New Castle News

News Bloggers

January 29, 2014

The Couch Potato: Commercials for big game not so 'Super' anymore

NEW CASTLE — As has been mentioned in this space before, the Couch Potato is not a big fan of today’s highly rated, and therefore, most popular situation comedies.

That was not always the case, as during my youth, I pretty much watched any predictable, laugh-track based sitcom on the air. 

Here’s a rundown of some of those lovable shows from my youth: “The Drew Carey Show,” “Dharma and Greg,” “Saved By the Bell,” “Full House,” “Step By Step,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Spin City,” “The King of Queens,” “Mad About You,” “Ellen” and for a $1.50 cash prize if you’ve heard of it, the Molly Ringwald vehicle, “Townies.”

None of those shows would be considered television classics by any means, but I watched them regardless. It didn’t matter that they lacked creativity or cleverness, it was just what was on.

Today’s offering of predictable, laugh-track based sitcoms are still the most popular shows on television. “The Big Bang Theory” is the number one comedy, while “Two and a Half Men” continues to thrive along side other Couch Potato-detested shows like “Two Broke Girls” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

As I have gotten older, my taste in sitcoms has changed to the point that I can’t watch a laugh-track comedy anymore. I hate being told what is funny and when to laugh.

But that’s a well-beaten path that the Couch Potato has been down before. I only bring it up because as I get older, another classic American comedy institution has been getting on my nerves — Super Bowl commercials.

With sitcoms, we have seen a great progression toward smart, quick-witted shows like, “30 Rock,” “Arrested Development,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” among others. 

Super Bowl commercials have lacked that same progression over the years. Most still rely on the same old tricks of talking animals or babies, big celebrities and low brow humor. Very few have moved toward anything resembling astute comedy.

Perhaps the Couch Potato has become a snob, but I can’t take watching another dog run through a door for Doritos, hear a baby wax poetic about the benefits of online trading or see Danica Patrick do any number of stupid things for Go Daddy.

It’s time for Super Bowl commercials to catch up with the rest of comedy and bring some real cleverness to the table. If that table just happens to be of the ping pong variety featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in a wig, then so be it.

While recent years have been pretty bad, probably the best Super Bowl commercial of all time happened in 2010 when CBS aired the big game.  David Letterman sat on his couch and lamented how bad his Super Bowl party was, as the camera panned out to show Oprah sitting next to him.  Letterman and Oprah had a long-running feud at the time. 

That seemed clever enough, but then the camera cut to a wider shot to show the other couch mate and guest of the party, Letterman’s long time rival Jay Leno, sniveling as he ate his popcorn.

Now THAT is comedy.

At any rate, regardless of how bad it gets, I’ll still be watching the Super Bowl this year with the rest of the country. I just hope that the commercials are at least funnier than “Townies.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Bloggers
  • Church.jpg Gary Church: I tried to keep my cool, but if anyone didn't like my contribution to the party, I might have a meltdown
    Sometimes you get invited to an employee only luncheon. I recently went to one of these at the News office. There is only one rule, everyone must bring something. This is a little difficult for me, because I don't know how to cook anything.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Question-mark-scratch-head.jpg Tim Kolodziej: We’re swimming in information — and uncertainty

    “Who can you believe anymore?” I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me that question. Let’s face it, there are no longer two sides to every story. In some cases, there are hundreds, if not thousands.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Potato.jpg The Couch Potato: "The Bachelorette" semi-live blog

    Here we go folks: “The Bachelorette” finale is under way and of course we’re being inundated with sweeping helicopter shots of beaches and exotic locations while Chris Harrison is telling us how dramatic this upcoming episode will be. Classic opening for “The Bachelorette,” as always.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Readers (a few anyway) respond on Alvarez

    Last week I asked readers to share their thoughts on what the Pirates should do with the struggling Pedro Alvarez and we’ll get to that in a minute. For some background, Alvarez has two years left on his deal and makes a modest salary of 4.25 million this season (modest in terms of baseball salaries as paying me 4.25 million dollars for anything would be gladly accepted). His salary will likely increase the next two seasons through arbitration. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: As you may have noticed, I'm not Lisa
    Surprise, surprise, surprise! The big cheese called me, and asked if I would mind if my blogs appeared on Monday, instead of on Tuesday. I had no problem with that.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drespling.jpg Josh Drespling: Time flies when you're growing up

    Where does the time go? Just a moment ago, it was Monday, and now here we sit at the opposite end of another week. Seems like a matter of seconds and this month has slipped off into oblivion. I swear I only blinked and spring had been stripped from our hands. I don't dare close my eyes for another moment’s rest or my whole life may disappear.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: Grab your sisters and your mothers, it's an ice cream 'convent'-ion
    To keep my nice figure, I like to go to Forbush's at least once a week. This is also my entertainment for the night.  We sit there for an hour or so, watching people. Last week, a group arrived that I had never seen before.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • johnnyswim.jpg Tim Kolodziej: What is your definition of The Dream?

    Johnnyswim. I know, I know. Me neither. I had no idea what that word meant until a couple of months ago, when a friend of mine on Twitter was absolutely gushing about a great concert he had just seen.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Potato.jpg The Couch Potato: Does "House of Cards" crumble or stand?

    The old Couch Potato has been methodically working my way through the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards,” over the past few weeks and let me just say, it’s pretty good. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church.jpg Gary Church: It was an uphill climb, but this driver was a real trooper

    It's always a tragedy when I have to cover a drowning for The News. I hope I never have to go to Kennedy Mills again for this purpose. It is located at the bottom of a twisty, turning hill on Frew Mill Road.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for allegedly overstepping his legal authority with the way he's handled Obamacare. Good call?

Yes. Obama's been overstepping his authority since day one in office. It's time he pay the piper.
No. The allegations are ridiculous and the law suit is a waste of time and tax payer money.
I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of Obama, but the suit seems a little extreme.
     View Results