Quondam Dreams

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Hollywood Christmas Parade Jumps the Shark

Hollywood parade is a bit out of step --Los Angeles Times headline

It's been two weeks, and I still can't think of anything clever to say about the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

I'm used to the parade sucking. I'm used to loving that the parade sucks, because it's usually such a gleeful sucking: "We know we're not the Rose Parade -- hell, we're not even the Doo-Dah Parade -- but we're still going to get out there and shimmy our little butts off, even if the temperature dips below 60. Because we're the Hollywood Christmas Parade, dammit!" This year... not so much.

Some years, it seems that the parade is phoned in. This year, it was a drunken text message sent at one-thirty in the morning, reassembling itself the next morning as "Inky wood christmas spade". Which is actually pretty comprehensible for a one-thirty a.m. text message. Or, uh, so I hear.

I had a feeling we were in trouble when I discovered the Hollywood Christmas Parade Myspace page. Yes, the 75-year-old parade has a Myspace page, written in the first person but apparently designed and maintained by a fourteen-year-old intern. But, hey, I figured; they're trying to reach out to the kids.

Then they announced that there would be two grand marshals: George Lopez would be the main guy, and Regis Philbin would be the "Diamond Anniversary Honorary Grand Marshal". Well, that's a little odd, I thought. Either they were trying to ramp up the star power (relatively speaking), or they had two separate groups working on grand marshals. Still, give 'em credit for trying, right?

The real downhill tumble started with the parade's opening performance. Most years, that slot is filled by a scaled-down production number from whatever touring musical is in town. This year, The Lion King is back in town. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the conditions of their return was that they wouldn't be required to go through the performance agony again. So this year, instead of a bunch of costumed dancers trying to lip-sync and not bump into each other at the same time, we got Brooke Hogan trying to lip-sync and take her choreography cues from a bunch of costumed back-up dancers, all while trying not to bump into one Paul Wall, a "rapper" who looked and sounded like the improbable offspring of Kevin Federline and that guy you knew in high school who you thought was kind of cute until he opened his mouth. Though that guy probably didn't have a full set of grills.

Then a bunch of resigned-looking B- to C-list actors and overly excited politicians started coming at us, interspersed with equestrian groups, tartan-clad high school marching bands and floats meant to look like what you might find under the giant Christmas tree at Tinsel Emporium. The only person whose smile seemed genuine was Nicolette Sheridan, there to mock -- uh, I mean support -- Michael Bolton. The delegates from High School Musical and Dancing with the Stars -- you know, the smile-no-matter-what brigade -- were obviously sick of being asked why they weren't dancing. Even L.A. Mayor AntonioVillaraigosa, the man who usually projects sincere enthusiasm, seemed to be forcing it.

In the end, the most interesting part was watching the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the LAPD argue over the number of spectators lining the sidewalks. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce apparently realized that no one was going to buy theirpre-parade estimate of 500,000. The LAPD's initial estimate was 15,000. After some haggling, they settled on... uh, a couple-few hundred thousand, maybe?

Still want some HCP snark? Here are some pictures. Have at 'em. Me, I'm going to seek out properly sucky holiday stuff for our mutual amusement. If you have any suggestions, please do drop me a line. I think my schlock radar is still recovering from parade overload.

Reuters via Yahoo!
L.A. Times (search results page - scroll to the bottom for photos)
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
LFI (In the true spirit of the parade, Eric Braeden is identified as "Michael Bolton and Nicolette Sheridan")


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