisingly good), and now Harry Connick Jr. I hold out little hope, but maybe he’s had a few and realises that the helicopter tour is meant to be sarcastic. 
Al talks to an unrecognisable Michael Flatley. Facelift Flatley promos some NBC knockoff of So You Think You Can Dance.
M&M cut him off to intro South Pacific. Now, this revival is apparently selling out like nobody’s business, but of all the songs to perform they choose “There Ain’t Nobody Like A Dame?” 
It’s the best so far, but that’s like being the 1st circle of Hell.
Finally they show Harry Connick Jr.’s helicopter tour of the parade route. Unfortunately, he’s sober. He says that it’s exciting, but really I think he took some Sominex. 
M&M plug his album. The man couldn’t be bothered to plug his own damn album.
Al allows two Office cast members to plug their show. They’re eager, but man, how sad is it that NBC couldn’t convince Steve Carrell to go and plug his own show. 
NBC is the Titanic and reality is an iceberg.
Al is still at CPW who corrals one of the random Heroes “stars,” who barely mentions the show. Yep, that show has got some longevity.  
M&M take ages to intro the atrocity that is The Little Mermaid (the musical)
Sadly, i’ve seen it, although in my defence, I didn’t pay.
And yes, the show is that bad for anyone over the age of 5, or at least that annoying.
Ad commentary: Buying mayonnaise is not making a commitment to “real” food. I just think those ad execs should note that.
M&M’s dealer is taking his/her own sweet time, so they are running low on energy as they intro the Rockettes.
Anyway, if you’ve seen one Rockette number, you’ve seen them all. So I’m going to take this moment to say–yet again–that I miss Katie Couric and her sarcasm. You get the sense that Matt wants to go there, but Meredith just wants to get through the damn show. 
The Rockettes are doing their kicks inside a circle and it’s still rather blah. Yes, I know it takes talent and skill and all that nonsense, but I’m just saying that it doesn’t film well. Blame the director and choreographer.
Still they get to introduce the parade to Herald Square (thank god I’m not home with all that racket). 
M&M are still lagging for want of charlie.
And it’s that damn Tom Turkey float–I’ll miss your ugliness Tom Turkey.
Some band from Sioux Falls in quasi-military uniforms plays “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
It’s a relatively decent job, but the uniforms look reminescent of the fascist Italy.
Matt swears this is the first Smurf balloon. I seriously doubt that. Apparently Sony will have a Smurf movie in 2010. Good god, how sad is that.
James Taylor (PEPTO!) sings some slow-as-molasses version of “America The Beautiful,” with no conviction whatsoever. 
Snoopy Balloon and I am continually surprised that M&M can natter on about one damn balloon.
Every year they find more inanity to talk about it. Their banter writer must have OCD.
Disney gets in a float to plug their new film Bolt, complete with Miley Cyrus singing on it. Quite frankly, even though she’s lipsyncing, she certainly is selling the living daylights out of it. You’d think NBC was ABC the way that they are letting Disney plug its products with wild abandon.
DVA mentions that Citi is one of the sponsors. Well, that was money well spent.
They come back from ads with the Polynesian Dance Ensemble of Hawaii. Perhaps this section of the parade will be better than much of what has proceeded it. 
Some Rihanna knockoff called Shontelle lip-syncs some song called “T-shirt.” Wow, this is some blatant ripping off. I’m almost embarassed for her, but not as much as I pity her.
Some band from California plays something by Leonard Bernstein and they’re rather talented. Well, certainly more than Shontelle. At least they aren’t lip-syncing, and honestly, that’s all you can hope for.
Have I crossed over into the Twilight Zone? Gwen Stefani’s sodding Harajuku Girls have got their own float? They fortunately don’t sing, but they play an instrumental of Hollaback Girl, which means, well, let me direct you to the hilarious explanation by OC Weekly. Hollaback Girl, by the way, is not at all family friendly in terms of lyrics. (Just thought I should point that out to any fuzzy sweater wearers reading this.)
Back from ads, and we have a jump rope team from Ohio. This is impressive. 
Meredith’s charlie has kicked in enough to the point to make a joke about the Energizer bunny.
Matt’s not so much, so he drawls his way through the intro to the Sesame Street float. And it is agreed here in Wisconsin that some of those original cast members need to retire.
M&M intro some band from Fayetteville (AK). Again, the band is competent, but what sadist chose the uniforms and outfits. You’re a marching band not a paramilitary outfit. 
Meredith (*snort*) intros some daft girl band call Clique Girlz (sic). They are on a float sponsored by My Princess Academy. Right there on one float is everything that is wrong with America: poor grammar, inflated self-esteem (leading to impossible and improbable expectations), and obsessive consumerism in order to fill in the emotional void left by poor parenting.
Matt (*big snort* since he has to catch up to Meredith) gets a burst of energy as he intros the Big Apple Circus and Mr. Peanut. I’ll avoid a Matt Lauer & nuts joke.
The History Channel float has the cast of Hair on it. How appropriate since both are stuck in time warps. The cast performs ably, but honestly, did we need a revival of Hair? Especially since it really is to just line the pockets of the producers.
Mounted police get booed. Ouch!
Matt gives such a tongue bath to Ronald McDonald and his corporate owners that Willard Scott blushes.
Ad commentary: I paid attention to Progressive ads much more when they just gave facts?
Ad commentary part II: Oddly enough, I think a dating show where mates are vetted by a mother is great.
And they are back and am pleasantly pleased to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe perform “Wade in the Water.” M&M even manage to point out the significance behind the song.
And they are cut off for another socially significant event: a Keith Haring (RIP) balloon. 
And that is cut off by M&M pointing out that Al has joined them. (Yay! I get to say MAM now.)
Keith Haring’s balloon apparently nearly took out MAM. Go Haring’s ghost!
Hess float: Some teen band from the Guyland lip syncs some pop/rock song, while MAM still recover from Keith Haring’s balloon trying to take them out. (I’m still giggling.)
MAM are so shell-shocked they nearly forget to intro the Guyland marching band playing.
MAM intro the M&M float which has Idina Menzel singing. I do believe she is lip-syncing. Tsk. Decent MOR song, although I think we heard the only interesting part of it.
MAM talk quite eagerly (*snort*) about Pikachu, and I’m surprised that Pokemon is still popular. The charlie is clearly in abundance now.
MAM manage to plug NBC’s latest acquisition, The Weather Channel in a record 5 seconds. Why so quick? Well, David It’s-too-early-for-me-to-try-to-spell-his-last-name-correctly is performing. He’s lip-syncing and looks like a dog caught in the headlights. He is Andy Gibb for the 21st Century. 
Wow, another Disney plug, this time for Toy Story (third movie coming in 2010!). 
MAM are still nervous about the balloons attacking them. Meanwhile, Rick Astley crashes the float of some Cartoon Network show. Oh, I do like the way that this parade is turning out now. He’s lipsyncing, but I don’t care, it’s Rick Astley! That was truly funny and clearly Astley is in on the joke as well. 
Ad commentary: Lipitor’s message is certain to fall on deaf ears on Thanksgiving,
Now the parade has truly improved: balloon attacks and Rick Astley!
MAM introduces some dance troupe performing a “latin” dance number, with music more suited to the White Party than a MOR parade on television. The number is unbelievably frenetic and over before it started. Those 635 kids got ripped off.
Macy’s own gold stars get barely a mention considering its their 150th anniversary. 
Good Housekeeping has a flipping float? On it, some teenage girl sings (and yes, I believe she really is singing) “Because You Love Me.” She is technically good, but there is a disconnect between her and the lyrics. Note to any teenage singers: sing songs that you truly connect with.
Putting the name “Awesome” in your band’s name is just tempting fate. Well, they’re game, I’ll give them that. Not too bad.
Spongebob Squarepants Balloon comes gliding down Broadway and there is now a slight hint of panic in their voices every time MAM talk about a balloon. (Ha!)
Trace Adkins (apparently he’s big in country music) sings (the jury’s out on whether he’s lipsyncing) on the Jimmy Dean float. It wasn’t the most enthusiastic performance, to be honest.
Ad commentary: From my own personal experience, Sprint’s 3G network doesn’t work all that well around Herald Square. I’m just pointing this out, Mr. Hesse.
And we’re back with a float sponsored by the Oneida Nation. Perhaps out of respect, MAM keep silent.
Back to frivolity as MAM plug an upcoming Muppet special on NBC. (Really? I thought ABC had the Muppets sewn up, pun intended.)
Some nondescript boyband called Varsity Fanclub lip sync on the USPS float, and it’s hilarious how every single boyband has the exact same moves. By the way, I thought the era of the classic (i.e. no instruments) boyband was over.
MAM introduce another marching band, this time from Texas. They of course play “Deep in the heart of Texas.” They also look like a paramilitary force.
Now here comes a hilarious marching band, a bunch of men in business suits and briefcases. Thank god for absurdity.
Sadly, it’s over too quickly as Ashanti (I think she’s singing) is on the Daily News float and performing some atrocious overwrought ballad.
That embarrassment is over quickly for a plug for the latest direct-to-DVD knockoff of a bad 90s movie.  
Speaking of bland holdovers from the 90s, Darius Rucker of Hootie & The Blowfish sings on the Gibson guitar float. He is technically good, but not all that moving. I’m old enough to remember when Hootie & the Blowfish was synonymous with boredom.
Back from ads, the Special Needs Color Guard perform to the tune of the Theme from the Greatest American Hero. That’s just too OTT, not the performance, just the music choice.
Yet another random tween singer lip-syncs (and the recording isn’t that much better) on the Build-A Bear-or-I’ll-Scream float. What I wrote about the My Princess Academy float applies here.
Shrek float, which gives MAM the chance to hype $hrek: The Mu$ical. 
MAM intro the JMU marching band. So far, the best one so far, although I would add that we didn’t get a chance to see much of the Soul Tigers.
Ad commentary: The Brewers have quite a funny ad running here with the infamous running Sausages caroling. I remember when Milwaukee didn’t even like to admit that they had a baseball team.
MAM get cut off introducing some North Carolinian high school band. Why? I don’t know. They play “Boogie Wonderland” as a comedy number and I must say that it was slightly better than JMU.
Apparently the Care Bears are back, and befitting their sugary sweet antiseptic image, Kristen Chenowith is LIPSYNCING a Christmas song on it. She passed up a good opportunity to show up Idina Menzel.
Ad commentary: Macy’s corporate actions run contrary to message of Santa Claus. 
MAM bring us the “Winter Wonderland” float, with Kermit the Frog and “Camp” Broadway.
The song is classic syrupy sweet pap, and sadly “Camp” Broadway is only “camp” Broadway, this year. Kermit, however, is still “Camp.” Weak.
Matt makes a “road/toad” joke, and it falls flat. The charlie has run out and MAM are scatter-brained. Appropriately, that serves as their introduction for Andy Williams, who is also lipsyncing. I’ll cut Andy some slack since he looks out of it, the poor thing. The kids performing behind him however are camping it up big time.
The final band is “Macy’s Great American Marching Band.” They, like Macy’s itself, are very flashy and robotic. 
Meredith coos that “Santa Claus is coming to town.” I think they have switched to GHB and vodka, judging by the amount of slurring going on with MAM. 
Probably the most OTT Santa Claus float ever. 
Al tries to stress the importance of this parade in lieu of the current economic dire straits. He also mentions that he’d like to do it over again. They do need a bit of a do-over, to be honest. Matt looks bored. Meredith looks  like Annette Bening in American Beauty. Al just looks dazed.
Well, it wasn’t the best editionbut it was adequate, even if the only highlights were a balloon attacking MAM and Rick Astley.
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One comment

  1. Anonymous · November 29, 2008

    >too long of a post. sorry, but i didn’t finish it. parades just don’t interest me.

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