Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SuperBowl Sunday [Night]

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.

6 comments:

I'll Take Mine... said... [Reply]

So you didn't get to see the Darth Vader VW commercial?
Aw, man.

Donna said... [Reply]

Actually, thanks to the zillions of FB friends who linked to it, I did see it. Just not on television. Loved it.

Becca said... [Reply]

the commercials are the best part! I didn't watch this year at all, and i didn't miss it.

Nomads By Nature said... [Reply]

AFN at this post is only 3 channels, none of which are the kids channel or the movie channel so we don't watch it much.

But I must say, we do miss those low budget public service announcement "advertisements". How can you not love Squeekers the Mouse, or OpSec reminders!! ;) They just need more "School House Rock" types and "Woodsy The Owl" ones like those that use to come on cartoon Saturdays.

To me the AFN commercials sure beat the onslaught of sugar bomb cereal ads or BUY THIS TOY NOW ads we get at mega raised volume when back in the States on R&R. I wish the US showed more clever and meaningful messages instead (like "sock puppet keep your room clean" or "I helped a bomber get a fake passport" -- two of my favorites!)

globalgal said... [Reply]

I watched the Superbowl on Monday morning at a friend's house here in Beijing. They're with the military so we watched on AFN, too. Those commercials were such stinkers! I didn't even know who was playing in the game, so I obviously only came for the commercials. (and the Bloody Marys, but shhh! don't tell anyone it was only 9AM!) BTW, if you go to Fox sports online you should be able to find all the Superbowl commercials in their video section.

Kami said... [Reply]

But didja get to see the half-time show? I hate football, but I could'nt take my eyes of the Black Eyed Peas. It was redonkulous!

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