I agree with Jess that one pro-life commercial during the Super Bowl isn’t going to have much affect on anyone’s worldview -but I am glad to know it’s coming. Commercials are always a problem when you watch sports with kids . We inevitably end up turning off the World Series to deal with the results of a commercial for a Halloween-themed episode of CSI, or soothing a preschooler distraught by pick-up trucks being driven into flaming buildings (a surprisingly common theme). I resent it. Do the networks not want to raise up a new generation of fans? I’ve long since accepted it, though. The WSJ did the math , and the average NFL game offers about an hour of commercials and just 11 minutes of football. In other words, the Colts and Saints may be playing, but the beer and the pick-up trucks win the game.
Generally, judicious use of the DVR is the answer, but that won’t fly at a Super Bowl party where half the crowd is watching for the over-the-top ads. Even better, in the course of teaching my oldest son (an 8-year-old newly annointed Saints fan) to interpret and deal with commercials, I’ve inadvertently taught him a little game called “guess what they’re advertising.” The harder it is to guess, the more intently he watches (oops). Which means that when Pam Tebow starts telling her story, he’s likely to tune in to try to figure out if she’s going to start hawking minivans or corn chips.
I could send him out for popcorn, or spend the evening with my hand poised over the remote, but that’s not really my style. We’ve gone over the facts of life any number of times, and although a football game may not be the ideal moment to define abortion, I’ll probably just roll with it. (Countless women in an endless series of restrooms have enjoyed my monthly explanations of menstruation to various accompanying children.) But CBS might have wanted to consider that forcing me to put down my nachos and pick up my politics mid-Super Bowl isn’t exactly going to put me in the mood to buy a truck. Although I guess it might make me want another beer.