The Critical Mass

I Don’t Pull Out But My Couch Does

I arrived at the neighborhood Sunday Super Bowl party more than three hours before the kickoff. Special guests included members of a local barroom trivia team that calls itself “I Don’t Pull Out But My Couch Does.” We sat in front of the 47-inch TV like zombies until, somewhere around the scintillating appearance by Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston huckstering their upcoming new film, someone’s head rolled off of her shoulders and hit the floor like a bucket of fried chicken.

This was nonsense passing as entertainment. Pointless chats with dull celebrities. Adam Sandler? Who wants to see if he can catch a football? There is a reason you never see Sandler in the same room with Pauley Shore. Or Carrot Top. Not so deep into this pre-game somnambulation, I had an epiphany: You could take everything we were seeing, set the controls for the heart of the sun and shoot it into space, and western civilization would run much more smoothly. Kind of like unscrewing the carburator and blowing the gunk out of the fuel lines.

Can we be rid of the aging jocks, please? There’s nothing more insincere than a bunch of ex-athletes stuffed into suits, sitting around a highly polished glass table in a TV studio and laughing at their own jokes.

Franco Harris, the old Pittsburgh Steelers running back, looks a little too much like Dom DeLuise these days. The ex-jock fest included Michael Strahan wearing a Terry Bradshaw wig. And Aniston dressing up Sandler in what was supposed to be a wig representing Packers linebacker Clay Matthews’ blond hair, although it looked more like Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World. If a joke’s that great, I guess you can use it twice.

Each painful moment of skit news was excruciatingly self-reverential. Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jerry Johnson scrambled over each other to see how many boxes of delivery pizza they could grab, like college kids who hadn’t eaten since the last keg was drained the night before.  With these guys there’s no separation between news content and commercials.

The air was drained from the room with the shameless shilling of inane TV shows featuring vapid celebrities – the vast majority of them from Fox Network shows of which I’ve never heard. A woman from the Fox show Glee, the show coming on after the game, sang “America the Beautiful.” I hope they didn’t turn down Tony Bennett to make that happen.

Those commercials that everybody acts like are The World’s Most Incredible Entertainment? Folks, they’re merely amusing, if that. It’s not Monty Python, or Dr. Strangelove. Those talking babies are past their expiration date.

Then, a moment of supreme incongruence: Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly interviewed Barack Obama, a very intelligent man who showed the patience of an adult dealing with a child. O’Reilly treated the president rudely, interrupting him because Obama didn’t seem to want to agree with O’Reilly that Muslims had no business running Egypt.

Then, back to the pre-game. Christina Aguilera forgot the words to the National Anthem. I wonder if they still paid her (Or if the Black Eyed Peas were forced to pick up the electric bill on those Tron-inspired costumes after the group’s stunningly bad halftime performance; don’t they have people telling them during rehearsals when something looks and sounds like hell?) Guy Fieri, the screamingly mediocre TV celebrity chef, actually made sliders out of meatballs and Ritz crackers. Is this guy a chef or a boy  scout troop leader? Actor Sam Elliott introduced the Green Bay Packers at the “Pre-Kick.” The Pre-Kick? Is that a tradition similar  to the taking of the halftime dump?

Civilization has descended to such lows that this is an acceptable way for Americans to spend a Sunday afternoon. Yet there’s no one to blame but myself.  Or you, because we need to spread around the blame here. You get what you settle for. I could have been reading a book. Instead, I sat there, like a piece of furniture. I Don’t Pull Out But My Couch Does.