Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Dick Clark Horror Picture Show

Every year since 1996, my wife and I have rung in the new year by being out. Nothing incredibly exotic nor fancy. It's not like we've decided to spend each new year in another country (boy, I wish we had it like that). But we have managed to make it fun. A club here and there, a fancy-schmancy dinner, a fancy-schmancy black-tie internationally-themed hotel party, Bourbon St. for 2000, but mostly friends' parties over the years.

While there have been different parties where the TV was on, I've never actually heard it. Last night was a little different, the three of us spending a quiet evening with Dabalu and his wife. It was the first time in decades that I'd actually seen and heard the Time Square dropping of the ball. And Dick Clark.

And ... well ...

Aw, Jesus.

Now, I'd heard that Dick Clark had been sick awhile back. I'd forgotten all about it, though. It's been a long time since I'd been held hostage on a Saturday afternoon by American Bandstand. I just hadn't given it much thought.

I also don't want to dog the man out. I mean, people age. People get sick. In some ways it was good seeing the guy fighting through the effects of a stroke. But last night's Time Square on ABC was just weird.

Cocaine-perky Kellie Pickler was bad enough to watch. Ryan Seacrest just is. And nothing makes you feel older and out-of-place than loathing the fact that Lionel Richie and the Jonas Brothers are performing.

And Clark himself was just a nightmare to watch. I know people always used to joke that the man never aged, but he's 79. Why isn't he letting his plastic surgeon retire? His face was absolute plastic, and, because of the stroke, his mouth barely moved. He looked like some kind of bizarre marionette who slurred to the point of unintelligibility. The stroke also made him slow and mechanical, and, when he gave the scripted banter, he more resembled Peter Boyle's Frankenstein than the Dick Clark of old.

The whole event was freakish, nightmarish. It left me horrified and a bit sad. It was more A Profile of Pathos than of courage. We couldn't help wondering why they dragged him out there like that. Did ABC need Dick Clark that badly? Or did he need them?

Instead of a celebration of life and the artificial renewal and promise of starting-over that we imbue the new year with, I was constantly reminded of death and disability. It made the whole thing a little depressing--though nothing could be so bad that I would've turned it to NBC to watch that no-talent, automaton prick, Carson Daly. No, seriously, how does that bastard have a career?


Alisande said...

You should have given CBC a shot: The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. He had Sarah Palin and the Amazing Kreskin (and other stuff). It was very entertaining as usual, and although it wasn't a party countdown show, there was a countdown.

Glenn F. Russell, Jr., Esq. said...

Unfortunately, Mr. Clark now could be cast in the role of one of the doctors in the very famous Twilight Zone episode entitled "Eye of The Beholder"