Slowly Declining Ball: Why I Turned the TV Off at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve
ith balls, crystal or crystal balls weighing more than 1,000 pounds. But even with no prior filming or television experience, I am confident I can craft a New Year’s Eve telecast that would draw ratings to shame this past New Year’s numbers.
First off, my New Year’s telecast would most definitely not feature Ryan Seacrest.
With only about 40 seconds left in 2006, I turned Seacrest off to brush my teeth and get away from the infuriatingly artificial excitement he tried to inject into the proceedings. Still, like newscasters covering a car chase in which the getaway car cruises at the speed limit, Seacrest is paid to keep talking and maintain interest in any way possible.
In order to keep millions of Americans across the country glued to ‘heart-pounding footage’ of a slowly declining ball, Seacrest uttered platitudes like ‘This is unbelievable’ and ‘The electricity is in the air.’
Besides Seacrest, the decision to show a close-up of a very slowly declining sphere for an entire 60 seconds was also perhaps not the wisest choice.
Unless, like the New University’s Associate Entertainment Editor Eugenia Wong, ball-watchers were in Times Square when the Waterford Crystal ball made its way to the street at a relaxed pace, the descent was anything but unbelievable or electrifying.
Imagine the genuine excitement viewers would feel if the ball and all its 504 crystal triangles were released to the forces of gravity.
Everyone loves a little destruction, especially if said destruction involves expensive things. Plus, this destruction would have symbolic value: destroying the old and celebrating the new.
With adequate safety restraints for those in Times Square, an actual ball drop timed to hit the ground perfectly at midnight on New Year’s Eve would capture the nation’s attention in a way a moseying LED-lit crystal ball never could.
The light show produced by hundreds of pounds of shattering Waterford Crystal would be astounding, as would the fact that New York City had the guts to try this pioneering approach to bringing a bigger bang to the New Year.
Adding to the excitement in a way Carson Daly, Dick Clark or Seacrest could not, would be Joan Rivers and a fast-talking Spanish television soccer announcer.
In her brash and sometimes factually correct interviewing style, Joan Rivers would bring those amusing moments of awkward silence for which she has become famous from years of red-carpet Academy Awards pre-show interviews.
If you’ve ever flipped by a Spanish television station broadcasting soccer, you know how riveting the announcers can be, especially if one team appears on the verge of scoring a goal. If they do score, the exciting moment is marked by ‘Goooooooooooooal.’
It doesn’t matter that the announcer would speak too quickly for any beginning Spanish speaker to understand. His exuberance transcends language barriers, and if the prospect of a 1,000-pound crystal ball shattering on the ground weren’t enough, I’m probably not the only one who would be giddy and overjoyed when the announcer joins in.
With his baritone voice rising to a climax, the announcer would speak underneath visuals of a breathtaking array of colorful crystal shards. As he feverishly screams ‘goooooooooooooal’ to herald the New Year, the celebration would quickly become an international sensation, leaving rival television networks