I'm really not into football, but I seem to be raising two boys who are obsessed with it, which is how I knew last Sunday was SuperBowl Sunday.
Here's the thing about the SuperBowl: it's an all-day event in the States. Overseas, however, it's all night. Here in Amman, they threw a party at the Embassy for those who wished to come in and watch together, with breakfast served at 4 a.m. (I believe kick-off was at around 1:30 a.m., local time.)
No. Thank. You.
I told Shay he could set his alarm and get up to watch it here at home. I half-believed he would sleep through his alarm, but no: he made it through the whole show. And then I survived his play-by-play account, beginning at 6 a.m. Monday morning.
Here's something you maybe didn't know. We watch American television overseas through AFN, the Defense Department's television network. We can watch many of the same shows you watch back home, albeit at odd hours, and - get this - without commercials!
The Department of Defense has worked out some sort of deal where they can show current programming as long as they cut out the commercials, so instead, they make their own commercials, which are pretty uniformly awful.
Actually, some of the spots are interesting - they might talk about a specific moment in military history, or have a "Guess this Capital" type spot. Others are on topics such as motorcycle safety, suicide prevention or the perils of smokeless tobacco. All are low-budget monstrosities.
Maybe you didn't know this about me, but after grad school, I spent my pre-Foreign Service years working at an advertising agency. The agency I worked for always has several spots in the SuperBowl, as it's one of the biggest agencies worldwide. So I know from ads. And these spots make me crazy! Though I have to admit, it's gotten better since they've stopped showing those awful World War II reenactments during Dora the Explorer. One minute, your 2-year-old was watching Swiper swipe something, and the next, she stared gape-mouthed as a Marine used his last breaths on this earth to empty his weapon into a group of oncoming enemy soldiers, thereby earning himself a posthumous Medal of Honor. Parents complained about the awful juxtaposition for years. Now, they save the gory stuff for the other channels.
There is absolutely no purpose to this post, except that I happened to be reading Advertising Age Magazine this morning, and it mentioned that there was one ad made this year specifically for AFN, and specifically for the SuperBowl. It occurred to me that some of you might not know about our peculiar overseas television situation.
So there you have it: The SuperBowl is over, the green team won, and there was no reason to watch it without the commercials. Especially not at 2 in the morning.
But try telling that to a 10-year-old.