Superbowl entertains outside of football

John Sturgeon

The Commentary and Production

NBC scored a touchdown this past weekend with an impeccable presentation of Super Bowl XLIII that featured play-by-play commentary by Al Michaels. He appropriately kept viewers on top of things.

The camera work was innovative in the wealth of different angles each play was captured. In a game like this with several controversial and crazy plays, it was great to be able to watch them from several different points of view.

The Ads

Bud Light’s commercial featuring Conan O’Brien was hilarious – he agrees to sell-out for cash by donning ridiculous attire in a spot made exclusively for Sweden. It was played in Times Square while people mocked him.

NBC’s Conan promo with Tina Fey poked fun at Cialis by stating, “If your Conan lasts longer than 3 hours, you should call a doctor.”

Alec Baldwin’s insane acting in the Hulu commercial was funny and included interesting dialogue promoting the site. His comedic timing and delivery is unique and the viewer could not help but think he was playing his “30 Rock” character, Jack Donaghy.

The second GoDaddy commercial provided laughs, featuring a Major League enhancement hearing, reminiscent of the steroid hearings in the past years. It included many models and Danica Patrick. Funny, engaging and featuring a nice call to action, the GoDaddy spot worked well.

A unique, funny and insightful Career Builder advertisement kept repeating different signs that a job change might be needed. Based on the commercial, I now know that if I dream of punching small animals, I should look into another career path.

Universal Orlando provided another winning commercial. Following a brief part in the beginning where a young child wears a cape, the advertisement skips ahead and shows the kid grown up and working at an office.

The man flexes like the Incredible Hulk which leads into quick shots of several of the rides at the resort and saying how it is the place where everybody can feel superhuman. If anything, the ad brought a lot of eyes to the Universal Web site.

On the movie trailer front, the “Star Trek” teaser impressed me most. With “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams at the helm, the movie looks to be a fresh take.

As expected, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” looks to have amazing special effects. With Michael Bay, there will be plenty of explosions and battles with little story so if you liked the first movie, this will be more of the same, and the advertisement promised that.

The most random advertisement of the night was the featuring Ed McMahon and MC Hammer. The sheer lunacy and odd nature made it one to remember.

The 3D ads, which aired after half time, were disappointing.

The worst ad of the night was the Sobe Lizard commercial was a huge downgrade from last year. It was dumb, offensive and featuring nothing that would make anyone want to try the drink.

NBC’s seemingly never ending push of Heroes, Chuck and Medium was overwhelming and obnoxious. Instead, the network should have focused their ads on the crown jewel of the network, the Thursday night comedy block.

The Half Time Entertainment

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kept up the excitement level as the game was steadily building up. The band genuinely seemed to enjoy the moment and delivered rousing renditions of “Glory Days” and “Born to Run.” The wackiest moment was Bruce sliding across the stage on his knees into a camera. Watching him swing the guitar around his body at the end of his show was interesting as well.

Overall, the classic rockers that have been performing half time shows at the Super Bowl since the Janet Jackson incident continue to deliver satisfying entertainment for a majority of fans.

NBC’s Post-Superbowl Show

One of the most coveted spots in all of television is the show after the Super Bowl. NBC showcased its reliable cult hit “The Office” with a one-hour special featuring Jack Black, Jessica Alba and Cloris Leachman. While not a classic on the level of those from seasons two or three, the episode delivered enough laughs to make it worthy of the spot.

Dwight’s opening fire drill that resulted in mass chaos was one of the greatest openings in the show’s history. Angela’s cat falling through the ceiling after she tried to toss it up to Oscar, Kevin breaking open the vending machine and stealing chips and Michael’s yelling while Stanley suffered a heart attack in the office were some of the highlights.

It is revealed throughout the episode that Michael causes stress in the office for a lot of people and to ease tension, he decides to host a roast in his honor. It was hilarious to watch Pam poke fun at Michael, Andy singing, “What I hate about you” and Dwight initially refusing to make fun of Michael but then snapping and calling him a “pathetic, short little man.”

Proving “The Office” has a heart once again, Pam and Jim’s side story dealing with the breakup of Pam’s parents proved to be emotional. When she realizes that her dad leaves her mother because they never had the type of bond that Jim and Pam do, it shows how tough love is and how lucky Jim and Pam are that they found each other.

The guest stars were only included in a bootleg movie that Andy found on the Internet. They were only in the episode for a short amount of time and did not dilute what makes “The Office” so great.

The climax of the episode with Michael revenge roasting his staff was so in line with what we have come to expect from his character as a fragile individual unable to take an insult. The irony was Stanley, a man who never shows any emotion, laughing out loud when Michael makes fun of his obesity and heart in his revenge roast on him. The little smile it brought to Michael’s face made the scene, and concluded one of the better episodes of the season.

Overall, the Super Bowl and its surrounding entertainment provided more than enough reasons to stay tuned in for the entire broadcast.