Posts filed under 'Special Events'

World Cup 2010: The Commercializing

So the World Cup starts in two days. It’s exciting! We’ve been in a bit of a dead sprint getting all the pre–World Cup stuff done here at work, but now it’s really just time to wait till the games start on Friday (at 9:30 in the morning. I’m sure you can find a bar that has breakfast specials if you’re really interested in South Africa v. Mexico). So I thought I’d take a bit of a look at the TV aspect of the tournament, or at least the pre-tournament TV aspect: The commercials. I will not lie; there have been some fantastic commercials in advance of SA2010. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nike: Write the Future

It scares me a little to imagine how much this cost. Nike’s three-minute opus features about a dozen of the biggest names in the game, including a few who won’t be playing in South Africa (Brazil’s Ronaldinho, seen here doing his trademark samba over the ball, failed to make his team’s final squad of 23, because Brazil is just so good that they cut players other countries would kill to have. Also, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, the guy in orange at the beginning, has a broken arm and might not play). My favorite section is about 45 seconds in, when England’s Wayne Rooney sees the outcome of one play, if he makes a tackle or if he fails, and there’s a brief clip of American superstars (the closest thing we have to superstars!) Landon Donovan and Tim Howard laughing at him. Then, of course, he plays table tennis with Federer, which is hilarious. And I really enjoy the concept of Ronaldo: The Movie, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Basically, this commercial makes me want to watch soccer. And buy Nikes. Mission accomplished!

ETA: Seth Stevenson over at Slate points out that the commercial was directed by clever Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (hat tip to Friend of the ‘Faux Ali). Seth also spotlights another of my favorite moments in the spot and uses a particular bit of British football slang I love: “Later, Cristiano Ronaldo fantasizes that a successful World Cup will land him an appearance on The Simpsons (he nutmegs Homer, who exclaims, “Ronal-d’oh!”) and make him the subject of a blockbuster bio-pic starring Gael García Bernal.”

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5 comments June 9th, 2010

Further holiday cheer from Tifaux

I meant to put this up a few days ago, but the week got away from me. So now I’m coming down off my Avatar high (OMIGOD IT’S GREAT) and trying to fritter away two more hours before I can head to Penn Station and try to get to northern Virginia ahead of this blizzard making its miserable way to New York. Fucking winter.

Anyway, my favorite late show host, Craig Ferguson, celebrated his 1,000th show earlier this week, and to mark the occasion, he let his beloved gator puppet, Wavy Rancheros, host the entire show. And for the cold open, Wavy sang Trace Adkins’ jovial ’00s update of “Baby Got Back,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” accompanied by some bootylicious ladies and one of the guys from that time the show opened with a bunch of dudes singing “In the Navy.” YES.

I giggled so hard the other night I almost ruptured something. Seriously, a network TV host let A PUPPET host his entire show. That takes stones.

So I’m hoping I’ll get home within the next few hours and embark on many days of cooking, drinking, talking about other people’s weddings, and awkward family interactions. (There will be a Friday Night Lights post in the next few days, I SWEAR.) Meantime, happy holidays, everyone. I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year filled with TV hosts who do things like let puppets host their shows, because it’s FANTASTIC.

December 19th, 2009

SPORTS. In an inspiring way!

Friends, I would like to explain something. I was watching the Tour de France on Saturday morning, as I am wont to do lately, because it is exciting and involves lycra and fun, and there was this one commercial. It’s like two minutes long and I watched the whole damn thing to find out what they were selling. I can’t find the exact commercial; the only one I can show you is last year’s vintage. But you might like it, if you like sports or awesomeness or menz. The music you hear is courtesy of Explosions in the Sky, who you might recognize from Making Y’all Cry duty in episodes of Friday Night Lights, or, if you live in Austin, I assume they just pipe it into all public areas. So here’s the commercial. It’s for Versus, and I apologize for all the hunting, which isn’t a sport.

July 20th, 2009

ER: I’ve loved you so long

Hey, something great happened on TV last night! No, I mean other than Jon Stewart pwning Jim Cramer. Half of the original cast of ER showed up to help bury that creaky old workhorse. And I say that in the most affectionate way possible.

Yeah, my roommate and I are like the last people in America watching ER. We may be the only people who care that after fifteen freaking seasons, the show that actually was Must-See TV back in, um, eighth grade, is coming to an end. And we are not (or at least I’m not) particularly ashamed that we squealed like thirteen-year-old girls when George Clooney showed up.

Here’s the best part of last night’s episode, if you’re not interested in seeing Susan Sarandon cry or Eriq La Salle show up to needle Noah Wyle. Although that was great.

Also, and stop reading here if you DVRed the episode and actually care what happened, I appreciated that Doug and Carol never find out that the kidney went to Carter. I watched Private Practice earlier in the evening (after missing about a month’s worth of episodes. Strangely, this does not affect my comprehension), and when the hot cardiac surgeon that Addison was flirting with in the scrub room (DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING ABOUT HOT SURGEONS?!) turned out to be her high-risk pregnancy patient’s wannabe wandering husband, the contrivance actually leaped out of my television and smacked me over the head.

Like, I get it, Shonda. You think everything is connected. But sometimes everything is not connected. Would it have been dramatically weaker if the hot surgeon was just married to a lady we, the audience had never met? (Nice touch that they kept meeting in the scrub room, where he wouldn’t be wearing his wedding ring, though.) Would we have been okay with Addison sleeping with a married man if we hadn’t known that the man’s wife had had two miscarriages and was now on bed rest to keep their much-hoped-for baby inside her body until it’s viable? I don’t think so. As much as we think sometimes that there are only about 100 people in New York and everything else is done with mirrors, sometimes strangers happen, SHONDA. ER gets that. And while that’s not the only reason it’s lasted 15 years, it’s something I appreciate. Also, George Clooney. I missed you.

March 13th, 2009

Golden Globes: Sure. Whatevs.

I just thought that I’d throw some Golden Globe-related thoughts at you because, after all, it did happen. Bit of a snooze, but whatever. I guess I think that every year will be the year that Christine Lahti gets an award while in the crapper. But, sadly, it’s usually a lot of agent-thanking and the occasionally sassy comment that would break decorum at the notoriously prissy Oscars.

Since I have no organized thoughts on the proceedings (aside from the ones I tweeted with Sara last night — subscribe to our bustling Twitter feed here), here are my bulleted notes.

  • As long as Tina and 30 Rock win, they can give every other award to Charlie Sheen
  • As I said in the Twitter feed — I was prepared to take hostages if Jeremy Piven won. Luckily, no one has to die.
  • Glad to see Marisa Tomei getting nominated again — defeating those Jack Palance blunder rumors.
  • Sting looks like a werewolf, 20% through transformation.
  • Don Cheadle engaged in some awkward joshing of the Cohen brothers in his Burn After Reading intro. Uncomfortable, but harmless.
  • Anna Paquin? Huh. Questionable, but at least interesting. I’m usually happy to see freshman series win things.
  • Did Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore share a joint in the ladies room before presenting?
  • I really want to see In Bruges now (and Happy Go Lucky). Colin Farrell does best when he’s playing himself — a drunken hooligan.
  • I think Glenn Close got caught saying something political after that Israeli film won best foreign language film. She had a very scary expression.
  • Tracy Morgan’s acceptance speech has been the greatest thing to happen to this telecast. Cate Blanchett indeed!
  • Hooray for all the Slumdog Millionaire awards, especially the score one. Although, truth be told, I see like three movies a year and that was the only award-worthy one.

2 comments January 12th, 2009

Best of the rest: 2008, a year of shouting

My turn! I’m inadvertently piggybacking off Marisa’s bonus item, because these are the top 5 moments of 2008 that made me scream at my TV. Most of this is happy screaming; the vice-presidential debate would have landed around #6 just for the number of times my roommate hissed at me to stop leaping off the couch and shrieking at the box in the corner.

5. Justin Timberlake recaps a future, fictional SNL.

You know, there are a few things I love (actually, there are a lot of things I love: cheese, tiny blonde detectives, Olympic swimmers, my pajamas, Friday Night Lights, dark chocolate, romance novels, red wine…) and two of them are Justin Timberlake and Weekend Update. Oh, and Seth Meyers. And The Barry Gibb Talk Show. Okay, let’s just say I love a lot, a lot of things.

4. The Kevin Garnett puppet at the ESPYs.

Hey, it’s Justin Timberlake again! He hosted ESPN’s fake awards show this year. And he did a giant musical number that recapped the year in sports, including a reggae number featuring the Celtics’ big three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. My favorite moment is when Garnett, in the audience, makes the exact same face as the puppet. (Garnett is the puppet on Timberlake’s left.) This is the only time in recent memory when I could stomach listening to reggae.

3. Galactica gets to Earth.

Hey, remember back on New Caprica when we were getting high and rolling around naked? Yeah, that was so much more awesome than this.

Hey, remember back on New Caprica when we were getting high and rolling around naked? Yeah, that was so much more awesome than this.

There are a lot of my-mind-is-blown moments across the four seasons of Battlestar Galactica, starting with “Holy shit, Boomer is a Cylon!” all the way up through “Holy shit, soylent earth is people!” last June with a little detour on the way for “Holy shit, Apollo married Dualla!” and “Holy shit, Admiral Cain is batshit crazy!” Personally, I often find it to be a slack-jawed in awe and/or horror kind of show, like when one of the Cylons ripped out Tigh’s eye and when the latter four Cylons all got together to the tune of “All Along the Watchtower,” but this final, silent, grim vision of the future, following so closely on the heels of the scenes of wild, joyful celebration all over the ship when they find Earth (it kind of looked like #1, below), caused me to make some sort of stunned, keening noise I can only describe as agony.

2. Jason Lezak wins the Olympic men’s 4×100 free relay.



Even though we were watching it a couple of hours later, Roommate and I were on our feet, hollering like they could hear us on the other side of the world. The monster? Out of the cage!

1. Obama wins. WE ALL WIN.

Crying. Screaming. Weeping. Hugging everyone. Gesturing madly with cups of champagne. Crying and screaming some more. I only remember very vividly where I was, what I was doing, what I was wearing, a few moments of my life. Even having had quite a quantity of wine that night, I hope I’ll remember this one as long as I live.

3 comments January 7th, 2009

Breaking amazing news!


Barack Obama is going to be on The Daily Show tomorrow.

And my roommate points out that tomorrow is also when Friday Night Lights airs, so within two and a half hours we get Coach, Tim Riggins, Barack Obama, and Jon Stewart.

All I’m saying is I’m going to need a cigarette.

ETA: Barack will be appearing via satellite. Which makes sense, because New York is the farthest thing from a swing state (a monkey bars state?), but I’m a little disappointed. I guess I’ll have to drown my sorrows in Matt Saracen’s sad, adorable eyes.

1 comment October 28th, 2008

Peculiar Acceptance Speech, Even For the Tonys

I regularly watch the Tonys. Go ahead and laugh. I know it’s silly and a giant advertisement to go see a play and the awards are very predictable, but I have affection for the usual musicals and plays.

Last Sunday’s show featured the usual singing and dancing and Sondheim and Brits. It also featured the strangest acceptance speech I’ve ever seen. I did not understand what was going on. [kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

According to youtube, he’s quoting from “The Back Country” by Louis Jenkins. Okay then, Mark Rylance!

The only other thing I know about Mark Rylance is that he doesn’t believe Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare (thanks, New Yorker). I’m with Stephen Greenblatt on that one, though.

Anyway, the Tonys! Into the Heights and South Pacific and August: Osage County won, and I really want to see Passing Strange.

3 comments June 17th, 2008

Right before double-ya, double-ya two

I’m half paying attention to the Grammy’s and I just wanted to bring this to your attention. Tina Turner is 71, y’all. And she was still strutting around that stage and belting it out like someone who, well, wasn’t 71. I’m not saying there wasn’t some obvious plastic surgery, but if I can haul my carcass off my Craftmatic adjustable bed (or futuristic equivalent) at that age, I’ll be happy.

Anyway, I’d embed a clip but they aren’t up yet. Here’s Feist’s My Moon, My Man, though.[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Music snobby side notes:

  • Kid Rock — who the hell do you think you are? Trashy redneck greaseball does not equal smokey jazz crooner. Hands off the ghost of Sammy Davis.
  • Foo Fighters.  Winners of best rock album.  So beyond relevant.
  • I can’t tell whether it was funny or sad that Jason Bateman explicitly stated the lameness of his hosting gig.
  • It was strange looking at the heap of plastic, metal and feathers that used to be Cher.
  • Don’t pay attention to Kanye, he won’t keep acting out.

2 comments February 11th, 2008

National Anticlimax Day 2008

tafty.jpgI’m just going to say it — Super Tuesday was a snooze. It’s more like Snooze-per Tuesday. That’s catchy, right?

Shut up.

I watched CNN for a few hours before deciding to cut my losses. Here are some of my reflections on the coverage.

  • Did you see Mike Huckabee when he had his back to the camera? No hair! Bald like a baby! Not that I’m judging — I’m due to go completely bald sometime next month — but I just had no idea. He must be intricately coiffed before every single appearance.
  • John King is a mesmerizing man to look at. Not in a swoony, dreamy way necessarily. But he just has this bone structure that looks like he should be a GI Joe villain and his eyes were all multiple layers of blue. Like he has seventeen irises.
  • No matter how many times Wolf Blitzer calls his crew “the best political team on television,” no one is just going to take him at face value.
  • It was really weird to hear things like “North Dakota will be carried by Barack Obama.”
  • This was a lot of hoopla for a day that really decided nothing.

February 6th, 2008

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