06 February 2011

The Long Halloween Vol. II: Super Bowl Sunday

Oh yeah! Now you may have been expecting Valentine's Day or even Groundhog Day, both of which have movies equally integral to our communal pop culture. But for this installment of our yearlong look at the greatest holiday TV Specials we turn to the greatest American Weekend of the year, Super Bowl Sunday.

This Sunday has become a de facto nationwide holiday, a day for beer guzzling, nacho-eating and possibly beating that one Patriots fan you hated but had to invite for some reason. The day is virtually known for its TV. As the crowning moment for the most popular sport in America, it's the last remaining must-see event for the population. In years past it's been the only program with the ability to challenge the highest Nielsons of all time (does that mean shit?) and because of that it's also the uh...Super Bowl of Advertising for the year.

So really it's the perfect Day to examine from a Pop Culture perspective. It's the greatest we'll ever share culture simultaneously. Whether you're watching to laugh or cringe at the commercials or to see the asshole you dropped the second week of Fantasy get a Championship Ring, The Big Game has something for everyone. Except Puppy Lovers, that's covered on another channel (Does that Puppy Bowl ref do anything else? Ah, no he doesn't. I still can't believe the Puppy Bowl exists and has a following, actually. It's gaining some good speed as one of Animal Planet's most anticipated programs actually. Can you imagine Mike Ditka's grandkids changing the channel to this from The Game? What a travesty. What a...such a cute travesty.) Anyway, The Super Bowl, regardless of outcome is the place to be tonight. It's a holiday that by its nature necessitates watching Television. It's every broadcaster's dream, truly the Super Bowl of Broadcasting.

We've had a string of excellent Super Bowls, too. From David Tyree's Catch to Harrison's Runback to the simple Rise of Who Dat? Nation, it's been pretty rewarding for NFL fans (and what's rewarding to the viewer is rewarding to advertisers, the Circle of Life continues. Rafiki-style). Will we see the first Rapist to win a Super Bowl this year? Or can Rodgers, Jennings, Woodson, Raji and Matthews bring some pain? Or will Budweiser have better commercials than Coke? As a TV and Football lover, this is it, baby.

There hasn't been a lot of good Super Bowl Films. Wouldn't a Super Bowl Trip make a great Road-Trip movie? Or a dangerously low Nacho Cheese Shortage make a compelling Domestic Drama? I think so. Anyway, while the Super Bowl is known as the lead-in to many good shows, there aren't a whole lot of good shows actually about the Big Game. I can think of one though, which is excellent: "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" (S10;E12) from The Simpsons:

There are so many incredible moments in this episode. Fred Willard nails the sucker Wally Kogen ("...they [the tickets] seem to be printed on some sort of cracker"), of course named after Jay Kogen and Wallace Wodorsky. There's also a great send-up of Super Bowl Commercials ("The Catholic Church - we've made a few...changes"). Then there's Homer's Super Bowl Fantasy of touching Tom Landry's Wife's Leg. It's non-stop spectacular jokes.

It's also actually pretty accurate in regard to its football referencing. The obvious joke of dubbing-over the Broncos and Falcons playing (as well as Clinton still being president...and still being married to Hillary) is accurate for Super Bowl XXXIII as is the layout of Pro Player Stadium in Miami. Tho there wasn't a safety in Super Bowl XXXIII, the game did air on Fox for Billionaire Tyrant, Rupert Murdoch and John Madden and Pat Summerall commentated. Their angry comments at the finale of the episode is priceless ("Did it strike you as odd that in a Super Bowl show with Dolly Parton we didn't see any football or singing?") and the weird inclusion of Vincent Price is awesome ("Give it some gas, Grandpa!" "Oh, quiet, Jody, you're not helping!").

I also love how after Homer became the Owner of the Denver Broncos in 1996 (Given to him by Hank Scorpio in "You Only Move Twice" [S8;E2]), they became one of the better teams in the league. Prior to that episode, the Broncos had been 0-4 in Super Bowls, including one of the most lopsided Bowls Ever. The joke in "You Only Move Twice" is that the Broncos were a terrible team, having barely achieved .500 in the past two seasons. During the 1996 year though, they went 13 - 3 but lost the Divisional Playoffs to Jacksonville. Clearly when Homer was able to take control of the team in the off season he turned them around tho; they won Back-to-Back Super Bowls the years after Homer became Owner (See Also: George Costanza's tenure with the Yankees - he came in in 1994 in the middle of a 12-year play-off slump, they won The World Series in 1996).

Anyway, it's a Spectacular Day with a great episode here (The Simpsons have some other good Super Bowl Episodes [of course] as well as an inordinate amount of Football References throughout its years, but this one's the best). For food, you had better drink plenty of beer as well as your weight in Hamburgers and Nachos. After all, this is a True American Holiday, excessive consumption is the name of the game.

Go Packers.

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