Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lighten Up?

The Super Bowl contest is over and we know the winner.

It’s the Hyundai ad featuring Kevin Hart as an over-protective father. That’s the consensus pick for the best commercial aired during the Super Bowl.

Let me offer a summary, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Hart meets his teenaged daughter’s date at the door. According to the title of the commercial, it’s their “First Date.” Dad invites the young man to take his car, a new Hyundai. The aim of the ad is to promote Hyundai’s “find car” technology, which Hart activates. The rest of the commercial shows Hart spying on the two young people, which culminates with him hanging from a helicopter to head off any shenanigans that might take place while they’re parked in an isolated spot. You might say he took “helicopter parenting” to a new level. You might not.

(As an aside, we might pose the question of why the young man, having seen the girl’s father spying on them everywhere they’ve been, tries to take her parking. The young can be foolish, I guess. I'm not sure. It was so long ago ...)

It’s a funny ad.

These days, everything gets instantly analyzed, and people post their instant analyses on social media. So while many folks just thought the ad was funny, others stated their opinion that it promoted sexism and advocated stalking. Why was it sexist? Because it implied that a young woman couldn’t take of herself. Why did it advocate stalking? Because the father followed his daughter and her date around, that's why.

Another ad that sits near the top of most people’s Best Super Bowl 50 commercials list is one hawking Doritos. The ad has the admittedly ridiculous premise that an expectant father is eating Doritos in the examining room while the mother of his child is having an ultrasound.

(As an aside, let me say that I can understand how, having started, the man can’t stop. I don’t like Doritos, but if I eat one, I want many more. I’m suspicious of the spicy powder they put on them.)

Anyway, the father realizes that the baby’s image on the ultrasound monitor moves toward the Dorito he’s eating. So, being a man (wait—isn’t that sexist?), he naturally starts manipulating the baby’s movements by moving a chip around. Finally, the mother, having had enough, snatches the chip from the father’s hand and flings it past her feet. The baby on the monitor heads off, rocket-like, in that direction, as does the baby in fact.

This silly ad has been attacked by at least one silly pro-choice group for implying that a fetus might be alive.

I’m a liberal, progressive, and sensitive guy. I can see the points raised by the watchdogs.

Sometimes, though, I just want to laugh. I don’t want to laugh at someone else’s expense; I’m not in middle school, for Pete’s sake (I know, I just stereotyped middle schoolers as mean and heartless. They all aren’t. I myself have known a couple who weren’t). But I do like to laugh. And these ads were funny. The Doritos one was funnier, but that’s just me.

Besides, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Keep tabs on your kids, or they might end up in an ultrasound room watching their baby trying to grab some Doritos.

Oh, and if they do— please love ‘em anyway …

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