When the lights go down on the Super Bowl halftime show tomorrow night, parents can rest easy knowing that all young and edgy artists have been exiled from the program. After the "wardrobe malfunction" of 2004, the NFL and CBS agreed to sign only safe, middle-aged rockers like Bruce Springsteen and The Who. Innocent young eyes will be fine for that part of the party, but then there are all of those expensive, look-at-us-in-all-our-naughtiness types of commercials that are sure to pop up throughout the evening.
The ads have long been a part of the Super Bowl tradition and most of them are both funny and (relatively) family-friendly. But there are always those landmines, whether it’s some sort of ménage a trios involving fruits and vegetables or a celebration of the fact that guys Roger Daltry’s age have nothing to fear other than the occasional four-hour erection. The only option, it sometimes seems, is to turn the TV off during commercial breaks, but this is social suicide if you’re at a party. (That’s why these companies don’t mind spending just under $3 million for a 30-second spot!) You can tell your kids to cover their eyes when Danica Patrick slips out of the shower or Tim Tebow starts preaching, but they’ll look through their fingers anyway. So, the question is, when something questionable comes on the screen, is it even worth barking orders at them? That kind of overreaction usually draws more attention, so probably not.
I suppose the answer is that old parental fallback: exposure warrants explanation. The latter can be controlled a lot easier than the former, after all, so why not put the focus on explaining it in kid-friendly terms? The happy medium is to proceed with caution without driving ourselves (or our children) nuts. And when the usual level of vigilance just isn’t reasonable, simply answer those questions they’ve asked or are visibly contemplating. Sure you could yell “Cover those eyes!” at every sign of cleavage, but to do so is to risk having you and your mortified family kicked out of the party before Pete Townshend launches into his first Viagrified windmill of a power chord. Not worth it, in my book.
So, enjoy the game, relish the return of “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” eat, drink, and be merry, and read more about the ads (see websites below) if you just can’t take the six hours of pregame analysis that will be on every channel tomorrow. And oh yeah… gooooo Saints!