The day after the Super Bowl is, all too often, filled with recriminations and complaints and distress. Epithets are tossed around, complaints are issued, there's a ton of, for lack of a better term, Monday morning quarterbacks always willing to issue their two cents. No, no, I'm not talking about recriminations for blatant stupidity (please see Belichick's leaving the field before the end of the game last year for the perfect example of stupidity or worse), I'm talking about the quality of the commercials.
No, I don't think that the commercials are the real reason for watching, although many do feel that way. I was totally and completely engrossed in the game, particularly during the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Super Bowl is also one of the rare times I pay attention to the commercials that are on my TV. Yes, they're always there in the background somewhere (save for when I'm TiVoing, which is often), but during the Super Bowl I actually pay attention.
I remember being a kid and being terribly excited about the new commercials. They were filled with people I knew, were hysterical, and just so… flashy. Perhaps my all-time favorite was the first of the Jordan/Bird McDonald's spots – "nothing but net." In recent years I recall nothing but disappointment — the Bud Bowl is gone, and all too often the jokes revolve around people getting hit in the groin. Probably the groin thing was present when I was younger, but as I was younger it was funny. Now, while the production value difference is still apparent (except if you're Cash4Gold), I much more find the commercials "cute" than I do funny or good.
There are still one or two exceptions however, and last night, though I thought many moderately clever, there was one commercial which stood head and shoulders above the rest. No, not the crystal ball one (remember, that ended with a shot-to-the-groin joke), and certainly none of the Clydesdale ones (clever, perhaps, but not top shelf). No, last night the best commercial was for Hulu. It occurred at some point during the second half, so I'm not sure if you were paying attention anymore. It started subtly, and just built and built and actually forced you to pay attention to get the funny. While the entire thing has to be seen to be believed, here is just a taste of the wonder that was heard issuing from Alec Baldwin's mouth during the commercial — "TV only softens the brain, like a ripe banana," and "Once your brain is reduced to a cottage cheese-like mush we'll scoop them out with a melon baller and gobble them right on up."