Real Time Review: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

For reasons I’ve never fully understood, the Macy’s Day Parade has been one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.  Maybe it’s the horrible musical acts, maybe it’s the time that the Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends float Rick-rolled everyone (back when Rick-rolling was still somewhat funny), or maybe that it’s the perfect climate for unintentional comedy.  In any case, I always make a point to watch the parade from start to finish, an experience I’ve decided to share with all of you this year.



As usual, I’m joined for this event by two other “experts”, my wife, (who, for whatever reason, isn’t in the kitchen making me breakfast and a delicious turkey), and Turkeh, a stuffed Turkey (though not the edible kind) that my wife insisted we buy for far too much money from the Build-a-Bear cartel.

9:00 – Our regular programming will not be seen this morning … Wait, what!?  You’re showing something other than … oh, it’s the parade!  This bit gets me every year. 

9:01 – Matt Lauer is joined by Meredith Viera who, much to my chagrin, is not an actual viera.  Jen concurred by saying “She should come out in heels and rabbit ears”.

9:02 – For whatever reason, Al Roker was standing next to Willy Wonka, who gave a pair of scissors to Mary Poppins to cut the ribbon and start the parade.  You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

9:04 – As the announcer does a rundown of who will be appearing during the parade, they show a few shots of some of the balloons and floats in the parade.  Particularly frightening is the Peanuts float and accompanying Snoopy parade, as Snoopy towers above the frightened children, poised to take revenge against Charlie Brown and company before turning his fury upon the rest of New York.

9:06 – The Spirit of America Dance Team:  Providing erections on Thanksgiving morning to millions of Americans.  Particularly troubling question of the moment:  Why was there a whip sound at the end of “Cotton Eyed Joe”?  Did NBC have to cut away when the team started their dominatrix routine?

9:09 – The Green Hornet movie:  Reason number 1,234,086 I’m sad that Bruce Lee is dead.

9:11 – The Biggest Loser finale commercial says “The race to the finale begins …” my response:  “It’s going to be a very slow race.”

9:12 – We’re back, and NBC is desperately trying to convince me that I care about The Event by having Al Roker interview one of the show’s “stars”.  The interview was uninteresting and didn’t really go anywhere, just like the show.

9:13 – We get a musical number from Memphis, with mildly-racist lyrics like “I get advice from folks darker than me”.  I don’t really know what that has to do with anything, Mr. Grand Wizard.  Why don’t you take that backwards thinking back to the 50’s?  Wait, what’s that?  That’s when the musical takes place?  Oh, okay then.  I’ll just sit back and enjoy the obviously gay people dancing.  What’s this?  We’re got a fat guy in a yellow vest and suspenders who came across the screen and is literally stealing the show for the three of us.  You go, unknown fat guy!

9:19 – Al Roker joins us after another commercial break with … surprise!  Another interview!  He’s interviewing War Machine himself, Terrance Howard, about the atrocity that is Law & Order: Los Angeles.  What’s that, take a classic series, remove its stars, and set it in L.A. and make it “edgy”.  What could possibly go wrong?

9:21 – Apparently, someone thought the music of Green Day would make a great musical.  They’re right.  It would have … twelve years ago.  Jen tries to correct me by saying that the musical takes place post-9/11, but I explain to her that Green Day was simply more relevant twelve years ago.  Jen’s response:  “True, but they wouldn’t have been hungry enough to sell out back then.”  Well played.

9:25 – Jen tries to feed Turkey some Golden Grahams, and may have inadvertently stumbled upon an excellent idea for stuffing.

9:26 – Al Roker plays in traffic.  Tragically, he makes it out unscathed.

9:27 – For some reason, Alfred Molina has decided to dress up like Elvis and sing Johnny Cash songs.  Weird.

9:28 – Our cat, Asuka, joins the panel.  I expect her contribution to the proceedings will be distracting Jen and wandering aimlessly around the room.  The cat isn’t particularly interested in television, unless I have sports on.  These are facts.

9:34 – Speaking of bands that are long past their cultural relevancy, it’s the music of U2!

9:37 – In a desperate attempt to save Outsourced, Al Roker conducts an interview with Ben Rappaport.  You know, they have commercial breaks  during the parade for a reason, NBC.  Maybe you should, you know, put your commercials on during said breaks.  Thanks.

9:39 – Commercial for the Twilight movies on DVD.  Only mentioning this because I was disappointed that it wasn’t interrupted by a commercial for a Jason Statham movie.

9:41 – Time for Al Roker to talk about The Cape, a show I literally had never heard of until just now.  Way to go NBC.

9:43 – Oh great.  A Broadway version of Elf.  A Will Ferril movie without Will Ferril?  You think it’d be an improvement, but not when they didn’t change the script.

9:50 – The Rockettes! As arousing as they are, their act hasn’t changed much over the years.  My suggestion?  Replace the kick line with a pole dancing line.  Tell me you wouldn’t pay good money to see that.  Go ahead, I’m waiting …

9:56 – Purdue University Marching Band:  We’ve got a big-ass bass drum!  Someone pay attention to us, please!  Remember Drew Brees?  He went here!  Dear God, pay attention to us!!!

9:58 – Mary Poppins and Willy Wonka have made the 2.8 miles.  Christmas is saved!

9:59 – Snoopy continues his rampage down the streets of New York.  Thank God there’s only one of these behemoths to deal with, otherwise, I think we’d be in serious trouble.

10:00 – Oh God!  A giant turkey is making his way down the parade route, eating millions of innocents.  He’s going after the most succulent of us first!  (By the way, turkey, do you think you could eat Eric Hutchins?  His generic music is worse torture than being dissolved by your stomach acids.  Thanks.)

10:02 – “When the parade returns, music from Jessica Simpson!”  Thanks for the warning, announcer guy.  Going to go grab my ear plugs now.  Just in case “mute” isn’t low enough.

10:05 – Ocean Spray: Our fruit has animals climbing all over it!  We’re also joined by folk singer Arlo Gunthrie, who’s singing “This Land Is Your Land”.  I immediately started singing the following:

This land is my land,

It’s not your land.

I’ve got a shotgun,

And you ain’t got one…

In my opinion, it’s much more American, and more in keeping with the spirit of the first Thanksgiving.  Did I mention I’m part Native American on my mother’s side? 

10:07 – I suffer permanent hearing loss as my wife screams “KERMIT!!!!!!!!!!”

10:09 – It’s the Sesame Street float, where those muppets that Elmo has deposed manage to find a place of refuge.  Still no Snuffy, however, who was one of the first casualties of the Great Elmo War.  A moment of silence, please.

10:11 – The balloon from Diary of a Wimpy Kid looks like he’s doing the Mikuru Beam.  Just sayin’.

10:16 – Nothing says good old fashioned family values like a cross-dressing clown!

10:17 – And now … the most boring marching band in history!!

10:18 – A train is off the tracks!  Call Denzel Washington!!  Oh, it’s just Jimmy Fallon singing.  You know what, just let that train keep on going.

10:20 – With court-appointed supervisors, Ronald McDonald goes by with a car full of kids.

10:22 – Manheim Steamroller is on the Mount Rushmore float, fake-performing their rendition of “Deck The Halls”.  Why must they do this every year?  Marching bands and lip-synching/fake instrument performances.  Time to shake things up, Macy’s.  Marching strippers, I’m looking at you!

10:26 – Miranda Cosgrove is standing around with the minions of Despicable Me, who remind me a lot of the Rabbids from the Rayman games.  That is all.

10:29 – Here comes the Mickey Mouse balloon!  This year, he’s dressed like a sailor.  Why can’t he dress up in a black cloak like his Kingdom Hearts counterpart?  A man can dream …

10:30 – And now, for some reason, a team of pizza-making acrobats.

10:34 – I’m blinded by a barrage of pink-clad cheerleaders.  I blame you, HDTV, for making such bright and horrifying colors possible.

10:36 – Making Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history, the first marching band ever … from Tampa Bay. 

10:37 – Spongebob:  the number one rated show among kids and stoners for nine years running.

10:38 – Musical unknown Juanes fake-sings on a pirate ship that passes by a Victoria’s Secret billboard.  Subliminal sex appeal, FTW.

10:43 – Disappointed that the Oneida tribe’s float didn’t erupt into taking vengeance upon the white man.

10:45 – Marching band doing the “music” of the Black-Eyed Peas.  Question of the moment:  Whatcha gonna do with all that junk?

10:46 – A series of duck floats pass by, prompting Jen to say something terribly racist concerning the Chinese.

10:48 – Jen spends two minutes trying to get me to delete that last entry before becoming completely distracted by the Hello Kitty balloon and bouncing around like a six-year-old at Christmas.

10:54 – Shrek:  The movie franchise that refuses to die, no matter how much I beg for it to.

10:56 – Takashi Murakami is one scary son-of-a-bitch.  And not just because he’s dressed like a flower.

10:58 – Keri Hilson wants us all to know that her name is Keri.  The point of her float, I’m lead to believe, is to teach girls how to be conceited and stuck-up.  You know, because there aren’t enough women like that.

11:01 – After all these years, the Power Rangers are only now getting to Samurai?  What the hell else have they been doing all these years?  Don’t answer that …

11:02 – Michael Grimm looks either clinically depressed or clinically constipated on his float, which has one of the worst looking fake trees in history.

11:06 – Because nobody asked for it:  Kung Fu Panda!

11:08 – Here comes the Pikachu balloon.  Anyone remember when Sonic crashed into the side of a building?  I think we’re overdue.

11:15 – In an absolute mindfuck, the NYPD marching band was playing the music of … Space Battleship Yamato!

11:16 – Speaking of things we’re overdue on, the Spiderman balloon reminds me, aren’t we due for a new Spiderman movie series?  I mean, how long has it been now, two entire years without a new Spiderman movie?

11:18 – Announcer:  “Coming up:  India Arie will entertain you …”  Me:  “I doubt it.”

11:22 – Horton hears something.  Perhaps it’s the screams of the thousands of innocents he’s trampling underneath.

11:23 – The Kool-Aid float appears, prompting Jen and I to simultaneously scream “Oh yeah!!!”

11:24 – Not only is India Arie not entertaining me, but she has Dora the Explorer with her.  What am I thankful for?  That Jen isn’t screaming “Backpack!  Backpack!” like an autistic child.


11:30 – The Build-A-Bear cartel’s float has its turn in line.  Poor Turkeh is so traumatized by his experience there that he hasn’t said a single word.

11:32 – The Buzz Lightyear balloon looks like he has a plastic bag over his head.  Kids, try this at home.

11:33 – Announcer:  “Coming up:  Santa Claus!”  Jen:  “I’ve been promised Santa Claus for three hours now!”

11:37 – Jessica Simpson, appropriately enough, is on a float with a giant oven and baked sweets.  At least there will be enough food for her, although the children shall go hungry.

11:38 – Simpson is followed by a balloon version of her, though Al Roker thinks it’s the Pillsbury Dough Boy, for whatever reason.

11:43 – Easily the most uncoordinated group, is the group of the “” float, which includes an especially creepy plastic elf that pops out of the float to add to their rendition of “Need A Little Christmas”.

11:47 – You know, I was always under the impression that the Smurfs were supposed to be small.  Clearly, based on the size of the balloon, they are not.  Gargamel must be enormous

11:51 – Joan Rivers appears.  Just like much of the rest of the parade, she’s made entirely of plastic.

11:57 – Oh, thank God!  It’s Santa Claus, who’s ego knows no bounds, coming to steal the glory from Thanksgiving by reminding people of Black Friday sales tomorrow.

And with that, we’re done!  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and if you see me doing any shopping tomorrow, stay the hell out of my way!

About The Busboy

The Busboy (a.k.a. John Robbins) is best known for being a regular co-host on the Chainsaw Buffet podcast. Aside from his work for the site, John is an avid fighting game player with a current competitive focus on Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. You can follow him on Twitter at "@_JohnnyFive".