HAPPY 2016! It’s a time for new beginnings! And endings, too, as Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards host their last Rose Parade after 35 years of only barely tolerating the scripted pablum their producers shove under their noses while yet another marching band rounds the corner from Orange to Colorado in Pasadena.
Every Rose Parade is the same: There are flowery floats and horse regiments, and twirlers and tubas and. . .really, that’s about it. For the past several years, there has been a surfing dog! Yet, it’s a 127-year-old tradition, one started by rich newcomers who wanted to lord it over their shivering East Coast friends that it’s relatively warm and always flowery on the Best Coast (yes, that’s Best Coast–suck it, Least Coast). You can always count on good ol’ status-seeking to drive the popular culture. Some things never change.
Just like my impatience for writing segues, which is why I am presenting you with a series of lists as a means of recapping the 2016 Rose Parade. Without further uh. . .doo (I’m talking about all the horse poo that white-suited volunteers have to smear off the parade route with brooms so twirlers won’t have to break formation or step in it), here are my 2016 Rose Parade Favorites!
BEST FLOWER REFERENCES
All of the floats in the Rose Parade have to be made out of vegetation of some sort, so that leads to some obscure references to organic materials you’ve never heard of.
3) “Strawflower, and red Christmas beans.” This was corrected by Stephanie about 10 seconds later to “red kidney beans,” but for a second I thought there was a bean called the red Christmas bean, and I thought I had learned something new.
2) “Diamonds of white coconut.”
1) “Button cushion pom-pom mums with limes and clementines.” –A very poetic offering by Bob.
BEST MICAH OHLMAN QUOTES
Traditionally, our third host Micah Ohlman is embedded in the stands among the fans, trying gallantly to smile after a five-year-old has bounced a marshmallow off his cheek. This year, the man was on a roof somewhere in Pasadena, unwilling to take it anymore after KTLA (who produces the Rose Parade broadcast) inexplicably did not cast him to succeed Bob or Stephanie. The ice in Micah’s voice was as thick as the “more than 10,000 pink aikido roses” adorning a float he did not give a shit about because why did I not get the freakin’ booth job? Micah’s gritted-teeth anger was apparent in the first of very few cuts to him, in which he introduced himself by saying:
4) “I’m on the roof of the Pasadena Elks Lodge. How about that?” –Micah, please don’t jump! We’ll give you the booth job next year!
3) “Nature’s pollinators.” –Which is redundant, and/or a retronym in the age of agri-business.
2) “Giant gummi bears of marigold and mums.” –Barely concealing his disbelief at what the eff he is really saying on live television.
And then, in Micah’s KTLA 2016 Rose Parade swan song at the end of the parade, we hear him say, first with mass-media-appropriate dramatic wistfulness,
1) “Dare I say it is time to say farewell. . .” and then, dropping any air of giving a shit, addressing the producers: “We have a few more minutes on the air, or are we there? Let me cut back to Bob and Stephanie.”
Oh Micah. I’m so sorry you didn’t get the booth job.
5) There were zipliners on this one float. That was new, that was cool. But where was the surfing dog?!
4) The Allen (Texas) High School Marching Band, consisting of 782 members, had to sell mattresses to pay their way to their participation in the Rose Parade. I am very confused by this. One, why would anyone think it is advisable to have a 782 member marching band? Two, who is buying a mattress for a fund-raiser? That is a very expensive item. I only barely ever buy those giant Hershey bars from basketball team members slinging them outside the grocery store to fund their uniforms, and those are only like five bucks.
3) The plastic eagle helmets on the Centro Escolar Jose Maria Aguilas Dorades, or, as Micah said, out of breath after pronouncing all that, the Golden Eagles. These kids from Pueblo, Mexico were not wearing those stupid typical sky-high marching band hats where the chin strap doesn’t even reach the chin. They were wearing golden eagles on their heads. They looked like Iron Man. All marching bands should ditch their stupid hats and switch to something awesome like this.
2) A California Dairy float that misguidedly featured characters shooting down a “Lactose Rapids.” I know a guy who is lactose intolerant, and he has to take Lactaid so he doesn’t get the Lactose Rapids. If ya know what I mean.
1) A miniature therapy horse named Deputy Pearl. Deputy Pearl can cure all ills, if you just hug her.
And here we are, honoring our hosts and guests of the hour one last time:
BEST BOB EUBANKS QUOTES
First, you should know that Bob told a story about how his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is outside of the Egyptian Theater, where he used to be a doorman, but that he got fired for whacking a guy in the head with a broom. He claims the guy deserved it, but we know anyone who smiles that much has barely-contained rage, Bob.
For the record, Bob giggled and/or squealed on four occasions, and said, “WHEEEEE!” on three.
5) “They’re a wonderful horse, and I congratulate them.” –On a band of Appaloosa horses
4) “That’s what you look at when you see these gals with. . .I didn’t even see the flag.” –Creeping on a group of teenage flag girls
3) “Don’t get smart, kid.” –Warning Stephanie after she remarks on his sweaters during a montage of Rose Parades Past
2) Bob’s mispronunciations: “Ar-CHIVE-al footage.” and “Oregon-o.”
He also talked about how raccoons are tearing up his lawn, which resulted in my Favorite Bob Eubanks Quote, said while he was viewing a float that featured a raccoon:
1) “The raccoons are after me.”
BEST STEPHANIE EDWARDS QUOTES
5) “We’re 60 feet in the air, so don’t drink too much coffee.” –Practical advice to her hosting successors, Leeza Gibbons and Mark Steines
4) “Look at the cool pants.” –About the Trader Joe’s float
3) Stephanie had her own mispronunciations: “She’s a hero-in.” –Commenting on Deputy Pearl
2) “Ooh-ra. Ooh-ra. Did I sound like a Marine?” –Sounding rather constipated instead
1) “Oh! Look at all those little bodies!” –On an assortment of children on the Disneyland float
BEST BOB AND STEPHANIE EXCHANGES
Oh, Bob and Stephanie. You kids. You’ve been a part of New Year’s Day for so long, and we love you for your bickering and your weirdness, like this:
5) Bob: “I feel a Tina Turner song coming on!”
Stephanie: “Please don’t sing it.”
4) Bob, describing how some women enrolled at Pasadena City College for one semester because the Rose Bowl Queen nominations were limited to PCC students: “The first semester was filled with beautiful women, but the second semester. . .ohhhhh.”
Stephanie: “Oh no, no, the plot thins! We must move right along.”
3) Stephanie, who is obsessed with the three glues used to put petals on floats, responding to Bob’s claim that a band of horses has three gaits: “I have to ask. . .are their three gaits anything like the three glues used to put petals on the floats?”
Bob: “Ohhh. . .emmm. . .geeee.”
2) Bob, while discussing bagpipes, to Stephanie: “I imagine you would know. . .”
Stephanie (interrupting): “I’m married to one.”
Bob (continuing his insult): “There’s a lot of wind in you.”
1) Bob, discussing horse costumery: “What kind of crystals are those?”
Oh Bob and Stephanie! We hate to see you go! As Stephanie said, “We’ve had some good times, Bob.” Thanks to Bob Eubanks, Stephanie Edwards, and KTLA for providing this New Year’s Day treat. We’ll miss you, Bob and Stephanie. All we can hope is that they live up to Stephanie’s intent about their position as honored volunteers next year: “We’re going to create havoc, let me tell you.”
HAPPY 2016, EVERYONE! Best wishes to all of you on this next trip around the sun. And don’t let the raccoons get you down!
Special thanks to Matt Carpenter, who alerted me to some good quotes during portions when I was too bored to listen.
Kari Tervo enjoys pop culture as a universal language. Sorry, Esperanto and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: Bieber wins. She’s not sure if she’s supposed to be writing about herself in the first or third person right now, so she’s going to act like someone does this kind of work for her. Why ruin the mystique?
Kari reviews zines for Pop Culture Beast in her regular column, Blog Zine. She also provides pop culture opinion and analysis about whatever she gets the urge to write about.