The Black Eyed Peas are playing the Super Bowl halftime show. To our way of thinking, Janet Jackson’s nipple is to blame. The one time in Super Bowl history when the halftime musical act did anything even remotely interesting, America freaked out so badly that the Federal Communications Commission fined CBS $550k and raised the fine for future ‘indecency’ violations twelve-fold, leading to radio shock-jock Howard Stern’s flight from terrestrial airwaves to Sirius Satellite Radio. Some political pundits even credit Nipplegate’s moral backlash for helping to re-elect President George W. Bush that November. Nice one, Timbersnake.
In the years since, the prevailing theme of Super Bowl halftime shows has been a neutered version of Jurassic Park: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, The Who… God bless ‘em all, but do you really have to be old enough to draw Social Security to take the half time stage?
We suppose we should be grateful that the relatively spry Peas are handling the duties this time around, but try as we might, we just ain’t feeling it. Fergie, Will I Am and whatever the other two cartoon characters are called just don’t float our boats. Vocals auto-tuned within an inch of their humanity, glorified ring-tones disguised as songs, some seriously insipid lyrics… Hopefully, this is like serving a sorbet in between courses – something to cleanse one’s palate before proceeding onto the next real item on the menu.
For our money, the only real reason to watch the Peas lip-synch their way through a medley of their latest and lamest is to find out whether you won your prop bet. What will Fergie be wearing when she first appears on stage? Will she or won’t she squeeze her arse into a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit at some point during the performance? Will she or won’t she soil herself in public again? Wait… Sadly, that’s not an option, but we’ll be watching for it nonetheless.
Then again, perhaps we’re being too harsh. After all, the networks could have swung that ‘decency’ pendulum all the way over to the right and invited back Up With People, who took part in no less than four Super Bowls between 1976-86. For those too young to remember, Up With People was a quasi-cult of shiny, happy, relentlessly upbeat young adults. They were the inspiration for the half-time act in The Simpsons Super Bowl episode that prompted Bart to utter the immortal phrase: “C’mon, snipers… Where are you?” Seriously, don’t watch the below video if you’ve already stuffed yourself full of beer and nachos, because they’ll be coming back up before the clip hits the halfway mark…