TV & Showbiz

People Still Don’t Understand the Super Bowl isn’t Family TV


For days I’ve watched people complain about the “inappropriate nature” of the Super Bowl halftime show. Their complaints don’t earn much sympathy from some.

Did you watch the Super Bowl halftime show this year?

Not me. I didn’t watch the game. I didn’t have any real connection to either team. (But I did know, at least, that the Kansas City Chiefs are out of Missouri, not Kansas.)

But I certainly have heard plenty of complaints about that halftime show. People got all up in arms over whether the show was inappropriate.

This year’s show featured Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. (I guess I’m officiall old: I’ve heard of Lopez but not Shakira.) Their performance left social media buzzing almost immediately.

The Chicago Tribune put it this way:

It’s telling that the two words being attached to Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV halftime show are “disgusting” and “empowering.”

The debate began over whether the overly sexy performance was a celebration of womanhood or a setback for #MeToo.

A popular meme compares the shirtless, tattoo-covered Adam Levine from last year’s show with Lopez and Shakira. The text points out that the women complaining about the 2020 show had their mouths watering over Levine in 2019.

And, of course, the classic complaints about whether such a performance has a place in a show that’s supposed to be watchable by the whole family.

Who said the Super Bowl was a family-friendly affair?

When you run a blog for as long as I have, you sometimes realize you’ve covered a topic you forgot about. In this case, I actually wrote about the Super Bowl and the notion that it wasn’t “family-friendly” a long time ago.

It was 2013…seven years ago, in fact. That was nine years after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

Simple math tells me, then, that it has been 16 years since a female singer’s bare breast was exposed on national television. Parents of young children, therefore, knew long before those children were born that live TV isn’t always a family-friendly place.

It shouldn’t be an alien concept at this distance.

The reason I know I wrote about it, in fact, is from a comment that just came in on Monday to that 2013 post. Yes, seven years after I wrote it, someone found it by a Google search.

My commenter, Tiffany, said she thought it was a great show. But she wishes some of the people complaining today would read my post back then.

“I wish more people would have read it 7 years ago when their precious children were newborns to prepare themselves for the fact that the world does not, in fact, revolve around their offspring and not all media on network television needs to be catered to their consumption,” she said.

You can argue to your heart’s content whether the Super Bowl’s halftime show this year was appropriate. You can debate whether gameplay was an exercise in Christian ethics. And you can even rate the commercials on how well they fit for viewers of all ages.

But if, by now, you expect anything you see during a Super Bowl to be suitable for all audiences, you’re just ignoring history.

And it might be time to adjust your expectations.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.