The parade that wasn't
Liveblogging the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade....
Having gotten the turkey stuffed and into the oven and having fed my kids breakfast bright and early, my daughter, my mother, and I sat down to watch the Macy's parade coming live to us from New York City. My daughter was so excited, expecting to see big balloons of cartoon characters she recognized and liked. I was ready to see some high school marching bands, those curious and perennial Mummers, and other traditional figures. It was the 80th Macy's parade--what a tradition!--born just a year before my own mother. I had been watching it all my life.
We saw a few fleeting glimpses of marchers and balloons....then....a long string of other stuff. Non-parade stuff. Interviews with casts from new television shows we don't know and don't watch (while the parade passed in the background). Musical acts performed on a stage evidently nowhere near the parade. A male singer performing on a street corner somewhere (only taxis passing). Some male group singing and dancing from a pier in Hoboken, New Jersey. Martin Short in a helicopter flying over New York. Everybody lip-synching and dancing, but no parade.
Well, maybe there was a parade there behind the logo, just before the commercial breaks. Which high school bands were we missing?
We kept switching between NBC and CBS to avoid the innumerable commercial breaks and self-congratulatory anchorperson patter (none of us recognized any of these people, since we don't hang on television 24 hours a day). All we could find were stationery acts and interviews of "celebrities" we didn't recognize or care about. It got to be a joke, as the minutes dragged out and everything new that came on was definitely NOT the parade.
My daughter begs me to come back as I leave to go liveblog my disgruntlement about the current TV coverage of the parade that wasn't. When I hear her yell for me to come back and see the Snoopy balloon at last, I comply, come running, in fact--and catch a final glimpse of some huge bobbing thing behind the big Macy's logo before it cut to a commercial. What a crock.
My daughter, the die-hard parade-lover, gives up and goes outside to play.
80 years of a U.S. tradition sunk in the tank. So long, Macy's. So long NBC and CBS, you self-congratulatory dinosaurs. How long do you think you can keep abusing your audiences before they find better ways to spend their holidays with their families?
Or maybe it's just me and my own family that are the dinosaurs. Probably so, but that doesn't bother me. I just miss the former happy tradition now overstuffed with commercialism. Not appealing as it's packaged today. What irks me is they took the fun out of the Thanksgiving parade for the kids. I'm not sure who they are trying to appeal to, but they didn't appeal to any of our three generations.
UPDATE: My Dreamboat said I was being too harsh on the parade. I called my kids back in later and we watched the last 15 minutes of the show, from 11:45 to noon. Around lots of commercials and flying logos and promos, we did see a fireman balloon, the Pillsbury Doughboy float, a college marching band, Santa Claus's impressive reindeer and float, and a few shots of ordinary people on the streets, looking wet and happy. Okay, I guess there was some traditional parade fun there. My mistake was in thinking you sit down and watch the darn thing, instead of just keeping it on in the background as traditional holiday noise.
Next year I'd love to see the parade as covered by C-SPAN!