Super Bowl 47 was played last night — and while it was a great game — the whole spectacle of the Super Bowl is totally played out. The halftime show is boring and unspectacular — how many times do we have to see Beyoncé bouncing her booty in our homes to get the point that she has an enormous butt? The television commercials are predictable. The “funny” commercials always end in a jokey, visual, “gotcha” you can see coming a mile away — while the “serious” commercials drip a sugary false-sympathy that enrages one to screaming and bloodletting.
Here are the two worst Super Bowl 47 television commercials. They are the worst because they try to play up to the best of us, but they only play down to us by trying to yank — not tug or pull — on our jaded and withering heartstrings.
The first failure involves a Jeep commercial — BOOMINGLY narrated by OPRAH! — where she tries as hard as she can to squeeze out some authenticity for the “troops” who will make us “whole again” as a nation when they return home so we can all buy a Jeep and be good Americans. Really? You’re using soldiers, and their families, to play a heightened jingoistic meme — to sell us Jeeps? I’ve never seen such a brash crassness before and instead of making me weep a little, I was raging at the TV screen for trying so hard to be so manipulative and “memorable” — and I was disappointed, but not really surprised, Oprah lent her voice and reputation to such a condescending and cloying commercial:
The second most-awful television commercial of Super Bowl 47 was one that took a similar, emotionally manipulative, angle on us to sell us — a Dodge Ram Truck!
I grew up listening to Paul Harvey’s News and Comment and when I heard Paul’s voice pumping from my television, I stopped to listen. His narrative was bright and Godly and all about farmers — great stuff, because his performance was delivered long ago in a live hall to a room filled with people and, unlike the icky Oprah, Paul Harvey was trying to celebrate farmers back then, not sell us a motor vehicle in 2013:
We can forgive Paul Harvey for his horrible involvement in selling us trucks, because he died in 2009, but we cannot forgive Dodge Ram Trucks or the Paul Harvey estate for what they’ve done to ruin the reputation of the dead newsman. Sure, Paul Harvey was all about selling the word — his word — but if Paul were alive today, I can’t imagine he’d let his glorious farmer narrative be used in such a dead and crass manner.
We all know Oprah is a media hooker — and always will be — but her involvement in exploiting the military to sell us a Jeep is probably the worst misstep a celebrity will make this year, and we’re barely out of January.