When I posted last week's column, there was a very real possibility of strong winds (New York City regulations state "balloons cannot fly if there are sustained winds above 23 miles per hour or if gusts exceed 34 miles per hour”), thus, a very real possibility that Macy's famous fleet of balloons would be grounded (see "Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy -- Our Annual Thanksful Fest"). Happily, this did not happen. The balloons were escorted down 34th St. as usual, but their handlers “kept them just feet from the ground, battling with buffeting winds at each intersection."Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy - This Year In Oversized Cartoon Balloons"), and that certainly seems to be the case for some diehard Dragonball Z fans. Last weekend's social media was full of stories from fans talking about how they had been mocked and bullied for liking anime and general geeky stuff. And how validated they felt, seeing Goku participate in this kind of American institution.
However, participation had its downside, as reviewed by Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 'Today' Co-Host Hoda Kotb Barely Holds It Together During 'Dragon Ball Z' Balloon Segment. Goku’s introduction was read by Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb, and baked into it was a plug for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, a console game to be released in January 2020, the 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z. Kotb was fine until she came to the unfamiliar word “Kakarot” (which as we all know was Goku’s original Saiyan name back on Planet Vegeta), and after a great deal of trouble pronouncing it broke into laughter. Naturally, there were plenty of people online who took grave offense at Kotb’s gaffe, but an equal number elected to laugh with and not at the host. One assumes these were the ones who remembered most of the character names on DBZ are based on food puns, Kakarot being a corruption of Carrot. If nothing else, it was a unique way of getting the game to trend on social media.
Last week, I also wrote about how Netflix had canceled the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 after two seasons, which frankly didn’t surprise me much. Netflix has canceled a lot of shows (Lilyhammer, OA, One Day At A Time, Tuca & Bertie, Jessica Jones, Lady Dynamite, etc.), and just generally seems more interested in acquiring new programs instead of retaining the ones they already have. I also write that I couldn’t imagine where the show would go from there, and I mean that literally because I’m old and television stopped making total sense to me around the time when cable TV came into being.
Like Ultraman (which I also wrote about last week), it may just inherently be too much of an outre outlier to ever achieve the kind of massive mainstream success that rates inclusion in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Which is a real shame, since Ultraman was born to be a balloon. But, I also definitely don’t think this is “the end” of the show either. It’s survived cancelation twice before, and now that they’ve given this “streaming” thing a fair shot, maybe it’s time the show returned to its roots. It started life on a local Minneapolis, Minnesota UHF channel, KTMA-TV, so maybe they should go the Svengoolie route (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- DC Inserts Official Rubber-Chicken Target”), and find a berth on one of the broadcast/cable retro tv channels like Me-TV, Cozi or Antenna. I told you I didn’t understand television anymore.
For purely selfish reasons, I prefer to believe MST3K creator Joel Hodgson who on Twitter said:” It's not the end of MST3K, it's just the end of the first chapter of bringing back MST3K.”
I can only hope it happens sooner than later.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.