Episode 605: Thank Me for Solving the Problem That I Caused

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle the commercials and halftime show of Super Bowl LIV.

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Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink the perverse passive-aggression of the commercials of Super Bowl LIV, and thrust a snickers into the yawning maw of discourse to put everything back to normal.

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6 Comments on “Episode 605: Thank Me for Solving the Problem That I Caused”

  1. Three Act Destructure #

    It probably goes without saying that the 18-49 share of Superbowl viewership has driven off a cliff and is currently slow-motion falling into a total catastrophe. Considering the disparities between the target demos of the ads and the halftime shows, I think that sponsors are more cynical about what that means than the NFL is.

    As a millenial myself, I didn’t watch and am simply confused about how people play their FIFA e-sport tournament on a big field and without any consoles handy. (Is this a LARPing thing?)

    But I did watch some of the ads as you guys were mentioning them. I find it interesting that Ellen Degeneres continues to engage in a massive corporate-entertainment campaign to prove just how out-of-touch her bourgeoisie status has left her. See also: shaming America for not eating hot dogs with war criminals and making a sketch out of her own inability to understand grocery stores.

    I guess she’ll be retired soon so it doesn’t really matter anymore.

    Most of the reactions I’m seeing online are pretty harsh, with the exception of excitement over the movie ads. And I get the sense that in a few years those will be totally independent of events like this and just live online. I know that there was a lot of talk about studios abandoning Comic-Con a few years ago. Live events don’t really have the draw that they used to.


    • John C Member #

      The weird thing about Degeneres is that she’s still fully capable of being really funny, but I guess has enough money that she’d rather defend people who’d rather she not be extended civil rights. And her show seems to basically be the daytime television version of Joe Rogan’s podcast (which an On the Media guest recently described as “Goop for Men”), laundering not-so-great ideas to make them seem mainstream.


      • Three Act Destructure #

        People want Ellen to be fighting a culture war but she’d rather be fighting a class war. Because her rights will never, ever be personally threatened by anti-LGBT legislation. But left-wingers in the government could eventually tax some of her money away. She knows who the real threat to her lifestyle is.


        • John C Member #

          I assume it’s more the old “I want to just be apolitical,” avoiding thinking that maybe that’s an endorsement of the status quo. It’s funny, though, that “hang out with war criminals” thing got less play in the media than the “won’t dance on demand if you meet her on the street” puff pieces.


          • Three Act Destructure #

            You may be right but I tend to assume that people who have spent decades carefully constructing their public image down to the amount of toothiness in their grin, and who have everything resting on the preservation of that status quo, are typically acting in bad faith when they’re being “apolitical”.

            But that’s certainly not the only read on the situation.

            I don’t remember the dancing thing but I do usually avoid Ellen. Depending on the timing, I might assume that it was an intentional distraction. Manufactured consent and all that.

  2. John C Member #

    I just need to say that, if you cite “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and don’t reference the Danny Kaye recitation of the story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMsgAuvEIBc), you might be dead to me. I mean, probably not, but maybe…

    The ad mention that drew my attention, here, was the Walmart commercial, because…they’ve already done this! It’s not with all those specific properties and done on a lower budget (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpJBY5W7xo), but it seems weird for a Superbowl commercial to just be another installment of the previous year’s campaign.

    But as for the mixed IP issue, I wonder how much of that is down to market consolidation, so that it’s now big-player Walmart negotiating licenses with only a couple of fellow corporate overlords. Like, if you want to license The Lego Movie, you already have the meeting with Warner or AT&T, so you may as well ask about Bill and Ted and Mars Attacks!, too. If you want Men in Black, you might as well ask Sony about Arrival. Or the studio might offer up one of the smaller properties to see if it gets a good reaction (my very brief stint in small-press publishing got me a few counter-offers like that), though that’s probably unlikely in the Mars Attacks! case unless Warner bought the underlying rights from Topps.

    Here, by the way, is the Verizon incident Mark was talking about: https://www.villagevoice.com/2013/07/24/after-hurricane-sandy-verizon-takes-hostages/

    But there’s one big question I have: If one is creating a Superbowl ad for Snickers and is, presumably, aware that Kansas City is one of the two teams playing, how does one reach for an extended “Millennials, am I right?” gag before revisiting one of their best ads that’s suddenly now relevant? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmgice3ieZ4


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