Super Bowl Ads: Why So Serious?

Norman Weiss

Super Bowl ads: Why so serious?
So many advertisers tried to pull at emotional heartstrings rather than push the envelope with controversy this year. As Jay Busbee put it, "It's a good thing Super Bowl XLIX ended up being one of the greatest games in the sport's history, because otherwise it'd be remembered only for the unrelenting pathos of the ads. Prosthetic limbs, gender bias, puppies in danger, bullying, childhood mortality ... this was the single most depressing Super Bowl ad lineup in history, with only the occasional flying pig or Human Pac-Man Game to break from the unrelenting plod of Very Important Advertisements." PLUS: Watch all the sad commercials.

Nationwide explains its depressing Dead Kid ad
The insurance company released a statement late Sunday saying, "The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance." The ad's attackers included Judd Apatow, who tweeted: That PREVENTABLE accidents ad from Nationwide was awful. Way to ruin my day insurance jackasses. How do we prevent them sh-theads??!!"

Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show was silly, unapologetic and fun
Whether you like her or not, Perry definitely took the job seriously. "Continuing its trend of confusing/brilliant counter-programming," says Kevin Fallon, "the world's most macho and most watched sporting event once again turned its Halftime Show into a 20-minute gay man's fever dream—and Katy Perry delivered on all of her potential for out-of-her-mind silliness. Riding in on a giant mechanical cat, dressed as a cartoon flame, and at one point employing a group of background dancers dressed as sharks, Perry aggressively put on what I imagine will be the most polarizing Super Bowl Halftime Show in years." PLUS: Missy Elliott was the best part, this was a halftime show unafraid of the feminine, Perry emulates NBC's The More You Know logo, and Katy Perry got a Super Bowl tattoo after her performance.

NBC quickly cut away from Seattle Seahawks player's toilet-themed touchdown celebration
After scoring a TD, wide receiver Doug Baldwin pretended to poop out the football. Producer Fred Gaudelli says the cutaway was unintentional, but when he saw the celebration during a commercial break, he said, "Forget that. I'm not showing that."

Chevy ad pranks Super Bowl watchers by cutting to dead air
"What would you do if your TV went out?" said the ad that ran right after kickoff.

Breaking Bad's Walter White revived in a Super Bowl ad
Check out the extended cut of Esurance's ad starring Bryan Cranston. PLUS: CBS orders Cranston's Sneaky Pete.

David Duchovny hopes to reprise his Twin Peaks DEA agent Denise Bryson role
"I would bet on it if I were you," he tells the L.A. Times. "I think Twin Peaks is happening for sure. I hope my character comes back, I think she does."

Game of Thrones made $1.5 million from IMAX screenings
The 205 theaters that played Game of Thrones in IMAX averaged $7,323 per theater last week.

Jimmy Fallon made a star-studded We Are the Champions a capella video
Carrie Underwood, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Blake Shelton, One Direction, Christina Aguilera, Meghan Trainor and Usher took part in the a capella version of the Queen classic. PLUS: Watch Fallon's lip-sync battle with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Drew Barrymore.

Ex-Power Rangers star arrested for murder
"Power Rangers Samurai's" Ricardo Medina Jr. is accused of stabbing his roommate to death.

Watch Seth Meyers roast the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell at NFL Honors awards
The "Late Night" host also took a few joking shots at Olivia Munn's boyfriend, NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Simon Cowell collapses after a dog hypnotized him on Britain's Got Talent
Cowell was reportedly okay after he came under the spell of a "Hypnodog."

See Katy Perry's cat counterpart perform at the Puppy Bowl halftime show
Katty Furry wore a blue wig for her performance.

ABC orders a comedy pilot about Johnny Knoxville's childhood
Knoxville will narrate a comedy about his life growing up in the "outlaw culture" of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Check out NBC's Heroes Reborn trailer
H.R.G. is featured in this sneak peek, as is Zachary Levi.

5 U.S. senators will appear on Parks and Recreation next week
John McCain and Barbara Boxer are set to return to the NBC comedy on Feb. 10, joining Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Orrin Hatch and Cory Booker.

ABC moves forward with its Uncle Buck comedy remake, orders Tina Fey-produced comedy
ABC's "Uncle Buck" pilot is the 2nd attempt at a TV show from the John Candy movie. Meanwhile, Fey's "Family Fortune" revolves around a Georgia gym teacher who comes out to her family and friends.

Doctor Who and other BBC programs are leaving Amazing prime on Feb. 15
Amazon has chosen not to renew its BBC agreement because Doctor Who and other shows are also on other subscription services like Netflix.

SNL vs. Key & Peele: Which had the best Marshawn Lynch/Richard Sherman sketch?
Both shows had similar Super Bowl-themed sketches this weekend. PLUS: "Conan" releases "Marshawnism" outtakes.

Mindy Kaling tried to kiss Matt Damon in a Super Bowl ad
Kaling, who once starred in a play about Damon and Ben Affleck's friendship (she played Affleck), appeared in Nationwide's other, more upbeat Super Bowl commercial.

All images courtesy of HBO


7. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)

8. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen)

9. Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)

10. Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann)

Brienne and her squire Podrick "The Tripod" Payne are technically 10 miles away from the Eyrie, where she met the Hound in a brutal battle that left him dying at the bottom of a cliff. (We didn't actually see him die, though, which feels like an important detail.) Arya Stark refused her offer of protection in favor of hopping a ship to Braavos, so the only way for Brienne to fulfill her oath to Jaime Lannister—to find the Stark girls and keep them safe—is to figure out where Sansa is and offer the girl her services as well.

Sansa went full on Fierce-Ass Black Swan in Season 4's penultimate episode. Cousin and Eyrie heir Robin Arryn is about to embark on a tour of his realm after the death of his overprotective mother (and Sansa's aunt), finally coming down from that castle in the sky, and Sansa and Littlefinger are set to accompany him for at least part of the way. Might want to teach the sickly little thing how to wield a sword, first.


11. Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady)

12. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)

13. King Tommen Baratheon (Lannister) (Dean-Charles Chapman)

14. Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer)

Jaime and sister Cersei were enjoying a rare moment of, er, tenderness when last we saw them. Of course, that was before Jaime engineered Tyrion's escape and Tyrion murdered their father on the privy. Their next talk may not be quite so full of sweet nothings.

Margaery's awesome grandmother Olenna (nicknamed the Queen of Thorns for good reason) has unfortunately gone back to the Tyrell home of Highgarden, leaving Margaery to battle Cersei over young Tommen all by herself. Cersei's recent turn towards the lushier side of life might make that a more equal fight than it first appears.

All images courtesy of HBO


15. Myrcella Baratheon (Lannister) (Nell Tiger Free)

This is mostly a reminder that Cersei and Jaime's daughter is down in Dorne as the "guest" of Prince Doran Martell, because we'll actually be seeing her in Season 5.

All images courtesy of HBO


16. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)

17. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

18. Varys (Conleth Hill)

Tyrion is on a boat after killing someone: Shooting his father Tywin with a crossbow while the man was on the latrine. (He also killed his whore/former lover Shae after finding her in Tywin's bed.) He's fleeing a death sentence for the one murder he didn't commit (his nephew Joffrey), smuggled to the Free City of Pentos by Varys.

Arya is on a boat after not killing someone: She left the Hound to, presumably, die a slow death from the wounds he suffered at Brienne's hands, and now she's on her way to Braavos after presenting a ship captain with the coin that assassin Jaqen H'ghar gave her before changing his face and sauntering off way back in Season 2. What'll she do in Braavos? Not die, probably, which is way better than her options in Westeros.

All images courtesy of HBO


19. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)

Dany got a difficult lesson in politics and ethics last season: What happens after you abolish slavery in a city that has survived solely on that trade for thousands of years? You can tell everyone they're equal, but when a society has operated under the opposite assumption for that long, problems are going to arise. One such problem goes by the name the Sons of the Harpy, a group of assassins hired by former masters to undermine Dany's regime.

Not helping matters for our Dragon Queen is big bad dragon Drogon, who's causing mayhem in the countryside, which forced her to confine Drogon's brothers Rhaegal and Viserion underground, lest they follow his example. And she had to cut loose trusted advisor Jorah Mormont after learning he'd been spying on her for the court in King's Landing. At least she still has hot sellsword Daario Naharis to comfort her in times of need.