Monday, January 2, 2017

Parting Shots From 2016

I know that today marks the 2nd day of 2017 but I wanted to take a moment to comment on some of 2016 parting shots before the ball dropped in Times Square.  

First was yet another celebrity death. On Saturday, William Christopher passed away at the age of 84. Christopher played Father Mulcahy on the TV series MASH. Here's what Ken Levine, a writer and producer on the show, had say in his blog about Christopher: 

"A sweeter, nicer, more gentle man you'd never find.  He was an absolute pleasure to work with.  And he took a thankless role and turned it into a vibrant character."

Anyone who has watched MASH and is a fan of the show knows what Levine means by "thankless role". Since the principal focus of the show was on the doctors at the mobile army medical unit, Father Mulcahy was often a peripheral factor in a lot of the stories. There was not a lot to work with. But Father Mulcahy was nonetheless a "vibrant character" and that owed in no small part to William Christopher's acting. Mulcahy had a few moments in the spotlight and Christopher always made them shine. There was the episode where Father Mulcahy has to do an emergency tracheotomy while under enemy fire; he's nervous and scared but also determined to save a soldier's life. That episode encapsulated Father Mulcahy's character, rooted in humanity but aspiring to be better than he was. And we believed in this character because of William Christopher's skill. From everything I've read, the actor was a friendly and caring individual and no one seems to have ever had a bad word to say about him. 

Unfortunately, there are lots of bad words to say about the tragedy unfolding in Istanbul, Turkey. A gunman opened fire on parties celebrating New Year at a nightclub  killing at least 39 people. The terror of senseless, random slaughter is still with us. Technically, the shootings occurred an hour after midnight on January 1st so Turkey can chalk this up to a horrible beginning of 2017. To the nations to the west where it wasn't midnight yet, it was one more bloody example of why so many regarded 2016 as a such a terrible year that could not end fast enough. 

But maybe in the rush to show 2016 to the door, perhaps taking a few moments to think things through and be better prepared may have staved off some awkward moments that played on live TV in the moments leading up to midnight on the East Coast of the United States. 

Over on CNN, Kathy Griffith in New York was trying too hard to embarrass Anderson Cooper which included a misguided effort to wrap Cooper in aluminum foil. Meanwhile, live from New Orleans, Don Lemon was pounding tequilas for about 3 hours straight, got his ear pierced and began confessing he hasn't always been a good person... all on live TV.  At one point, Kathy Griffith suggested Don Lemon should get a nipple pierced instead of his ear... and Don began taking his shirt off! Thankfully, Brooke Baldwin was there with Don to guide him away from that spectacle.  

But the big story for late night revelry was happening over on ABC in New York when Ryan Seacrest breathlessly announced that performing right there in Times Square was the one, the only Mariah Carey! 

And out from a plume of white puffy feathers stepped Mariah who was barely dressed for Palm Beach FL in summer, let alone for New York City in winter. 

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. 

Sadly, sexy spectacle gave way to musical debacle.  
  • Mariah opened with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne where her lips were not in sync with the music. 
  • The 2nd number was Emotions and this is where things really fell apart. As the backing track played and the dancers continued to dance their routines, Mariah walked around the stage, not singing. She made complaints that she couldn't hear. 
  • For the 3rd song, We Belong Together, Mariah did make an effort early on to sing along or at least lip sync but it was clear once again that what Mariah was doing and whatever was playing was not on the same page and eventually just gave up any pretense. 
"Bring on the feathers," Mariah said as she stepped into the white puffy plume and vanished. She also stepped into pop culture history with what has to be one of the largest meltdowns of a musical performance in front of one of the largest viewing audiences ever.

If I may, in Ms. Carey's defense, I've had to sing on a stage where the music didn't sound like I expected it to. The environment on a stage is far different than one might expect. Any change can throw you. Still could Mariah have handled things this better? How much of this mess was on Mariah and how much was on the technicians? Who knows?

But Mariah took to Twitter afterwards with this succinct message: 

"Shit happens."  

Which is probably as good an epitaph as any for 2016, the year that was. 

Unfortunately, I have a bit feeling the prediction for 2017 is strikingly similar. 

"Shit will continue to happen." 


Coming up live on the blog in 12 hours is my post of the season premiere of Sherlock from Sunday night. 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

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