Super Bowl 51 was amazing. The Patriots came back in dramatic fashion. Roger Goodell had to hand Brady the trophy after he railroaded the Pats for allegedly deflating footballs, but acted like they released chemical weapons in Syria – then ignored it completely when another team was accused of the exact same crime.
Lady Gaga was also great. Everyone expected her to stop in the middle of her performance and start doing a Ted Talk where transgender Syrians threw kale at the heads of white men watching Nascar, but she thankfully kept politics out of her performance. Bloggers even got mad at her for “blowing it” by not speaking out against Trump. Lady Gaga appears to be one person in Hollywood who gets it – she uses her art to advance her causes, rather than running her mouth unprompted.
What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
But while Lady Gaga, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady all made for an exciting night, it’s time we acknowledge the prior star of the Super Bowl has gone dim – the commercials.
Just a few years ago, polls would show that a large number of viewers would watch the game solely for the commercials. Some were cute, some were clever, and most were funny. There were chimps in suits, men getting hit in the groin, adorable puppies, and more men getting hit in the groin. It was in short, the best America had to offer.
But now companies are too afraid of offending to offer any sort of humor. If you show four guys drinking beer on a couch (which is how 90% of past Super Bowl comercials started), half the people on twitter would accuse you of perpetuating rape culture. No longer can beer commercials show men getting hit in the groin, because its offensive to men who are transitioning and can’t yet afford a groin to get hit (thanks Obamacare!).
Looking at Wired’s top 10 commercials of the year. The first three are totally devoid of humor and instead promote tolerance of immigration and women’s rights (party time!). Budweiser used to be known for talking frogs, but instead they’re telling America about their founder’s struggles as an immigrant (struggles that are complete fiction, according to one Budweiser historian).
There were a couple of funny advertisements. Skittles had a cute ad, and T-Mobile had a clever and raunchy bit about cell phone fees. But for the most part, it was commercials featuring America the Beautiful being sung in Spanish while people walked through streets that are either in Chinatown or not in America at all.
There were also three car commercials featuring some sort of Italian car that may not even be available for purchase. As far as I know, this advertisement is for people to choose this car in a video game because I have no idea where you’re supposed to buy an Alfa Romeo Giulia – it sounds more like a new dish at Olive Garden than a motor vehicle.
None of this should be unexpected. It is what happens when taking chances and making jokes is punished. When Seinfeld, the squeaky clean comic of a generation, is routinely attacked for being insensitive, why would a corporation risk making a joke? With humor too dangerous to even attempt, you end up with beer commercials featuring not beautiful women, not hilariously clothed primates, not talking amphibians – but people doing sit-ups.
Think about it – the two biggest beer commercials this year were a lesson on tolerance and a cross-fit class. Just when you thought political correctness couldn’t get any worse, they replaced fun with exercise. If Trump really wants to make America great again, he should deploy a task force to make American advertisements show men getting hit in the crotch again.