It was Super Bowl Sunday, and I was home alone.
With my husband out of town, Sunday evening was all mine to do as I wished. I was looking forward to having complete control of the TV remote.
I started the evening watching a recorded episode of "Downton Abbey," the current Masterpiece Classic series.
When 6:30 p.m. rolled around, the episode had just ended and I surfed the TV listings for quite a while. In the end, finding nothing else of interest to watch, I decided to turn on the Super Bowl game after all, but not really to watch the game.
I tuned in for the commercials.
I settled into hubby's comfy recliner, not with a beer and hot wings, but rather with some hot tea in a bone china cup and saucer, a thirst I acquire every time I watch Downton Abbey, with endless pots of tea being served on silver trays.
Advertisers pay huge sums of money to buy a minute of Super Bowl commercial time, and the results are often pretty entertaining. I wondered how much football I'd have to watch before getting to the first commercial and, as it turned out, I didn't have to wait long.
Ten minutes into the game – by my watch, not the game clock – the Baltimore Ravens scored their first touchdown and extra point. The score was 7-0, and it was time for a commercial break.
The first one was for an Audi vehicle, loaned to a high school boy by his dad. Driving Dad's cool car to a school dance apparently upped the boy's bravery quotient so high that he walked up to the school beauty queen and planted a big kiss on her, earning himself a black eye from her date and a feeling of extreme gratification as he drove home in the Audi.
Is this what makes a guy want to buy a car? Myself, I go for a well-placed cup holder, heated seats and automatic door locks.
There were also commercials for a Budweiser lager (consumed by people at a very exclusive club), M&M candies singing, "I would do anything for love" and a Hyundai minivan big enough to hold a five-kid football team.
My vote for the most stupid commercial of the night (so far) was the Go Daddy website development company, featuring a sexy girl and a geek making out, apparently meant to demonstrate this company's ability to blend sexy and geeky to give your small business a proper presence in the online world. ("When sexy meets smart, your small business scores.")
The prize for the most confusing commercial during this game break went to a Doritos ad featuring a pet goat that goes berserk after eating 156 bags of Doritos and attacking his owner. Not making me hungry for chips – at all.
Back to the game, and about 10 minutes later, the San Francisco 49ers scored a field goal. Score: 7-3, and time for more commercials.
During this break, a Pepsi commercial portrayed parents who come home to find junior having a very wild party in the house, but who are so excited by the taste of the new Pepsi Next soda they didn't notice the mayhem.
Next, a Best Buy commercial featured a store employee assisting a blond gal asking a lot of silly, humorous questions ("What's the cloud? Where's the cloud? Are we in the cloud now?"). It managed to be funny and still make the point that their employees are knowledgeable. I kind of liked this one.
Next came another Budweiser lager ad, the beer this time marketed to people who are loud, savvy and/or famous.
A number of network TV shows were also advertised during this break and often all night long.
Back at the game, at the end of the first quarter, it was time for another break: a "Fast & Furious" movie trailer and a car commercial featuring a genie granting the wishes made by the family of a RAV 4 owner. None have anything to do with the features of the car, or make me want to own one.
A few minutes later, the Ravens scored again, making it 14-3. Wow, that Joe Flacco quarterback guy has quite an arm on him!
During this commercial break, a Bud Light commercial follows a theme familiar on TV recently – that of fans who go to extremes to achieve the proper "mojo" during a game. This one involves a fan leaving the Superdome before the Super Bowl game begins to acquire a voodoo doll in New Orleans, only to find that an opposing team fan in the next seat has done the same thing.
Volkswagen featured an American speaking with a fake Jamaican accent, trying to cheer up his coworkers, and finally succeeding by taking them for a ride in his VW while the song, "Come on, Get Happy" plays in the background.
Later, a Coke commercial featured several traveling groups in a desert, racing to see who could get to a big bottle of Coke in the distance. Viewers were asked to vote for who should win the race – the Arabs on camels, the Indiana Jones types on motorcycles or the bus full of Las Vegas show girls.
Then the Ravens scored again, making it 21-3. Flacco threw a really long pass to Jacoby Jones, who caught it while doing a backward roll on the turf, landing on his feet without being touched by a defender, and popping up to run another seven yards for a touchdown. Incredible!
Next up, a Ford Lincoln commercial claiming the car represents a mix of beauty and brains. Thank goodness there was no techy kissing a supermodel. The beauty was portrayed with a shot of the car's bumper and the brains were in the dashboard GPS panel.
Back to the game, the Ravens attempted a fake field goal. While they didn't score or make their first down, it was exciting. This game was getting interesting!
With a field goal by the 49ers, it was soon 21-6, and I had by now become more interested in the game than in the commercials.
The Beyoncé halftime show was entertaining. She sang well and tossed her hair around a lot. At my age, I am just happy when I recognize the performer.
Instead of a beer and hot wings, I had the lady's version of home alone Super Bowl food: a glass of water and a microwaved frozen diet meal.
A halftime commercial featured another car commercial, this one for a Honda Accord, which actually talked about some of the features of the car that make it a "good value for the money," instead of portraying a kids' football game, a teenager getting a black eye at a school dance or a genie granting wishes.
By then, I had watched so many silly, artsy, ineffective commercials, I was tiring of them. And anyway, the game had gotten so interesting, by the second half, I began leaving the room during the commercials and watching the game, instead of the other way around! I had no particular allegiance to either team, but it had become more fun to watch than the commercials, and I was hooked.
The second half of the game did not disappoint, beginning with Jones running from one end zone to another on the kickoff return, scoring for the Ravens, and followed by a half-hour pause in the game when a power surge knocked out some of the lights in the stadium.
Then the 49ers made it interesting by scoring 17 points in a four-minute stretch.
No matter which team you were cheering for, the game was a nail-biter. I am glad I watched it, even though I was home alone. In the end, the Ravens became Super Bowl champs and I had spent an enjoyable evening.
I doubt I will remember any of those super-expensive Super Bowl commercials. I found myself wondering why they don't seem to make memorable commercials like, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing," and "Mother please, I'd rather do it myself," and "Where's the beef?" Even after all these years, I still recall they were for Alka-Seltzer, Excedrin and Wendy's fast food.
They would have been Super Bowl commercial winners.