The Stupor Bowl

Posted by Aaron Munter on February 4, 2011 in Entertainment, Life, TV |

Super Bowl TrophyIt’s that time again, Super Bowl weekend. I have to confess that much of the allure of the event itself eludes me.

It does seem to be an excuse to eat and drink to major excess, which can, from time to time, be things I can get behind. But the tone of it seems excessive, too. But on a more fundamental level, I guess I’m just not into football much. I get the strategic nature of it (at least at a high level; the details are a little fuzzy in some cases), and I like that. But the tactical nature of the celebration of Big Hits just seems one step shy of pugilism, which is another “sport” that I just don’t get. Thus my characterization of it as a Stupor Bowl, a time in which observers eat and drink themselves into a stupor and in which participants beat on each other until they, too, are in a stupor (either now or in 15 years, when they’re repeated concussions result in functional brain injury).

But. I tend to follow the advertising industry, so in that sense, it really is the peak of the season, with the possible exception of the announcement of the CLIOs (the Oscars of advertising) or the AdAge awards. At some points, in fact, I will fast-forward through the game and just go from commercial break to commercial break (which is exactly the opposite of how I watch most TV). So there’s some allure there.

Plus, I think it’s interesting that this is still one of the few times in our media-fragmented world in which a Very Large number of people all tune in to the same thing at the same time. It’s one of very few throwbacks to the last-episode-of-M*A*S*H kinds of TV ratings. (In fact, last year’s Super Bowl got such high ratings that it finally unseated that M*A*S*H episode as the most-viewed program of all-time — a record that M*A*S*H held for nearly three decades!)

Why that is, though, is a cultural phenomenon that just stumps me.

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