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'Impromptu' sex show breaks out at Super Bowl

February 05, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Let me get this straight. CBS fostered an atmosphere for the Super Bowl that included a streaker and a topless singer and welcomed commercials featuring a flatulent horse, swearing children, a dog trained to grab a man's crotch, a guy squatting over an air conditioning duct for refreshment and to top it all off a monkey trying to get a woman into the boudoir.

Yet the network actually refused to run a commercial criticizing the nation's skyrocketing deficit because it was "too controversial?"

Since when did CBS start standing for the Columbia Bonehead System? I swear, Mike Wallace must be turning over in his grave.

What? He's not? Well, who knew?

On the slim chance you're seeking an explanation for all this, the Republican Congress last year tweaked some legislation so as to be very favorable to big broadcasters with big lobbying budgets. So of course CBS wouldn't want to do anything to offend Congress or the president, especially running an ad critical of them for spending our tax money like drunken sailors.

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Besides, there were too many hot-and-bothered monkeys whose stories needed to be told.

And too many washed-up stars who needed to try to give their careers a boost the only way they knew how: through the removal of clothing. I'm sure CBS was all prepared to accept congratulations for being "hip" and "edgy," but it all backfired. When their switchboards lit up with protesters offended by the "impromptu" clothing malfunction, the network changed its tune and pronounced itself greatly disturbed and outraged by the performance.

Had no idea a strip show was going to break out. Never would have condoned it. Apologies all around.

Sure. Curious, though. The singers were simulating sex all during their tunage, but since callers weren't specifically protesting this little tidbit, CBS saw no reason to apologize for that. Or the commercial sleazeorama put on by companies that were paying CBS $2.3 million for 30 ticks.

Heck, if it had worked, CBS probably would have no problem spinning a new reality series off the halftime shenanigans: "Touched by a Minstrel."

No, maybe I should drop this whole line of questioning and get back to the game, which, in a critical lack of judgment on my part, I was watching in a gathering where the women outnumbered the men.

I had a reason for liking the Patriots. My families are from New England, and as far back as the days when they were the Boston Patriots I've always marginally supported them, rooting for players like Reggie Rucker, John Hannah, Julius Adams, Leon Gray, Horace Ivory and Sam "Bam" Cunningham. So I have tradition, knowledge and institutional memory to sway my allegiance.

But the women were rooting for Carolina because "they are the underdog." Women never have a good reason for liking/disliking a team. They root for the underdog, or they try to find some "human interest" story on one side or another upon which to hang their hat. Or they take offense at a team because one of its players spit during the national anthem.

Man, I hate that. I've been an underdog all my life, but have any women ever supported me for it? Humph. The Sports Critic in High Heels was rooting for the Pats only because she had heard an interview with their quarterback and liked him.

"Really?" I said. "How so?" She went on to say "Well, his dad was a quarterback and his brother is a quarterback in college and he has real good character" and basically went on to give a dead-on description of the Colts' Peyton Manning.

So half the room is cheering for a Panthers comeback, and from behind me, this unexcited voice intoned every 30 seconds or so "This game is boooring."

Once I started to say, "You know something? You're right. This is boring. Now the E! channel, that's excitement. To hear the biography of some drunken movie star in the '70s who straightened herself out in the '80s only to fall victim to pain killers and shattered romance in the '90s. And to hear that exact same story, albeit with different names, played out night after night after night. Now that is something to really get a man's adrenaline flowing."

But I remained prudently silent. After a couple of years I'm starting to figure out this marriage thing.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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