Sunday, January 01, 2006
You're Making My Tombstone!!!
The show must go on. And so it did as "Dick Clark's Rocking New Year" counted down to 2006 as it has since 1972. But this year was particularly interesting television as Dick Clark had suffered a stroke and although he had not been publicly seen since the stroke, he still was going to host it.
Would the "eternal teenager" look none the worse for wear? Would we be able to detect any of the paralysis that follows a stroke? Would he pull a no show?
What we saw was amazing television. All of the Clark pieces were pre-recorded and "seamlessly" spliced into the mind-numbing, time-killing witty banter from Times Square. His speech was very slurred. His right arm didn't move. He was gray haired. He simply sounded old. Very old, like the years he had fought so hard to put off, caught up with a vengeance. The fact that these were pre-recorded pieces and this was the best of Clark they could present, spoke volumes as to how tough this year had been on Clark.
The impact on the viewer was profound. It was sobering to see a palpable reminder that we are all growing older. As much as New Year's marks the opportunity to start anew with better habits and noble goals, Clark reminded us that one day the curtain will fall.
Now, did ABC really need to remind us of all these profound and fairly depressing issues? I don't think I needed it. Do I think the elderly need to be locked in elderly homes and forgotten? Of course not, I just don't think confronting your mortality is really the way I like to "get my swerve on."