Tuesday, November 22, 2011

As the holidays approach...

General Thanksgiving musings:

The Macy’s Day parade is fun to watch only when it’s raining, snowing, windy, or five degrees. Otherwise, what’s entertaining about Al Roker interviewing second bananas from the NBC “hit” comedy, ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA?, a production number from CHICAGO (probably now starring Shaquille O’Neill), guys on unicycles, marching bands performing Sondheim, Wal-Mart 3 A.M Sale commercials, the Hello Kitty balloon, and the phrase “for children of all ages”? And now, even when there IS a balloon accident they make no mention of it.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Santa Claus Lane Parade, once a proud LA tradition, is now pathetic. And it’s not even because it’s no longer safe to go to Hollywood at night. It'll be this Sunday night, unless it's canceled. Gone are the days when TV stars like Lucy and Jack Benny would be in the parade. Now they don’t even get Gypsy Boots, lasso expert Monty Montana, and Iron Eyes Cody hawking his new line of jewelry. Today it’s the disc jockeys from KTNQ and maybe Santa Claus if they can pour him out of the Frolic Room.

Oh God, holiday music begins. The only Christmas songs I like are “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Linda Eder and the Chipmunk Song.

And then there are the Christmas themed episodes on sitcoms. These stories all ran out in 1957. What to buy? I forgot to get a present for X. Oh no, I have to work, etc. All episodes end in a living room in front of a roaring fire or at the homeless shelter. And everyone learns a lesson they should have already known since they were five.


Some radio stations are now flipping to Christmas music-only format.  Usually they are adult-contemporary or smooth jazz stations.  But there's an all-sports station in Victorville, California that's going all Christmas music.  That can't be good news for that format.  


Since they always SAY the day after Thanksgiving is the worst shopping day of the year, with the biggest lines, why do people go????

Worst Thanksgiving songs: "The Turkey Trot" by Little Eva and "Turkey Lurky" from PROMISES PROMISES (the absolute nadir of the Bacharach-David songbook).

This is the one week a year when those idiots who never take down their Christmas lights are the smart ones.

Drive, fly, and eat carefully.

28 comments:

Gnasche said...

Yeah, but doesn't the phrase "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" come across as a bit condescending?

I will have a merry little Christmas, thank you very much, and the gayness of my Yuletide is, frankly, none of your business.

R said...

They also SAY that Christmas Eve is a bad day to shop, which consequently makes it the BEST day to shop. My sister and I started (purely through procrastination) a tradition ten years ago of doing all our shopping on Christmas Eve. We go at 9, the stores are empty, half the stuff is already on sale, we give five bucks to whichever charity has a gift-wrapping table, we're done shopping by noon, go out to lunch and BOOM! we're done. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy.

And the only Thanksgiving song worth listening to is Adam Sandler's. Anyone who can fit in the lines "Sammy Davis Jr. only got one eye", "Jimmy Walker used to say 'Dyno-Mite!'", and "Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong" into a Thansgiving carol is alright in my book, even if he hasn't made a good movie since Punch Drunk Love.

Frank said...

I bet the sports fans in Victorville will be cheering loudly when Christmas is finally over.

L. F. said...

Community has had some awesome Christmas episodes. Just sayin :)

D. McEwan said...

In fairness, Gypsy Boots (Whom I worked with a few times), Monty Montana, and Iron Eyes Cody are all dead, so they wouldn't be able to wave from cars anyway, just lie rotted in festively-decorated hearses.

gottacook said...

Is "Turkey Lurkey Time" really even worse than the worst of the Bacharach/David songs from Lost Horizon a few years later, such as "The World Is a Circle"? Whatever the case may be, I forgive them their stinkers - they produced so many distinctive songs.

(Burt is my dad's age but looks much older, sadly; a photo of him at last year's premiere of the Promises, Promises revival can be seen at theychosepoorly.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/burt-bacharach.)

An said...

I can't see Donna McKechnie without seeing the choreography from "It's Turkey Lurkey Time" and getting a vicarious neck ache. What a fantastic bit of lunacy that was. YT it if you haven't already.

Pat Reeder said...

Here's a Christmas song you might enjoy that my wife cut a couple of years ago for morning radio. Sadly, it's still pretty topical. At this rate, I have a feeling it could become a Christmas perennial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEsYterH8bo


VW - derstic - Of, or pertaining to, Fred Durst.

All Adither said...

Not much of a holiday guy, eh?

Tom Galloway said...

Have to think that Big Bang Theory managed an original twist on an xmas episode a few seasons back, due mainly to it playing how Sheldon would react to gift giving.

He knows that Penny is going to get him a gift, but he has no idea what level of gift to reciprocate with so that the value of the gifts will be equal. So he buys multiple gift baskets ranging from tiny to huge, such that he's prepared for any eventuality.

Or so he thinks.

He opens her present. It's a napkin, so he's prepping to get the tiny gift basket, when she tells him to turn it over. It's signed by Leonard Nimoy, which of course excites him greatly. She then apologizes for the smudge, as he'd wiped his mouth on it.

This just gets him even more excited, and we get the following:
"I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy!"

"But look, he signed it!"

"All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!!!!"

And he then goes off and gets every single gift basket.

Viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlhHTdDqoBc

YEKIMI said...

A Friday question. I was watching MASH the other day and opening credits said the story was by McLean Stevenson (but written by the writers). My question is how often did the actors suggest story lines? If it was a really awful idea, did you shoot them down gently or just said the heck with it and go with what they suggested? And if they suggested the story and it was made, did they get a little extra in their paycheck?

DanTedson said...

"All episodes end in a living room in front of a roaring fire or at the homeless shelter. And everyone learns a lesson they should have already known since they were five."

Namely, don't invite the homeless into your living room. And if you do, sure as shit don't introduce them to fire.

Mark Fearing said...

WKRP Thanksgiving episode. The funniest thing I saw on TV for many years. I was pretty young, but remember thinking I had never seen something like that before. I've liked Thanksgiving since.

SkippyMom said...

The Macy's Day parade has gotten worse over the years, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving to me if it wasn't on in the background while I prepared dinner.

Besides, next year I have the best reason ever to watch it - LIVE! - our next to youngest will be performing in it. That alone is worth Al Roker.

And I have to agree with R - Christmas Eve is an awesome day to go shopping, especially if you can find gift wrappers too!

Phillip B said...

The classic Thanksgiving "Bob Newhart Show" episode "Over the River and Through the Woods" premiered on November 22, 1975. A mere 36 years ago, and still I laugh just remembering the lines....

More goo!

DwWashburn said...

Well I have no problem with all Christmas stations as long as they 1) stay away from Johnny Mathis, Barbara Streisand (sp) and Celine Dion (baby Barbara) and 2) have more than 10 Christmas CD's in their library.

Here in Vegas our adult station started holiday music on November 20, latest in ten years. And I think they only have 5 CDs because even with the twenty minutes of commercials every hour I heard Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" twice in 90 minutes.

Give me "Snoopy's Christmas", "A Baby Just Like You" or "If Every Day Was Like Christmas" and I'm a happy holiday man.

john brown said...

You never wrote a Christmas episode?

Buttermilk Sky said...

I know how you feel about her, but Roseanne had a classic Christmas episode. The thought of the family stringing lights on Shelley Winters still brings a smile.

For holiday music, try this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=srHM2sIll68

Anonymous said...

A guy named Levine doesn't like Christmas music. I'm shocked.

D. McEwan said...

"gottacook said...
Is 'Turkey Lurkey Time' really even worse than the worst of the Bacharach/David songs from Lost Horizon a few years later, such as 'The World Is a Circle'?"


I have to hand it to you, Gottacook, the Bacharach-David Lost Horizon is a REAL "Turkey Lurky." What a wretched movie on every level. Pauline Kael said that this misbegotten musical made Shangra-La seem "about as alluring as Forest Lawn."

Ken Levine said...

I wrote and directed several Christmas episodes. Also wrote a couple of Thanksgiving episodes and directed two of them. One Halloween episode written and one Halloween episode directed. One St. Patrick's Day episode (writer) and one Valentine's Day episode (director).

YEKIMI said...

What, no Arbor Day or Martin Luther King Day shows?

kingvermin said...

Punk rock band The Vandals put out a great Xmas album, "Oi to the World," but the best Xmas song ever is "F### Christmas, F### Santa, F### You" by Canadian band Blood Sausage.

(though The Ventures Xmas album is still a favorite...)

-paul

Paul Duca said...

Ken, I can tell you I have a very nice Christmas offering for you that you will surely appreciate, but that will wait for the big day.

For more immediate concerns, one of the eight days for Matt has been solved...SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has put out a commemorative issue (the type with a a binding) on the centennial of Fenway Park. I saw it in the supermarket yesterday.

Yekimi...we do have "It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown' which celebrates the day when, as his sister Sally says "all the ships come sailing into the arbor"

Dan Fiorella said...

Yeah, the "all-Christmas music all-the-time" format is overkill. And it's been bugging me awhile:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/94833/some_advice_for_radio_stations_playing.html?cat=33

Ref said...

I don't mind Christmas music. Some of it I even like, but if I never hear "Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey" again, I would be a happy man.

Joey H said...

Actually, Turkey Lurkey Time is a Christmas song:

"A snowy, blowy christmas, a mistletoey christmas
A turkey lurkey christmas to you...
A turkey lurkey christmas to you"

Matt said...

To be fair, "Turkey Lurkey Time" is more of a showcase for the dancers in a production of Promises, Promises than anything else. Specifically, it was a showcase for Donna McKechnie, who was married to Michael Bennett, who choreographed the original 1968 production of the show. I remember it mostly because sometime in the early 70's, I was in the school choir and we sang this little ditty in a Christmas concert. Even in a "simplified" arrangement, this is one of the trickiest songs I've ever learned.