Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Your choices for watching the ball drop in Times Square were three variations of painful.
NBC had Carson Daly. I ask this every year? Why???? This guy has no apparent talent. He’s not funny. He’s not edgy. He’s not popular. He can’t sing. He can’t dance. He hasn’t won a reality show. He can count backwards. That’s pretty much it. And every year NBC goes with him and every year he gets slaughtered in the ratings. Why not let the cast from SNL host? Or an NBC Page. Anybody but a faint imitation of Ryan Seacrest. I didn’t watch this. I never do.
Option two is Ryan Seacrest. ABC’s NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE. The big attraction here is Dick Clark – a once giant in television now crippled by a tragic stroke. It is impossible to watch him now without squirming. And yet, year after year he insists on appearing, and year after year the numbers go up. I guess ghoulish curiosity is a big ratings grabber. Do people tune in specifically to see a train wreck? We won’t know until the year he’s no longer on, but I bet the ratings plummet once he’s gone. Because otherwise, what do you have? A better Carson Daly vamping, idiotic correspondents conducting mindless interviews with goofballs in Times Square (where is Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog when we need him?), and musical guests that were taped last summer. I didn’t watch this either. Not this time. I figured, why go into the year hating myself?
Option three: CNN. This I did unfortunately watch. Oy. Poor Anderson Cooper. He spends years in the field, covering the horrors of Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. He overcomes being the host of THE MOLE and rises to a certain level of journalistic credibility. He anchors the news for CNN and contributes to CBS’s 60 MINUTES. And then, every New Year’s Eve, he’s asked to put on a clown hat and co-host New Year’s Eve coverage with Kathy Griffin. Imagine if in the olden days CBS had paired Walter Cronkite with Gallagher or Edward R. Murrow with Judy Tenuta.
It was hard to watch. Kathy Griffin does say some funny things but a little of her goes a long way. And by a little I mean, two minutes. Anderson Cooper has no idea how to deal with her. Ad libbing and being witty are not his strengths. You could almost see the thought bubbles over his head. “What the fuck am I doing here?” “How damaging to my career would it be if I just hauled off and beat the living shit out of her on camera?” and “How much of a career boost would it be if I just hauled off and beat the living shit out of her on camera?” At one point Kathy stripped down to her bra. Class-eee. If only the big furry coat that appeared moments later was placed over her head instead of on her body I think CNN might have found the winning formula.
Since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, the parades and bowl games were held back to January 2nd. Why? Is there some religious reason floats can’t go down a street on a Sunday? Is it disrespectful to some God to stage college football games? The NFL didn’t seem to give a shit. They played a full schedule and to my knowledge no one in the National Football League went to hell, although Tim Tebow did lose to the Chiefs.
I wonder how many idiots in LA on January 1st got up at 4:00 in the morning and went down to Pasadena expecting to see the Rose Parade? 5,000? Half a million?
The actual parade was held on Monday. The weather was glorious! Remember we get earthquakes out here. (SoCal is too damned crowded as it is.) But it was a smaller parade. The bad economy has taken its taken its toll. Some of the local communities like Long Beach did not enter a float this year – which was a first. But when cities are struggling to maintain decent fire and police departments it’s hard to justify several million dollars for roses and glue.
I always thought if I ever went on unemployment and didn’t want anybody hounding me about whether I made enough of an effort to find work that I would list my profession as “Parade Host”. If the state could find me a gig doing that, great!
Since when did the Rose Parade begin with a tacky production number? It’s hard to imagine the traditionally conservative planning committee saying, “We’ve got to do something. The parade is not gay enough!”
My favorite float was the one featuring the organ transplant survivors. That was very cool.
Least favorite: the Paramount Pictures float. The studio makes its secretaries pay for parking but spends millions on a stupid float.
It seems like every float won an award. Even the City of Long Beach won the coveted “Amelia Earhart Trophy.”
Tweet from my son, Matt: Twelve bowl games on TV today and all I can think is "when to pitchers and catcher report"?
As for the Rose Bowl -- it was 80 degrees outside and Brent Musburger was announcing. Who won?
New Year’s Day (or, in this case) the day after New Year’s Day is just not complete anymore without the Orange Bowl. It’s been moved to a later date. The Orange Bowl halftime show was always my highlight of the holiday season. So incredibly garish and over-produced, it is in its own way poetic. Imagine the Celine Dion Vegas show, Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, Snow White production number from the Oscars, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Kardashian wedding, and the best of every Lady Gaga concert all smashed together. That’s 10% of what the Orange Bowl halftime show is like.
Happy New Year to everyone. Bob & Stephanie – take the rest of the year off.
By Ken Levine at 5:55 AM