Posted by: Mark Nielsen | January 4, 2008

Rockin’ Out 2007 In a World Gone Wrong

***A Hilarious, Snide, Longwinded Play-By-Play of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve… The Final Chapter***

    9:24pm CST -Seacrest calls Times Square “the most exciting place on earth.” 

     So does that automatically make me uber-cool by association, just for tuning in?

 

9:26 – in L.A. (on tape), a song performed by One Republic: Apologize. Huh? A No. 1 hit I’ve never heard before? How out of it am I? (Not that I care much about keeping up with the weak-ass one-hit-wonders-of-the-week.)

 

9:35 pm CST – Graham and Sue are going to bed. I’m supposed to wake them for midnight… if I make it! (We’re so old and married and boring! But for once, I’m okay with that.)

 

10pm – local news breaks in, and here in Wisconsin, it’s all about the booze for the first five minutes… alcohol-free events, safe-ride programs, “amateur night” cautions, etc. We Americans love the drama of our addictions and recoveries, don’t we? In fact, the first non-alcohol story is on the increased tobacco tax throughout the state, starting January 1st.

 

Another example: Oneida Casino near Green Bay is hosting a “sobriety powwow” tonight. A 5-year-old program, sort of a combination Native American pride event and an AA booster meeting. Nice to see. Though I do wonder: Do they hold a similar kind of event for gambling addicts at some other time? I think Super Bowl Sunday would be a good day for that.

 

10:35 – Seacrest is back. Oh.. and here’s Dick Clark finally! –oops, a post-stroke Dick– at a desk indoors. Takes a little getting used to, but he’s okay. Relaxed. He does a little well-rehearsed, twenty second, “stay tuned”, read-the-teleprompter sorta thing. Just a quick taste of Dick, to help America get over seeing this “ageless” icon in less-than-perfect health. His speech was slurred, but –dare I say it? — he still looks 25 years old! Okay, maybe not that young, but he doesn’t look his age. Maybe he renegotiated that Faustian bargain after all. (I know it’s tasteless to kick a sick old man when he’s down, but that section of Michael Moore’s Roger & Me [or was it Bowling For Columbine?] revealed gazillionaire Dick to be much less than the angelic figure he presents as his public persona. Besides, when have I ever NOT been tasteless?)

 

10:44 — Here’s Carrie Underwood, representing the other 800-pound gorilla (besides Disney) in this pop culture third ring of hell: American Idol. During tonight’s ABC lead-in movie, Shrek the Third, we had to endure the other jerky gazillionaire, Simon Cowell, making a major cameo. Now add in Seacrest and Carrie, you got a trifecta! {BTW, didja know that Satan/Cowell –a co-creator of Idol, first in Britain and now here– gets a percentage of the income all the Idol contestants make after they appear on the show? I don’t know how long the contracts are for, but this guy’s not just another mean, pretty face. He’s head of a record label, and an opportunistic svengali of a businessman, too. Buyin’ up souls, and selling recycled music by the pound… which is worth more than the dollar now, anyway. As for a soul, it’s barely worth two-minutes of YouTube fame anymore, as far as how most folks value it.}

 

10:58 Seacrest is backstage with Mylie Montanahana (O Gilda, Where Art Thou?), and Carrie Underwhelming, and the Jonas Bros (who don’t get to speak… clearly they’re not as big as the chicks yet). Carrie mouths “Hi Mom”, plus she reminds Seacrest and us how “awesome” it all is when he asks her. Mylie, to her credit, gave God not one but two shout-outs tonight, presently talking about her 2007 having been “blessed”. Coming from a teenaged Southerner, it seems genuine. Yet coming from most adults, or spoiled athletes, these kinds of public statements are barely tolerated anymore. And after all, weren’t Britney and Messica Simpleton once Southern teens also… and look how they turned out. No wonder we’re all so cynical.

 

11:00pm The new “green” ball drops in Times Square, a special LED-lit model created for the 100th anniversary of the ball. BTW, isn’t this Dick Clark’s hundredth birthday, too? Dick kisses his wife, who comes onstage so we can all see it. Ain’t it funny the way their false teeth clatter a bit when old folks smooch?

11:02 They’re playing Brother Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful” in the background, panning across the happy crowd. Upon hearing Ray, all I can think is: couldn’t they have gotten ANY talented performer OVER 30 years old for this damn show? On both coasts, they’re all twenty-something twerps, if that. Maybe this was another part of Dick’s compromise with Satan: no more late bloomers, seasoned veterans, or old farts. Singers get three years on top, two more slipping down to B-list status, and then thirty more on the scrap heap before a drug overdose (think John Entwistle of The Who), followed by their own reality show… in hell! (Hell: where there’s only one tv channel, and everyone is forced to watch whatever Lucifer puts on. Worse still: I hear he’s in talks with Adam Sandler again. That movie Little Nicky was just so much fun, when Satan finally got to be an executive producer…)

 

11:09 – Seacrest is now in the studio with Dick, who stumbles verbally, then jumps off the teleprompter script completely, saying “I can’t read this!” Why, Dick? ‘Cause the writing sucks? Now we know why those striking workers are worth paying a bit more money and attention to, don’t we?

 

Dick literally chokes on the words “boy wonder” (too over-the-top), included as part of Seacrest’s b.s.-filled intro. Then Seacrest rushes in to rescue him, breathless and fawning over Dick and his wife. The old & new Satanic Starmakers chat it up a minute –unofficially passing the baton– and it’s weird and cool how we don’t even see Dick’s mouth move when Seacrest speaks.

 

11:12 –Ryan throws it back out to Fergie in L.A. She performs a song that samples “The Girl Can’t Help It”, an old Little Richard song. Now I’m missing him too, just like I was missing Brother Ray earlier. I even miss Guy Lombardo… any old crap would be less painful than this flashy new crap, most of which rips off the good old days anyway. (And stop calling me old. I’m just one of those rare sorts with an appreciation for history…)

 

11:21 -They show the much-hyped big movie trailer/sneak preview for Cloverfield (looks like 2008’s paranoia-induced version of Last Man On Earth/Godzilla/Omega Man/Dawn of the Dead/Blair Witch/The Ring/Armageddon/28 Days Later/Independence Day/Day After Tomorrow/I Am Legend). Anyone else you wanna rip off, “mega-producer” JJ Abrams? If you ask me, the aliens, monsters, mutants, zombies, demons or icebergs can come any time now. At least they would put a merciful end to the torture of this broadcast.

Plus, ain’t it strange how most of these paranoia movies, and the apparent renaissance of horror and slasher flicks, has happened since the start of the Iraq war? In the age of stolen elections and color-coded security alerts, we’re more insecure –psychologically as well as politically– than we ever were during the Cold War. The enemy lurks everywhere now.

 

11:24 The Jonas Bros are back, and at least the curly-haired (youngest?) brother can sing, unlike the pretty-boy-in-stovepipe-hat who barked out their first song. The second song’s still dumb, though. Is it the same song as the first one, just in a new key, with a different hook for the chorus? Probably.

 

11:27 — In L.A., the lead singer from Chicago’s own Plain White T’s sings a solo acoustic version of “Hey There Delilah”. It’s the big ballad of the year, a.k.a. 2007’s “You’re Beautiful”. I wonder if this song gets this kid as much cheap groupie sex as Beautiful gets for James Blunt?

 

11:44 -Natasha Bedingfield brings some British good taste and decent “blue-eyed soul” to the party, and I’m finally a little bit glad I tuned in. Like her countrywoman Joss Stone, she can sing good, and she’s purty, too. (Not that Fergie’s ugly, but she IS skanky… and in her music video she’s shacked up with a drug dealer.)  Musically, Natasha’s first number is a tolerable song (i.e. it’s not calculated, it uses a three-syllable word or two, and it was probably written by the gal performing it in a moment of inspiration, rather than a moment of needing more new $200 shoes). Then ska shoutmaster Sean Kingston joins Natasha, and turns it into something else. Still not awful… at least it’s an interesting pairing and a fun arrangement.

 

11:54 – Now it’s will.i.am’s turn, and we’re back to the faux hip-hop posing, not to mention the all-too-common ripping off of James Brown’s beats and dance moves. Waiter, can you bring me a Miller High Life, and a gun?

 

11:58 – I run upstairs in time to do a little mini-countdown with Sue. I don’t wake Graham, as he already got to do a countdown and bang some pots & pans last night. (A small benefit from last night’s extended brain fart, when we thought it was the new year a day early… see previous post.)

 

12:03 – Back to Dickie of the Sea  (Seacrest): regarding the New York portion of the show, he says “now it’s just the police and cleanup crews left”. For a split second, I wonder if he actually just said The Police will be doing a song tonight?! Sting lives in NYC part-time, right?…Nah. They’ve got too much good sense to be seen here in Dick’s brain-dead neighborhood.

 

12:08 — Sean Kingston gets his own song now, Take You There, and it’s clearly made for dancing to, not listening to. Besides, I’m thinkin’ I have to scroll up and finish three or four un-polished rants above, from earlier in the evening. Back in a flash if anything interesting goes down — not that I expect that to happen.

 

12:16 – Taylor Swift, second appearance. She’s apparently the country music version of Lee Ann Rimes/Britney/Hillary Duff/Jessica Simpson/Mylie — i.e. teen idols without enough life experience to write a decent song, but fast-tracked by industry powerhouses –mostly dirty, greedy old men eager to shove any old crap down the public’s throat when they’ve got a pretty young thing to shake her ass out in front of the band. (They need that ass, plus a sweet dumb smile, to distract us from the hollow, forgettable songs they’re pushing.)

 

12:31 -Speaking of hollow, here’s Akon onstage. Fergie reminds us that he grew up in Senegal. Can one in a hundred of his fans point out Senegal on a map? Can they point out Africa? Better yet, can this guy teach us something about Mother Africa, or is he just gonna sing “Smack That” and party his life away while his homies die by the millions?

 

Aw heck… I could go on to cover the last half hour of the show, but why? Suffice it to say that more butts were wiggled, more egos massaged (Fergie calls her pal will.i.am a “genius”), and more ridiclous lines delivered.

 

Wait! That’s it. The writers’ strike. That’s why this show sucks so bad.

 

No. On second thought, why blame the absentees?  Bad management trumps good writing, any day. Ask any novelist who had their story ruined by producers more interested in focus-grouping than in telling a story. No…the show sucked because Disney and ABC and Dick Clark and Fox and American Idol suck. The whole re-hashing, values-trashing, brain-smashing, big, bloated, bogus entertainment industry sucks.

 

On second thought, I want a third try at New Year’s Eve tomorrow night. I’ll read Graham a few good books. We’ll all play Uno. And I’ll put some Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, or Beethoven on the boombox. It ain’t rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it. Rock is dead anyway. It’s time to move on.

 Dick Clark, on the other hand, will live forever. (He’s actually a vampire, which would explain a whole lot.)


Responses

  1. actually, it was shrek 2. not 3. lol

    and we managed to get my daughter to celebrate early as well…. though not quite as early as yours. she doesnt know new york is in the same time zone as florida, and not in ours…. so if 11pm means a big party on the tv… it must be new years here!


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