Thursday, March 02, 2006

Seuss-er Bowl

Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Theodor Geisel, which regular readers of these pages will know is the given name of Dr. Seuss. I figured the media would give it modest mention; he was enough of a celebrity (in the sense of one who warranted celebrating) that people would find it interesting (before reading about Nick’s pursuit of alimony from Jessica, or after reading about the possibility of civil war in Iraq, etc.). I haven't seen evidence of that, so screw the media. I don’t have much to say about that, other than they should have. This gives me an opportunity, however, to get into something I didn’t do a few weeks ago.

No one is probably interested in hearing about the Super Bowl now, nearly a month after the fact. The poor officiating was discussed on all the sports talk shows and around water coolers ad nauseum in the week after the game, and prior to the game it was hyped in the traditional fashion so that we only had a week’s worth of tolerance for hearing about it afterward; it’s not unlike the way by New Year’s Day we’re over Christmas, having put up with hearing of that since Thanksgiving (er, Halloween).

Even the other aspects of the event were overused fodder to fill time in the wake of the big game. Much was made of the poor sound quality during the Stones’ halftime set, and of the words that were excised (through quick fade out) from Mick’s lyrics (dropping the last word from the line in “Rough Justice” that asks “Am I just one of your cocks?”). The commercials were also declared to be overall disappointing, relative to previous years, which they were. That there were no ads for erectile dysfunction (unlike last year) received some note. So there’s no new ground to mine there, especially this far removed from the date of the game.

However, I heard nothing about the intro ABC prepared to air just shortly before kickoff. Maybe people weren’t watching then, making final beer runs to the liquor store, but they missed the dulcet tones of Harrison Ford—a man’s man—and some former Super Bowl heavies—not so dulcet but still manly men—performing Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go (certainly his most manly work, behind only Horton Hears a Who!). Yes, when I think American football, I think Seuss; the two have been synonymous since copies of The Lorax were handed out instead of Super Bowl rings to the 1972 champion Miami Dolphins. (That was downplayed in the media, so if you try to find mention of it now you’ll see only a terribly effective cover-up has hidden all evidence. The rings worn by the players are fakes, manufactured at Area 51. I must stop now; they're listening.) The thing about that: They were original, signed copies.

[Okay, I have found a mention of the intro at a the San Diego Union-Tribune explaining it was the brainchild of the same guy who came up with the semi-controversial Terrell Owens-Nicolette Sheridan towel intro to a Monday Night Football game. Interesting.]

What I wonder is: Would this have been allowed were Mr. Geisel still alive? Would he allow his work to promote an already ridiculously over commercialized event? I’m not sure, but I certainly question the likelihood of it. (Were it political, absolutely.) However, one wonders: was his estate in need of cash?

Please, Geisel estate, don't allow another live-action film adaptation. Have you not seen the pictures of actual items I own peppered through this post? I'll pay to keep that from happening.

It’s enough to make one question the worth of leaving a legacy. If one does nothing that amounts to anything society notices then there’s no chance one’s heirs will sell it out after one’s death. The Egyptian pharaohs had the right idea: have it buried with you. Of course, they had no marketing departments to contend with about this. (And the grave robbers—er, archeologists—put your stuff in museums, with the inherent dignity thereof. Well, ideally that occurred.)

To be fair, the actual intro was not altogether awful; I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good, and I think it more blasphemous than honoring to the good Doctor (okay, “Doctor”). I couldn’t identify any connection to Detroit to explain using it (Geisel had no connection to the Motor City I’m aware of), nor do I imagine it was anything more than generally ignored by most viewers. (“Hey, it’s some crazy cartoon thing on TV—I’ll get more guacamole before kickoff.”) Ford performed admirably, but as an accomplished actor I would expect no less; the others used in the piece came off about as well as when Tom Brady hosted SNL (wooden, and looking like football players and coaches—showing why they’re not actors). It was ultimately dismissible, neither interesting nor offensive. It didn’t even give anything for the comics on “Best Week Ever” to skewer.

As my girlfriend noted at the time: At least it wasn’t out-and-out bad like that awful opening to the Golden Globes telecast (the hideously “adapted” lyrics of the flash-in-the-pan Pussycat Dolls hit “Don't Cha”—I can't even pretend it was so terrible it came back around to good). The producers of the Super Bowl pre-game telecast at least pilfered something of some artistic merit.

It’s a shallow pond of talent running these things, clearly. Maybe next year the producers and the referees should switch places—one wonders if either side could do worse than what the other did for this “XL” affair. Heck, Fox would probably film it as a new reality show. Marginally Competent Job Swap


Speaking of the grand televised events that occur on Sundays (which didn’t include the Golden Globes this year), I hold hope that the opening to the upcoming Academy Awards telecast, with Jon Stewart hosting, will offer at least the slightest hint of actual entertainment.

I also notice E! will allow Isaac Mizrahi to cover the red carpet (as he did for them before the Globes), and if so, whether any actresses will actually get within groping range for an interview.

Tying this back in with the Super Bowl: Isaac grabbing the butt of Jerome Bettis during the pre-game would have been worthy of saving on the TiVo. So it’s really the producers of the cheesy basic cable channels and those at the networks who need to pull some kind of mash-up in their pre-event ideas.

I should charge for these brilliant ideas. If only I had no scruples, I would be freakin’ rich.


My (entirely predictable) prediction for the Oscars: The Red States won’t be happy. (Oh yeah. That's clever.)

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