February 02, 2015 07:00 AM

The heavily previewed commercials that aired during Sunday’s Seahawks-Patriots game collectively made for a strange night, veering from big-scale whimsy to big-scale heartbreak.

Especially in the first half, you were either reaching for the bowl of chips or a box of Kleenex and wondering if you should call your dad long-distance.

The standouts:


Because The Brady Bunch is the sitcom that just keeps on giving. Was this any more ridiculous than the original? If you think yes, then you’ve forgotten Cousin Oliver and “porkchops and apple sauce.” Kudos to Steve Buscemi for his brave impersonation of the original Jan, Eve Plumb.


Because now Steven Spielberg will never have to make a movie that ends with a puppy being rescued from a drooling wolf by a team of horses. Although wouldn’t a wolf skip all the confrontational huffing-and-puffing and just leap out and eat the puppy?


Because this was possibly one of the most devastating commercials of all time. It was like turning on the news and learning that Peter Pan had just died. Maybe not the best thing to do to an audience during a Super Bowl, but quite an honest wallop nonetheless.

Nationwide (again)

Because Mindy Kaling prevailed over a comically labored concept by just being herself, or just playing the version of herself that we assume is Mindy Kaling. And because Matt Damon popped up, just as he did in Interstellar, only he was awkward and nice, just like we know beyond a doubt the real Matt Damon is. Doesn’t our “meta” age drive you crazy?


Because it’s better to have Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman feuding over wi-fi reception than Kim Kardashian presenting herself with glacial irony to discuss data storage. Too soon for that, Kimmy. Too soon.


Because a nicely shot car travelog, with This Land Is Your Land sung gently on the soundtrack, can be a soothing way to prepare for an exit from the commercial onslaught of Super Bowl Sunday.


Because someone or something needed to satisfy the demand, or perhaps just slight unconscious itch, for an ad as startling and freaky as a traditional GoDaddy Super Bowl ad. Well, this was certainly it.

GoDaddy’s canceled spot, by the way, was sadly misunderstood as a callous gag about a Budweiserian puppy, when it was all about money madness. If George Orwell wanted to write Animal Farm today, he would probably think, “Oh, everyone will just hate it, anyway,” and go out and mow the lawn instead.

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