Thanksgiving: check. Snow: check. Pumpkin muffin: ate them already. Doh! Nevermind, let’s do this thing. This is a live-blog, so keep refreshing.
We start off with a musical number extolling New York. Which on Thanksgiving I think is appropriate, yet for all the dancing I’m… whelmed. This is kind of a low-energy opener. Oh well.
And now the line-up: Sting, Kiss (really?), Idina Menzel, Meghan Trainor (ack), Pentatonix (yay!). NBC is pimping out a number of its show stars today again. The Ninja Turtles will be here, but will they be the good ones from the ’90s or the crappy Bay version? Guess we’ll find out. If it’s the Bay version he’ll get to have crapped all over my childhood twice.
Sorry NBC, I’ll just never buy Katherine Heigl as a high-power adviser to the president. She has zero gravitas.
Next musical number: from Honeymoon in Vegas. With Tony Danza. Oh wow has he aged, but he looks like he fits this crooner role decently. This is low-energy too. Maybe I’m already missing the caffeine. The pornstache on this guy in white is creeping me the heck out.
I think I finally figured out that these Surface commercials are meant to be a parody of the old Mac vs. PC ads, but artless. The Christmas version is out now, with a crappy jingle done to the tune of “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland”. I know it’s tongue-in-cheek, but it still sucks.
Now there’s a number from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. You had me at the title. This isn’t a gigantic dance production but the old-timey style, rapid overlapping lyrics, and farce elements are brilliant. Actually it makes me want to see this. Not badly enough to travel to New York and pay Broadway prices, but still, it looks funny.
I still don’t have a pumpkin muffin, but my awesome wife went out into the snow and got me a McGriddle. Upgrade! There’s a special coming up called How Murray Saved Christmas. Looks goofy. I’m in. And now Al Roker is holding the Ronald McDonald balloon. How fitting.
The cast of Sideshow is performing now, but the dance style reminds me more of the routines from White Christmas. With all the beautiful snow outside, and that being my go-to movie while putting up the tree, I want to do that right now.
Oh boy. Another heartstring-tugger from Folgers. And the famously even-keeled Kate Gosselin is gonna be on the Celebrity Apprentice; yeah, that’ll go well.
There’s a broadway show called The Last Ship. Even though there’s a TV show by the same name. Confusing. Sting sold his role so well though I couldn’t even recognize him at first. This has a nice charm to it.
Al Roker has gotten goofy, but not in a good way. Either he’s weary of the series star interviews or he’s lost his mind. And about this live Peter Pan show coming up: Who made the law that said Peter Pan always has to be played by a woman? Having a grown woman, especially an attractive one, play a young boy is just friggin’ weird. Although Shakespeare used to be obliged to do the exact opposite, but that’s because the 16th century was broken.
I know it’s not snowing in New York, but I can’t imagine it’s very warm out right now because it’s 29° in Syracuse right now. My question is: How are the Rockettes not freezing their butts off? If it was me out there in bare shoulders and sheer hose, I’d have no motor control at all. Also they’d send out one of those comic Vaudeville hooks to drag me off the street.
Chase says “Your phone is now your wallet.” Sure. Nothing bad can come of that.
I do enjoy the sound of a good marching band. Would rather Western Carolina University’s crew had chosen something festive instead of Billy Joel, but whatever. And now we’re coming up on 10:00, with the official start of the parade proper. I can’t even describe how awesome it is to be a kid on the sidelines there, and I only got to do it once.
And Sandra Lee is leading the way on Tom Turkey. Kind of ironic for such a football-happy holiday, because she’s the chef who doesn’t know tailgating from a cocktail party.
Thomas the Tank Engine has made his way down the street, and now country singer (ugh) Lucy Hale is delivering a song. At least it’s not as twangy as most.
Ack, some cheerleaders are doing another country song when we come back from commercial? This one is twangy. Gah. The Madden Brothers are performing “We Are Done” next, and its chorus is so ’70s-tastic it makes me want to throw a rock. Gah!
But here comes Snoopy right behind them! All is forgiven!
Becky G now performs atop the Dora float. Never heard of Becky G before. I do enjoy bubblegum pop, but unfortunately this is bubblegum Latin.
Sesame Street has changed a lot since I was a kid, but it’s nice to see most of the classic characters are still around. I don’t recognize some of the new ones. It has to be really tough managing the puppetry on that float.
Hey! We have a high school band from Baldwinsville representing in the parade! Go, local kids!
Meghan Trainor is up now. I was going to say I wanted to give her one more chance since I can’t stand her signature song, but she started off immediately on a Nicki Minaj-style rap. Since she’s not actually Nicki Minaj I only give it a 9.5 on the eponymous rage scale, but… ugh. And I just can’t get behind this retro style she does. Nothing against those who can, but this ain’t for me.
Okay, that whole dancing clown thing was weird. What the frell is wrong with New Orleans? Followed up by cabaret star William Blake singing on a float. I’m not familiar with him, but he’s really weirdly made up. He looks a lot like Ethan Suplee as a vampire. Behind that, Ronald McDonald and his balloon.
Here comes Mr. Peanut. 98 years old. It’s weird to think just how long some advertising mascots have been with us. American Authors are coming up behind on a baseball-themed float, singing their annoying song “Best Day of my Life”. I swear someday I will outlaw the use of banjos in pop music.
It appears Microsoft is behind this recurring ad thing they’re doing where the elves are lost on their way to the parade, because they’re following each one with that terrible new Surface spot. This is actually making me miss those ads with Justin Long and the guy in the bad suit. And those were stupid.
Huh. I didn’t know “Jealous” was a Nick Jonas song. It’s not bad at all. This is actually the first tolerable song performance that wasn’t from a Broadway show. The marching band from the Bahamas behind him is pretty good. The flamingo float coming up after, not so much.
The new Paddington balloon following up behind the Seaworld float, suitcase in hand, looks unfortunately like he’s a lawyer chasing them. And behind him, the Sino-American Friendship Performers with Chinese dragons and whatnot. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant. There’s a joke about Chinese consumer goods in there somewhere.
Sheesh, I spend 30 seconds in the bathroom and come back to find old ladies in clown getups dancing with walkers to Twisted Sister. I kid you not.
Ah, and here come “wildly popular British boy band, the Vamps”. This is literally my first time ever hearing of them or this song. It’s unoffensive, but it seems like if they were wildly popular on this side of the pond I’d have some awareness of the song.
Here comes the red Power Ranger balloon. Never got into them as a kid, because I was too old when they got big. It also looked way too silly.
Snack food Pirate’s Booty has a new float. Interesting. Sabrina Carpenter is singing on deck, and this is… bubblegum country. I’m distressed by how almost-likable this is. Gotta give country props for still having a sense of melody, I guess; pop has mostly lost it.
Toothless! Love that big guy.
Here’s a commercial for Into the Woods, and if you listen hard you can hear my sister’s head exploding. She didn’t make a cherry pie this year. Feh.
I always have to give mad respect to Cirque du Soleil. It’s amazing what they do. Right behind them, the new balloon for Eruptor from Skylanders. I’ve never played it, but that’s a cool balloon. And this next marching band is fantastic—wish I’d caught their name.
Here’s the Sprout float, with that weird squeaky chicken. I still don’t get it.
Oh gads. More country atop the Gibson float. This is Dan and Shay. It’s typical. I don’t mind that country is represented in the parade; it’d be weird if it wasn’t. But still… ugh. At least Spider-Man is a nice respite. But sadly I only mean respite. Country comes right back behind that with Needtobreathe. Yes it’s one word. I don’t get it either. Google says they’re a Christian rock band, but dude, that was country. Thank goodness for the Harlem Globetrotters and the blessed brain-cleanse of “Sweet Georgia Brown”.
Yay! It’s snowing in New York! And here! But not in front of the store itself, where the Varsity Spirit Cheerleaders are performing to a Kiss song. And right behind them is Kiss themselves. I missed out on the whole classic rock scene, so I have no connection to this band. My only real thought here is that someone needs to drag Gene Simmons and his ego kicking and screaming out of the public eye—with that big Vaudeville hook. And a flatbed with a winch. (Oh, quit gushing, Al. One for the ages? It wasn’t that good.)
Adventure Time! Okay, so I’ve only ever seen one episode, but it was amusing.
Now we have a marching band performing Bohemian Rhapsody. Finally, an awesome song from a marching band. I feel awful for that girl who just slipped though—looks like it’s slick out there. Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters.
Ah. The Ninja Turtles iteration we have here isn’t the live-action ’90s one or Bay’s abominations, but the modern CGI ones. I can live with that. MKTO is performing “Classic” on the same float. This song is kind of played out. The rap part annoys the crap out of me, though the rest I don’t mind.
Kool-Aid Man! Oh yeah!
Okay, this Coke commercial is cute. I do wish we didn’t need hashtags in all of them, though. NBC is letting us know about a new series called A.D. based on the story of Jesus, possibly with a greater focus on events after his resurrection. I’m not sure. I’m not sure NBC can pull it off, either.
These dancers doing a bunch of video game themes, including the classic Sonic theme (the only one that counts), are making me smile. The pity is, not one of these kids knows the visceral joy brought by the music they’re dancing to. Now I feel old.
There’s a new Pikachu balloon. I hate anime like most people hate getting punched in the throat, but I have to admit this little guy is cute. And the snowman he’s holding is adorable.
Welcome to the NYPD marching band. And a Big Apple float, where Romeo Santos is performing a Latin hit of his. Latin music just doesn’t connect with me; more so when I can’t understand the lyrics. Where does it fare on the Nicki Minaj rage scale? Well, on a bad day it may as well be country.
The Virginia balloon is up now. I still have not seen the animated special for that. Is it any good?
I could probably stand to watch the live Peter Pan for Christopher Walken alone. More so if they really let him let loose and bring his weird sense of beats into it. And hey, props to Jennifer Aniston for pushing so hard every year for St. Jude’s. Good work those people do there.
The new Annie is performing on a float. I saw the movie with Carol Burnett when I was little, but I was so young I don’t think I fully connected with it. The new movie looks kind of cute, but nothing that’s gonna get me into the theater. Heck, I still need to see Big Hero 6; I heard it’s fantastic.
Another marching band performs in front of Macy’s, and now comes the Poppin’ Fresh balloon. Also known as the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Kind of a weird mascot, but he’s grown on me. Domino’s has a float with a cookie-making theme. Country singer Cole Swindell is aboard, twanging it up. Guh.
Huh. Random Barbie commercial out of nowhere. I guess they figure the kids are paying more attention the closer it gets to noon. That reminds me of a video I saw recently about that new Lammily doll. I have no interest in the whole doll equality warrior agenda, but I will say she looks adorable. And Barbie’s always been much too freakily slim.
A group called Before You Exit is performing aboard the Smurfs float. This is my first time hearing of them, but this song is decent. A marching band after them performs Taylor Swift’s annoyingly overplayed “Shake It Off”. I wanted to like that song, honestly; I just find it way too repetitive, and that “players gonna play/haters gonna hate” lyric is so, so stupid. Come on, Taylor, you can do better.
Renée Fleming brings us “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland” (not the stupid Microsoft version) aboard the Central Park bridge float. I was hoping to like this. But between something she’s doing with her voice and the treatment of the song… no. This is surprisingly terrible.
The Aflac duck is on a float now instead of a free-flying balloon. Every time I see him though, I always wish they’d have that one guy who’s always surprised to see him show up holding the balloon, or in this case maybe just waving from a balcony or something.
We now have Lewis the duck and his wife Lois, with his kids Lance and Lisa. Theme naming just annoys me. But hey, Pentatonix is performing on this float. They’re awesome. I do enjoy a killer a cappella group.
The super-creepy Elf on the Shelf is right behind that. Seriously, I don’t get the Elf on the Shelf. He freaks me out. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a dead ringer for a skinny version of Big Boy, but he reminds me way too much of a cheesy mascot from yesteryear that now comes off as super-kitschy.
Foothill High School band from Nevada is performing “Nutcracker a la Vegas”. I appreciate that they brought something Christmasy into the mix here.
Idina Menzel is performing Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” from the Lindt float. I expected her song to be one of the best performances of the day, and she does not disappoint. This is either the first time I’ve heard this song covered, or the first time I’ve heard it covered that I didn’t block out, but it works.
Spongebob Squarepants follows Idina like he’s chasing all that chocolate on the float.
And there’s the third and last of Microsoft’s lame commercial breaks. That whole “Let’s help Santa and the elves get to the parade” thing was so dumb. The really sad thing is, I can picture the room full of execs who were all really excited over this idea. It would have needed a lot more cleverness and about seven more spots to really sell the story.
Feh. Of course we had to have a marching band play “Happy”. Can we be done with that now?
Here come the elf balloons, which means Santa Claus isn’t far back. Hard to believe it’s been three hours already. Not as much Christmas music today as I would’ve liked, but it’s snowing, so there’s that. Santa comes along with one of the weirder songs of the day.
It’s been a fun ride as usual. Al Roker signs off with a shout out to the troops who are away from home today keeping the rest of us safe. God bless all of you, and thank you for your service.
And now, I have cooking to do!