Inside City Hall. Seeing Guardian Angel Curtis Silwa and English Language Murderer Gerson Borrero argue about politics was as transfixing as watching a dryer spin. It was the perfect NY1 segment--over-modulated microphones, bad production values, barely understandable diatribes and when it was all finished you didn't learn one thing. Think Pardon the Interruption but with more yelling.
You know what? In hindsight, watching that before the Halloween Parade was probably the best preparation I could have hoped for. In honor of Bill Simmons, here's a running diary of the proceedings:
8:00: Live from 6th Avenue in the Village, it's the 34th Annual Halloween Parade, with our host for the evening, Matt Drudge!
8:00:12: Oh wait, actually it's veteran NY1 anchor John Schiumo wearing an old school press hat. My mistake.
8:01: Question #1 of the night: Where are John's shoulders? In fitting with the Halloween theme, he's got the posture of Igor. You aren't going to get to Channel 4 News with shoulders like that buddy. Maybe wear shoulder pads next time.
8:02: John tells us that this years theme is "Wings of Desire." No, I don't think that's a gay reference.
8:03: NY1 reporter Jill Scott (no relation to the singer), has a "special guest" with her, except Jill doesn't know she's on the air for a good 20 seconds. Ah, the magic of badly done live television.
8:04: Technical problems solved for the moment, the organizer of the parade (Jill's "special guest") explains that the "Wings of Desire" theme deals with, in part, "man looking at birds and wishing he could fly." Obviously she's already very high.
8:08: The scariest thing I'm sure I'll see tonight? A commercial for Martian Child. This looks so bloody awful that John Cusack should be forced to quit acting. Any goodwill he's built up over the years is officially completely gone.
8:12: I wonder how much extra money Jill Scott gets for being down on the street with the crazies. She, in succession, just interviewed two people holding live rats as part of their Ratatouille costumes and then a group of people dressed up as Tudors. One of the Tudors informed Jill that she got practice walking around in the big costumes at a Renaissance Festival over the summer. Awesome, right? There were no cool people in Medieval Times, hence there are no cool people at Medieval Times. Now Jill, would you like a refill on your career.
8:16: John Schiumo seems way too excited that he's not on "street level" as he cues eyebrowed freak George Whipple. I'm laying 5-to-1 odds that either Whipple or Scott egg him by the end of the night. If you want TP'ing, you have to lay 10-to-1 odds.
8:22: NY1's budget for this parade is similar to the budget of a closed circuit High School television channel broadcasting a school football game. By my count, they have four total cameras (one on Schiumo, one with Whipple, one with Scott and one above the street), the graphics are circa 1991 and the music cues are stock and generic. Be worse at this guys. Would it kill them to play "Monster Mash?" Meanwhile George Whipple just interviewed a bunch of coked out cross dressers.
8:26: HA! My friend Kris and his girlfriend Diana were part of Thriller NYC--where people dress and zombies and break into the Thriller dance like they're in 13 Going on 30. Annnnnnnd I just saw them. Kris looks very determined and I don't think he messed up once (American Beauty reference)! Sadly, there was no sign of Zombie Tony Almeida in the crowd.
8:33: I'm sorry, but there is nothing funnier than an anchor screwing up. Poor Jill Scott. After she hacked her way through some absurd "snap poll," where viewers were able to vote on their favorite costume, she tossed it back up to John Schiumo. Too bad he didn't take her hand off and she was left grinning at the camera for what felt like five minutes--in reality it was about five seconds. This might not sound funny, but believe me, it was. I actually guffawed at the television.
8:39: Question #2 of the night: Am I the only person watching this right now? I'm going to say yes, I am.
8:44: Jill Scott is such a good sport I'm actually getting a crush on her. She just interviewed a bunch of people dressed up like characters from Shrek. No, in case you were wondering, it isn't 2001.
8:45: One of my favorite parts of Halloween is seeing how some girls can take any costume and make it slutty. This years "Randomly Slutty Halloween Costume that Really Shouldn't be Slutty" award goes to the girls that I just saw dressed as baseball players. And by "dressed as baseball players," I mean barely wearing shorts and wearing jerseys that are three sizes too small and leave very little to the imagination. Somewhere Alex Rodriguez is wondering if he could dress like that during the 2008 season.
8:49: Jill Scott just told a guy dressed up as a frankfurter that he was a "Hot (pause) dog." Get it? Frankfurter? Hot dog? I want to marry her.
8:50: John Schiumo informs us that we're about to be treated to the Golden Nights Drill Team that came to New York all the way from Chicago. And on cue, they are finished. The brilliance of bad live television continues.
8:52: Just witnessed this exchange:
George Whipple: Who are you supposed to be?
Kid: Neo from The Matrix.
George: Well if you're Neo, then I'm Officer Smith.
George: Officer Smith!!!!
George, do me a favor, next year for Halloween, dress up like someone who isn't an idiot. Also, why is he yelling?
8:56: Jill Rosen--err, Scott--talks to a bunch of people dressed as characters from Scooby Doo. They are actors. Naturally when Jill asks them to perform for her, they choke. Somewhere Alex Rodriguez is smiling.
8:58: George Whipple has the biggest eyebrows this side of Martin Scorsese, which brings us to Question #3 of the night: If you had those eyebrows, why wouldn't you dress up as Martin Scorsese?
9:00: Best costume of the night alert! A woman dressed as Sylvia Plath, complete with an oven on her head. Hilarious.
9:03: I don't care how old the kid they just showed dressed as Borat was--for the record, he looked 14--but doing Borat impersonations has to stop. Seriously. If you are still doing a Borat impression, you are a Grade-A douchebag. I feel bad for that kids parents.
9:07: John Schiumo keeps adding make-up to his face, in an effort to look more zombie-ish. Or at least that's what I think he's going for. Right now he just looks like a reject from Kabuki theater.
9:10: Least interesting costume of the night alert! The guy wearing a Mike Richter jersey walking through the crowd. When did wearing a jersey become an acceptable Halloween costume? Wouldn't that guy just wear a Mike Richter jersey on a random Saturday afternoon? How is this a costume? In other NY1 Halloween Parade coverage news, Jill Scott is still hot.
9:18: A woman with a lamp shade on her head!? As a costume!? You're kidding me! What a funny costume!!!!! How do people come up with this stuff????
9:23: A guy dressed as a Kissing Booth just kissed Jill Scott. I want to punch him in the face.
9:24: Whipple is flat out screaming at this point. The over-modulation that is NY1's hallmark continues.
9:25: OHHHH! The hat! The pale white makeup! The blood! The cape! John Schiumo isn't a zombie. I get it now. He's a vampire.
9:25:15: On second thought, maybe he really is Matt Drudge. I can't decide.
9:26: And there we have it--one final screw up. The live broadcast wouldn't be complete without a complete disaster to end it: Schiumo sends it to Jill Scott so she can say goodbye. Unfortunately she doesn't realize that the show is ending, and that leads to her mic getting turned off mid-sentence. Brilliant stuff.