Killing Halves

In the last decade, a true American pastime has become the dumping ground for the disgustingly raunchy, putrid, fermented, and sometimes botulent contents of every diseased bladder, colon, and portable colostomy bag the worldwide entertainment industry has to offer.

For what it’s worth, the assault is over 40 years old.  In the early days, it wasn’t so bad.  Over time, it’s gradually gotten worse by using the sneaky little social engineering device of incrementalism to transform the offensive monster from an innocuous little irritation to a full blown assault on the senses.

Yet still, we the victims sit in phlegmatic complacency and absorb it all as we remain oblivious to what’s being done to us.

Frankly, I’ve had it.  I can’t deal with just sitting back and taking it anymore.  As a result, I’m posting my treatise on the matter here on TharpSter.Org for the whole world to see. I want to start a grass roots movement to affect real and meaningful change, thus placing the status quo on a massive trebuchet where it will be subsequently launched into oblivion, never to be seen again.  Just to make sure visitors to the worldwide web read my own list of heresies nailed to the door, I’m going to tag this article with the term “naked chicks”.

For any of my millions of readers who watched Super Bowl XLV this last Sunday, you should know exactly what I’m talking about here.

Ladies and gentleman, it’s time to ban pop music from the half time show. It’s also time to ban hip-hop, rock, country, middle of the road, the old crooners, and the vast collection of eventual lounge lizards which litter the music industry today.

Whereas I could provide volumes on the reasons for this treatise, I’ll limit my dissertations to three specific reasons.

First of all, the sound engineering is always a glorious display of a suck-fest gone awry.  This comes from a combination of the logistics of putting the performer in the center of a stadium where the echo chamber reigns supreme.  In years past, it’s been common place for the artist singing the National Anthem to pre-record their performance and then lip sync the song when it comes time to belt it out.  This allows the sound technicians and whoever else involved in the production to manage the sound to avoid the echo and other auditory ticks.

For the same reason the National Anthem performers choose to lip sync, the quality of the half time performance is diminished.  For reasons unknown to me, the sound is never mixed correctly when it comes through my cable box and into my TV.  This was never more obvious than the other night when the Black Eyed Peas donned outfits born of a hybrid combination of what happens when Tron meets KISS in order to go put the death nail in any anticipation I ever had for a half time show.  Throughout the spectacle, it became painfully obvious to me that these people rely more on the aesthetics of their show instead of musical quality and the continued goal to keep Randy Jackson from calling in a “It’s a little pitchy, dawg” type admonishment.

But put the Peas aside for a moment and consider past acts.  Last year, it was The Who.  I’ve been a fan of theirs for quite a long time, and I know they are more than capable of stealing an entire broadcast.  I’m no sound engineer, but I can tell you when The Who sounds like crap.  They sounded like crap.

Consider the impacts the half time acts have on the viewership.  That’s my second issue.  When was the last time there was a good positive impact?  When was the half time act ever more memorable than the game?  There’ve been plenty of lousy games, and I would submit to you today that those games were more remembered for being a bad or slow game than they were for having a kick ass half time show.

But what are the memorable moments?  In 2008, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers put on a pretty good show.  Do you remember that one?  I’m no fan of the Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones, but it seems like they avoided screwing it up in 2005 and 2006.  The quality of those particular performances in the grand scheme of things escapes my memory and is covered up by all the other stuff that has happened.

In 2007 when Prince was doing a guitar solo on his customized guitar which looked like the symbol which served as his moniker for a while, a shadow of him playing was cast on a drape behind him.  The shadow was reported to have a phallic look about it.  Speaking of which, don’t forget Bruce Springsteen throwing his junk into the camera during his 2009 performance.

Naturally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the origination of the term “Wardrobe Malfunction”.  We have a 2004 performance by Janet Jackson to thank for that one.

Let’s recap.

Bad sound engineering and entertainers losing their grace are two good reasons for getting rid of the music programs during Super Bowl half time shows.

If it were just those two items, I could deal with it on the basis that shit happens.

W – T – F

One thing I can’t abide by is the continued insistence on the networks, the producers, the entertainers, and whoever else is involved in putting on the show to cross pollinate the demographic.

Uuummmm, what?  Yeah, I know.  Mark the time and date here and now.  The next time you either hear or see that term, remember the fact that you saw it first here on TharpSter. Org.

In 1986, Run-DMC got together with Aerosmith and gave a new birth to an old song.  In the process, Aerosmith got a comeback and Run-DMC and the rest of rap was given a paddle in the mainstream.  At some point between then and 2001, Aerosmith got the idea that they could perform “Walk This Way” with anyone.  As I watched them perform it with ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly, I came to the immediate conclusion that Aerosmith was back on drugs.

There is nothing worse in my musical universe when various artists exit their non-rock genre and try to take on the rock persona.  Celine Deion did it with an AC/DC song on a VH1 concert.  It happens all the time on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concerts.  It happens in the Super Bowl too.

One of the common tools used is that producers of the show will have the music choreographed.  We’re talking about music that shouldn’t be choreographed.  When KISS opened the 1999 Super Bowl, the field was filled with dancers (wearing KISS makeup no doubt) dancing cheerleader like moves to songs that were never meant to be danced to like that.

This last Sunday, Slash’s ascension onto the stage gave me a glimmer of hope the show wouldn’t suck.  Fergie had worked with him on a song or two in the last year.  Alas, the presence of the top-hatted one was short lived and the egregious affront to the senses continued.

In my own little world, the most heavily targeted demographic for which the NFL caters to for 20 weeks out of the year doesn’t appreciate the crap that has been thrown out there over the years.  If hybrid combinations of rock, pop, and middle of the road were really appreciated, one has got to think the ratings would be more evenly mixed among the genders, age groups, and too some extent socio-economic classes.

So here’s what you have to do.

Lose the music.  It doesn’t work.  You could bring back marching bands or even Up With People, but I doubt that would work.

Consider mixing it up a little.  You have a hundred yard field and plenty of space to work in a brilliant collection of features you could see in carnival side shows.  The guys from American Chopper could be somewhere around the 40 yard line playing a spirited game of Risk.  Monster trucks could be brought out to smash trendy hybrid or electric cars.  Gary Busey could be brought in to ride around the joint on a motorcycle while skillfully negotiating his way around planted street curbs and surly linemen.  Do you want little more flare?  Among all of the different activities going on throughout the field, set up stripper poles at ever 10 yard line and get them occupied with a plethora of thong-clad hootchies.

That’s right.  I used the word “hootchie”.  Google it and see where TharpSter falls on the results list.

Regardless of what should be added to the half time shows of the future, what’s going on now has got to stop.  Under the current paradigm, it’s just a matter of time before the NFL conscripts the likes of Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, Cher, Liza Minnelli, and other cross dressers to provide an unfortunate collection of genetic material charged with entertaining us during our mid-game run to the john.

You laugh, but it could happen.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

One thought on “Killing Halves

  1. I didn’t watch the show because I know there no show to match the one just ended nor the rest to come. Maybe the field should be covered with red carpet with ropes along the sidelines and a “person” with aspirations to interview those who’s who are breaking all kinds of rules to be known as who’s whats is a where. Any way, it was time to empty the bag…

    Ole Dad

    P.S. I didn’t realize you know all those big words. Does that cut down on your following?

Type something witty and eye catching right here: