So Mrs. Geek and I couldn't take our eyes off of the train wreck that was New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006
the other night.
We know Dick Clark is a shrewd businessman. Everybody knows he owns New Year's Eve, not genera-hosts Ryan Seacrest or Hillary Duff (is that really what passes for pop music nowadays?) so who the hell could blame him for giving it a go? And above all, he figured his return to television after over a year of stroked-out seclusion would likely bring ABC a huge ratings reward, regardless of what kind of shape he was in (incidentally, that shape would be defined in the Geek household as "just not good at all").
So when Mr. Clark appeared on screen, never in closeup and with sad, slurry speech, we were taken aback. Sure, the press had been preparing us for the fact that this wouldn't be your father's Dick Clark. But we hardly expected it to be a Dick Clark more resembling a marble-mouthed great grandfather.
Sure, he looked reasonably good (from the extremely fast, wide shots the cameras gave us) but he was extremely hard to understand. We wondered aloud who wrote the overly complicated narrative that the rehabilitating Clark stumbled upon time and again. We cringed when he muffed the countdown at the end- though, working in television, we both knew it was just as likely a technical gaffe- it didn't make Clark seem any more like the ageless Dick we were used to.
The Washington Post reported that some viewers saw his return as "courageous." Others thought it was "morbid." Clark himself admitted he was in "bad shape" when he first had his stroke, and said he wasn't "perfect" for the New Year's show.
Look, don't get us wrong- it's great to see his rehab has been successful. We're thrilled to see he's OK after what's been reported as a pretty big stroke. Our point is, he's wasn't OK enough to anchor what is supposed to be the happiest TV show of the year- a show that brings hope to all, especially those who want to wash the crusted on crud of 2005 off for the promise of a shiny, clean new year.
Instead of hope, with all due respect- he friggin' bummed us right the hell out, dude. It's sad to see a beloved figure age so quickly, so suddenly. And even though it's only a TV show, one so disposable, so forgettable, it hardly matters, it really seemed to set a disappointing tone for the new year. Maybe he should've sat it out, and left us with our memories of the old Dick, one who could effortlessly describe the moronic Times Square scrum and scum.
Alas, it seems that man is no longer. And that's upsetting.
Of course, anyone we tried to share our admittedly harsh feelings with informed us they thought it was simply great to see Mr. Clark back, and that we were being... well, you know... insensitive jerks. One friend even went as far as to call me a heartless dick.
And maybe I am. But I calls 'em likes I see them here at TVGeekSpeak.com, and will continue to do so in 2006. So, hammer away, my ball-dropping buddies.
But there was one thing we all agreed on: at least we got to see him maul his wife on camera one last time. That