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What I Watched Last Night: The Commercial Bowl

On Sunday evening (or all damn day, depending on your rabid dedication to the sport), America paid homage to Super Bowl 50, a football game which has rocketed to such a ridiculous level of pomp and circumstance simply because we need an excuse for something, anything. That's because when it comes to large public events that promote mass consumption of food and alcohol, the calendar's a desolate place between January and March 17 if you're not in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday.

It's an event that, even if you do have $20,000 to shell out for a seat mid-field, you'd still stay home and watch the thing on TV instead because the beer is cheaper, the bathroom's only 50 paces away and usually unoccupied, and your car's already parked a lot closer. In that sense, it's become The Super Commercial Bowl for the million-dollar ads alone, mostly because your team (or a team you despise and would love to see their teeth get bashed in) isn't in it, and the halftime show always features someone overexposed or irrelevant, or bands whose music you never could stand anyway. So now we're basically reduced to an audience of eleventy billion people waiting to see if Snickers' ad agency can top last year's commercial.

I always wonder if the halftime performers receive presenter swag bags like everyone in that equally-overproduced 4-hour slice of extravaganza known as the Oscars - and if they do, what might be in it. This Super Bowl, I imagine a vial of Cam Newton's sweat and a sachet bag of the shattered hopes of Colin Kaepernick would be tucked in there somewhere.

But still, you watch it anyway, or at least the parts you catch when you're not paying attention to something else more interesting, like an escalating drunk argument, or the host trying to track down which ill-mannered sonofabitch ate half the shrimp platter in the fridge that was reserved for halftime.

So here are a few key moments from Super Bowl 50, in case you missed them:

* The usual Roman numeral (this year's game would have been brought to you by the single, lonesome letter L) was replaced with an ordinary two-digit number everyone recognizes. That's because L rhymes with hell and that French women's fashion magazine Elle, and all that would've just confused the fuck out of everybody.

However, the NFL assures us that next year, it will revert to using the previously-confusing letter jumble. This after a long debate over just saying to hell with it all and begin using hieroglyphics.

* Before the start of the game, there was a ceremony honoring the MVPs of every past Super Bowl, which you have to admit, was a creative way to kill a good half-hour. As you might expect, pretty much anyone pre-2000 looked like shit (although Fred Biletnikoff, Oakland, 1977, seemed pretty chipper and well-preserved), most of them could barely walk, and there was someone crouching low at the bottom left of the screen pointing which way they should hobble. This direction was pretty much "turn left, walk toward the other guys," apparently for the benefit of those players with a long history of bone-crunching concussions.

* There was a military choir singing their rendition of "America, The Beautiful," which I imagine confused a whole lot of people who took a beat and thought, "Wait, when the hell did this become the national anthem?" This was followed by the actual national anthem, sung by Lady Gaga. Bigoted opinions of her in the Deep South were reversed in a nanosecond given the fact that she does indeed clean up well into a pretty hot babe when she wants to (or has to) not scare the living jeebus out of anyone over 40. A duet with Tony Bennett would've been pretty classy, but you can't have guys flying Navy jet fighters circling the airspace endlessly waiting for those two to finish. Time = jet fuel, people.

* Clete Blakeman possesses one of the best NFL head-referee names ever. It would be an equally awesome name if he was a porn actor, a rodeo star, or a character in a cop buddy movie, too.

* The halftime show featured Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Fortunately, CBS's stadium sound feed prevented home viewers from actually hearing anything any of them sang, making the production a rousing success, and quite literally a musical production. It was also quite obvious that Coldplay singer Chris Martin has no ability whatsoever to remain standing locked in a full and upright position.

* And finally, if you're anything like me, your game-long viewing experience was turned into a never-ending wish that, if one person could be dragged out of the coliseum and shot, it would be that one woman who - operating just barely under dog-whistle frequency - insisted on screaming "wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!" during every single play for nearly four hours straight. You probably didn't even notice it unless someone else brought it up, but once they did, Christ Almighty, that's all you heard the whole game. It made me believe that moments like this is why neither the management of the Chicago Cubs nor home-game viewers never really embraced Ronnie "Woo-Woo" Wickers.


Submissions to What I Watched Last Night and comments welcome.


Posted on February 8, 2016

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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