HARLEM — Because I was mostly indifferent about the teams playing in the Super Bowl (though it was nice to see the Saints win it), I spent a lot more time than normal breaking down the commercials.
Ever year, I’m amazed at how much money gets flushed down the toilet with piss-poor attempts (I’m looking at you, Doritos). But fortunately, there are always a few that leave their mark.
Here are my Top Five. What are yours?
5. “This is the worst Super Bowl party ever.”
Jay Leno and David Letterman doing a funny bit together while promoting CBS’s “Late Show” makes this an automatic entry on my list. Letterman hammered Leno pretty hard all throughout the Conan O’Brien “Tonight Show” drama and there’s a long history between the two from their famous fight for Johnny Carson’s job.
The added bonus is Letterman doing a the same high-pitched imitation of Leno that he broke out on the “Late Show.” Oprah’s presence was kind of strange though.
4. “And that Milk-a-holic Lindsay wasn’t over?”
The E-Trade baby is hilarious on his own. Throw in a few female friends and he’s even better. I love that the commercial pushes the idea that makes this campaign so funny overall: the kid still craps himself but nevertheless lives the life of a baller. Love it.
3. “Impress a French girl.”
There wasn’t a smarter Super Bowl commercial than Google’s entry into the sweepstakes. The ad’s minimalist style helped it stand out from the rest. The brand identification remained clear. And the use of search terms to tell a story gave it a distinctive touch. Very, very clever.
2. “That’s not what your girlfriend says.”
Over the holidays, when I was back in the Bay Area, I had a few old friends over. My kid sister, who also happened to be hanging out, suggested that we watch “The Proposal.” I wasn’t thrilled. But you know what? It was hilarious, and 90 percent of it was because of Betty White.
White, famous for her comedic wit and perfect timing, struck again on Sunday, dropping a money line in a funny ad for Snickers. (Abe Vigoda was in it too, but wasn’t featured as prominently as White). Anyway, the best exchange, starring everybody’s favorite Golden Girl:
Dude: “You’re playing like Betty White out there.”
Betty White: “That’s not what your girlfriend says!”
1.) “Timmy, what are you doing!?!”
Here’s why this Motorola commercial featuring Megan Fox earns my top ranking. In 30 seconds, we’re exposed to:
- Fox soaking in a bubble bath.
- A dude falling off a ladder (old-fashioned slapstick is still money in the right context).
- Two gay men slapping one another, the implication being that Fox’s hotness was enough to briefly make both of them question their sexual orientation.
- And finally, the smartest little gag of the entire night, an angry mom banging on a locked door, and yelling “Timmy, what are you doing!?!” That’s right, in front of a Super Bowl audience of zillions, we get a thinly-veiled joke about a kid jerking off self-pleasuring to Megan Fox. And in case you didn’t catch it the first time, the mom reaches over and jiggles the door knob, which only drives home the message.
It wasn’t that long ago that people freaked out about Janet Jackson’s nipple-slip, which is why I’ve got to give these folks a hand for sneaking in a well-played reference about masturbating to a naked Megan Fox.
Indeed, this was a 30-second stroke* of genius.
* See what I did there?