Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bowling for Lots of Dollars

Ah Super Bowl Sunday. The greatest of all American holidays (take THAT, Flag Day!). How did you spend your Super Bowl? Yeah, yeah, great. Shut up and listen to how I spent mine.

John Presents John's Super Bowl Commercial Diary (by John)!

Prologue: There's a rather crass saying about the Oscars that it's the gay Super Bowl. Well, I have news for the wags who coined that little bon mot: The real gay Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. With Ryan Seacrest hosting, a red carpet, the debut of a new song by Paula Abdul (which stunk), an over-the-top performance by Alicia Keys and not even touching on the homoeroticism of football itself, the Oscars look positively butch in comparison.

6:18 PM Eastern (all times are PM and Eastern from here on in) -- Last year's "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks delivers a bland, inoffensive National Anthem. The suits at Fox must have high-fived each other over it.

6:26 -- The coin toss. Giants call tails. Giants win. Is it an omen?

6:29 -- The first appearance of Pam Oliver. She's cute. I look forward to more.

6:30 -- Kickoff. Go Winners!

6:32 -- Bill Belichick has eschewed the traditional gray hoodee for a festive red hoodee. This is the equivalent of Matthew McConaughey in white tie and tails.

6:35 -- Hooray! Some injuries. This means we can finally get to the only reason to watch all this nonsense: the cool new commercials! The first one is for Bud Light and features a guy who can breathe fire. Eh.

6:36 -- An ad for Audi does a rip of the classic "horse head in the bed" scene from The Godfather. It is strangely flat. The ad, not the head.

6:39 -- I hear Pam Oliver's voice, but there's no on-camera appearance. This angers me.

6:45 -- First points of the game. I think someone hit a home run. And that gives Fox an excuse to cut to a few more ads. First up is a Pepsi Max spot with sleepy people nodding their heads to the haunting strains of that horrible "What Is Love?" song that the Roxbury guys on SNL used to play all the time. I'm starting to wonder where the good commercials are being stowed.

6:46 -- A ad that's animated. Badly.

6:47 -- A quick promo for that awful Amp energy drink informs us that 30 minutes of the pre-game show were powered entirely by hyperactive goofballs on stationary bikes. Wow. 30 whole minutes of the 93-hour pre-game show. Now that's green.

6:48 -- Some more lousy ads. This is not a good crop so far.

6:58 -- The first quarter ends and ... Wait a minute! We're only through a quarter of this? I've got to go through the same thing three more times? Maybe Hallmark Channel will surprise me with a "Murder, She Wrote" marathon. Quick glimpse. Yep. Good old Jessica Fletcher. When I come back, there's a Bridgestone ad for ... well, whatever the hell Bridgestone makes. Must be automotive because there's a car and a screaming squirrel. Or maybe they sell small rodents.

6:59 -- Someone named Kina Gravis sings a song where she says "Bum Bum Bum" a lot and then wants me to buy Doritos. Done and done.

7:00 -- New show ad! For something called "Unhitched." It looks terrible.

7:01 -- Hey! A Touchdown! Those are good, right?

7:02 -- An ad for Wanted. Now we're getting somewhere. The whole curving the bullet thing looks pretty doggone cool.

7:03 -- The ad is an ad for the ad on the website. Didja follow that? Because I'm pretty sure I didn't.

7:05 -- Pigeons for Fed Ex. This is just the kind of self-conscious and overblown commercial that marks the worst of these things. I'm wondering what's up with Pam Oliver, and if she's attached and if she has a thing for bloggers and why the HECK won't Fox show her?

7:06 -- The talking stain ad for Tide to Go might be the most annoying thing I've ever seen in my life. But wait. The night is young.

7:13 -- The bit with the Clydesdale and the Rocky references is another one that thinks it's a far sight cleverer than it actually is.

7:14 -- The new Iron Man trailer. Yay! We get to see the boot jets in action and he blows some stuff up. Awesome!

7:18 -- Badgers. They're mean. Good thing for the guy in the Toyota Corolla they're also poorly computer generated. And then we get a spot for the new George Clooney movie Leatherheads, which was supposed to be released late last year but got pushed back. That's rarely a good sign, but I enjoy Clooney in screwball comedy mode. Lots of funny stuff in the ad.

7:23 -- A rather gross ad for takes the expression "follow your heart" literally.

7:30 -- Fox flogs "American Idol." Maybe now someone will tune in.

7:38 -- Finally we get a couple of funny commercials. The creepy Planters ad made me laugh, but I really liked the T-Mobile ad featuring Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade.

7:39 -- After a United Way thing about the dangers of fat kids, Joe Buck mentions Pam Oliver but there's no visual. I suspect a conspiracy.

7:40 -- Another good one. The Pepsi commercial features "D*ck in a Box" cohorts Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. I also enjoy the Doritos ad with the mousetrap and the large mouse.

7:54 -- The half ends. How long do these things last?

8:03 -- Another new Fox series gets some Super Bowl love. This time it's the somewhat interesting "New Amsterdam" about an immortal cop.

8:04 -- The stadium goes dark and the halftime show gets underway. Lights in the shape of a (phallic) guitar approach other lights in the form of a (vulvic) heart. Good thing Prince isn't here or it might have gotten dirty. Tom Petty performs his four most obvious songs. No wardrobe malfunctions.

8:24 -- Will Ferrell is in yet another film where he plays a pompous sports idiot. An intervention may be called for.

8:25 -- The second half kicks off and there's Pam Oliver! Thank God I can freeze frame live TV.

8:31 -- Another ad, this time with hilarious pandas speaking as hilariously insulting Chinese stereotypes. Who does the commercials for this outfit?

8:32 -- There's a Coach's Challenge on the field which seems to mean that Fox has loads of time for more commercials. The one with Shaquille O'Neal as a jockey is pretty funny. Cavemen hawk Bud Light (but not the Geico cavemen, they were in an earlier different crummy ad). Carmen Electra wants me to buy Ice Cubes Gum. Done and done. Bridgestone is back with a much better spot this time around featuring Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons.

8:44 -- An ad for the latest Pixar film Wall-E is introduced by Woody and Buzz from Toy Story. Kinda smacks of desperation. It doesn't help that Wall-E himself looks uncannily like the robot from Short Circuit.

8:51 -- Jumper ad. For the movie, not the garment. I guess it looks okay. Can't get used to Samuel L. Jackson's hair, though.

8:52 -- The E-Trade ad features a disturbing talking baby. Wish it into the cornfield!

8:56 -- The sound of Pam Oliver. But only the sound. Sigh.

9:01 -- End of the third quarter. Things are just zipping along.

9:05 -- One of the year's big ads. Coca-Cola unveils its commercial where Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade style balloon versions of Stewie from "Family Guy" and Underdog fight over a balloon version of a Coke bottle. It's not great.

9:12 -- Another Coke spot. James Carville and Bill Frist call jinx on each other. They make Mitt Romney seem lively.

9:14 -- Adam Sandler's latest opus Don't Mess with the Zohan debuts its trailer. Might be funny. Hard to tell.

9:20 -- That creepy E-Trade baby is back. And no, the fact that the commercial cops to how creepy it is doesn't help. I'll have nightmares for weeks.

9:26 -- Will Ferrell does his latest sports guy again, this time hawking Bud Light. I hope he got a cement mixer full of money in exchange for his soul.

10:03 -- Everyone acts like the game is over, but it ain't. There's still one second to play. The NFL is so persnickety.

10:05 -- It takes two minutes to play for one second, but it's over and I'm pretty sure that one of the two participating teams emerged victorious, but don't quote me.

10:06 -- Pam Oliver gets a little screen time. Makes it all worth while.

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