At approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, I sat down to watch my very first Super Bowl.
The game actually turned out to be rather exciting, even to someone like myself who knows precisely zip about football, but I was even more interested in the famed Super Bowl ads, which collectively are supposed to reflect the economic, social, and moral temperature of the entire nation.
And while this method of taking America's pulse was quite a bit more entertaining than, say, watching Obama's State of the Union address, the portrait it painted was also more alarming. I mean, I knew that most Americans get excited about beer, cars and Doritos, but this must be one of the first times an ad for an online employment agency can elicit the same mouth-watering sensation. And what was with all those ads with people slapping each other?
But regardless, the experience was intriguing.
So here are my responses to some of the more notable ads of Super Bowl XLIV.
TIM TEBOW'S MOM: "I love my son. He's my little boy."
[TIM TEBOW tackles TIM TEBOW'S MOM]
TIM TEBOW'S MOM: "Timmy! I'm trying to tell our story!"
TIM TEBOW: Oh. Uh. Hahaha.
[Both grin foolishly at camera.]
Hyundai dominated many of the commercial breaks. In addition to sponsoring basically the entire Super Bowl, the Korean car manufacturer proved that it is smarter than Toyota by playing classical music during practically all of its commercials. And naming one of its newest cars "The Sonata."
There's also a new movie out about Robin Hood, who apparently was a gladiator who liked blowing stuff up until he turned to philanthropy in his later years.
Cars.com had kind of an interesting ad in which a man who saves the world doesn't know how to go about buying a car. (I learned how to say "Olive oil neutralizes jellyfish stings" in Italian.)
One ad started with a football player saying "This is a message for all the women watching the Super Bowl. This is the actual sound of my heart."
I, of course, thought was another FRICKING ANTI-ABORTION AD until he said "Women's heart disease is a real problem. And you matter to me. Especially if you're watching the Super Bowl." Then I kind of liked it.
After that, there was a Careerbuilder ad in which wholly unattractive people go to work in nothing but underwear. This was immediately followed by an ad for Dockers in which men march through the grasslands singing "Weeeear noooo paaaants!!!!"
The Denny's ads featuring screaming chickens were more than slightly disturbing as well. Maybe it's just me, but an ad for a diner that virtually promises to abuse animals does not make me want to patronize aforementioned diner. However, judging by the apparent flock of Paly students who enjoyed a free Grand Slam this morning and felt compelled to share their experiences, the ads were effective.
Finally, a man uses Google to find out how to go to Paris, find a job, meet a girl, marry the girl, and have a kid. Ironically, that was probably the cheapest ad to produce, and it was legitimately one of the best.
There you have it: a year in commercials for a multitude of products, the majority of which will make you fatter, poorer, and marginally less intelligent than you were before you bought them.
So, America: we've got one year to buy a personal fitness machine, work off all the calories we gained from eating chips and Cheez Whiz in front of the television, and revel in the triumph of an underdog football team before we again indulge ourselves in the uniquely American macho gloryfest that will be the 2011 Super Bowl. Enjoy!