The 2016 Super Bowl Recap (Mostly, It’s Just Commercials)

Well, that was . . . not my best Super Bowl Sunday, sadly. The team I was rooting for lost, the commercials were lousy, I got a form rejection for a story anthology I was hoping for, and I had to go to work afterwards?

Oh well. I will, as always, take refuge in snacks and snark.

1. I wasn’t devastated by Carolina’s loss or anything. I was mostly just rooting against Denver because that’s how my mama raised me. (Also, because I like it when different teams make it to the Super Bowl, like, there’s a limit to how many times you want to watch the Patriots and the Broncos and the Seahawks, you know? If I have no personal stake, I vote for the newcomer.) Alas, the Panthers fell in a game primarily made up of strong defenses, ineffective offenses, stupid penalties, and all the fumbles, I mean, Jesus H. Christ. Is there an NFL record for how many times a ball is fumbled during the Super Bowl? Did this win?

At any rate, congratulations, Broncos. You have officially redeemed yourself from the Epic Fail that was the 2014 Super Bowl.

2. I can’t pretend I was excited about the Half-Time Show when I heard the lineup. Beyonce is fine, but I rarely listen to her. I adore “Uptown Funk,” but otherwise find much of Bruno Mars’ music whiny and annoying. And I don’t think I’ve liked a song by Coldplay in over ten years. (Although some are more irritating than others. Like I’ll hear one that’s like, “Whatever, I guess that’s tolerable,” and then there’s fucking “Paradise.”)

So, Coldplay comes on with their sappy music and gigantic flowers, and I tune out to continue working on non-Super Bowl related things because, seriously, where is Katy Perry riding in on a giant tiger/lion when you need her? But then Beyonce and her girls and Bruno Mars and his boys get into this big dance off, and I’m like, “Okay, this, this I approve of. Couldn’t the whole show have just been this?”

Apparently not because then Chris Martin joined in, and it was a sad, awkward thing indeed. And then were back to the piano and the awful music and the Inspirational Shit, and I’m like, “Okay, back to work. Call me when the game starts again, or there’s a commercial break.”

3. As previously mentioned, the commercials were . . . not that great, all in all. If you’re wildly amused by people talking to inanimate objects or animals that talk and/or sing back, though, this was probably the year for you.

I’ve decided not to do a Best and Worst list this year, but I have compiled roughly ten or so commercials in order to provide commentary, as is my wont.

For instance, the Most WTF Commercial obviously goes to . . .

Seriously, what the shit IS this? Of course, Mountain Dew successfully created a commercial that we all tweeted about, but that doesn’t mean I’m any more likely to buy their product now. I’d say I’m significantly less likely, actually, now that puppymonkeybabies are apparently a potential consequence of this beverage.

This was hardly the only creepy commercial of the night, though:

Um, football is family? Or do you mean football is raunchy victory sex? Because I think that’s what you mean.

Look, I was already weirded out by the first two mini-commercials before we got to the one above, where the Super Bowl Kids are now literally singing about their parents getting it on. Plus, Seal. And “Kiss From the Rose.” And now we’re going to try to pass this off as wholesome and inspiring? Oh. My. God.

Moving on to something happier:

This is also a bit WTF, but it’s WTF involving Christopher Walken and sock puppets, so I’m allowing it. “It’s the new KIA Optima. It’s like the world’s most exciting pair of socks, but it’s a mid-sized sedan.” That made me laugh, and very few commercials did that this year, so this is probably my favorite.

As an aside: I’d kind of like to know what happened to the wife, after she watched her husband walk into the closet and never return. I’ll just assume she’s better off.

(The commercial plays twice in the above video. I have zero idea why, and not much inclination to find a different link at the moment.)

There’s always one commercial from a company you’ve never heard of before (and may never hear from again) that makes you smile. This year’s commercial was from some loan place or something called SoFi, where people are rated on their greatness, and the cute baby? A quick and decisive no. Ha. Also: “His mom thinks she’s great. But she’s wrong.”

I like it.

Unfortunately, then there’s this:

Because, for some reason, it’s socially acceptable for fathers to transform into crazy ass stalkers whenever their teenager daughters might be in danger of having any fun at all, much less having sex. This year’s message sponsored by Hyundai and Kevin Hart.

A poor showing for Skittles, who doesn’t even come close to Most WTF Commercial this year. HAS THE KING FALLEN FOR GOOD?

Medically accurate, I’m sure.

This commercial is mostly inspirational and thus boring, but I’ll admit it startled me into laughing when there was suddenly a portrait of an evil robot.

Finally, Helen Mirren tells drunk drivers that they’re idiots. I’m okay with that.

Goodbye, Super Bowl 2016. You were, uh, there I guess?

A Nerd’s Commentary on the 2015 Superbowl

Well, the Superbowl happened.

1. I’m sure people have a variety of pre-game rituals, but apparently mine has become flipping back and forth between the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet and the Kitten Bowl on Hallmark. This is probably the only time I have watched either of these two channels of my own volition. I can’t help myself. They’re so cute. They even had puppies named Miss Martian and Falcor. What geek wouldn’t fall in love?

2. For the actual game, I went over to my friend’s house. Everyone was rooting for the Seahawks except my buddy Lindsey because she’s a 49er fan, and the Seahawks knocked the 49ers out of the playoffs last year. Ostensibly, Lindsey was voting against them because they fought dirty, but let’s be real here. It’s all about grudges. Mind you, I’m not judging — my mom was voting for the Seahawks because she hasn’t forgiven the Patriots for a bad call made in their favor in a playoff game against the Raiders over ten years ago. I, personally, was voting against the Patriots because I find them boring, and because Seattle has cuter players.

Anyway, the game was enjoyable. A little weird. Like the Seahawks didn’t really show up, and then they definitely showed up, and then the Patriots made a comeback, and the Seahawks rallied, only to make an incredibly stupid decision on the one-yard line which cost them the game, and then Tom Brady got the MVP despite throwing two interceptions? I mean, it was more entertaining than watching the Seattle Seahawks just annihilating the Denver Broncos last year, but still. Strange game.

Ultimately, what’s really important to takeaway here is that Captain America beat Star-Lord. Football being such an American sport, perhaps this was a foregone conclusion.

3. The best part about the Superbowl, of course, was not the game itself or even the commercials (oh, we’ll get to those), but the Key & Peele special that aired on Friday (but that we watched after the game).

Timothy Omundson is always a pleasant surprise, but Allison Janney was just the best. ALL HAIL QUEEN ALLISON JANNEY.

4. The half-time show was surprisingly pretty awesome. Honestly, I don’t have much opinion on Katy Perry one way or another — I don’t hate her music, but it’s also not really my thing. I probably only actually knew two of those songs. (I get this a lot at work. People are like, “Oh, no, you must know this song; EVERYBODY knows this song,” and I’m like, “Has someone used it in a movie or commercial lately? Otherwise, I probably don’t.”) Anyway, I rarely get excited about the half-time show — Radiohead, Amanda Palmer, and Arcade Fire just don’t seem like very likely future candidates.

Regardless, Katy Perry put on one hell of a show. Ridiculous, yes. She came out on a giant metal tiger/lion (apparently, there’s been some debate) while wearing an ugly dress that I can only assume was inspired by “girl on fire” fashion.  Then she danced around with these pretty awesome human chess pieces, and later there were frightening dancing sharks and beach balls? I mean, this shit was nuts. Plus, we were also treated to musical cameos by Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz. (I like Missy Elliot. Meanwhile, Kravitz singing “I Kissed a Girl” sort of takes something from the intent of the song, and yet . . . he looked and sounded so damn good doing it. I couldn’t quite bring myself to care.)

Also, Katy Perry rode around on The More You Know Star. In case this performance just wasn’t weird enough.

5. Finally, the commercials seemed pretty lackluster this year. I’m sure I said that last year too, but between the depressing dead kid commercial, the car on Viagra commercial, and the commercial where Jeff Bridges creepily sat near unconscious people, I just wasn’t quite feeling it. (Although, ha! I knew that was Mr. Yukimura! Tom Choi’s tweet about four years of acting school paying off was particularly hilarious.)

A lot of people seemed to like the Coke-spreads-happiness commercial, presumably because it sends a positive message. As someone who has actually killed a computer by spilling soda on it, I’m here to say, “Fuck you, Coke. You’re a lying liar who lies.” Also, the Snickers commercial was kind of funny, but I’d have liked it better if Danny Trejo had enacted his bloody revenge before eating his Snickers. That would have been funny.

Clearly, the best commercial goes to Liam Neeson for some game that I’ve never heard of.

I might actually consider looking into this game. Next year, people? Let’s do more of this.

Superbowl Commercials, or How I’m Losing Faith in Humanity

I didn’t bother making a list of Best and Worst Superbowl ads this year, mostly because I didn’t have enough “best” ads to bother. My favorite, though, was probably the Cheerios commercial.

I liked this one for a couple of reasons. One, that kid’s just adorable. The skeptical expression on her face is totally charming, and you’ve gotta like a little girl who knows how to bargain. Two, this particular ad features the same family from another Cheerio’s ad earlier in the year, a commercial that received a huge amount of backlash for featuring an interracial family.

Here is the original commercial that raised so much controversy:

My God. What horrifying, un-American content. I’m shocked by the sheer nerve of Cheerios. SHOCKED.

You know how people tell you not to look at the comments and then you do it anyway, just cause you’re really not all that bright? Yeah. I’m not always bright. Reading the comments section when I know it’s going to piss me off is like a disease I have. MSNBC interviewed the little girl and her parents back in June, and some of the comments on that particular video . . . you know, I’m not going to type them here because I don’t want that shit on my blog, but . . . for fuck’s sake, what’s wrong with people? I just don’t understand. I guess I don’t really want to. You think to yourself, Racism is a reality. It comes in many forms, and we still have a LOT of work to do to if we ever hope to eradicate it in other people and ourselves, but at least no one thinks like THIS anymore. And then of course you’re reminded that it doesn’t matter it’s 2014 — too many people still think like THIS; those people are everywhere, and it’s just . . . wholly depressing, is what it is. Depressing and infuriating and unacceptable.

And continuing with the controversy train . . .

Coca-Cola had this commercial:

If I’m being very honest, the commercial barely even registered with me one or the other — because the second you pair a patriotic song like “America the Beautiful” with images to invoke the modern day cowboy, I tune out. I’m not appalled or anything — it’s just that anything so inspirational with a capital ‘I’ doesn’t tend to capture my interest. It honestly did not occur to me that there was anything particularly shocking about this commercial, not until I went to Whatever and read all about it.

See, in the commercial, segments of “America the Beautiful” are translated into languages other than English — like Spanish and Arabic. Which is obviously unpatriotic because, clearly, we only speak English this country. I know this because I’m an American, and I only speak English, so that must mean that all people who identify as American must only speak English. Also, apparently: “Coke is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border.” Such is the wisdom of Todd Starnes’s Twitter feed — because, again, only illegal immigrants and foreigners speak languages other than English. Starnes, you’re an asshole.

Some people were also displeased that the commercial “prominently features” a gay couple and their child, either. (In case you didn’t notice the prominent gay couple — because I didn’t at first — they appear in an ice rink, and their segment lasts a literal five seconds. I mean, Christ, it just keeps going.) And yes. That’s exactly what’s wrong with America today: a happy, loving couple spending quality time with their child. We need to shut that shit down.

. . . I wish I had some truly cutting response to all of this, something witty and poignant, something that could make a difference, but really . . . people just make me tired and sad right now, and I don’t know what I could possibly say to change their minds or make anything better.