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The Super Bowl Crew Not So Ready for Their Close-Up

And now, some Super Bowl thoughts. I watched the festivities in North Carolina at my parents’ house, where they have succumbed to HD evangelism. Although one’s first reaction to seeing the high-def picture is an almost infantlike “Oooh, shiny,” that’s not necessarily a good thing when it’s about the makeup on a bunch of barrel-chested, shouting football announcers. The CBS crew — James Brown, Boomer Esiason, etc. — all looked like they’d slathered skin-toned frosting on their mugs just before air. Makeup people, I feel for you in this new crisp-resolution world: You’re existentially asking yourself, “What is a true facial imperfection?” And it looks like rain defeats the purpose of HD too, considering the many bespattered camera lenses that couldn’t prevent action-obliterating smeariness or the pointillistic droplet arrays that called attention to themselves over the players in the background. Prince, meanwhile, was so mesmerizing in the halftime show — proving once and for all that an emphasis on musical performance over I’m-playing-for-millions glitz will always prevail — that he damn near made you believe he had opened up the heavens himself in Florida that day for “Purple Rain.” As for the commercials, one sensed a welcome lack of star power — save for the truly shocking and funny Dave-Oprah joke — and a reversion to just trying to get an honest laugh. Bud Light scored a few times (mainly with the rock/paper/scissors last-beer-in-the-tub standoff), Snickers picked the funniest, least offensive version of its homo-panic Lady and the Tramp–like tale of two bearish mechanics sharing a candy bar (although they still provoked Internet outrage), and GM’s tale of an assembly-line robot’s nightmare of being fired was breathtaking enough to have made Kafka, Marx and Asimov teary with laughter.


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