Monday, February 7, 2011

Paranormal Pop Column: The Super Bowl and the super nerd

Super Bowl XLV was a display of academic excellence; an adrenaline-fueled machismo machine  of behemoths crashing into one another, helmets crunching together, trash talk and manly tears of success - and failure - co-mingled with sweat and blood. The showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and victors the Green Bay Packers wasn't just a game of football, it was a symbol for football should be. It was a clash of titans (but not the Tennessee kind) on a field of battle populated by warriors.

Frankly, it was the kind of game that makes a man want to drop that hoagie or sub or grinder, or all three, just long enough to take a long draw on a bottle of beer, belch and grunt. And yet, behind the scenes of the most watched telecast in TV history, which net 111 million viewers, was a force underestimated and traditionally unwelcome at the big game: NERDS!

While those 111 million viewers gathered in front of televisions just to watch a hard-fought match, they were being subtly indoctrinated by geek culture to the tune of about $3 million for every 30-second commercial.

It is time to separate the athletes from the mathletes. Comic book heroes? Aliens? Jedi? Robots in Disguise? Seriously, are you ready for some football or are you ready for some World of Warcraft?

Ok, I kid. I joke about the nefarious nerds mainly because I am one.

Courtesy Screen Rant & Yahoo!
I was like a giddy little kid in Underoos watching the previews for comic book movies Thor, Cowboys and Aliens and especially Captain America (the brief shot of Hugo Weaving as Red Skull makes repeat viewings online worthwhile). The Super 8, Battle: Lost Angeles, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Transformers 3 spots (was that Lasorbeak? And did Optimus have an energon sword?) similarly triggered a nerdy response. But it was the Volkswagen/Star Wars spot featuring a pint-sized Sith lord trying to rock his Force powers - and god bless the loving father that let him think he did - that simultaneously warmed cockles and inspired chills.

<a href="" target="_new" title="">Disney: 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4'</a>
And between each spot, it was back to the game.

Although it's not necessarily a new development, I am always thrilled to witness the ultimate entertainment convergence that takes place at the Super Bowl. As a football fan, and a fanboy, it's dessert followed by candy to watch the game then see advertisements and first-look movie trailers for geeky movies.

Instead of the stereotype of the jock stuffing the nerd in a locker, the multi-million dollar spots have brought the brains, athletes, basket cases, princesses and, yes, even the criminals together for a breakfast club of awesome.

To put it another, geekier way, thanks to a bountiful viewership, Borg-like PR execs and marketing whizzes have assimilated us all into a giant pop-culture collective.

After all, what's the end result when time away from the game is spent nerding out over battling robots, a Norse god using a hammer against a giant metal Destroyer, pirates swashing and buckling, and an all-American, apple-pie uber-athlete taking down Nazis?

The game amongst warrior-athletes ends up feeling all the more epic and more adrenaline-fueled because the event is a Super Bowl with cameo appearances by super heroes and supernatural creatures.