Culture Clips: Wake Up, the Super Bowl’s Over

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culture clips

A football game of some import was played on Sunday, and lots of us watched it. But not as many as usual.

According to Sports Illustrated, about 98.2 million folks tuned in to CBS’ broadcast of the Super Bowl. That’s a whole bunch of people to be sure, but it’s actually the smallest audience the game has garnered in a decade. (Add in streaming figures, and the number creeps up to 100.7 million.) Blame Patriots fatigue, if you like. Blame the New Orleans Saints’ fans boycott of the game. (A missed call in the NFC Championship Game sent the Saints home, and one fan was so angry that he rented several billboards in Atlanta—home to Super Bowl LIII—to voice his displeasure.)

But you could also blame the game itself, too. Indeed, the Twitterazzi officially proclaimed the Big Game the Boring Game. “This is like watching ambien,” comedian Andy Cohen tweeted. Greg Gutfeld tried to look at the bright side, writing that “this is still a high scoring soccer game.” And ESPN’s David Fleming suspected a plot: “The NFL did this just to make Maroon 5 seem more entertaining.”

Maroon 5, which led the halftime activities, was on its heels from the get-go. With activists encouraging the band to drop out of the halftime show in support of National-Anthem-kneeler Colin Kaepernick, the pump was primed for some serious crit. Lead singer Adam Levine acknowledged as much beforehand:  “When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show … it’s this like insatiable urge to hate a little bit,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy.” But he might not have been prepared for the, um, passion expressed by critics. Levine responded to the haters gracefully, writing on Instagram, “We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better.”

As I wrote yesterday, the ads are the biggest draw for some Super Bowl viewers. But one commercial, sponsored by Kraft Heinz’s frozen food brand Devour, elicited plenty of winces, literal gags and outright guffaws. Why? It invoked porn addiction, which most viewers just didn’t find very funny. No matter, though: Kraft Heinz doubled down by running the ads, only “uncensored” this time, on a popular pornography website.

But the most interesting Super Bowl advertising trend? According to Wired, it might be Super Bowl ads that aren’t ads and aren’t aired during the Super Bowl. Case in point: Skittle’s “Super Bowl” ad, which was actually a one-night play that served as an “anti-consumerist allegory.” The play’s name? Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical. It’s an extreme example of advertisers’ increasing reliance more on social media than on the Big Game. “Super Bowl strategy is no longer limited to television,” advertising exec Abbey Klaassen told Wired. “Or even necessarily includes it.”

With the Super Bowl over, many are turning their attention to American culture’s next big event: the Oscars. No, it still doesn’t have a host, and now the show’s producers say it doesn’t need one.  But while the event may go host-less, it may be littered with … harnesses? Apparently, they’re the newest accoutrement on the red carpet these days, with such stars as Timothee Chalamet, Chadwick Boseman and, most recently, Michael B. Jordan sporting them.

Other stars this week were engaged in damage control. After telling The Independent that he wanted to “unleash physical violence” on a black man after a friend of his revealed she’d been raped decades ago, Liam Neeson clarified his remarks on Good Morning America. “I’m not a racist,” he said. Mariah Carey will be performing in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, and women’s rights advocates are not happy about it. Fellow songstress Ariana Grande simply wanted to commemorate her chart-topping song “7 Rings” in tattoo ink. But when she sent out a pic of the hand tattoo to her fans on Instagram, some quickly pointed out that the Japanese characters didn’t actually read “7 Rings,” but referred to a Japanese-style barbecue grill. (She fixed the error, but paid homage to the grill. “Miss you man,” she wrote.)

And while we’re on the subject of grills, let’s finish this edition of Culture Clips up in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I talked about an Amazon commercial that joked about Alexa’s invasion of home appliances (among other things). Samsung hopes to take the whole trend one step further—launching a dating app for its Family Hub Refrigerator.

Presumably, it’s not actually trying to gets its fridges to, um, chill together, but rather its owners. The app is called Refrigerdating, and will certainly appeal to all those for whom cold leftover pizza spurs romantic urges. Still, I’m skeptical. It seems like connecting through such an app would almost guarantee an icy reception, would it not?

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From what little I saw of the Super Bowl since I'm not a football fan in the least did seem quite boring to me with hardly anybody scoring and not even knowing how to throw that well either. Frankly Trump's State of the Union address was far more entertaining and worthwhile to me than The Super Bowl.
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Yeah, the game was really boring.
That refrigerator dating scheme...is totally WEIRD. But it, oddly enough, actually makes sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't see how it makes sense lol.....
Now finding my significant other through the microwave (my main cooking source) I could understand lol
-David is a Clown
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Well, I just think they were right when they realized that a lot can be determined by the state it's in and/or what things are in your refrigerator. Other than that however, I stand with my decision that it is VERY weird.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Oscars aren't on until February 24th, and I so want Bohemian Rhapsody and Incredibles 2 to win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uhhhhh......I thought the Oscars already happened.....
I am so behind lol.
-Clown from a David
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Maybe you're thinking about the Grammys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh right. That other pointless award......
-Dave in a Clown
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But the Grammys happen this Sunday.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Oops...I really have no clue, just know the names.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

The Grammy's are on this Sunday and except for Miley and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing they don't seem all that interesting to me.


The last Best Album winner I truly loved was Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, and before that it was U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The fact that you think watching Miley preform is interesting really takes me quite aback.....
I had Wreaking Ball come on my Pandora station today, and I screamed and nearly broke my phone.....
-David the Clown
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First Comment!
-Dave a Clown