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Super Bowl ads fail to bring the funny; but at least we know about Denny's free Grand Slam breakfast Tuesday

February 8, 2010 |  4:17 pm

Super-Bowl
Because I apparently had nothing better to do while watching the Super Bowl on Sunday afternoon, I busied myself by eating Fritos and guacamole -- the calorie count tempered with the occasional cherry -- and took notes on all of the food-and-drink-related commercials.

By my count there were 22 total, six of which were for Budweiser and Bud Light and three of which were for Doritos. Also adding to the lineup were: Snickers, Coke, Papa John's Pizza, Dr Pepper, Carl's Jr., Denny's, Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. Conspicuously missing was Pepsi.

Also conspicuously missing? A big laugh. Although Super Bowl XLIV reportedly had the most ads of any Super Bowl, for my money, it also had one of the most uninspired groups of Super Bowl commercials I have ever seen. And I've been watching. I dated a football fanatic for 10 years (one who made me memorize every team in the league, and quizzed me regularly on the rules of play -- the abuse!).

The only chuckle I got was during the Bud Light commercial featuring Auto-Tune and T-Pain. Auto-Tune is zeitgeisty thanks to Mr. Pain, and just absurd enough coming out of the mouths of a bunch of geeky football fans, to be truly funny.

The most disappointing commercial for me was the Simpson's spot for Coke. The bizarrely off-key half-time show featuring the Who and the Tron-like light show was naturally imbued with more scathing "Simpsons"-esque satire than that commercial had in a single pixel. What a wasted opportunity to bring the funny.

The award for unintentionally disturbing has to go to the Doritos spot where a dog puts a no-bark collar on a man who falls to the ground, shaking and gurgling as the dog steals his cheesy snack chips. Another Doritos ad featured a guy eating a bunch of chips in a coffin. What gives, Doritos? Nothing is less hungry-making than torture- and death-themed winks and nods. Or maybe I'm just crazy.

Coming in first in the "that's-just-plain-weird" category would have to be Charles Barkley and his slightly creepy Dr. Suess rap on behalf of Taco Bell. Somewhere, in an ad room with entirely too much fluorescent light and fatty snacks, a key decision went terribly wrong.

Also, we were reminded on multiple occasions, by adorable dancing chickens, that Denny's will be giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts again from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday. Expect long lines and average pancakes and eggs.

As disappointed as I was by the ads this year, I was happily surprised by the epic inanity of the new CBS reality series "Undercover Boss" that followed the game.

As I watched the CEO of Waste Management discover the plight of the little people in his company while in disguise and on the job, I must admit that I was actually moved to tears. The same kind of corny, sentimental, commercialism-soaked tears I cry during Weight Watchers commercials and episodes of "Extreme Makeover" that involve small children in wheelchairs.

The line, "All of a sudden it hits me, she's peeing in this can," uttered by the baffled exec as he holds the solitary rust-stained coffee can that a female garbage truck driver has been using for a toilet, nearly destroyed me.

I wish I could say the same for Betty White playing geriatric football in the name of Snickers.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: MCT

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