#13: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Last night you bought your favorite cereal and set your alarm for a 7am nostalgia attack. It’s Thanksgiving morning, and you’re doing this “old school.” Time to flip on your local NBC affiliate and let your adult cynicism melt away. Here comes Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! This is going to be epic!

Huh… Those balloons seem a lot smaller than you remember. Yeah, they’re still big, but they used to be HUGE. And who the hell is that? Is that Phineas or Ferb? Kids are watching a show with these characters? What happened to the classics? Like this one coming down the street. It’s… it’s… Underdog? Wow, that’s kind of lame, too, the more you really think about it. A Superman-like dog that shines shoes as a secret identity? They should have just made a balloon of a shoe-shining dog.

Oh well, here comes a high school marching band. The Today host commentators say the band traveled all the way from Oregon! These kids can really play–oh, they’re cutting away from the talented high schoolers playing their hearts out to some up-and-coming singer… who’s lip-syncing her way through a song she didn’t write. She’s even phoning in her waves to the freezing audience in the stands. After twenty seconds of lip-synced autotune, it’s back to hearing the mindless banter of the Today hosts. For being professional talkers, they sure are boring. Now it’s time for a commercial break from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where you get to watch ads about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day sales.

And…the parade’s back on. Here comes a giant cornucopia float. That’s kind of cool. Something totally normal and Thanksgiving-themed. But wait, there’s someone riding inside it… it’s one of the actors of NBC’s Go On who isn’t Matthew Perry. Suddenly you realize you’re watching a real-time ad for NBC’s fall lineup. You’ve been had by the Peacock and there’s nothing you can do about it. Oh, and now you get to hear an interview between the Today hosts and that dude from Grimm. Which host gets to ask him what his favorite Thanksgiving side dish is? The answer may surprise you–or it may not, because you don’t care at all.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade hasn’t changed, but you have. Gone are the days where the shameless promotion of Broadway musicals went over your tiny, mop-topped head. You can’t watch the pre-recorded musical numbers now without thinking of the actors and hoping they have health insurance. But it’s still a tradition to watch, and luckily with the advent of DVRs, you can fast forward through the boring commercials so you can get to the more interesting commercial that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or if you don’t have the time to watch it all, just wake up late, catch the very end, and let your nostalgia remain less tarnished by reality. You once believed in Santa Claus, but with tempered expectations, you can still believe in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.