Thursday, November 27, 2008

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #12

Inflatable Horton is passing by with an inflatable clover and 56 wranglers below him.  Followed by the Care Bears.  A woman is miming something turgid about Christmas while bears ice-skate.  I need a beer.

Kermit is back, non-inflatable this time.  He's singing, but his voice is all wrong.  Bagpuss went to get her Fozzy Bear to wave at Kermit.  Meredith Vieria is announcing a group who aren't there.  The final band of the day are imminent, but first Andy Williams.

Andy is singing something Christmassy.  It's interesting how Christmas themed this Thanksgiving parade is.  There was one giant turkey, some over sized cranberries and about a dozen Christmas songs.  Perhaps someone should write more songs about pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes.  As I wrote that, the final band turned up and played Jingle Bells.

And here's Santa to wind up the parade.  He's a good Santery looking Father Christmas, with a thick but carefully groomed beard and is preceded by a long line of animatronic reindeer.

Matt Lauer is winding up, and Son Number One is reaching for the Wii remote.  The parade is over.

In conclusion, the whole thing was a little fraught - the Squeakers didn't enjoy it very much.  They would have loved it if they were there, but to see it we would have had to get up at oh-my-God-o-clock.  If we watch it on TV again, next time I'm turning off the commentators.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #11

There is now a steam-boat, populated by sailors, giant mice and a sixteen year old singer called Charice.  The captain has an eight foot head.  It represents Good Housekeeping.  I'm confused.

A marching band with a twist.  It's filled with octogenarians from Florida.  I think I just saw Lloyd Bridges playing a trumpet.

Spongebob Squarepants is floating past.

While watching Trace Adkins singing, Il Capo remarked, "Country Music's very big here, isn't it?"

Now there are traditional Iroquois dancers and singers performing - followed by inflatable Kermit.  The organisers have an interesting way of ordering this parade

They've hacked the head and shoulders off the Statue of Liberty and Miss USA is dragging it down the street!

Now this is unusual.  The Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team.

I think what is driving me nuts about the commercialism isn't that all the floats represent various shows or products - that's fair enough.  It's listening to Al Roker and Matt Lauer reading a paragraph from each company's marketing department every time a new float goes past.  Say, the float is from Build-A-Bear Workshop, but don't give me a hundred words on how turn children's dreams into nylon reality.

Andy Williams is coming up, but the Squeakers are beginning to rebel.  I may not make it...

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #10

Idina Menzel is singing on a float with the M&M men.  She's very well wrapped up with a big woolly hat.  Very energetic singing though.

Son Number One gazes adoringly at inflatable Pikachu.  Matt Lauer is explaining how Pikachu stores electricity in his cheeks.

Buzz Lightyear is floating over Broadway.  He's followed by a musical number from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends - which is interrupted by... RICK ASTLEY!  Il Capo is on her feet - she's dancing!

We've had to rewind so she can dance more... I'll be back when it's over.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #9

An Abby Cadabby inflatable, another marching band, and a giant Hello Kitty balloon. Bagpuss is happy again.

A giant pink castle is passing by. It has singing women on it.

Something that impresses Son Number One. Two jugglers juggling while one stands on the other's shoulders. They are from the Big Apple Circus.

Mr Peanut from Planters Peanuts arrives in his Nutmobile. Did you know Americans consume more than 600 million pounds of nuts every year? That's not much, they eat more turkey in one day!

The cast from Hair are here, singing Aquarius. Hair is on, needless to say, Broadway.

The huge horses of the NYC Parks Enforcement Mounted Patrol. Followed directly by an inflatable Ronald McDonald.

"Long Island's teen sensation" Push Play are singing on a cardboard bridge - someone forgot to turn off Matt Lauer's microphone. And another marching band are performing.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #8

I may be understating it, but there is a certain amount of product placement on the NBC broadcast of Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Now this is a little different.  Hawaiian dancers and singers all dressed in grass skirts and those flower garland things.

Shontelle is singing beside a huge rhino that people are abseiling rappelling  down...  I can't explain it.

An Inflatable Dora that waves!  The Squeakers are momentarily interested.  That is followed by a Harajuku Girls float with an inflatable Gwen Stefani and then a giant Energizer bunny.

Lots of girls in short skirts with huge skipping ropes.  They have sixty foot ropes perpendicular to each other and lines of jumping girls.  Hard to explain, think of the ropes as a grid.

Ooh, Sesame Street.  Bagpuss stops looking for a grape under the sofa to watch Elmo.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #7

Back to Harold Square outside Macy's.  The All-Star Baton Twirlers are twirling.  They each raised $2,000 dollars to appear - oh they've gone.

Peanuts characters, a giant inflatable Snoopy and normal sized Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus.

Il Capo's foot is better now.

Son Number One is asking to play on the Wii.

A marching band are now marching and playing.  More high-kicking from the band's majorettes.

The Bolt float is here.  Bolt is an upcoming film.  Miley Cyrus is miming to a song.  Miley Cyrus voices one of the characters.

Ah, now we have mounted police with a police band - oh, we are getting sponsors adverts over the top of them.  Obviously the police aren't paying NBC enough.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #6

The parade has now reached Macy's.  Possibly NBC were lacking cameras, as we finally get to see some of it.

Did you know that 675 million pounds of turkey is eaten every Thanksgiving in the USA?  That's a little over 32 ounces of turkey for every person.  That's what I enjoy about these long live events, the nuggets that the commentators produce from their crib-sheets.

The smurfs are passing by.  They've given pleasure to millions says Meredith Vieira... and Sony Pictures are bringing out a Smurfy movie next year.

James Taylor is singing America the Beautiful.  I think he's the first person not actually selling anything.

And we now pause as Il Capo soothes her foot where Bagpuss spilled hot tea.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #5

Interview with Ali Larter from NBC's Heroes.  Al Roker actually asked her about the parade, but then segued straight into Heroes, which you can catch Mondays at nine on NBC.

Now a performance of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid, which is on... Broadway!  Ariel is wearing a pair of clam-shells in the street in November!

And now we have the Radio City Rockettes demonstrating their flexibility to a medley of Christmas tunes.  The Radio City Rockettes are appearing this Christmas at the Radio City Music Hall

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #4

Al Roker is fortunate to have Michael Flatley with him.  They're advertising a show on NBC.

Now it's lots of semi-naked sailors singing Nothing Like a Dame from South Pacific.  Apparently, South Pacific is on Broadway at the moment.  Who'da thunk it?

A quick recap.  We've seen a giant inflatable smurf and 600 cheerleaders from the parade, three promotions for Broadway shows and three interviews with people who are in NBC shows.

Now we have Harry Connick Junior in a helicopter over where the parade would be if he hadn't recorded it yesterday.

The Squeakers are starting to ask if it's over yet.

Interview with cast members from NBC's, The Office.  It's on Thursday nights at nine on NBC.

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #3

Uhhh, where was I?

There were six-hundred cheerleaders all jumping and wiggling.  Very hypnotic.

A giant Smurf just passed by - Al Roker got excited.

We now have a musical number from In The Heights , a musical on Broadway.

Al Roker has a special guest... It's David Hasselhoff!  Oh, no it's not.  He said Knight Rider and I got excited, but it's the star of the new Knight Rider advertising his show that isn't doing as well as hoped.  He just said a few words, gave the time and day of the show and then left, probably to go indoors.

Another musical number.  This is also from a Broadway show, a limited run of Irving Berlin's White Christmas.  I'm beginning to detect a theme here...

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #2

OK, NBC is on the television...

It's 37 degrees and Meredith Vieira really doesn't look happy to be outside in it.  A couple of statistics to start us off.  There are ten thousand parade participants and three and half million people watching on the streets of Manhattan.

NBC are going through all the performers that will be appearing.  It started off with Miley Cyrus and just kept going and going.  At one point he mentioned Rick Astley.  Got to stop typing, there are cheerleaders....

Live blogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade #1

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday in the U.S.  It's the only American holiday where the event itself appears to have more significance than the plastic novelties you put in your front yard.  In fact, other than a few inflatable turkeys there is little in the way of humourous trash with which to adorn the day.  The purpose - spending time with people close to you and eating your own weight in one sitting - is sufficiently consuming to make any ancillery gimcrackery seem pointless - detrimental even - to the day's significance.

There is however, one Thanksgiving tradition that has absorbed all this missing gimmickry and razamatazz and it is discharged in one long New York parade.  I'm told it makes other parades look like a queue line at the post office.  Initially it was my plan for the whole Potarto family to go and see the parade.  I mean, we're a few miles away, staying at home and watching it on TV seemed a waste somehow.  But Il Capo convinced me that the trauma of enduring four hours standing in the street in November with the Squeakers was something we should save for next year.  So, how amazing is the parade?  We shall see with the second Mr Potarto live-blog session.

Strictly speaking, this is less a live-blog, more a TiVo-blog as the parade started 40 minutes ago and the TV's still off.  Anyone with a DVR will understand - once you become accustomed to jumping over adverts, live television holds a certain repulsion.