Thursday, November 24, 2005

reviewing stand

If you were watching the official coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC this morning, you heard nothing about the two people who were injured when the M&Ms balloon knocked down part of a lamppost. To their credit, CBS acknowledged the accident and trained their cameras on the scene during their "unofficial coverage" of the parade. Part of the reason was that the accident occurred near the CBS cameras and several blocks away from the NBC cameras. But NBC pretended nothing was wrong by showing a videotape of the M&Ms balloon flying in last year's parade. They also made the mistake of having Katie, Matt and Al read from their corny script which, in light of what happened, was inappropriately worded. The script had them say that the red and yellow M&Ms were in some sort of peril as the characters try to hang on to a helium-filled replica of a hot air balloon.

The best news coverage of the parade accident is on the New York Times site. They also have the best photos. WCBS-TV has a video report from the scene. WINS radio had a reporter nearby when the balloon hit the lamppost. One of the photos shows the deflated balloon on the street. It looks as if the M&Ms have melted.

Much like the NBC parade broadcast, the online coverage from NBC News tries to ignore what happened. They will probably update their site soon but as of 3pm, their story doesn't mention the accident until the 11th paragraph! The network-owned station in New York, WNBC-TV has posted some Associated Press coverage on their site.

Other than ignoring the M&M's accident, NBC's coverage was adequate. They still spend too much time with Broadway performances in Herald Square while waiting for the parade to arrive. Katie and Matt seem to never tire of asking each other to guess a statistic about a parade entry. Then the other pretends to know the answer off the top of their head. Then the first one mentions that the answer was in their script. Ha ha ha.

I flipped over to CBS during NBC's commercial breaks. It seemed that CBS had wisely reduced the role of comedian Gary Valentine. In addition to Valentine, they had a puppet from "Avenue Q" also doing man-on-the-street segments. The puppet got more TV time than Valentine this year. CBS did a better job than NBC of showing the huge hole in the side of the Barney balloon. However the CBS parade anchors (Hannah Storm and Dave Price) need to learn the difference between a parade float and a balloon. Referring to a balloon as a float is almost as bad as calling the event the "Macy's Day Parade" and leaving out the word "Thanksgiving."

As you read yesterday, I enjoy watching the parade and looking for new balloon photos online. The Los Angeles Times has already posted a good slideshow. For the past few years, I have enjoyed seeing the Super Grover balloon. Like my all-time favorite, Underdog, it looks like it's supposed to be flying.

Most of the stars on the floats were there to plug a new CD or other project. I could not figure out why one of the "Queer Eye" guys was on the Tutenstein float singing the Steve Martin classic "King Tut." On closer inspection, it looked like his backup singers were all drag queens of the Nile.

We watched the parade with my brother-in-law who lives in Atlanta. When the new Disney singing group Cheetah Girls performed, he told us that in Atlanta the term refers to girls who dance at an upscale gentleman's club called the Cheetah Lounge. Who knew?
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