Shales on TV Live: Super Bowl ads; Letterman, Oprah, Leno

Tom Shales
Washington Post TV columnist
Monday, February 8, 2010; 12:00 PM

Washington Post Style columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Shales was online Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Noon ET to discuss television, its cultural impact and his columns.

Today: Tom Shales on TV: Super Bowl commercials (Post, Feb. 8)

Shales, The Washington Post's chief television critic for 30 years, is the author of several books, including "On the Air," "Legends" and "Live From New York." His column, "Shales on TV," appears in the paper every Tuesday.


Tom Shales: Greetings, greetings. The most popular ad on the Super Bowl this year appears to be one called 'House Rules' for Doritos -- the one in which a little boy warns his mother's suitor to keep his hands off her, or words to that effect. This is based on research from the folks at TiVo, who monitored and charted every second of the game. A Washington Post poll also indicates the Doritos ad was very popular. I thought it was OK, but why did the kid have to slap the guy in the face???


Snowpocalypse, D.C.: I'm female and happen to be a huge NFL and Super Bowl fan, as are many of my female friends. Both my husband and I found the majority of this year's ads to be incredibly misogynistic. All the women were uptight, high-spending shrews (bad) or skimpily dressed, possibly bisexual, party girls (good.) Usually we laugh at the stupidity of these ads, but the theme seemed excessive this year. Don't advertisers realize that Super Bowl viewers are much broader than 18-to-34 year old cavemen? Oh, and guys in whitey-tighties? Totally overdone.

Tom Shales: It was as if advertisers thought they would have all the men in the United States in a secret screening room to watch the game - and their ads. I agree with you on the implicit misogynistic message, though some ads took pains to avoid any hint of it, including a few of the better ones. There was a strange subtext to the night's ads, wasn't there?


Fred from New Orleans: My favorite commercial? The Hyundai commercial where the actual Hyundai employees were carrying the Sonata through the plant!

Why, because my brother was in it! He is at the very end putting the car (which was a real car BTW) onto the parking lot.

Who Dat!

Fred from New Orleans

(Actually, it was Letterman/Leno but I have to keep peace in the family)

Tom Shales: Congratulations. You can be forgiven a small bit of bias and favoritism. Wait I remember now -- your brother, of course! He stole the show, easily.


Vienna, Va.: Other than Letterman's spot I thought the Google ad was the cleverest. And I can see why Budweiser advertises. But what does a company like Google expect to get out of a Super Bowl ad?

Tom Shales: Well Google gets even more brand recognition, though the word Google has entered the language and will probably be there as a verb in future dictionaries, if it isn't already in newer ones. The Letterman spot is being universally cheered. It was great on so many levels. One of them as a game of gotcha, because I and the folks I was watching with all at first assumed the images were created digitally. But even then, CBS would have had to get permission from Leno and Oprah to use their likenesses. Brilliant really. The only ad that knocked my socks off, I think......


Iowa: I don't get your take on the Letterman-Leno ad. If I'm an NBC affiliate I'm furious. First the network forces me to take Leno's lousy prime time show, then makes it a circus to put him back on the Tonight Show. And now, after all that, Leno is hyping the competition? Can this guy do any more to harm NBC's long term viability?

Tom Shales: I'm not alone in my "take," but don't you think Leno benefitted from the ad too? He'd been looking like a "villain" in the press for the way he's ousted Conan and destroyed Conan's dream of hosting the Tonight Show, and people still remember how Leno cheated Dave out of hosting the program years ago. But if Leno is a good-enough-guy to make a little fun of himself in a commercial FOR DAVE'S SHOW, with which he will be directly competing - well he must be a pretty good egg. Lousy comic but good egg. No, I jest. He's still a great comic, always was....


Wheaton, Md.: In your article today on the Super Bowl commercials, you did not mention what I thought were the best two ads -- both by Doritos: the yellow lab switching the shock collar on the guy teasing him and the little kid telling the guy leering at his mom not to touch his Doritos or his momma. The astronomers' orgy ad was mildly entertaining (don't even remember the company though -- Bud Light?) Most others were not particularly creative or memorable. BTW -- my wife predicted the exact outcome and final score -- too bad she wasn't in Vegas!

Tom Shales: Congrats to the wife, and to you for that matter. I didn't mention the Doritos spot? Too bad. I usually miss the biggie. But this year I was chasing down the "mystery" of the Leno-Letterman-Oprah trio, which made it difficult to watch the other commercials as intently as I would like. And then again, who the heck cares, in the grand scheme of things? Well -- we care. This morning anyway......


Most Effective Ad: It wasn't the most entertaining, or funniest, but I thought the most effective ad was the one that immediately mentions Hyundai's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Hyundai no longer has to defend its quality, so this voiceover was a great way to take the "anti-American" stink off its name...and frankly, remove the last obstacle for a lot of people who didn't know they build cars here.

The Dodge Challenger spot was about as effective a use of taxpayer money as it could be...and the "retro" approach for the spot ties with the retro appeal of the muscle car.

Tom Shales: Maybe so, maybe so. No car company seemed to be exploting Toyota's troubles, did it? Or maybe just by increasing ad buys, Hyundai and Honda and other competitors of Toyota WERE taking advantage. Whatever. I think the scandal came too late for car companies to do very much about their Super Bowl ads......


Helena, Mont.: So, did the Tebow ad generate any buzz?

Tom Shales: Tebows came in third on TiVo's list of the most-closely-watched (not necessarily best-liked) ads. TiVo researcher says people were very curious about the ad, so the high rating doesn't mean everybody agrees with its political point of view or even that most people liked the spot. Like I wrote, I thought their little visual joke of having 'mom' tackled suffered because Betty White got tackled in the Snickers ad that IMMEDIATELY preceded it. Betty's spot was ranked second for the night by TiVo......


The Google Ad: It wasn't targeting search customers, since who's left to get when you have 90 precent market share?

It was targeting local search advertisers, small business owners, who are the next frontier in Google's drive towards global domination of the advertising business.

Tom Shales: Oh, I see. I knew total world domination was their modest goal. What's that new book called -- "Googled: The End of the World As You Knew It"? Something like that. By Ken Auletta.


Arlington, Va.: What was Audi's thought process? They spent 90 percent of their time mocking the Prius crowd and then 10 percent of the time appealing to them.

Tom Shales: The Audi ad sailed right by my receptors. Maybe it aired in the 4th quarter - when ad time is a little cheaper, I think.... And some ads of course are regional and air during station breaks "on your local CBS station," not seen nationally or globally by the humongous audience

_______________________ Take this poll: 2010 Super Bowl: Best commercials


But what does a company like Google expect to get out of a Super Bowl ad?: Even more to the point, what does a company like INTEL get out of being mentioned as a broadcast sponsor? What choice do I have of microprocessor when I buy a computer? To whom are they advertising their name?

Tom Shales: Your question at least re Google seems to have been answered, at least with a plausible hypothetic. Intel

maybe just wanted to have some sort of Super Bowl

presence, since they've been conspicuous by their absence in recent years. Showing up on the Super Bowl is sort of like saying "Look at me, I'm doing very well, I'm a big

deal, and I can afford a Super Bowl ad." Branding again.


Toronto, Canada: The Letterman-Leno-Oprah ad was the best spot during the game, because it combined two elements -- one easy, one not. It was funny, but more importantly, it was surprising.

Still, weren't we all convinced that Letterman really, really disliked Jay Leno? I mean, we're talking a dislike mixed with resentment that stretched back to 1991, when it was announced that he was taking over The Tonight Show. And of course, his feelings all seemed to bubble over last month.

From Joe Viewer's point of view, it all made for a hilarious fifteen seconds, but I'm shocked Letterman would want to be in the same room as his rival. Even for a laugh.

Tom Shales: According to Dave's longtime associate Rob Burnett, who executive-produces the show and runs Worldwide Pants, Dave believes that if something is funny, that negates all other considerations, except maybe the commission of a crime. So what if Dave still does hate Leno and vice versa? For the sake of a laugh, they put down their hatchets, which is a nice thing for them to have done. Dave used to say of public squabbles, "It's all just pro wrestling anyway," meaning all faked fighting made to keep life entertainingly eventful.


Athens, Ga.: What was up with the Audi ad where wasteful people were being arrested by the environment cops? I thought it was going to be about not going overboard with the green movement, instead of promoting it. It pretty much just made me want to use more plastic bags and styrofoam cups, since I'm now grateful I won't get arrested for doing so. Plus, I didn't even remember it was for Audi until I looked it up just now.

Tom Shales: They were perchance too smart and too politically correct for their own good. Although so many companies tried so hard to be politically INcorrect that I began to think political incorrectness is the new political correctness. Or maybe it's a double-reverse correct thing -- the new political correctness is make-believe political incorrectness that is actually political correctness. Ow, me have headache.....


Re: Poll: How do you not have the Megan Fox Motorola commercial in that poll, that was a top 3. The best having two gay guys slap each other.

Tom Shales: HUH? Does that ring any bells with anyone?


Re: The Letterman ad: One smart thing about that ad. Letterman took the last line and made himself look silly by mocking Leno. Always wise to come off as self-deprecating in a moment like that. That was a real winner for Letterman (all of them, really, but especially him).

Tom Shales: PARDON ME, we had a glitch -- technology failed and we were off-line for a couple minutes. Here we have another view of the Letterman ad. It certainly seems to be the most talked-about, which is pretty good for a 15-second spot that cost virtually nothing to produce


A TV star is born: Drew Brees. Forget the game. Holding his one-year old son close to him with tears in his eyes in the post-game celebration? How many fans did he gain with that lovely moment? More crassly, how many ad companies called him today?

Tom Shales: You are so right. A KNOCKOUT IMAGE, the emotional high point. And yes, Drew made one of those "I'm going to Disneyworld (or Land)" spots -- but without the baby in his arms.


Audi ad: Tom, I think the questioner was referring to the "green police" ad, where ecological correctness runs amok till at a road block they praise the Audi driver for his clean car. Although I'm an eco-freak myself -- we raise much of our own organic vegetables/fruit, shop at farmers' markets for the rest, even compost! -- I found the depiction insulting. I can only imagine how those who disbelieve the global-warming warnings must've reacted to the ad.

Tom Shales: Maybe a case of Mad Avenue misreading the public mind


Colesville, Md.: I thought the Google ad might have set back the cause of information literacy twenty years. It seemed to emphasize that all you need is one source of information, and all you need to do is ask it a question, like an oracle. Horrible message! It's bad enough that Google has an I'm Feeling Lucky button.

Tom Shales: Hmmm. Well they ain't humble, that's for sure. There was another ad for another Great Provider -- by the way what the heck is Boostmobile dot com? Some ads were selling me stuff that I couldn't even identify. But I'll take one anyway....


My take on Google: I thought the Google ad was targeting Bing. Bing claims to zero in on exactly what you are asking. But by "googling" and exploring the many options the person ended up in Paris, met a guy/girl, found topics of conversation, a church to get married in, and instructions on how to assemble a crib.

Or maybe that's why I'm a google person? Looking for things that aren't just coloring within the lines.

Tom Shales: Maybe so. Quite possible. I don't like Bing taking the name of one of the all-time great entertainers. That's right, Bob Hope. HAhaHAhaHA. Anyway, the ad struck me as in some strange way moving -- it seemed to say "the modern world isn't a total nightmare -- there's this wonderful machine that can help you soar above it..." It certainly made me homesick for Paris, and I've only spent five hours there in my whole ridiculous life.,....


Anonymous: Why was Oprah on the ad with Letterman and Leno? I don't watch those night time shows.

Tom Shales: But Oprah's not a nighttime show. Or - you knew that? Oprah was there because she and Dave have a longstanding sort of love-hate relationship that goes back to his NBC days. He begged and begged - on the air - for her to come on his show the first time. He makes fun of her a lot, too. And also this was a reunion; Oprah appeared with Dave in a similar 2007 spot, without Leno of course.


Letterman-Oprah-Leno: What was that ad FOR? Chips?

Tom Shales: Heh heh. Couches.


Alanta, Ga.: AND, well, Letterman has had a feud with Oprah, too, for many years -- that seems to be overlooked, I guess, given how recent the Leno thing was...

Tom Shales: yes... but it was much less a "real" feud, more a parody of a feud. So many things Dave does are parodies of real things. Like his heart surgery. Oh no, that was real...


Female Super Bowl watcher: Completely agree with Snowpocalypse about the number of misogynistic commercials -- Hello-women are watching the game and I for one was insulted-- and to think I was bracing for the Tebow ad!

Tom Shales: You didn't have long to brace. It aired in, what, the first quarter, right? I was disappointed in the ad; it didn't seem to me to me very "smart." And I don't know -- tackling your mother?!?


Audi Ad: I was so motivated and inspired by the Audi ad that I went outside and fired up the Hummer just to hear it idle for a couple hours. Then I tossed some soda bottles (the good plastic kind, with the six-pack holder the birds like) into the river, went back inside and turned up the heat.

Tom Shales: For shame! I got in my car and took a drive just so I could throw my empty Doritos bag out the window. No I did



Weird Placements: I notice several ads being placed together with similar themes. When Mama Tebow was tackled right after Betty White, I thought it was a Snickers ad, too, until the print came up. Likewise, two unrelated men-in-underwear ads ran back-to-back and I thought the second was a continuation of the first.

Tom Shales: I assume this was entirely unintentional. This kind of conjoined ads seems to me to detract from both of the commercials involved. Although Betty had the first strike and so the joke was fresh. A few seconds later and it seemed stale already! Of course it wasn't exactly the same in the Tebows' ad, but awfully close. God I love Betty White.....


Anonymous: Who picks the halftime shows? Since the infamous wardrobe malfundtion it seems they go for safe, middle-age rockers who come off looking old and incredibly irrelevant. I was cringing in embarrassment for the Who. Interesting to read comments by Roger Daltry today in which he said he really didn't enjoy the performance.

Tom Shales: Yes and wasn't it lip-synched? That strumming of Pete Townsend (right name?) looked SO fakey, like he was playing a Wii game....


Takoma Park, Md.: National Association of the Deaf trackers across the country have preliminary estimates that about three-fourths of the nationally-broadcast commercials were closed-captioned. This is a significantly higher percentage than in past years. NAD worked with CBS and the National Football League to encourage advertisers to caption their commercials. The cost of closed captioning is miniscule compared to what advertisers pay the network and the NFL for their 30-second spots. The goal, of course, is 100 percent accessibility. Deaf and hard of hearing people are consumers, too. They buy Doritos, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, etc., just like everyone else.

Mr. Shales, I hope that your future reviews of Super Bowl commercials will include information on their accessibility to all viewers.

Tom Shales: The TV on which I was watching didn't even have a captioning option, even though a fairly new set. I thought that feature was mandatory or at least de rigeur.

I often find myself using the captions because the sound

mix on newer films can render the dialogue an aural blur. I have an old-fashioned yen to know what people are saying. After all, it IS a talkie... most of the time (not at Mondays on TCM).....


Ad Benefits: Why do companies like Doritos invest so heavily in advertising for the Super Bowl? I get that a less dominant company/product like GoDaddy or e-trade would see increased traffic or name recognition because of their ads...but does Doritos really get a sales boost? And is this boost significantly higher for running 6 ads than it would be for running 2-3 ads?

Tom Shales: Apparently. Repetition repetition repetition. It's like location location location.


Exeter, N.H.: Can someone explain for me the utility of the GO Daddy commercials? I understand that they have better name recognition but it seems to be a skeevy, porn-like recognition.

Tom Shales: I assume they are male-aimed? Every year, some new dirty thing with a titillating advisory to run off to the internet and see an even smuttier version. Gosh, more smut on the web - just what we need.... I think the company has given itself a sleazy, pandering image, and spent a fortune to do it.


Drew Brees: UGH! I love my kids and have been known to have tears for/about them, but I totally rolled my eyes when the NO QB did that schmaltzy move. One minute, yes. For the length of time he did it, it was over the top. Plus he didn't acknowledge his teammates when he was given the MVP. And I am a New Orleans fan!

Simple is best. Letterman/Leno was great. And I totally agree with the person who wrote in about the treatment of women. Ridiculous. I don't know what is and I do NOT want to know.

Tom Shales: Gee, I think you're being a little hard on Drew Brees. There were tears in his eyes -- maybe he got carried away but it seems pretty innocent. What Dad wouldn't want to do that -- oh and the toddler had earphones on, I think to quell the horrendous noise in the stadium, right? So that was thoughtful.


Anonymous: that must have been the fastest Internet connection, Google maps never come up that quickly.

...but the best ad was the one with Stevie Wonder and the VW ad, just great.

Tom Shales: Nothing comes up fast on my computer, ever.


Atlanta, Ga.: OK, does Betty White rule or what? Maybe this will get Lorne Michael's notice and an invitation to host SNL! And who knew Abe Vigoda was still alive!

Tom Shales: Poor Abe Vigoda! See next message, if I worked this contraption correctly---


Snickers Ad: The Snickers ad answered the popular question: "Is Abe Vigoda still alive?" with a resounding "It appears so"

Tom Shales: Poor Abe! Oh I said that. And furthermore ---


Tinseltown: Wow, that Betty White commercial was great. How did Hollywood digitally create those images of the late Abe Vigoda? Oh, what? OK. Never mind.

Tom Shales: This comment came in very early. I wanted to include it. Actually Abe Vigoda was something of an irregular regular on Conan O'Brien's old "Late Night" show on NBC. He was always willing (or so it seemed) to be used as a human prop or a punch line.....


Alexandria, Va.: Has the bar been raised too high for Super Bowl ads now? I kept on waiting for something creative, something funny, something eye catching -- and never got it.

My favorites were: 1. Letterman/Leno 2. The Clydesdale/Cow ad (which stands in extreme contrast to the crappy Bud Light ads) 3. The Google Ad 4. McDonalds' tribute with LeBron and Dwight Howard to Bird and Jordan 20 years ago 5. Brett Farve still thinking about retiring in 2020.

But overall, the game was so much better than the ads. How did THAT happen?

Tom Shales: That Clydesdale Cow ad was an oldie. But a goodie. Your preferences tend to correlate with TiVo research on which ads got the most notice from viewers.


Hackensack, N.J.: I don't understand how Letterman got Leno, or why Leno agreed or what NBC thought about it. Isn't this like Ronald McDonald appearing in a Burger King commercial to endorse the Whopper?

Re: the Doritos commercial -- I don't want to see a commercial involving violence between children and adults, even if it's in reverse. It kind of creeped me out.

My favorite commercial was the Audi Green Police ad. There was a lot in there to catch and learn from, and it sure made me long for an A3 TDI!

Tom Shales: Diversity makes the world go 'round. Here's someone who loved the very same Audi ad that so many hated. I too share the displeasure over the little kid slapping the man in the face in that "don't go near my mother" Doritos ad. I thought that made it smarmy somehow.


Wheaton, Md.: The Google ad was clever because it depicted life. Like it or not, a lot of us do turn to Google for information on a daily basis. And in the midst of some of the minutiae are requests for information that changes our lives. I thought the ad captured that beautifully and was very compelling -- all in 30 seconds and probably for a lot less money than all of the other ads!

Tom Shales: I think no ad is cheap to make - except for 3 people on a couch, as noted -- and everybody pays a pretty penny to be on a Super Bowl telecast. But the other things you say about the Google Ad seem very sound... I was really taken with the commercial....


Washington, D.C.: I hope that everybody who foamed at the mouth over the Tebow family ad is properly ashamed of themselves. The network was right to allow it, and the ad itself was cute and inoffensive. Without all the free pre-publication publicity, it would have gone almost unnoticed.

Tom Shales: Maybe so, in which case the Tebows and the Focus on the Family group should actually be GRATEFUL for all the advance controversy......

I still think it would be preferable to leave the Super Bowl alone and not make it a bulletin board for political persuasion....


Go Daddy: Here's the weird part: GoDaddy has used the stupid over-the-top sleaziness to their brand, but they have a really good service! Really: I buy and manage domains for a number of clients, and GoDaddy has -- by far -- the best pricing and support, and it's all maybe they should talk about that.

Tom Shales: Yeah, what's the MATTER with them? Maybe their research shows their ads are hugely effective, in which case they could care less what you or I think of them....


Ads Thoughts: Rather than men being laughed at as hinted in promos, I felt women were being bashed as nags. The idea seemed to be if only men could get away from women, or if women would stop nagging, men would be fine. Not appreciated, not funny. I did like the Betty White ad. Didn't care for repeating ads for fish sticks. I'd say this year's ad were a real dud.

Tom Shales: Fish sticks, huh? By the way, commentators on early TV shows seemed to agree that this year's crop of ads was no great bonanza of brilliance. Maybe this whole thing has reached a point of negative feedback on itself. Did you feel any great surge of anticipation as the first commercials began to roll out? As one reader says, maybe the game is getting more of the attention now, especially since this year's and last year's were fan-pleasers....


Los Angeles, Calif.: "That strumming of Pete Townsend (right name?) looked SO fakey..." Come on, Shales. Like you don't know who Pete Townsend is. Your attempted snark strikes me a pretty "fakey" too.

Tom Shales: Why would I fake ignorance??? I wasn't sure of the spelling of the name -- Townshend? Townsend? I get bopped on the head over the strangest things....


Halftime and The Who: I DID find it amusing that three of the songs The Who played happened to be the songs now used as the themes for the various CSI's. It was a moment of such brilliant and echoing cross promoting, my eyes temporarily lost focus.

Tom Shales: There you go. Maybe that explains why they were there the year CSI, I mean CBS, had the Super Bowl.


Alexandria, Va.: Was Carrie Underwood's outfit a commercial for an upcoming Michael Jackson garage sale?

Tom Shales: Mr Blackwell! I thought you died! Seriously, there is definitely something bizarre about singing the National Anthem in giant white high-heeled shoes and a spangly bra. Oh - maybe it was a star-spangly bra (underneath the angelic white thingee).....


Favorite Ad: The Kia ad with the stuffed monkey and his other toy friends partying it up in Vegas. Genius.

Tom Shales: I loved that ad, for Kia, and first saw it the other day on the internet. Yes they "premiered" it there -- making more than the most of Super Bowl placement. My sister and I had a sock monkey when we were growing up. His name was Mister Monk. Oh now you've gone and done it -- made me cry !!!!


Letterman/Leno/Oprah: Do you think there was any agreement to allow Oprah and Leno to also use the ad, albeit with their own logos instead of Dave's?

Tom Shales: In a word, No.


Green!: The only ad that made me laugh out loud was the Hyundai commercial with Stevie Wonder at the end. The rest were crap. No, I'm wrong...the Career Builder ad was pretty funny as well....

Tom Shales: And research shows (I talked for a while with the guy from TiVo) that ads perceived as funny do the most for the advertisers. The problem - obviously - is being funny. I for one am tired of the Etrade baby, especially since now it isn't even the original Etrade baby any more. And the idea of babies having grown-up thoughts, and using words like "milkaholic" (okay, funny) rubs me the wrong way. Etrade baby, go away....


Longmont, Colo.: Drew Brees holding his baby at the end was a much better ad for the joy of family life than Tebow smashing his mom to the ground in that violent way. What did you think of the violence in the Focus on Family ad? As in, "Oh, here's my mom who saved my life once. I think I'll maim her to show how tough I am."

Tom Shales: Exactly. It seemed an odd way to "sell" that message. Even sort of self-contradictory....


Alexandria, Va.: Looking at the poll results, an awful lot of folks feel that the Audi Green Police ad was at or near the top of the list (admittedly not hard this year). Right up there in concept and execution with the Apple "Big Brother" ad of the 1984 Super Bowl.

This despite the fact that the WP staffers listing alternatives seemed to prefer smirky 12-year-old boy non-humor so Green Police had to be a write-in. Let nobody ever accuse WP of elitism again!

Tom Shales: I'm with you there.


Washington, D.C.: How does TiVo know which ads were most watched? Is it actually which ads were least zapped when the viewer sees them appear on screen?

Tom Shales: I assume they use a focus group -- oh wait, those TiVo things are all interconnected, right? Maybe people who buy them don't know they are becoming voters in a consumer poll, or maybe dozens of consumer polls.


Abe Vigoda: When he learned he was doing that ad, do you think he called his agent and said, "Tom, can you get me off the hook, for old time's sake?"

Tom Shales: Sweet. Very nice. ("The Godfather" in case anybody doesn't recognize it)


Fat in Atlanta, Ga.: I havent' seen anyone mention MY favorite ad, so I'll mention it. The Doritos comercial with the the woman introducing her toddler to her date. The toddler slapping the date and telling him not touch his momma made me laugh out loud. Politically correct, probably not but I know grown men with single mothers who feel the same way. My second favorite, Casual Friday in your underwear expanded to every day policy by

Tom Shales: You know, that ad's been mentioned here about 25 times, but thanks anyway. I don't think the woman was actually seen in the commercial, but then they all fly by in such a mush...


Lip-synching: I dunno. If they'd been lip-synching, wouldn't they have picked better voices to lip-synch to?

Maybe the thinking is that if they put an unappealing act on at halftime, people can hit their kitchens and bathrooms and prepare for the second half. It surely can't be for the positive entertainment of the folks watching.

Tom Shales: Well we may never know... Now we are again having so many annoying technical problems -- and our allotted time is up -- that it behooves me to say Thank You, thank you very much in fact, and goodbye.


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