There was a lot of violence yesterday during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast, although most of it happened during the commercial breaks. People were kicked in the testicles, beaned with Pepsi Max cans, and pummeled with a significant length of fresh-cut tree-trunk.
Roseanne Barr was the victim of the latter in a Snickers commercial called “Logging.” The ad also featured Richard Lewis, the self-identified whiny, hypochondriacal, paranoid New Yorker whose schtick you might remember from various guest appearances on late night television in the eighties and nineties.
To me, there’s a whiff of the political in these ads. Roseanne Barr originally achieved fame as star of the ABC sitcom Roseanne. In that show, she portrayed the wife of a blue-collar character played by John Goodman. The show exposed the plight of working-class women in America and, in its late stages, addressed such issues as gay marriage. Roseanne achieved infamy when, in 1990, she attempted to sing the national anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game, forgot the words, and then—in what many so-called patriotic Americans considered the most egregious of her actions that day—made fun of baseball players by spitting and grabbing her crotch. George Bush the first called her performance “disgraceful.” (Not that Obama had anything to say, by the way, about Christina Aguilera dicing up the anthem last night.)
Snickers’ ad then seemed like a ritual of revenge, and a power fantasy of class warfare. The outspoken Barr/Roseanne awkwardly holds a chain saw at a logging camp and then gets her comeuppance on the business end of a swinging log, one enormous member.
Lewis, on the other hand, is addressed simply as all wrong. To a conservative audience, he is the classic stereotype. If Lewis is most remembered as complaining about all his imaginary ailments, then a significant portion of the audience seeing this commercial identifies that ailment as liberalism — that is until Lewis, whining over having to do some real work amidst these burly, blue collar guys and incapable of negotiating the tool at hand, turns into a burly guy himself after a bite of the candy bar.
And all this happens during a break in the Super Bowl! How could red-blooded, faux patriotic right-wing America not have cheered! In some unspoken part of their soul, they must have said: “Sweet, Snickers gets me!”
— Brent Cottle
Snickers “Logging” ad at YouTube.