I am not going to pretend that I am a football fan. I don’t have anything against it (I actually find it pretty entertaining), but I rarely watch it. In fact, the only time I probably ever watch it is during the same time that most bandwagoners watch it – the Super Bowl.
If I’m really being honest, I mainly tune into the Super Bowl for the pop culture frills such as the high-priced advertisements and movie trailers, the numerous selfies celebrities take with other celebrities and of course, the half-time show. I’m pretty fascinated by the Superbowl’s cultural significance, but I’m also a huge marketing geek and an entertainment writer. Anything that involves an artist-turned performance-spectacle and multi-million dollar television spots will get my eyes glued to every screen in my house.
With that, here are ten of my favourite non-football moments from Superbowl 49 (in no particular order):
1. Missy Elliott Reminding the World Why Missy Elliott is the Best
Rumours made the rounds late last week that Missy Elliott would make an appearance during Katy Perry’s half-time performance. Hearing about it was exciting enough; watching it happen was a whole other level of nostalgia, ultra. I can’t quite imagine my childhood/adolescent years without Missy’s tabla-infused sounds, brand of feminism, her music videos with the coolest kid dancers and individual style; I’m pretty sure she was the reason that I wanted Adidas in every colour possible. I think the fact that her performance, which featured Get Ur Freak On, Work It and Lose Control, was so well-received is a testament to her sonic artistry back in the early 2000s. Last night, she was as hype and energizing as I remember her being growing up. I wasn’t a huge fan of her creative works later on in her career, but I would love to see Missy return to some of the elements that made her so great. Hopefully she’ll be inspired by the reception to her performance to cook up new-old material.
2. Jurassic World TV Spot
If I had to pick five movies that defined my childhood, I know Jurassic Park would make the cut. I was in complete awe of Spielberg and co’s cinematic achievements and admittedly had a quasi-crush on Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) for years to follow. My dad would blast the surround sound on Saturday afternoons so that we could experience the full might of the T-Rex’s roar and so I could get extra scared by the raptors rattling around in their cage in the opening scene. I remember going to see Jurassic Park 2 when I lived in Singapore and coming out thinking it was better than the first one. Don’t worry, that thought has since been corrected; but I still really, really enjoyed the sequels. The fact that there was no follow-up to Jurassic Park 3 for more than a decade was really disappointing.
The Jurassic World trailer was released two months ago and while I too was skeptical of the CGI, I was in full-out fangirl mode. The TV spot is very similar to the trailer, but I again got those excited butterflies in my gut while watching it. The CGI is much better than the trailer and yeah, seeing Chris Pratt handle those pesky velociraptors gave 7 year old me a little bit of joy. I am just completely fascinated by the world, and I’m excited to enter it again this year, even if it ends up being completely cheesy. The T-Rex could be talking and I probably would still go see it. I look forward to more teases in the months leading up to its June release.
3. Star Lord vs. Captain America
Two of Marvel’s most popular superheroes went head-to-head in this year’s Super Bowl. Two weeks ago, Chris Pratt (Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy), a Seahawks fan, and Chris Evans (Captain America in Captain America and The Avengers), a Patriots fan, entered a bet where the losing fan would have to dress up in their Marvel costume and visit the respective winning fan’s choice of charity. They set up fundraising websites and opened up donation lines in anticipation of the Super Bowl.
While the Patriots took home the trophy, Chris Squared settled their friendly rivalry by promising to visit both charities (Seattle Children’s Hospital and Christopher’s Haven) in their superhero get-up. Lots of wins all around, I’d say!
4. Mindy Kaling Is [Not] Invisible
It’s true, I have an affinity for all things Mindy Kaling. I’m a huge fan of her show The Mindy Project and think she’s such a fantastic voice in television and comedy. I take a great deal of comfort that if she had the chance to be invisible for the day, she would also walk through a carwash and try to sneak up on Matt Damon.
Although I don’t have any statistics on representation in Super Bowl ads (if you do, please send them my way), I generally speaking think it is awesome to see a prominent woman of South Asian descent be front-and-centre in a Nationwide commercial during one of North America’s biggest television events.
5. Say My Name
I don’t think there will ever be a time where I’ll roll my eyes at Bryan Cranston for revisiting his iconic Breaking Bad character, Walter White. Cranston was in one of three Esurance ads aired during the Super Bowl and I think it’s safe to say that he was definitely in his element. I miss you, Walter!
6. “Like A Girl”
I saw Always’ “Like A Girl” campaign back in June 2014. The commercial aired during the Super Bowl is very similar to the original digital short, and the message is still very empowering. I’m glad that Always chose to present their challenge on gender stereotypes not only in front of a wide audience, but one that is tuning into a very stereotypically masculine event. This is a great opener to an ongoing conversation on the impact of gender stereotypes on mental health, self-esteem and other critical issues effecting males and females, especially as they grow up.
Katy Perry’s sharks brought some of the best moves seen on the field last night. I’d like to think they’re the real MVPs (Most Valuable Predators, of course.)
Microsoft’s advertisement told a short story about how they designed, studied and improved upon the prosthetic legs worn by a child named Braylon. Narrated by rapper Common (swoon), the advertisement reminds viewers that technology is not just about selfies and social media, but about creating real opportunities for people and empowering them to live life as fully as possible. I think Microsoft humanized the relationship with technological advancements through this advertisement and brought the bigger, non-superficial picture of such developments back into focus.
In stark contrast to the Microsoft commercial, we have T-Mobile’s advertisement with Kim Kardashian. I recognize that is leans towards the superficial framing of technology (or maybe it’s a cloaked stab at our consumption?), but I also really enjoyed that Kim poked fun at her selfie obsession in this ad about data usage. Tragic (and hilarious.)
10. Lip Synch Battle
Jimmy Fallon hosted a live late night special after last night’s Super Bowl and he invited a few of his guests to join him in his extremely popular segment, Lip Synch Battle. Fallon, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart delivered one of the best battles yet with some unforgettable images (see: Ferrell attempting the Drunk In Love hip shake.)