The local news is on and the parade is moments away! I have a hunk of a mini loaf of pumpkin bread that’s been sitting in my freezer for a year (it didn’t get freezer burned, surprisingly), bacon, Pepsi, and a can-do attitude. So let’s go. As usual this is a live blog event, so keep refreshing to see updates.
Ulgh. Seriously, a political commercial just before it? I don’t care what your issue is, you do not run a political ad on Thanksgiving.
This is a weird opening. They started with a prerecorded thing with a bunch of NBC people and other celebrities singing to “Dancing in the Street”, and then segued into a performance in front of Macy’s that includes a gospel choir, lots of people in red scarves, police, and a lot of other things of which thematic consistency is not one. Now the lineup.
Okay, opening ceremony before lineup apparently, but I just got a view of Olaf ready to go. Now we’re ready. Gwen Stefani is here, which should be fun; Andra Day is too, which should not. Her voice makes me wince. The Goo Goo dolls are here too, and I know what you’re thinking: Are they still a thing? A couple other names including country. Of course. A lot of names there didn’t jump out at me, oddly. Normally I find more to comment on.
So far the most Christmasy commercial has been a Macy’s ad that led it all off. Also an oddity. I started seeing Christmas ads weeks ago, starting on Halloween. Why is it the ads in the first commercial break are so lame? Somebody screwed up this year.
Remember when Matt Lauer had hair, and Al Roker’s face didn’t?
First Broadway show. Wait, what? They’re doing a Spongebob Squarepants show? What the… what? The lead is just a prepubescent-looking dude in plaid pants, yellow shirt, and suspenders. I can’t tell if I’m being trolled. Now I’ve seen Patrick, Sandy, etc. and it’s…not working at all. They’re just people, and their costumes aren’t even particularly evocative of the characters. And I say this not even as a fan. They’re showing a lot of colorful costumes, but the extras look like they belong to the Spongebob universe more than the main characters. Freaking weird.
Come on, NBC! Who did you put in charge of your ad buys? You are dropping the ball. Although we aren’t being bombarded by truly terrible tablet ads by Microsoft, so there’s that, but I think that has more to do with Microsoft not choosing to do so. So far the most snow I’ve seen is from the ads reminding me that the Olympics are coming in February. Sheesh, not even a Barbie commercial?
Next show. “Dear Even Hansen is a contemporary story about life and, more importantly, the way we live it.” Boy am I glad I’m partaking of a caffeinated beverage right about now. Although this song has the makings of something special so I’ll give it a chance. And while the premise of this musical sounds boring as all get out, the song really came through. “You Will Be Found”, it’s called, and it works.
The UPS Store gets a mention for actually trying to be on theme today, albeit with a commercial they ran last year. I’ll still give it to them.
I just saw Ronald McDonald, but Al Roker is saying something about a troll balloon, presumably from the movie Trolls that I did not see. We’re still doing interviews of NBC stars, but I don’t recognize most of them because I don’t watch these shows.
Now we have a number from the Broadway adaptation of Anastasia. I never saw that film either but this one I really wanted to. Sometime I’ll have to watch it. Come to think of it, we’re coming up on the hundredth anniversary of the event that gave rise to the movie. Chilling thought. But on brighter topics the song came off well and it looks like this has potential as a musical. Helps that it’s an adaptation of one already, I guess.
I can’t believe I missed Despicable Me 3. I missed a lot of movies this year. I can’t believe they’re making a Trolls “holiday” special. I can’t believe my pumpkin bread survived so incredibly well after a year in the freezer; seriously, it’s terrific. Quick quasi-local commercial from Eastview Mall, which is one of the few malls older than I am (I know because my mom tells a story of how I lost a pacifier there forty years ago), and then Gwen Stefani wants us to know she has a Christmas special coming up. The ads are getting gradually better.
The celebrity interviews still not so much. Maybe I’m just bitter since Grimm ended.
Speaking of Gwen Stefani, Matt Lauer is stumbling through introducing her. She’s doing a live song, but not on the parade route. And from the sound of it, she might have a Christmas album dropping, because she’d dreaming of a White Christmas. In that outfit I think I’d be dreaming of a warm coat. I know she’s wearing something sheer over all that skin, but boy am I glad for her sake it’s not colder in New York City today. What about the song, you ask? It’s pretty good; not spectacular, but fun, and I’m always a sucker for a good Christmas song.
Speaking of suckers, Hugh Jackman is starring in a movie about P. T. Barnum that appears to be a musical.
I just saw the sun catch the pumpkin balloons behind Olaf, and for a second I thought I was seeing giant plumes of flame. I think I figured out a way to make the parade even better. There’s now a song from the show “Once on This Island”. Wikipedia says it’s based on a book that’s Romeo and Juliet meets The Little Mermaid in the Caribbean. The song they’re doing isn’t piquing my interest much; it’s just all right.
And the Rockettes are out. Those costumes look cold too, but then they always do. With the workout their legs get though, that probably makes up for it.
There’s an animated movie coming out about the Nativity, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Talking animals and whatnot, the usual jokes you’d see in a kids’ movie. Does Hollywood have the heart to pull something like that off anymore?
A marching band is now doing a mega-medley of retro tunes, Lauer says. I might be thick this morning, but I haven’t recognized the tune yet. Considering he said “retro” and it’s obviously not something from the ’80s or after, I’m pretty okay with not recognizing it.
The official start of the parade is here! Olaf is passing by Macy’s. Who doesn’t love Olaf? He likes warm hugs.
Tom Turkey goes by, and on top is just a couple dressed like Pilgrims. No one from Food Network? Riding below are a couple stars from Top Chef on Bravo. I don’t think I can bring myself to watch a show on Bravo.
They cut into an tie-in ad for a new show with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Interesting. For my part I just want to give them credit for being seasonal. Oogh, and now we’ve hit a local commercial break. Not good. Also when a couple of lawyers have a lame local jingle that says they’re for serious cases, it kind of steps on the message.
Patti LaBelle has a song for us. I don’t know if “people are dying” is the best lyric to throw in for this occasion, even if the song itself is about giving love. Probably doesn’t help that I didn’t understand most of the other lyrics.
We just had a marching band from Nation Ford High School stop by to perform a song, but as they left the storefront they started in on “Land of a Thousand Dances”. Wish they’d led with that one instead. And now here comes Scrat!
Wyclef Jean is doing a song aboard an NHL float that looks like it was put together by the Little Rascals. Not hating his song. That’s a good thing, because there will be country stars later and I need to pace myself.
Ronald McDonald is in a big red shoe car in front of his own balloon. Tell me honestly this wouldn’t be 10000% better if he threw fresh bacon egg and cheese biscuits to the crowd from the car.
Holy crap. I heard they were remaking Jumanji, but this one includes Jack Black and Kevin Hart? I am so in. Fruit of the Loom is trying to convince us buying underwear as a gift isn’t obnoxious. Geico brings us a Christmas-themed commercial finally, and NBC is introducing a show that looks like a soccer mom crime spree.
The Sesame Street float has a song with Leslie Odom, Jr. It’s a typical Sesame Street float song, so it’s uplifting and forgettable. This one is about coming together, so good message. Sesame Street will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon is right behind that, with the Trumbull Golden Eagle Marching Band. They’re performing “My Favorite Things”, which is not a Christmas song! Seriously, it’s not even close to being one. Even though it’s appeared on Christmas albums for like fifty years now, it isn’t a Christmas song. Liking the colors on those flags, though: black streaked with all kinds of shades of purple.
Whoa! It’s Angelica Hale from AGT! Gads I love this kid’s voice. She’s freaking amazing. She’s singing “Girl on Fire” which she nailed in the show, on top of a float with a theme for kids younger than her. The float supposedly comes from Sprout, but we’re spared the squeaky chicken thing and we get Angelica in trade. That’s like driving a Kia and randomly having a Ferrari owner enthusiastically offer an even trade. You go, girl.
Andy Grammer has a song for us. His music is the sort of pop-adjacent stuff radio stations don’t touch anymore. Kind of a shame, because while his style isn’t quite for me most of the time, the alternatives are worse. It seems to me in the early ’90s he’d be more of a household name than he is now. Now we have mostly amelodic garbage on the radio. Sorry, I started slipping into a rant.
Marching band. Missed the name. I don’t recognize the song. Which is fitting for coming ahead of the red Power Ranger, since I missed out on that whole thing too and have no idea which one of them is supposed to be which.
Jimmy Fallon and the Roots are performing a Prince song on the Gibson Guitar float. I love Jimmy but I do wonder if Prince would have given him the okay on this; he was notoriously prickly. Jimmy and the band are having fun up there, so good for them. Still I wish they’d break out a Fallon classic instead and sing “Idiot Boyfriend”.
Not a Pokémon fan, and I’m violently allergic to anime, but for some reason I adore the Pikachu balloon. Is that weird? I feel like it’s weird.
Ah, the Spirit of America Cheer group is up. That’s a lot of powder blue. Normally I like how colorful they are but they look like a bunch of Smurfs. They have a float, and fittingly Miss America is on it.
They have a Trolls balloon now, with characters I don’t recognize because again, didn’t see the movie. There’s a new float behind them from Shimmer & Shine, a Nickelodeon cartoon. Kid’s Choice award winner JoJo Siwa, a kid herself, is singing on the float. Well, lip-syncing on the float, and more obviously than most. It’s not bubblegum pop; it’s bubblegum garbage not-exactly-rap. Pity.
Charlie Brown and his kite are next. But boy do I miss Snoopy. A parade without a Snoopy balloon always feels like it’s missing something. The Girl Scouts float behind him has Andra Day (ugh) and Common. Seriously, dude? You chose “Common” as a one-name-only name like Cher? Good gads. He just started speaking his way through a rappish part of the song and my respect for him did not improve. Plus Andra Day’s voice still makes me want to jab a pen in my ear.
Back to Amy and Nick. They’re also tying in with Google Home Mini for some reason, so it’s a commercial for a TV show and a home assistant both. Weird, but it was a nice break from that song so I’m on board. Ellen DeGeneres is hosting a new game show that looks delightfully wacky. I think I’m in.
A children’s group made up of kids of active duty and veteran military personnel just performed in front of Macy’s. Interesting concept. KFC has a float behind that, which unfortunately has our first country singer of the day. (Or on a glass-half-full note, fortunately it’s our first country singer and it’s already 10:45.) This float makes me think of that commercial they have where the family is unwrapping KFC for Christmas. I’d be pretty happy with that.
The US Air Force Band is at the store now, giving us a rousing fanfare about the wild blue yonder. Good work, guys! And thank you everyone who’s serving and away from their families today to keep our country safe.
I missed who this balloon is supposed to be. It looks like a plane from that old Looney Tunes cartoon with the baby jet, crossed with a Transformer. Sara Evans is performing aboard the Entemann’s float behind that. If I didn’t have a big meal coming and I had one in the house, I could totally go for a chocolate frosted donut right now. I’m like a Pavlovian bundle of food neuroses.
Speaking of which, there’s that KFC commercial I was just talking about.
A hip hop group is performing a dance routine to a song that is not a song. I want to like hip hop but I can’t. Which is hammered home with Bebe Rexha performing above the NY Daily News Big Apple float. Ick, this song is like country hip hop.
A Paw Patrol balloon is behind that, leading the TMNT float. Apparently the Turtles are being rebooted again next year. Again. Let that sink in. Kat Graham, who will be the new voice of April O’Neil, is doing a song on the float. Her song is called “Magic”, and… I like it. I like it a lot. It has a melody and the music has a good groove to it. Huh. Unexpected bonus.
That Macy’s commercial just melted me a little. A girl buys her dad’s cologne for her mom for Christmas because the dad is away on a fishing boat. It was really sweet. Amy and Nick are back, and it’s another Google tie-in; maybe the first one was too and I just didn’t notice.
There’s a Sour Patch Kids float. I approve. With Latin recording artist Nicky Jam. Approval fading. I did discover this year that there’s a Spanish-language song I actually like, but this isn’t it. (The one that is: Justin Bieber. I’d say don’t judge me for liking a song that Bieber got involved with, but I’d honestly prefer it if you did.)
Aw, this is awesome. They brought back the baseball player balloon from Miracle on 34th St., and he’s in monochrome. I love it. And I love that movie. You love that movie too; admit it.
Ohio University is performing a song by the group Chicago, which has nothing to do with the holidays. I’m not saying it’s a law or anything, but I’d much prefer a Christmas song.
The red Angry Bird balloon is up now. Boy I wish I had a fraction of Rovio’s money. Flo Rida is coming up at some point this hour. Boy I wish I hadn’t heard that. Now I get to dread it instead of just being unpleasantly surprised.
Another local commercial break. But we’ve also had more Christmas commercials, so that’s something. The sun is out and I wish it had snowed a little. The grass is kinda depressing to look at.
A clownish group of old ladies called Red Hot Mamas just performed in front of the store. Good clean silly fun, and no that’s not a pun about the washing machine they had. Flo Rida is on the Krazy Glue funhouse float, and this may be mean-spirited but I have an awesome idea for putting their product to use. He does have a couple of hot dancers up front though so I’m gonna give him a pass in the spirit of Christmas.
The Spongebob balloon is here, reminding us again how utterly ridiculous that Broadway show looks. King’s Hawaiian has a cool-looking float behind him, bearing the musically decrepit Goo Goo Dolls. But somehow I’m not hating this song. How is this possible? It’s the Goo Goo Dolls. You know, the guys who did that song “Name” and that other annoying song from that Nick Cage angel movie in the ’90s. How is it I’m liking this one? This makes no sense.
Another high school marching band is up. I don’t recognize the song they’re doing. A little dragon balloon is behind them but I don’t recognize it either.
Hey, this is weird. They’re showing parade stuff in a tiny corner of the screen and putting the commercial in a big box instead of the whole screen, like football games have been doing this year during breaks. First time it’s happened that I’ve noticed, though.
Spirit of America Dance Stars is performing in black and white and red all over. Their outfits have a harlequin quality and they’re dancing to a mightily sped-up Pink song. (How many groups here are called Spirit of America?)
Build-a-Bear has a float too, of course. Sabrina Carpenter, who I’ve never heard of, is aboard for a song. She’s doing that style of music that runs her voice way too much through a filter and doesn’t try to keep up a melody outside of the chorus. Gads I miss when music was a thing.
And now, the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The Big Apple Circus has an assembly right behind him, and then the Domino’s sugar float. Remember last year when their float was right next to the Dough Boy? They didn’t put as much effort into funny juxtaposition this year. I missed the name of this singer aboard the Domino’s float, but her song sounds like country. At least we’ve had less country music this time around, but they’re back-loading it all so the dosage is higher all at once.
Green Giant has a float. I feel like he deserves a balloon. But they have another country singer aboard, Lauren Alaina, and now I take back what I said about deserving a balloon. Bad giant! No cookie! (But actually I wish I could like country. They still care about putting music in their music. I just… can’t.)
The Sinclair dinosaur ballooon follows them, so I guess that counts as a green giant balloon. Rosemount High School is doing the national anthem behind him. Okay, so if the song isn’t gonna be a Christmas song, naked patriotism works too.
I see another singer. He’s on top of the Mount Rushmore float. Oh, and it’s Smokey Robinson; didn’t recognize him from afar. That man has had a lot of Botox.
98 Degrees is coming up? Did whoever raised the Goo Goo Dolls from the dead do them too? Lifetime wants to tell us it has Christmas movies coming up, some of which don’t star Lacey Chabert. I wouldn’t have recognized Jasmine Guy if they didn’t show her name.
Aflac! Love that duck. And the gorgeous Balsam Hill carousel float follows him. This float impressed the heck out of me last year and it still does. Olivia Holt is singing a Christmas classic from the middle deck. Yay! Christmas music, and it isn’t terrible! Also I like her treatment of the song. I wonder if she has an album out and if the rest of it is that good.
Behind that, the Grinch and his dog Max. They tell us a new computer-animated version is coming out next year. I don’t know how to feel about that, especially since it’s coming from Illiumination. Hopes are not high.
The Rockford High School marching band wants us to know it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It sure is! Loving those dark blue shiny flags that kind of look like starfields, too.
The Creepiest Tradition Ever balloon is here now, by which I mean the accursed Elf on the Shelf. The Peanuts float behind him is a much-needed palate cleanser.
And here as promised is 98 Degrees. The song is a Christmas song and it’s all right. But I hope this doesn’t mean boy bands are coming back. My nerves can’t take it. Next, the Davis High School marching band is performing “Ode to Joy”, and you know what that means. Yup, it means I want to watch Die Hard, one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.
Wait! They said I was gonna see a giant singing Christmas tree. What they meant was a float from Delta that looks like a green wedding cake with a bunch of Macy’s employees in different-colored jackets and sweaters singing. It’s a Christmas song (not one I know though) and it sounds nice, but talk about a bait and switch. I was totally picturing an animatronic tree. Don’t even try to tell me you weren’t either, because you were.
Another really sweet Macy’s commercial coming in right at the end. Dang they are on point with those this year. And our last visit with Amy and Nick. I knew they’d be back.
Macy’s Great American Marching Band might be the last band of the day. They’re performing “Deck the Halls” out in front of the store. And now come the elf balloons and elves on foot, which can only mean one thing. Santa Claus has arrived, to a storm of ticker tape confetti. Amazing how bouncy he’s gotten in the last decade or so.
The hosts wrap up with a salute to our troops, and so will I. Thanks for all you do out there.
And now, time to get hungry and get ready for a huge dinner. Happy Thanksgiving all, wherever you are!