Media Matters

Toiletbowl XXXVIII

Filthy ads dominate first half -- only to disappear in the second after the kids have gone to bed. Another stupendous moment in American popular culture.

By 2.1.04

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Now, what do all those folks who watch the Super Bowl for the commercials have to say? Wasn't it fun? Especially if the kids were allowed to stay up and watch at least the first half of the game, 'cause that's where the really filthy ones were slotted.

The beer ad with the two dogs was especially cute. A trained dog fetches his master a Bud from the cooler. Beer in hand, the master asks the other fellow what his dog can do. The other fellow's dog obviously bites the first man in the crotch, causing him to toss the beer to the other fellow.

There is the large, jolly African-American man going down a hallway to get a massage, but is lured into a side room full of beer. We see him agonized and screaming in pain as the door closes informing us that he has wandered into the "bikini wax " room by mistake.

They aren't all beer ads, these classics for which we have waited all year. One is a car ad featuring juveniles with bars of soap lodged in their mouths. How this comes about is revealed when a little boy views one of the new cars, mouths the words, "Holy sh--" and is next seen with a bar of soap in his mouth.

There is a chimpanzee, a young man's pet, who puts an arm around the man's girlfriend when the swain has gone for the beer. The primate speaks and suggests they go upstairs, obviously for sex. The swain returns briefly, causing the chimp to withdraw an arm. But the conversation resumes when the swain leaves, the chimp wondering if the intended sex partner has anything against a hairy back.

It isn't all sex. Some is simple scatology. A beautiful wintery scene in the forest. A man and a woman are seated together in a horse-drawn sleigh. The man romantically produces a crystal ball with a lighted candle, then leans to produce some beers from a cooler. At this moment, the gray horse drawing the sleigh lifts its tail high over its back and breaks wind in the woman's face with such force that it blows out the candle and destroys her makeup and hairdo.

The commercial aficionados may have sought relief in a live halftime show featuring P. Diddy and others in a writhing dance accompanied by lyrics that could not be understood in the Western Hemisphere, a combination of rap and rapacity that climaxed when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed a series of gyrations redolent of the chimp commercial and climaxing with Miss Jackson's right breast apparently exposed.

For reasons known only to CBS and the time buyers, the commercials during most of the second half were reasonably tame. There were some appeals to responsibility when drinking, a couple of expensive car ads, some inoffensives for AOL, but no further plays on bestiality, flatulence or painful depilatory episodes. Too bad, for by now the kiddies were in bed. The rectitude of the network had spared them and their elders the pain of watching a commercial with political overtones, the CBS practices regime rejecting such a crass offering.

It is said that the New England Patriots won the game with the Carolina Panthers in the last minute or so, but not by the point spread. Speaking of "spread," did you hear the one about... Sorry. Too much television, I guess.

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About the Author

Reid Collins is a former CBS and CNN news correspondent.