Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Old Dead Man’s New Year’s Suckin’ Eve

I wish I could find a shot of Jenny McCarthy lying on the pavement with a life-size cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber. I suppose I could find one if I looked hard enough. As it is the image of the 1990-something Playboy Playmate of the Year looking very much like an inflatable sex doll complete with grotesque eyes and huge red mouth is burned into my brain. No sense in burning yours. 

Why did we even have this thing on? Oh, yeah, so we could listen for the Big Ball in Times Square coming down while we stood outside waiting for midnight. That’s pretty much the only thing Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve has ever been for, so far as I know. I’ll watch a little of it while I’m pouring drinks. It’s always the former year’s Sorta Big Thing lip-synching in front of a dance squad. I normally don’t think much about it.

It really bugged me this year, though, So forced. So fake. So old. Even Ryan Seacrest is starting to look haggard. He kept name-checking the late Dick Clark for his “influence” and it got really annoying, especially alongside the more-played-to-death-than-usual Names and Faces of Those Showbiz Kids We Lost This Year. (Seriously, who gave a thought for Whitney Houston’s coked-out carcass before she died?) The show was well on its way to becoming a sick joke these last few years with Dick Clark’s barely animated corpse-to-be slurring through his stroke. It’s just as well he died because he apparently didn’t have the good sense to simply retire.

My wife, noting that Dick Clark’s name was still in the title of the show, asked rhetorically, “So when Ryan Seacrest finally dies, are they gonna call this Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Seacrest’s Replacement?” Yeah, probably.

Call me old-fashioned, but I remember when rock was about youth and energy, not old people who can barely speak and squawking has-been B-listers. New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is now this age’s New Year’s Eve with Guy Lombardo, with infinitely more ticky-tacky. 

Except I honestly never watched Lombardo’s shows—they were for the grandparents, even my own generation’s parents didn’t watch it—so I really can’t compare. It’s a fair guess, though. There was something extra-special sad seeing all that blue schwag in the audience—blue top hats, blue noisemakers, etc.—with the Nivea logo stamped all over it. All corporate, all the same, so many obedient sheep doing what they’re told. Rock used to rebel against that. 

And while we name-check the dead old guy we go from one has-been and not-quite-ever-was to another. Jenny McCarthy, with that weird, angular-faced witchy look former beauties sport in middle-age.  A chunky Jessica Simpson flogging Weight Watchers (a major  sponsor for the show—I can remember when this would have been embarrassing). Fergie, looking like she was puked out of a time machine set for 1986 with her big-shouldered ugly dress and bloodshot eyes. And—you’ve gotta be kidding me—MC Hammer. That’s right. Taco Bell’s and White America’s Former Favorite Rapper, The King of All Has-Beens.

This image, which I found this morning, is morbidly hilarious when you think about it:

From left to right, The Summer Thing of 1990 and the Summer Thing of 2012. Dancing into oblivion (and for Pete’s sake, STAY THERE). Photo credited to Michael Stewart/WireImage.

I dunno about you, but I’m looking forward to a year in which Psy and Carly Rae Jepsen are So Last Year. Yes, there is much promise for 2013.

Seriously, though, I’m going to have to find something else to track midnight with. A show about popular music named for an old dead man, featuring people who might as well be dead themselves—this was just too much. Add this one to the list of New Year’s resolutions. No more New Year’s Suckin’ Eve.