Saturday, February 10, 2007

Controversy

Are we really this bored? Two commercials and a piece of the halftime show from last week's Superbowl are still making news. Here is what people are still talking - and whining - about from last week's game:

* A lot of people are in an uproar over a Snickers commercial that featured two overweight mechanics inadvertently kissing when they try to eat the same candy bar. After the "kiss", they both attempt to prove how manly they are by ripping out large sections of their chest hair. Gay organizations have labeled the commercial homophobic and the fury over the spot has caused it to be pulled from both the television and the Internet. (Although I'm sure it can still be found on YouTube.) I thought the spot was lame from the start, when the first mechanic unwrapped the candy bar and, instead of eating it like a normal human being, stuck it in his mouth and let it dangle there. (Talk about a homosexual reference.) Who eats like that? The spot was not homophobic. They basically stole the gag from Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and no one's said a thing about that film. No, the spot was just terribly unfunny.

* The second Superbowl commercial that's hurt a lot of feelings came from General Motors. In it, a factory robot drops a screw, which causes him to get fired. He tries a few other jobs - sign waver, drive-thru speaker holder - but fails at those, too. Despondent, he heads to a bridge and hurls himself off it while Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" plays in the background. As he's about to hit the water, the robot wakes up and realizes it was all a bad dream. Anti-suicide organizations have deemed this commercial unsensitive and disturbing and would like to see it disappear like the Snickers ad. Thankfully, GM has pretty much told 'em where to stick it. Which is great, because it really is a funny commercial. It's like a strange Short Circuit sequel, starring a suicidal Johnny 5.

* Prince has caused a bit of a stir with an effect he used during his halftime performance. At one point, a large sheet appeared in front of him, and due to the way he was lit, he appeared to be very tall. (In Prince terms, that means he was at least 6'.) This occurred while Prince was playing a solo on a guitar shaped like the symbol his name used to be. Apparently, some people think that by the way he was standing and by the shape of the guitar, it looked like he had a big pointy penis. Here's a shot of the offending image. Do you see a penis? Because I don't. Looks like a man playing an oddly-shaped guitar to me. People, this is Prince we're talking about. You should stop complaining and consider yourselves lucky. This is the same guy who showed up to an awards ceremony ten years ago in assless chaps. And it's the same guy who used to have a guitar that would spew liquid after it's neck was rubbed repeatedly. The Prince you saw last Sunday was nothing but a man interested in performing other people's work. There is no controversy here. None. Shut the hell up.

It's stuff like this that makes me think we're heading back to the Hayes Code. Because when people are still talking about a Snickers bar, a suicidal factory robot, and a guitar shadow one week later, you know government intervention is not too far behind.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We Are The Champions

The Indianapolis Colts are now Superbowl champs. Which is great, although I can tell you already that I'm going to be sick of hearing of about it by Wednesday. This town has a tendency to talk things to death. For example, for the past week The Indianapolis Star has added a special pull-out section to their paper all about today's big game. How there could have been enough articles to support one game is beyond me. Granted, I didn't read any of it, but still. Overkill is overkill.

I'm sure somewhere in this city, Duke Tomato is crying. Years ago, when the Colts were a joke, he would appear weekly on The Bob and Tom Show and sing a tune called "Lord Help Our Colts." Duke Tomato has been out of a job for some time now.

I was very disappointed with the Prince performance at halftime. Here was his setlist:

Let's Go Crazy
Baby I'm a Star
Proud Mary
All Along the Watchtower
The Best of Me
Purple Rain

That's right, Prince, with the biggest television audience he will probably ever have, decided to play a Foo Fighters cover. And a Dylan/Hendrix cover. And a Creedence/Ike and Tina Turner cover. And an album cut. And two of his many hits. It just seemed like such a missed opportunity. Although I was amazed that he managed to stay completely dry even though he was performing in the rain. Does Prince have a magic weather bubble that surrounds him? I wouldn't doubt it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Don't Play Your Head Games With Me

A few years ago, I spent twelve of the funniest minutes of my life watching an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. For those not in the know, ATHF is a cartoon on Cartoon Network starring three crimefighters: a milkshake, a meatball and a box of fries. In other words, it's not something you have to take too seriously. In the particular episode that made me laugh until my sides ached, the crime fighting trio was dealing with two belligerent outer space aliens named the Mooninites. These guys were nasty. They encouraged the meatball to steal stuff. They wrecked people's houses for fun. And they possessed a belt that harnessed the super powers of 70's rock group Foreigner, a power they wielded unmercifully. I had tears coming out of my eyes, that's how hard I was laughing. I thought nothing would ever match it.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, Boston believed they were under attack by terrorists. There were reports of strange boxes found throughout the city, boxes with wires sticking out of them. SWAT teams were called out. Snipers put grass all over their bodies and hid in the bushes. Cops talked into walkie talkies and said things like, "Roger that. Over." What was going on? Were these strange boxes going to explode?

Nah. Turns out they were promotional items for the latest season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. From what I can gather - the media is being stingy with actual details - the boxes were like modified Lite Brites, in that when they were turned on, a crude picture of one of the Moonites appeared.

(Side note: This must be the reason my mother refused to buy us a Lite Brite when we were kids. Terrorism.)

Boston was pissed. They pretty much shut down the entire city because of a few cartoon characters. I'd be pissed if I were them, too. But I'm not them, so I can laugh. Hey, my commute wasn't affected. And it's the Mooninites! They're funny!

Cartoon Network denied responsibility for the promotion - *cough*bullshit*cough* - and decided to throw the two guys who designed the boxes to the wolves. These two guys, both of them twenty something slackers, were promptly arrested. They were released on $2500 bail and held a press conference. Before they agreed to speak to the media, they said they would only answer questions about 1970's hairstyles. The reporters ignored their rules and began asking questions about the case. They responded, "That's not a hair question, I'm sorry," and left.

You can see why I thought this was funnier than that episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. You can't make this shit up! Boston. Slackers. 70s Hairstyles. It's comedic gold!

There really is only one winner in all of this. It's not Cartoon Network. Their excuses just don't wash. It's not the nitwits who were arrested for designing the boxes. Turning a press conference into an audition for Saturday Night Live didn't work out too well for them, although I do have to admit that I'm curious on how they're going to mount a defense. It's not Boston. Do you think they shut down the city when they see a box with wires sticking out of them on a big pole, too? Oh, wait, those are traffic lights. No, the only winner in all of this mess is you! That's right, you! Because of this, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is going to be everywhere now. And that's not a bad thing. Everyone could use a little Master Shake, Meatwad and Frylock in their lives.