Unlike last year, when I grew increasingly tense and frustrated at the Patriots' inability to put the Giants away (and ensuing defeat), I don't have an extreme rooting interest in Sunday's (Feb. 3) Big Game. I was born in the Bay Area and half-rooted for the 49ers growing up (half-rooting for the Saints as well), so that's where I'm rooting tonight. But I won't get worked up either way.
So click through and follow my full Super Bowl live-blog, which will mostly ignore the football and concentrate on the big commercials and trailers and whatnot.
Weight in and critique the advertisements!
3:15 p.m. PT. For what it's worth, I haven't watched ANY of the Super Bowl commercials or trailers. I like experiencing fresh in their Super Bowl environments. Also... they're freaking commercials. We'll see them a million times. Why on Earth would anybody watch a commercial EARLY?
3:18 p.m. Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook Elementary choir singing "America the Beautiful" may possibly make me cry. But only possibly.
3:22 p.m. Alicia Keys her own piano at midfield. That's clout. Is she wearing red/garnet to show her support for the 49ers? Ray Lewis gets very emotional.
3:25 p.m. The big commercials don't start until after kickoff, but "World War Z" gets a brief and underwhelming ad that will mostly confuse people who can't tell Mireille Enos apart from Jessica Chastain.
3:29 p.m. Baltimore wins the coin flip.
3:32 p.m. Penalty on the first play of the game. Always bodes well.
3:36 p.m. LET THE ADS BEGIN! No? OK. Ravens' possession, then!
3:40 p.m. Ravens are on the board. Now can we have some commercials, please?
3:42 p.m. Something called Budweiser Black Crown. "Here's to taste. Here's to our kind of beer," some guy says. Whatever. Entirely unmemorable commercial. Waste of money from a smart company.
3:44 p.m. A Red M&M is in love with Naya Rivera and he sings "I Would Do Anything For Love." It's initially romantic, but then she starts doing disturbing things where she eats him and puts him in the oven and stuff. Cute. Not spectacular, but funny and a good use of Naya Rivera.
3:44 p.m. A teenager is getting ready for prom. He's going by himself and his sister thinks that's lame. His dad gives him a key to the family Audi and suddenly he's awesome. Gals flirt with him on the road. He parks in the principal's space. He kisses the prom queen. It's cool that he gets punched by the prom king. "Bravery. It's what defines us." Cute. I like that it tells a story clearly. It's a *bit* sexual-assault-y. But... Cutely so?
3:44 p.m. A kid is picked on in a schoolyard football game and is told to come back when he has a team. He recruits a super team of kids to play with him, including a fat kid who wrestles a bear. "Gather your team." It's a Hyundai ad. Meh.
3:45 p.m. Danica Patrick introduces a GoDaddy.com add that features Bar Rafaeli making out with the nerdy guy who was in the background a lot on "Chuck." Remember when GoDaddy used to have original and funny commercials? Yeah. Me neither. Enough, GoDaddy. Also, the over-amplified soundtrack on the wet, slopping kissing was just gratuitous. We get it: A hot chick making out with a nerd is gross and weird, thus it isn't treated as wish-fulfillment at all. Way to alienate your target demo, GoDaddy.
3:45 p.m. Goats love Doritos. Initially it's cute, but then he starts eating too many Doritos and keeping his owner up nights. So the owner wants to sell him and... whatever.
3:54 p.m. Field goal 49ers.
3:54 p.m. A house party is broken up by the arrival of parents. But it's OK. The kids are drinking Pepsi Next. They're impressed by the real cola taste and, thus, there's no punishment. The parents don't go to the other room where the kids are doing whippets and meth.
3:55 p.m. Amy Poehler for BestBuy! She's asking lots and lots of question. "What's the cloud? Where is it? Are we in the cloud now?" It's funny. But it's not funny enough.
3:55 p.m. Why is the "2 Broke Girls" theme playing with the Budweiser Black Crown commercial? And why does Bud think this is a winning ad campaign? It's really not. I don't know what Black Crown is and I really don't know why I'd want to drink it.
3:57 p.m. Our first movie commercial? It's for "Oz." I like the image of the Wicked Witch's outline in the fire. And I always like flying monkeys. The movie looks much too much like "Alice in Wonderland" to me.
3:58 p.m. It's an advertisement claiming or suggesting that constant surveillance captures moments that aren't crimes. Wait. That's exactly what's wrong with constant surveillance. It doesn't make us safer *and* it mostly captures us when we're kissing people or returning wallets. "Let's Look at the World Differently," it says. And what does that have to do with Coke? Nothing! Wanna have a debate on Panopticism, Coke? Seriously?
3:58 p.m. At the library, several friends fight over whether the cream or the cookie is the best part of an Oreo. The situation escalates. It's not funny. The police drive through a wall and whisper into a microphone. Whatever.
4:03 p.m. Wow, 49ers secondary. You're gonna let Flacco get away with that?
4:05 p.m. That's it for the first quarter...
4:06 p.m. This is the full-minute ad for "6 Fast 6 Furious." Because they're taking this much time, they can actually include some plot in the advertisement. Too much plot, if you ask me. I need more flipping cars and less Tyrese talking. The airplane stunt at the end is pretty good, though. Oh and Michelle Rodriguez. That's meaningful, apparently.
4:07 p.m. Kaley Cuoco shows up as a purple-clad genie. And... My God, this is needlessly confusing. Toyota Rav4. But... What did the witches and chocolate injection and talking squirrels and Visigoths have to do with anything? Less clutter, please. Also, why was Kaley Cuoco dressed as the least sexy genie in genie history? Who are they selling to?
4:13 p.m. A little girls wants her dad to play princess with her, but he has to play football. She offers him Doritos. So he plays and soon his friends join in and they're all dressed up and in makeup. Cute. And actually says something about Doritos. That's definitely an improvement over the goat ad, because bearded dudes in wedding dresses are inherently more amusing than goats. I'm not sure if I agree with that statement I just typed. But it worked better in context.
4:14 p.m. Calvin Klein models have well-defined musculature. If you wear Calvin Klein underwear, you can have well-defined musculature, too. Or if you have Calvin Klein underwear and somebody to film you in black and white.
4:15 p.m. Cars.com ad features an adorable wolf puppy and a feral momma wolf. Apparently that's what car dealers do to you if you don't research your car on Cars.com. But... the wolf puppy is so cute! Totally worth getting mauled over. And if you get a car as a bonus? Score!
4:21 p.m. Another Baltimore TD. Flacco's on fire.
4:22 p.m. Some guy approaches the Super Dome. He's collecting things, starting with a sock and some grass from the field (which is actually turf, but whatever). He's wandering around New Orleans. Is there a voodoo component? And what the bleep does it have to do with Bud Light? He goes into a back room and... Stevie Wonder! "Superstition" is playing. He makes an elaborate voodoo doll that resembles Warren the Ape. But the guy next to him has a voodoo doll for a different team.
4:22 p.m. Sitting on his coach, a guy is pestered by his harpy wife to put his idea online. All around the world, other harpy wives are telling their husbands to put their ideas online. But instead, some douche put the idea online already. And... GoDaddy.com.
4:25 p.m. Benedict Cumberbatch is... "Star Trek Into the Darkness." They're putting a lot of faith in Benedict Cumberbatch. Other than the money shot at the end of the ship crushing a city, there's nothing to this other than Chris Pine looking worried and Benedict Cumberbatch looking evil.
4:26 p.m. The Rock is out of milk and he's so desperate for milk that he refuses to rescue a kitten, stop a robbery or something with a lion. He brings his kids milk and then saves us from an alien invasion. Thanks, The Rock! And thanks, Milk.
4:27 p.m. Awful Hyundai commercial.
4:35 p.m. Silly kicker.
4:36 p.m. People in an elevator hate Mondays. But a white guy speaking Jamaican patois tries telling everybody that everything will be OK. He's actually from Minnesota. Yeah. This is just a wee bit racist. Thanks, VW. The only way that commercial gets salvaged is if an actual Jamaican slaps him at the end of the commercial. That doesn't happen. So that commercial was pretty much a disaster.
4:40 p.m. Out in the desert, Bedouins lead camels. And then there are "Mad Max" style road warriors. And "Pricilla"-style showgirls. And cowboys. And Coke! This commercial is the most Australian thing I've ever seen. I guess people from all walks of life enjoy Coke. That seems fair. I'm convinced. Did George Miller direct this? Surely they could have gotten the girl from "Whale Rider" or a Hobbit?
4:42 p.m. Famous people respect Jared for keeping the weight off. I wish they could also make Jared look less miserable. Homeboy needs a Whopper.
4:45 p.m. An old man breaks out of his home and gets rowdy with other old folks to a Spanish-language version of Fun's "We are Young." It's a Spanish-language version because the ad is for Taco Bell. This is a commercial standard -- Old Folks Behave Like Kids -- but at least it's decently executed.
4:46 p.m. Skechers make people capable of outrunning cheetahs and tying them in knots. Cheetahs are highly endangered and should not be tied in knots.
4:49 p.m. The 49ers pass defense isn't having a good half.
4:49 p.m. "It's not what you think," says the VO for a commercial that's exactly what I think it is: A bland ad for Lincoln.
4:56 p.m. I'm not mentioning the NFLEvolution.com ads because... Yeah. Who cares? Also, they seem to be old.
4:57 p.m. Boneheaded clock management by Kaepernick there. Not a big deal, probably.
4:57 p.m. And that's it for the first half... 21-6 for the Ravens. I'm just gonna watch Beyonce now. Somebody else at HitFix will be live-blogging.
5:00 p.m. Oooh! "Under the Dome" semi-ad!
5:22 p.m. I enjoyed me some Beyonce. But here's Oprah in the Clint Eastwood slot from last year. She's narrating a very emotional commercial that seems to be for our armed forces, but it's really for Jeep. "When you're home... we're more than a family... we are a nation that is whole again..." OK. Jeep and USO. It made me sniffle a little.
5:26 p.m. The stars of "2 Broke Girls" dance semi-sexy to "Pour Some Sugar On Me." They are interrupted by all of the annoying people from the diner. So... Just like the show itself.
5:28 p.m. Was that a national ad for History's "Vikings"?
5:30 p.m. I'm told the "Vikings" commercial was regional. Whew. That would have been an expensive buy for History.
5:32 p.m. And... That's not how the 49ers wanted to start the second half. This game is probably over.
5:38 p.m. Power goes out at the Super Bowl, but... Iron Man saves the day! That's a great spot.
5:38 p.m. Is this an extension of the Century 21 ad from before the Super Bowl? Does this count as an in-game ad?
5:39 p.m. Some cell phone can or can't turn a truck into rubber duckies. "In 30 seconds, it's easier to tell you what it can't do."
5:40 p.m. I hate the E-Trade baby. I can't believe they still use him.
5:41 p.m. Are we still in costly commercial time if there's no power at the Super Dome? Or did we shift to local spots? I can't believe that Subway commercial was a $3-million-plus ad.
5:42 p.m. Two friends bring a chair and Budweiser to Stevie Wonder. It's got something to do with a lucky chair. And... Why is that Zoe Saldana? I'm so confused.
5:49 p.m. Still no power. Super Fiasco!
5:59 p.m. Holy crud. This is on-going. Still no power.
6:05 p.m. Still no power.
6:10 p.m. FOOTBALL!
6:11 p.m. We waited 30+ minutes for a seven-yard pass and a punt.
6:15 p.m. We haven't had a real commercial in a long time...
6:15 p.m. So we're getting a replay of a Subway ad? Really?
6:16 p.m. Stevie Wonder and Zoe Saldana again.
6:21 p.m. New commercial! A sexy bikini babe is swimming. A shark attacks. A lifeguard saves her, by repeatedly punching the shark. She's grateful. Because he's studly. But she runs instead to an astronaut. This is actually a commercial for Axe Apollo body spray. Oh. OK. Sadly, the tag line isn't, "You can save her life, but she'll still prefer the man who smells like douche."
6:22 p.m. Tracy Morgan advertises for a sports drink. Or maybe it's Tracy Jordan.
6:25 p.m. In the future, sexy babes try selling Kias to a nerd. He kicks the tire. She kicks him. "Respect the tech," the tagline says.
6:26 p.m. A guy wakes up without eyebrows, with a sexy babe in his bad and in handcuffs. She's wearing his shirt. He tries to take it back, but her cat judges him. I don't retain what kind of t-shirt the commercial is for. Which means it's a complete and total failure. Poorly played, advertisers. Poorly played.
6:27 p.m. "Hey crack your nuts now," is the tag for a Psy-centric commercia for pistachios. Yes. "Hey crack your nuts now."
6:31 p.m. Shift of momentum! Get excited!
6:33 p.m. Jimmy Fallon and Lincoln present a story featuring movie aliens an alpaca and... other stuff. It's better than their first ad.
6:34 p.m. A man holds a sexy babe's yellow panties. They don't know each other, but he was impatient at the dry cleaner. She thinks he's icky. But he wears Speed Stick, so it doesn't seem sketchy at all. [We've reached the character-free objectification portion of our advertising, apparently.]
6:34 p.m. What is Beck's Sapphire? And why does it include an animated fish singing "No Diggity"? Well, it's still much better than whatever the similar beer is that Budweiser was plugging.
6:36 p.m. Finally. Budweiser gets back to what it does best. Freakin' Clydesdales. A baby Clydesdale + "Landslide" equals a solid, respectable Super Bowl commercial.
6:40 p.m. Wow. This has become a real foosball game!
6:44 p.m. And suddenly it's 28-23 Baltimore, proving Jim Harbaugh's brilliance in calling for a 40 minute blackout.
6:51 p.m. Thus concludes the week-long third quarter of the Super Bowl.
6:51 p.m. Deion Sanders is getting makeup applied. And the stylist doesn't know he played football. So he gets an afro and mustache applied and he becomes a draft workout wizard named Leon Sandcastle. Vaguely funny, but it's still just an NFL filler ad.
6:52 p.m. Forgettable Honda ad. Are we out of good commercials entirely?
6:53 p.m. Now we've moved into local spots.
6:57 p.m. Now it's 31-23 for Baltimore and... Cow! Church. Still photos. Very pretty. Paul Harvey narration. No music. Glory of farmers. And farmland. It's a long commercial. And it may be my favorite of the entire game. "To the farmer in all of us." It's a commercial for the Dodge Ram. Very well-played, even if we never see it again.
7:06 p.m. Kia commercial. Space Babies. A kid asks his dad where babies come from, so he makes up an elaborate sort about Babylandia. The kid isn't buying it. So the father tells his car to play "Wheels on the Bus" and it shuts the kid up. It's not good parenting, but it's a good commercial, albeit not necessarily very much for Kia. I like ads with baby pandas. What can I say?
7:14 p.m. We're pretty much airing only filler ads for the NFL at this point. Montana Stain. This one wasn't bad, at least. Ditto with the Deion Sanders one. Wait. That ad was for Tide? "No Stain Is Sacred." Cute. It's an interesting gender reversal, because you have the wife who ruins everything through her excessive domesticity, the harpy-wife, but in this case, she's not just the wife who washes the sloppy husband's shirt. No. She's a Ravens fan who passionately destroys her husband's shirt. So it's not a reversal, per se. But it's definitely gender commentary of an interesting sort.
7:15 p.m. Sodastream bought a Super Bowl ad? [I ignored the controversy over this one, which apparently involved use of prominent brand names. That's what comes from pretending Super Bowl ads don't exist before the Super Bowl.]
7:22 p.m. Willem Dafoe is the Devil in a Mercedes commercial that also includes Usher. Is that new? It feels old. But... Who knows? But why do you pay Willem Dafoe to do your commercial if it really focuses only on the other guy and Willem Dafoe just sits there holding a pen. What's the point. Waste of money. Waste of Willem.
7:29 p.m. Two minute warning!
7:29 p.m. Finally the much-discussed Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd ad for Samsung. "I've never seen you so excited for something that wasn't food," Rudd tells Rogen. They're both competing to pitch for Bob Odenkirk, who apparently works for Samsung. He wants to know if Seth and Paul have any ideas for commercials. And then Amber Stevens from "Greek" is his assistant and... I'm confused more than amused at this point.
That's all, folks. Which were your favorite and least favorite ads?