Pin It
Favorite

Comeback Time 

What the Super Bowl ads said about the state of our country.

click to enlarge art16181.jpg

As a cultural reflection of our times, there’s not much better than the annual phenomenon we call the Super Bowl Ads. There was the year of the sock puppet website ad — who could have guessed that bubble would burst? There was the year the dad/husband/boyfriend/man-child was the butt of every joke — our authority figures were failing us, and they needed to be punished.

Is this the year America’s comeback starts? The ad for Chrysler made me feel that way. A beast of a car glides through the streets of some industrial town … wait, that’s Eminem driving — must be Detroit. “This is the Motor City,” he growls defiantly, “and this is what we do.”

Emotional ad — almost made me forget the BMW ad about how clean diesel is part of a less gas-dependent future.

The Chrysler ad said what a lot of America wanted to hear Sunday — and said it better than all of FOX’s in-game, pre-fab patriotism. Hey, world, we’re back, and our muscle cars — impractical as they may be — are still cool.

But some ads had me feeling we were slipping back to the failed past. Maybe it was the parade of failed celebrities. Really, Go Daddy, you’re going with Joan Rivers? And Roseanne Barr, Snickers? You, of all beloved brands, who had such a brilliant ad last year with Betty White?

Worst of all was Groupon, a supposedly hip brand that foisted mediocre ’80s semi-icon Timothy Hutton on us. The ad was just plain weird, as Hutton talks about Tibet’s tragic troubles, then makes light of them. Next he’s telling you to aspire to pay less for a dinner out than your local restaurant owner can afford to make it for. Did our recent decades of expecting something for nothing and only caring about ourselves not teach us anything?

Maybe we need to go back further, to the Wild West days, as the best ad of the Super Bowl did.

Man in black at the bar in a dusty Western town — a classic bit of American mythology. Trouble’s comin’. He wants to wet his whistle, but there’s no beer … until the Budweiser Clydesdales deliver him a tall, cold one. What’s next? Gunplay? Fistfights?

Nope: “Blue jean baby… L.A. lady…” The tall, dark stranger leads the townsfolk in a rousing chorus of “Tiny Dancer.” Genius.

It’s that moment of teetering on the brink of something really bad — we’ve all been feeling stuck there these past couple years. Message: Keep the beer/good times/economy/jobs flowing, and life can be one big, awesome sing-along.

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action

People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action @ Community Building

Sat., Jan. 21, 2-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • The Watch List
  • The Watch List

    You'll learn a lot by watching some key people who could make or break Trump's presidency
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • After Charleston
  • After Charleston

    Taking down the Confederate flag is a good start, but overcoming centuries of suppression won't be that easy
    • Jul 1, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation