I have to admit I pretty much liked all the Super Bowl commercials I saw during Sunday's game.
Of course I dug the two Volkswagen ads: both the Darth Vader Passat one, and also the bug scooting across the universe to the tune of Black Betty. The Nacho ones were also good, though I can always do without the "Go Daddy" ads (sorry, just don't get it, though I like Danica Patrick).
But, I understand there has been some fuss surrounding the Pepsi Max ad. It is an ad with an African American couple, and the husband is trying to lose weight. So, the wife pretty much nags him at all occasions, grabbing food from him, or pushing her spouse into food (like a pie) until the end. That is when the couple finds themselves on a park bench, both gulping Pepsi Max, as to the husband's delight, no calories.
The rub, though, is in the cute jogger who sits on the bench next to the husband. The pair exchange smiles and the wife, jealous, hurls her soda can at her husband. He ducks. The jogger gets knocked off the bench, and out.
Well, I saw on MSNBC this morning that groups are protesting this commercial as racist in its portrayal of the domineering African American wife, as well as the ridiculously passive and clueless African American husband.
I guess I can sort of see their point, but I think those protesters are missing several bigger points.
First, I have been married three times, and I can safely say that the basic behavior exhibited by this couple is has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with men and women. Any one of you men out there who have been married for more than a couple of years know this to be true. Our mates have lists--called quaintly "honey-do's” in some circles--of things they want us to do. Mates like us to dress a certain way when we go out, and watch our diet, and encourage us to do some things, like get a promotion, while they discourage us from other things, like playing in too many fantasy leagues.
So, I cannot say about racist, but, at best, those same folks could have complained that the commercial was sexist.
But, it wasn't. In fact, well, it should be heartening that the African American couple can carry on just like any other couple, right?
What I really wonder, though, is where this same protesting group was when the Miller Lite commercial with the African American guy whose mother wants to open his beer for him ("Let me do that for you Peanut") was when that ad ran? For that ad played far more into the stereotype than the Pepsi one.
By the way, at the end of the Pepsi commercial, the husband grabs the wife's hand and pulls her away, as she is apologizing to the unconscious runner. Which kind of suggests that maybe even that commercial relationship is really not so bad.