Super Bowls: Violence, sex and rock’n’roll
This past Sunday, all walks of life were found sitting mindlessly in front of their television screens, leaving the streets uninhabited as if Resident Evil’s apocalypse took place. For those unfortunate enough to have worked Sunday’s shift, other measures were taken to ensure that not a moment of spicy chicken wings, beer commercials featuring half-naked chicks and/or cute puppies, and pigskin flying through two metal posts was missed.
- Speaking briefly about commercials, can I ask that readers boycott GoDaddy’s business? Their heart-crushing “Journey Home” attempt at a puppy commercial to boost commerce has animal lovers fuming across the US.
Such a highly anticipated event as the Super Bowl draws in approximately 100 million viewers each year – and that’s only the American numbers. In 2014, with the help of FOX broadcasting, the plague known as (American) football reached 198 countries in more than 25 languages. Needless to say, the world was watching. February 1, 2015 for the Super Bowl XLIX kick off in a rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. But what is it specifically about the Super Bowl that attracts various audiences?
Even the oddballs who normally couldn’t give two shits, not even one shit, about football season tune in for the big game. The Super Bowl represents more than just a game to patriotic Americans: it’s a soul-bearing performance that highlights what American sportsmanship’s about. The cheerleaders, the National Anthem, the “look at my huge dick” car commercials, and most importantly, the half time show.
Super Bowl spectators often forget that while athletes are under immense amounts of pressure to bear that massive ring, half time performers fall victim to the same type of stress: to perform well. After all, how on earth are you supposed to please millions of people at the same time? If successful, it’s a magical sight to behold: glitzy costumes, fireworks, dancers and aerial swingers …
- A worthy and well-deserved nod to Cirque du Soleil.
But one slip up, and your face becomes a disastrous .gif played in a slow motion zoom-in across social media sites everywhere. If you thought Jennifer Lawrence’s “WHERE’S THE PIZZA” gif was bad, just wait until you botch lyrics to the American National Anthem, your boob pops out, or your auto tune fails. All of which have happened.
2011 was not a good year for Super Bowl performers. In fact, Super Bowl XLV, Pittsburgh Steelers against Green Bay Packers, was doomed from the start — even before kickoff. Christina Aguilera opened up the night’s show with her own customized rendition of the National Anthem. Bloggers had a field day with this one. After a little Internet digging, we found that Aguilera’s remixed version matched Wikipedia’s data entry of the anthem. What a rookie mistake, too. Aguilera should have taken to the more prestigious and credible Spark Notes site for help. She later explained that, “I got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place.” No one believes your lies, and no Ashlee Simpson SNL jig will save you. The Internet never forgets. If I could go back in time and plead watchers to activate the mute option, I’d be the savior of time, value and eardrums across the nation.
As expected, with no help to an auto tune exclusive album, the Black Eyed Peas failed to save any of talent’s leftovers and scraps. A brief summary: will.i.am’s testicles couldn’t decide whether they wanted to drop or not. Flustered and confused, his testicles fled to Fergie’s vocal chords where they found peace and finally dropped — big time. Then, the biggest dick of 80s rock ‘n’ roll shows up from underground where he should have stayed. No, not Bret Michaels, but Slash who played “Sweet Child O’ Mine” while some wanna-be Fergalicious grinding went down. Rewind to February 1, 2004: P. Diddy (or was he Puff Daddy at the time?), Nelly, Janet Jackson, and the Carolina Panthers are in the building. With the exclusion of maybe five Caucasian Panther players, this night could have resembled the B.E.T Awards or recognition of Black History Month rather than Super Bowl XXXVIII. But then we see the Patriot’s Tom Brady, and a wild Kid Rock appears during half time dressed in an American flag patterned poncho thrown over his white trash signature wife-beater tank and we jump back to Super Bowl reality.
But the Panther/Patriot enmity wasn’t the only battle going on in the stadium that night. In the blue corner: Justin Timberlake’s frisky Idle Hands; in the red corner: Janet Jackson’s S&M-inspired black latex ensemble. Granted, the Patriots took home the gold and bragging rights, but the only real winner here is Mr. JT: one man solely responsible for revealing Janet’s pierced, ornamented nipple. Sorry, Ms. Jackson. Ooooh! If it’s any consolation, Timberlake did warn us that he was going to “have ya’ naked by the end of this song.”
If possible, try and remember a time when #hashtags didn’t roam the earth and rule the world – a time like 2004, for example. A good thing, too, otherwise #nipplegate would have taken social media by storm. Other potential hashtags include: #ootd (outfit of the day), #nevermeanttomakeyourdaughtercry, and #NSFW (not suitable for work). Not only was this “wardrobe malfunction” the most replayed TiVo moment in history, it also changed the course of television production. Before, TV producers employed audio delays. Now, broadcasting networks enforce a visual delay as well; some of which last up to five minutes
The NFL responded to this incident of indecent exposure by stamping a Rated-G sticker on their forehead, and strictly featured only middle-aged men as half time performers for the next six Super Bowls: Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.
With that said, none of those grey-haired, walking snooze-fests compared to the original heartthrob boy band ground, New Kids on the Block, who stole America’s heart in 1991, way before Justin Bieber’s parents had their first date, at Super Bowl XXV. History has a tendency to repeat itself, which explains why Disney produced the half time show. It featured NKOTB as semi spokesmen, well, “spokesperformers,” for the support of American troops fighting overseas in Iraq during the Gulf War.
In the 1930’s, during The Great Depression, Americans turned to their television — the local movie theaters — as a shoulder to cry on, with films such as Flying Down to Rio, It Happened One Night, and Animal Crackers, which acted as a healing aid through hard economical times.
Just like the Great Depression needed comedic films, the Gulf War needed New Kids on the Block and Mickey Mouse. This half time show was actually broadcast at the end of the game, since ABC’s news report on America’s Gulf War progress aired during half time, marking the first-ever grand Super Bowl performance.
If there’s one component American isn’t stingy with, it’s SUPPORT THE TROOPS. The NFL forked out the big bucks on this one, especially compared to the previous year in 1990, when Louisiana’s Nicholls State University marching band bumbled across the field. Yikes!
That brings us to Super Bowl XLIX 2015, with the New England Patriots who shockingly stole first place away from 2014’s defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks and left an otherwise emotionless Tom Brady jumping for joy — but not before a mosh pit fashioned fight to release tension and testosterone broke out on the field. This year’s Super Bowl had everything watchers could have asked for: a classic game-winning comeback that came down to seconds, a new MVP to watch out for (where the hell did Patriot’s rookie Malcolm Butler come from?!), a memorable .gif of Jermaine Kearse’s juggling catch for the Seahawks, violence, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. Katy Perry brought the sex; Lenny Kravitz brought the rock ‘n’ roll, and Missy Elliott brought herself — because she’s a badass and that’s enough.
Besides carrying her natural, impressive set of Double D’s, Katy Perry rocked the University of Phoenix Stadium as she rode on a metallic “Roar”-ing lion, dressed in a flaming outfit; channeling her inner Katness Everdeen, shook her “California Girls” booty with walking sharks, palm trees and beach balls, and levitated into the “Firework” sky on a shooting star.
A part of me aches to tear Katy Perry’s half time performance a new one, but I simply can’t. She sounded great, hitting every note; she looked hot in her 60’s inspired beach babe dress, and achieved her goal. Before hitting the stage, Perry hoped that “at the end of the day, over 100 million people are all smiling in unison.” Well, here’s to you, Katy Perry. You didn’t fuck it up.
Sophie is a recent graduate from Arizona State University with a BA in Film and Media Studies. Born in London, and raised in Prague, she is a natural born traveller, which led to exploring Southeast Asia and most recently, Alaska. Whilst traveling, she’s expanded her knowledge and passion for foreign film and music. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she’s worked on television sets, a 2014 Sundance short, and participated in a live taping of “America’s Got Talent.” Sophie’s attentiveness for music began at seventeen, when she first gained access to the senior lounge’s speaker system, and often got into trouble for blasting explicit lyrics through her high school’s hallways. In her free time, Sophie spends countless hours at the movies, tattoo parlors, and local dog parks.