Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dick Clark's Not So Rockin' New Year's Eve

Now, I just want to make it clear that this post is not making fun of stroke victims. I can see where it might come across that way, but that is NOT what I am doing here. If anything, I am promoting stroke prevention awareness AND I am also promoting some things being in name only. There's no reason why just because something bears someone's name that that particular person has to be actively involved in the thing, right? If you're not sure what I'm talking about, please defer answering that question until I've painted a more clear and frightening picture of said scenario.

Dick Clark is an icon. I highly doubt that there is going to be anyone out there could or would argue with that. The name Dick Clark is practically synonymous with New Year's Eve and since 1972, Clark has been the host of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and has counted down to the new year every single year sans the 1999 to 2000 transition and the 2004 to 2005 transition. He missed the 1999 one because it was some sort of "milestone" year. That "milestone" being the year 2000, because if you're going to have a bunch of zeroes all in a row, you get to call it a "milestone" and act like it is somehow different than all of the other years without the zeroes, even though everyone knows that it's exactly the same. But he missed the 2004 countdown because he had a stroke.

As I'm sure you all know, strokes are not good. Bad is what they are. Strokes are bad. No one is fond of the stroke. In many instances, those who are stroke stricken are usually left with some sort of impairment of bodily function. Some have difficulty walking or moving parts of their body and others have difficulty speaking without great difficulty or impediment. Many stroke victims unfortunately, have to learn how to do simple everyday functions all over again. To summarize, strokes are bad.

But while strokes are bad, ringing in a new year is supposed to be good. It's supposed to be a joyous time. It's supposed to be a time of happiness and hope and joy and all other things associated with the whole new year gala stuff thing hoopla. And while I find it extremely commendable to allow some traditions to continue on, having Dick Clark continuing to host Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is far from happiness and hope and joy. It's depressing. Granted, it does bring up the issue of stroke prevention awareness, but that's a pretty depressing undertaking on the eve of a new year, don't you think?

Why do they continue to let this man, who was once a great speaker, but who does not speak so great now, host this show? Sure, they have pretty, pretty (and probably pretty closeted) Ryan Seacrest there to help things along, but Ryan isn't much of a help. Look, hosting that American Idol gig is cake. Who couldn't do that? You stand there, call out the names of folks and then look to three or four other people for a critique. I'm pretty sure you could train one of those rhesus monkeys to do the very same thing. Hosting American Idol is not like hosting a New Year's Eve celebration. And when you're trying to let the icon still be the icon that he was (even though he so clearly is not), well, you're really not helping the situation much at all. (Granted, I'm not sure if the rhesus monkeys would do much better in that aspect, but as overall hosts, I'm pretty sure they've got Seacrest evenly matched at the very least.)

I could understand if the entire show were geared toward an older generation that grew up with Mr. Clark and his American Bandstand or even with his variety of Pyramid shows. If Mr. Clark were introducing acts such as the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel and the show was themed around the history and nostalgia of Dick Clark and was geared toward those who remember and enjoyed that Dick Clark, that would be fine. Well...fine? OK, maybe not fine. But it would at least be understandable. But with acts like those of Rihanna and some young fellow named Justin Bieber (who I'm not sure that I had ever heard of before New Year's Eve...sweet Jesus! Does that mean I'm old?!) the show is clearly not aimed toward the elderly older crowd. So why is he there? He doesn't mean anything to the 15-year olds that are watching the show. No, they're enjoying acts such as Selena Gomez and J Lo (who, if you saw her, was damn near naked, and that alone could cause one to have a stroke in and of itself) and wondering why there is an old man who has difficulty speaking hanging out with pretty, pretty rhesus monkeys Ryan Seacrest. What are they getting out of having Dick Clark host? (OK, what are they getting out of it other than the knowledge that they should regularly check their blood pressure in order to catch any early warning signs of a stroke? Other than that, what do you have for me?)

Who are the folks who just have to have Dick Clark on their TV every single New Year's Eve, even though he is difficult to understand and even though he depresses the hell out of anyone who watches. Anyone who has ever known anyone who has had a stroke will automatically think of that person when watching Dick Clark struggle to carry on an articulate conversation with his co-host. But now it's gotten to the point where it's not just that he has difficulty articulating what he is saying, but that he has trouble saying what he is saying correctly. Even if it involves something requiring seemingly as little thought as counting.

Mr. Clark began his countdown right around the 20 second mark. For the first 6 seconds of that countdown, things were fine. All of the numbers were in the correct order. I don't know what confused him, if he was, in fact, confused at all or if the part of his brain that does the counting just does work any more due to the previously mentioned stroke-age that he suffered in 2004. I don't know. All I know is that after "14", things did not go well.

It went something like this: "20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 14, 12, 10, 11, 10...." Um....what now?

Fourteen, twelve, ten, eleven, ten? Is that what he said? That's...that's not right...at all. Counting down (or up for that matter) is kind of like the alphabet. The beauty of it is that it doesn't repeat itself. That way, if you're having trouble at first, you can check them off as you go along. To repeat fourteen and ten each twice, well....that brings me back to my earlier question: What is the purpose of this?

Can't the show just bear his name and have Seacrest and the monkeys do it? There are plenty of things out there that just bear someone's name, but the person whose name is bore really has little (if anything) to do with the product itself. Mrs. Butterworth's, for example. There is no Mrs. Butterworth. She's not out there making the syrup. It just bears her name! (Is she even real? Of course not. I knew that!) Aunt Jemima and her syrup. Same concept. Dr. Scholl's is another one. He has nothing to do with those things that are shoved in your...shoes? Shoes! Colonel Sanders. His picture is on every box/bucket of chicken, but he's no longer around to serve the chicken! (Mmmm....chicken.) When the Kentucky Colonel went to that great chicken coop in the sky, did all of the KFC's around the globe suddenly cease operations? I don't think that they did! And how's the chicken taste? Delicious as always! So there's no reason why it can't be Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve without Dick Clark, right? Right!

And as long as I'm suggesting changes here, I have one more. The name. That is the most ridiculous name that anyone could have given that damn show. New Year's Rockin' Eve? What the heck is that? Shouldn't it be Rockin' New Year's Eve? Why is the rockin' all breaking up the New Year's and the Eve, there? I don't get it. It sounds silly and they should change it. Now.

I wish Mr. Clark continued success with the marvelous progress that he's making with his recovery and I hope one day that he can once again do the countdown without repeating any of the numbers. Just like old times! That'll bring back some memories, won't it? When the last few seconds of the old year didn't consist of fourteen, twelve, ten, eleven, ten?! Good times. Good times indeed.

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