Thanksgiving morning: check. Pumpkin muffin (made it myself!): check. Let’s do this thing!
This year’s parade starts off with a bit from the musical On Your Feet. Gosh that’s a lot of Miami Sound Machine for 9 AM. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but it sure is a lot.
And now the rundown of today’s appearances. Mariah Carey. Andy Grammer (eh). Panic! at the Disco (ack). Train (ack!). Stars of several NBC series I’m not watching. Ooh, School of Rock is on Broadway now? I need to see that movie sometime. I think I missed quite a few of the recording artists, and somehow it feels like they skipped over a bunch of non-musical ones. They didn’t say a lot about the balloons; I hope the balloons are flying this year.
Adventure Time! I guess the balloons are up after all. I’ve only seen that cartoon once, and found it strangely compelling. Now they’re interviewing a couple of actresses about a movie they’re making about Dolly Parton and her mom. Mad respect for Dolly Parton as a songwriter, but I’ll pass. (Oh, it’s an NBC movie. I guess that figures.)
The King and I is back, apparently. Another venerable musical I have never seen. (I remember seeing a few minutes of the movie back in grade school, but the pathetic time slot they gave us for music class wasn’t enough to really understand anything.) I guess nowadays it really is a show with everything but Yul Brynner.
Okay, I will say the upcoming series Telenovela looks like it could be funny. Superstore I’m not so sure about; most of the previews have looked like it’s trying to be too cute with too-obvious jokes. And now, Matthew Morrison is performing a number from Finding Neverland. It’s hard to see him perform now and not think I’m watching an actual episode of Glee. And it’s hard to see this roller-skating bear without thinking someone slipped me drugs.
Last year’s commercials for Microsoft Surface were so terrible, I’m actually noticing their absence and grateful for it. That’s a mark of true badness. Although this year’s “PC does what?” ads, while not disgracing the parade yet, are worse. Now we’re back, and Al is announcing some of the acts that weren’t mentioned in the promo.
This Something Rotten show sounds interesting, although it already feels like they missed a rich vein of comedy by not trying to shoehorn the concept awkwardly into Elizabethan musical forms.
Man, I hit it out of the park with these pumpkin muffins. Here’s the first preview for that Dolly Parton movie, and as expected it features way too much risk of country music. Some regional commercials follow that, making me wonder what the rest of the country is seeing right now. I say regional commercials because they’re better than the truly local ones. Friends don’t let friends use the cheap jingle company.
I deliberately avoided watching Blindspot, because the last thing I need in my life (well not really, but nowhere near the top half of the list) is another police procedural with a gimmick. After that interview we have a number from Fiddler on the Roof. For some reason that musical never became one of my favorites.
Star Wars ad! Star Wars ad! Oh, and now one of the aforementioned stupid “PC does what?” commercials. The longer, annoying one where they say it multiple times. Good gads. (Whoever came up with those ads needs to be slapped. With a rock.) That’s bookended by a pretty great Barbie commercial emphasizing how the brand has become more about empowering girls than it was once perceived. So that break was a garbage sandwich with some awesome bread.
Now Al is interviewing the cast of Superstore, and I’m still not convinced that’s gonna work. I’m even less convinced that The Wiz! live is going to work. What is NBC’s weird obsession with live musicals for the holidays lately?
They promise that the Rockettes are coming up, along with Panic! at the Disco. I really, really hope the Rockettes are going to be kicking Panic! at the Disco, but I fear that dream will go unfulfilled. Maybe I should add that to my supervillain to-do list.
These may be the skimpiest costumes I’ve ever seen the Rockettes in. Not complaining, just saying. The music they’re dancing to is kind of a budget Mannheim Steamroller thing, which is also not a complaint. But I’m still annoyed that a certain band isn’t in front of that kick line, and more so that it probably means that certain band will perform something.
I don’t get tired of the syrupy Folgers Christmas commercials. They put real feeling into those. I did however freak out a little bit at Ricky Gervais staring at me through my TV. Hopefully no stoners are up this early or they just crapped themselves. Although that’d be hilarious, so if so: well played, Ricky.
First marching band of the day. I missed the name, but they’re leading the police, who are leading the parade itself. Holy crap, it’s 10 already? The woman leading the parade is doing this for her 60th consecutive year, and she must have had a lot of work done to look that young when she has to be pushing 80 (or even past it).
Sandra Lee is on the Tom Turkey float this year. She’ll do, but don’t ever let her plan a tailgate party; I saw her show on that once and couldn’t figure out why she thought a tailgate party involved only one kind of meat, and cocktails.
Scrat! That’s awesome. And they tell me there’s a new Ice Age movie coming out. That’s awesome! (I didn’t see the fourth one. I need to remedy that.)
We’re back to regional commercials. The New York health exchange has this ad that’s so horrible, if you haven’t seen it it’s beyond your comprehension. They took a bunch of models who obviously are not professional actors (at least I hope not), had them all make exaggerated fakey surprise faces and gestures, and stitched about 20 or 30 of those shots together into a commercial. It’s worse than it sounds.
Jordin Sparks is singing “Right Here, Right Now”. This is not the song I remember; no one is watching the world wake up from history. This song also doesn’t have a strong melody line. Nothing about it works. Save us from this disaster, Finn and Jake balloon.
While introducing the next marching band, Matt Lauer managed to introduce a third syllable to the word “medley”. Sesame Street’s float follows them, with Questlove. Apparently that’s an actual name, not a group, and he’s from the Roots. I haven’t really been watching the Tonight Show, so this is news to me. What kind of a name is Questlove?
Hello, Kitty! (Yes, I intend to say that every year.)
Spirit of America is doing their cheer routine, and this year their colors aren’t so garish and weird. They brought an annoying Macklemore song into it, and I know: Which one, right? (Okay, I might be in the minority for loathing Macklemore, but that doesn’t change anything.) I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything by Trey Songz, although I’m familiar with him by name. I will say I’m completely unimpressed that the first I hear from him is stealing a famous Carly Simon song line. Write your own songz, dude. And are you using Auto-Tune? Good gads.
Next comes the Wimpy Kid balloon. Moments like this feel weird to me, because I feel like an alien looking in on a kid culture that’s completely changed from what I remember. In my childhood a lot of cartoons were ones my parents remembered fondly, like Peanuts. These days, not quite so much. Another marching band behind that, playing Auld Lang Syne, which is kind of a weird choice for Thanksgiving.
Oh gads, here comes the first country act of the day: Jake Owen. He’s talking his way through the song to start, which makes it so much worse.
Ronald McDonald is on the ground and in the air. Rejoice! All day breakfast is here this year. Sure in my area that means Egg McMuffins instead of the Bacon Egg & Cheese Biscuit, but that’s not so bad. Speaking of which, what kind of idiot doesn’t understand that the phrase “Egg McMuffin with bacon” means to substitute regular bacon instead of Canadian bacon, not that I want a regular Egg McMuffin? At least two girls at my closest McDonalds have trouble with this.
I don’t have any beef with Andy Grammer, but I really can’t get behind his music. Eh.
Kool-Aid Man! Oh yeah! No Savannah Guthrie, his eyes are not sixes. Sixes have holes in them, dear. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are behind him. Panic! at the Disco is on their float, and sadly the Turtles are not beating them. Although I will say, the song they performed a snippet of sounds vaguely listenable and nothing at all like the only song anyone knows them for, which sucks in a league of its own.
A Power Ranger balloon is after the Turtles, which makes good chronological sense. The Power Rangers were for kids who were a little young for the Turtles, and could forgive weird Japanese costume fights that looked like weird Bollywood action films.
Speaking of Bollywood, Kruti Dance Academy is doing an Indian-themed dance number, with costumes that look almost Latino in terms of color and style. Those colors are a little loud. It was hard to see much of the dance.
On the Royal Caribbean float, the group Plain White T’s is performing. Savannah described them as a rock group, and Wikipedia says they’re a pop punk group, but they look and sound like a country band that’s trying really hard to pretend they’re not. Just sayin’, there’s probably a reason I haven’t heard them on pop stations, besides the obvious one that pop stations have been ravaged by the genre that calls itself R&B but isn’t and the genre that calls itself rap but isn’t, and that “top 40” these days means “top 5”.
Whoooooo lives in a pineapple under the sea? The Spongebob Squarepants balloon is making its way past Macy’s now. I feel like there should be a big ol’ Patrick balloon next year. I don’t really watch the show, but I’ve seen a little here and there.
On the Pirate’s Booty float, Shawn Mendes is performing his song “Stitches”. Gotta be honest: that song’s a major channel-changer for me. It’s not horrible, but something about it rubs me the wrong way. I can’t put my finger on why, and that bothers me because I usually have no trouble articulating why I hate a song.
A commercial for All laundry detergent tied in with the Peanuts movie, reminding me I haven’t seen that and I was vaguely curious about it. (Then I read just now on Wikipedia that Meghan Trainor did a song for the film, and my enthusiasm dimmed.)
Cirque du Soleil has a float with another pirate theme. There’s so much activity up there it’s hard to tell what to watch, but it sure looks fun. Al Roker introduces the Walled Lake Central High School marching band next, and I love those fiery flags they’re twirling. Behind them is Eruptor from Skylanders, a reminder that I lost touch with Spyro some time ago.
China has a float. It’s weird, but it’s kinda great; I like that Thanksgiving is a reminder of how America is about cultures from all over the world coming together.
A very strange dance group of regular guys is followed by a KFC float, which I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately the Colonel is delivering a country band. It is Kentucky Fried Chicken, after all. Hilariously, they’re being chased by an Angry Birds balloon. Juxtaposition: it’s fantastic.
The next marching band is doing an Elvis tribute. Eh. Nothing against the King, but I’m kinda done. Thomas the Tank Engine overlooks the avacado float in front of him, who are hosting Daughtry. It sounds like the reason I haven’t heard from Daughtry in a while is they crossed over to the dark side, by which I mean more country. Let’s start over, Chris; try to do it right this time around.
I know this KFC commercial with Colonel Sanders (who I think is much better played by Norm Macdonald than Darrell Hammond) is supposed to be a joke, but KFC on Christmas sounds kind of wonderful. Not that I’d put restaurant employees through that, though. Lego Dimensions is advertising too, and I can’t tell you how badly I want to get in on that.
This massive jumprope group is amazing. The Sprout float follows them, which as I recall always features an annoying squeaky chicken thing. Come back, Colonel! We have a job for you.
A marching band playing “New York State of Mind” (which is an odd choice, considering it’s a low-key song) leads the Paddington balloon. Andra Day is behind them, and her voice is stabbing at my nerves with a rusty pitchfork. Her high notes are nice, but when she delivers lyrics it’s doing that squeaky breaky thing so many singers these days seem to think is soulful. It’s not; it sounds like garbage. Stop that. If you want soulful listen to how the greats did it.
A Hess truck commercial. Huh. After all our Hesses became Speedways a few months ago, I thought the company had been bought out entirely and the Hess truck was a thing of the past. Apparently not. But where are people supposed to get Hess trucks now if there are no Hess stations around here anymore?
Boy, Mr. Peanut is looking spry. I didn’t know peanut shells could bend like that.
The patriotic music from this next marching band is much better than the Elvis thing. So much better. Thanks, Lewis Cass, for paying tribute to our armed forces. I can’t even imagine the troubles our troops are dealing with today. We’re thankful for them today.
Disney star Sofia Carson is singing a number from the Descendants aboard the Build-A-Bear float. I’m liking this song, but then I’ve always been a sucker for bubblegum pop. This is the first bubblegum pop song we’ve had all day.
Toothless! I love that dragon. He’s always reminded my wife and me of our dear departed Archie, who was a formerly feral sweetheart. He was a black cat and had big green eyes just like Toothless. Also for the last year of his life, he was literally toothless.
Rachel Platten is on the next float. She sounds pretty good live, which is how you know she’s lip-syncing. (Yes, I know they all are.) I heard her perform on the America’s Got Talent finale, and good gads was that a train wreck. I like “Fight Song” though. Hey, keep at it, Rachel. Maybe you’ll get better, like Kelly Clarkson eventually did. (How Kelly won a show that requires excellent live performances in the first place, when it took her about a decade after the fact to master it, still baffles me.)
I have a lot of faith in Pixar, but I have no idea what to expect of the Good Dinosaur.
It’s weird how in a parade, bagpipes are great, and anywhere else (except maybe a funeral) they’re like getting licked on the back of the knee by a subway rat. This song “Stuck on a Feeling” by Prince Royce is unobjectionable, which is about all I can say about it; it’s mostly just repeating the title to a forgettable beat while Snoop Dogg says random stuff in the background.
A Sinclair dinosaur balloon is back this year for the first time in a long time. It’s okay to call it a Brontosaurus, Al; you don’t have to say Apatosaurus. Turns out the Bronto was real after all, so we can all go back to it being our favorite. The cast of Broadway’s School of Rock is performing on the Gibson float (appropriately). I kinda wish Jack Black was up there, though, because Jack Black makes everything better.
The Secret Life of Pets, coming up in theaters at some point, looks really iffy. I always want the best for animated films, but they can’t all be winners. Remember that George Lucas thing that was in theaters for like an hour, featuring a bizarre patchwork of songs from his iPod? I didn’t see it, but I understand I’m not alone in that.
Ugh. An ad for a new Biggest Loser thing. That show has done more damage to more people than, probably, obesity itself. It teaches horrible lessons and it’s super-fake even by reality show standards. If you haven’t been disabused of the notion that the show is any good, look up some tell-alls sometime. Then watch something better, because you probably deserve better.
Mercy Me is singing a new Christmas song on the Mt. Rushmore float. I don’t like it. It’s not quite country, more like rockabilly, but… no. I have no use for rockabilly Christmas music. Pikachu looks on approvingly, though.
Domino’s sugar has a cookie factory float that’s kind of neat. But they’re carrying Jennifer Nettles who we saw earlier regarding the Dolly Parton movie, but now she’s singing. Urk. Only one bubblegum pop song and all this country? I’m actually listening to the song in spite of myself, and although it’s ostensibly about baked goods it’s actually about how guys are after her goodies of a different kind. Kind of transparently so, and some of the lyrics made me cringe that kids are dancing around her. The Aflac duck comes next, and he has no comment besides the obvious.
Previews for the football game I’ll be taping, and for the one I won’t. Good luck, Aaron Rodgers and company. And Peyton: here’s hoping your crew drives the Patriots into the frickin’ ground.
Oh good gads, it’s Train. And they have a Christmas song. Suddenly I wish I took up drinking about two hours ago. Christmas stations of the world, please don’t play this. I will not forget.
The Pillsbury Doughboy balloon cleanses us from the horror, and another good marching band is after him. They’re playing “Winter Wonderland”, another appropriate classic that has nothing to do with Elvis and actually fits the holiday. Although it has nothing to do with the movie White Christmas, the song reminded me of it anyway, which reminds me I need to get ready to put up my tree. I want to do that this weekend if I can.
Fittingly, the venerable Winter Wonderland float with the bridge over an ice pond follows that up. The duo performing on the bridge is more blues than country; I’ll allow it. The Virginia balloon from that animated special I’ve never seen is behind them.
“Time After Time” is too good a song to deserve the lousy cover in this Arm & Hammer ad.
Now we’re back, and we have the Elf on the Shelf balloon. I have to ask: Why in the frell is this horrible creepy doll a thing? Sure I know for some families it’s tradition now, but… how in the world did it get that way? It’s awful in so many, many ways. I’m so perplexed it’s distracting me from the next marching band.
Snoopy! Finally! Gads I missed the Snoopy balloon. Any year without him is lacking, and this was late for him to arrive this year.
Mariah Carey sings her seminal Christmas classic atop the Hallmark float. I’ll never stop loving that song. It’s great, and it also reminds me of my first year in college when it came out. That was a good year.
The Macy’s ad with the kids and the magic pencil is super cute.
Spirit of America is back, and these clown-like costumes are more their typical style. Which is to say, not as good as their earlier appearance. But the classic Christmas music with Bing Crosby is appreciated, because at Christmas you can’t go wrong with Bing.
And finally, Santa Claus finishes up the parade with his float. The white confetti isn’t as good as snow, but snow on a 51° day would be a bit of a stretch.
Once again I’m amazed how fast three hours fly by. Time to get ready for turkey and massive amounts of mashed potatoes. Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving is a happy one. Hey, don’t go out shopping for deals today unless you’re gonna do it online; don’t be one of those people. And tomorrow, don’t forget to be kind. Retail employees have a tough row to hoe, so give ’em a smile and patience to make up for all the people who won’t.
Another shout out to our troops, overseas and nearer to home, who are busy keeping the world as safe as they can today. God bless, and the thoughts of America are with you.