Thoughts on Super Bowl Ads & Post-Game GLEE

Since I’m not a football fan, I reversed my viewing habit of DVR’d shows and only watched the commercials (after Christina Aguilera’s horribly overwrought and mangled version of the anthem, that is). I thought the funniest ones were this Doritos one where the guy was able to bring a dead fish, dead plant and finally Grandpa back to life by sprinkling Doritos crumbs on them…

…and the Bridgestone one where the poor office worker thought he’d hit “reply all” to an e-mail and raced around retrieving everyone’s computer or smart device before they could read it. Love how he went about the whole thing with a ninja cry.

The best homage to a classic Coke ad was the House spot with the kid trying to give the mean doctor a churro, a la the boy giving Mean Joe Green a Coke in the 1980 Super Bowl commercial. But instead of softening up Dr. House, the kid gets a cane thrown at him. The spot perfectly captures how Dr. Crankypants won’t soften for anyone.

The ads for Groupon, on the other hand, were flat-out wrong. The Timothy Hutton pitch was bad enough, switching to him enjoying fish curry when we thought he was spotlighting the troubles in Tibet, but the one that aired later was even worse. It began with Elizabeth Hurley talking earnestly about saving the rainforests, then suddenly shown in a bathrobe saying, “But deforestation isn’t all bad,” and segueing into how you can save money on Brazilian waxes with Groupon. Eww. I don’t want to know about Hurley’s, ah, jungle down there. I love irreverent humor but these spots just didn’t work for me.

After the SB, I tuned in to the Glee “event,” though with all the teasers hyping it during the game, I felt I’d seen almost the entire episode. By the time it was over, I found it underwhelming, partly due to the following reasons:

  • Mr. Shue told Rachel and Puck to wow the football team with a performance to entice them to join glee club and what did they sing? Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” Really? That song is nice and all but they thought a country ballad was the best way to impress a bunch of macho dudes? Puck making menacing faces at the guys while singing “Can’t stop looking at the door/Wishing you’d come sweeping in/The way you did before” was so ridiculous, it made me laugh.
  • The Warblers singing Destiny Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” was also odd. They’re a bunch of high school students—how many bills do they have? The best numbers are the ones where the kids connect emotionally or the songs arise out of something they’re going through. When they crowed “We’re ready for regionals!” after finishing this song, I thought, “Yeah, ready to get your butt kicked if you don’t come up with something better.”
  • The centerpiece “Thriller” routine was shot with so many closeups and quick cuts that we couldn’t see the big picture, which is the point of doing that number—the choreography. The camera should’ve pulled back. From what I could see, it looked rather messy, with dancers all over the place instead of in sync with each other.

I did like Katie Couric interviewing Sue for being a giant loser, beating out such contenders as the economy, Mel Gibson, Dina Lohan and her dog, Sparky, “who is apparently also a loser.” Couric’s delivery was perfectly deadpan, and clued-in to the humor of her having the loser gig. Sue: “I thought this was the most fascinating people.” “That’s Barbara Walters,” Couric replies, with only a bit of edge in her voice.

Which ad(s) did you like the best? Worst? What did you think of Glee?

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Yeti9000
    February 7, 2011 at 4:07 am

    I’m with you on the ads, although I laughed out loud at the Groupon spots. I just loved how they took the piss out of those over-serious “message” ads by being all gross and tacky. But, I can totally see your point too…

    But, moving on to GLEE! WTF?? That was like the worst episode EVER. I swear to God, I wanted to throw the remote like, ten times. First off, Sue Sylvester just said in a recent episode that she was gonna kick Santana off the team for having fake boobs, and then last night she asks the girls to make their boobs bigger?? WHAT?? I mean, come on, do they think we forgot what happened like two or three episodes ago? It’s called continuity of character, folks!

    And the sparklers on the bras? Is this the same Sue who got all outraged when the kids wanted to sing Britney Spears songs? I’m so over the sloppy writing and dramatic character flip-flops on this show. I have always thought Ryan Murphy was a bit one note and his shows peter out rather quickly (for me, at least) but, man alive, GLEE is going to hell in a handbasket right now!!

    For instance, the whole Glee club versus football thing…seriously? Are we gonna discuss that issue AGAIN?? Good Lord, they have beaten that dead horse so many times, same thing with the girls needing the status of the Cheerios, I mean, come on, man…move on. Make up some new stories…some new drama…this shit is getting so old!

    The only justification I can find for the weirdly retro “haven’t we already covered this a hundred times” feeling of last night’s episode is that they were hoping to capture some new viewers by rehashing the show to date. But, man, if that’s the case, then they failed miserably. Post-Super Bowl episodes of shows are usually kinda lame anyway — yes, I’m talking about you ALIAS episode with Jennifer Garner jumping from a train to a helicopter in a sexy bra and panties! — but this one really sucked.

    It just brought up all the stuff that has been nagging at me this year on GLEE. Aside from the very moving gay stuff they cover with Curt and his Dad, the show is insanely uneven. I mean, they are doing shit TV shows don’t usually resort to till they’ve been on the air for like, at least five years. I kept thinking of the sad decline of BEVERLY HILLS 90210 and FELICITY and other teen shows that slipped downhill over time, and across the board, those shows were way healthier at this point in their run. GLEE has not been on long enough to be this sloppy with their character arcs and stuff…it just feels like such a waste of such a good idea. You know?

    And Sue’s whole bit with the human canon? Are you kidding me with this?? Poor Jane Lynch is turning into the Kramer of the show. Jeez, man, her character is becoming a total cartoon…just completely over-the-top. That too is gonna get so old so fast, hell, it already is old! Yikes…

    Sorry for the long-ass comment, but, wow, that episode really pissed me off. I so fear for the creative future of this show…yikes…

    Love to hear what the rest of you think! 🙂

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      I love your long comment! Yeah, the cannon thing was sooo stupid. And you know Sue is going to join the glee club, right?

      Feel free to come here and unload anytime. It’s as if you’re a professional screenwriter who really knows the business or something. 😀 I did enjoy that ALIAS episode, though.

      I like that little Vader ad, too! Wish I had a full costume like that when I was a kid.

  • Reply
    Yeti9000
    February 7, 2011 at 4:08 am

    OMG, also, totally forgot to mention the VW Darth Vader ad! That one rocked!!!

    • Reply
      le0pard13
      February 7, 2011 at 6:41 am

      Oh, hell yes!!! The Force is still my fave ad!

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    February 7, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I didn’t watch the game but I watched the commercials online. I like the Darth Vader one, although it seems a bit behind the times. But that kid (or whoever) does a great job of selling it. My favorite though was probably the Pepsi Max commercial where the woman gets hit in the head with a can of soda. Reminds me of a time I got blindsided and took a hit meant for someone else.

    • Reply
      le0pard13
      February 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

      That Pepsi Max ad was my son’s fave, too.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      That was a funny one, too. Love how she shoved his face into the plate of cake or whatever that creamy stuff was.

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    February 7, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I think I was only one in my house who thought that Christina Aguilera version was “horribly overwrought” (perfectly stated, Elyse). She really did mangle the anthem. For me, nothing touches Whitney Houston’s rendition of the anthem at Super Bowl XXV in January 1991. I did like that resurrection Doritos ad, though (along with The Force VW commercial). Thanks, PCN.

    • Reply
      Christine
      February 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Mine as well, Michael! I was thrilled to see it included on one of her Greatest Hits cd sets. Not only did she belt it out without embellishing too much, but she looked like she was proud to sing it…and had fun doing it! (Can’t believe that was 10 years ago!)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      The song is perfect the way it is. Runs and riffs on notes do not improve it. If you have a good voice, you shouldn’t have to work so hard to prove it. When sung simply and the words are allowed to shine, it can bring tears to my eyes. Whitney’s version IS better.

  • Reply
    Nora
    February 7, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Yeti9000 says perfectly everything I’ve been feeling about this season’s Glee. What a way to squander both a talented cast and general popularity. The show that was a must-watch last season has turned into a why-bother this season.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Yup, I should probably cut and paste Yeti’s comment and make it a guest post!

  • Reply
    Julia
    February 7, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Total agreement with Yeti9000 — makes me sad that Glee has deteriorated into a caricature of itself. I so loved it for a while there… Showrunners seem to forget that their audience connects with a show first and foremost because of story and characters, and if those are toyed with — even a little — we rebel. It may be a short rebellion if they can right themselves, but jumping the shark never works.

    As far as the ads: my favorite was the Volkswagen commercial, simply because that kid was amazing in his ability to convey emotion without us ever seeing his face. The Doritos “house” commercial was so great (it was created by an “amateur,” as part of a contest, which makes it even greater), and I always like the etrade babies 🙂

    Oh, and Christine Aguilera? FAIL!! (but Lea Michelle sounded beautiful — although I guess we can never expect really good sound quality from these things).

    (and I do so love that we can watch all this on YouTube without ever having to set eyes on a football)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      I couldn’t help but wonder how that kid auditioned for the VW spot. Did they put a bucket over his head and then tell him to go through the motions?

      I like being able to watch the ads on YouTube, too, without all that pesky football in between.

  • Reply
    Christine
    February 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Didn’t see all of the commercials, but I really enjoyed both of VW’s with lil Vader and the Beetle. I totally missed the Doritos – House Sitting one…I like it.

    Don’t watch GLEE, but I wondered if it was being overhyped.

    • Reply
      Christine
      February 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Omigosh! How could I forget the ad for HOUSE?! That was perfect!

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        February 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

        Yes! I wouldn’t have liked it if he accepted the churro and got all friendly.

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    February 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Just saw a clip from the Today Show, with the kid who played mini-Vader. I’m telling you, that kid would EASILY pass as Meg Ryan’s child.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

      He must be cute then!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t watch Glee but my favorite ad was the Bridgestone Carma one (VW was a close second) and GoDaddy.com continues to be the worst ad campaign to ever taint the Super Bowl (and TV in general).

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

      It’s as if GoDaddy.com sets out every year to win the Most Terrible Super Bowl Ad Award. There’s never anything remotely appealing about them and yet they paid millions of dollars to make and air them in those slots.

      • Reply
        Rachel
        February 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm

        So true! And they are so offensive; to women certainly but, I think, to humans in general, black tank tops, cameras, and the internet.

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          February 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm

          Haha! And race car drivers, and air.

  • Reply
    Poncho
    February 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I did watch the SuperBowl with a bunch of friends (and a bunch of beer bottles), but that couldn’t stop me from realising Xtina blew the US Anthem. I mean, I don’t know it by heart but I don’t recall it having that much runs and shouting. Come on! That 5-time Grammy winner intro they gave her only made her botch sound worse.

    The sad thing about Mexican airing of the SuperBowl is that you don’t get to see the same commercials as in the US, and I reckon the airtime isn’t as coveted here as it is there. I ended up watching the lamest commercial ever by “Old Spice” like twelve hundred times.

    BTW, I liked Lea Michele’s performance of “America the Beautiful”. Liked, not quite loved. Also, I was pretty underwhelmed by the half-time show. I think the only one that did great was Slash, and he only played for like 14 seconds.

    About the Glee episode, I was kind’a underwhelmed too. But, you know? I stopped watching it for its story quite some time ago. I mean, I know the writing isn’t good, but I fell for some of the characters, and now I watch it just for the music and the ‘eye-candy’ (Heather Morris & Naya Rivera are gorgeous). I loved the Lady Antebellum song, but I also feel it didn’t fit in the story wisely. Hated the “The Zombies” cover, and kind’a liked “Bills, Bills, Bills”. The mashup was great, musically, but I also felt the camerawork didn’t bring the performance to life. Anyway, now I’m confused about Sue… her character has very little coherence right now and is sometimes just plain mean & shallow. I just watch Glee for the fun, and the “feel-good” sensation.

    Thanks for this post, PCN, and for letting me know about the ads you had there!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 8, 2011 at 1:18 am

      Thanks for your report on the Mexican SB experience, Poncho. Your comment about having to watch the Old Spice commercial 1200 times made me smile. And the fact that despite all the beers, you could still recognize there was something off about Aguilera’s version of our anthem.

      I was bored during the half-time show, too. I thought it was a little embarrassing when Fergie was rubbing herself up against Slash and he wouldn’t even look at her. I imagined him thinking, “Woman, let me be. I just want to play my guitar.”

      • Reply
        Poncho
        February 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

        Well… I hadn’t had THAT many beers by the time Xtina sang, so I think my hearing wasn’t inhibited. By the time the half-time show started, however, that’s another story (since I don’t bet on money, I played a contest with a buddy that I’d bottoms-up a beer bottle whenever the Packers scored, and viceversa… and with the drinking in between, well… you get the picture). I just thank God Monday was a holiday ‘ere so I could sleep through it.

        I often get confused over BEP performances. I mean, their songs are kind’a good -or at least they’re catchy- and sometimes you get great stuff from them (like the famous Oprah concert with the flash-mob), but others you get utter crap (like the AI finale where they seemed to be molested by people disguised as TVs)…

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          February 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

          After a while, their songs and performances start sounding/looking the same to me. There’s a pounding beat and Fergie’s in a short skirt and they’re all jumping up and down with no real choreography.

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I loved the little kid in the Darth Vader ad. My second favorite was the Pepsi commercial. But the kid was so kid the way he used his hands on all those things. I think he actually met the real Darth Vader voice who was James Earl Jones a few days later.

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