In all of my years as a theater critic, I can state categorically that I have never seen a finer show named after a chip.
I am referring, of course, to the Doritos Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Like all great Super Bowl halftime shows, this one was so … subtle. So understated. So full of excellent lip-synching. Not since the “Hot Legs Partially-Nude Elvis Impersonation Revue” at the Grand Caligula Casino in Las Vegas have I seen anything quite so profound.
The performance begins with a flashback in which Indiana Jones is seen in the jungle, snapping his whip at some ferns and shrubs, which he has mistaken for enemies. He enters a temple only to shout, “The Super Bowl trophy is gone! Come on everybody! We’ve got to find it!”
Suddenly, we are transported to Joe Robbie Stadium, which has been transformed into the Temple of Patti LaBelle. It is populated with the entire cast of the Copacabana’s All-Headdress Nightclub, including the bouncers.
One of the bouncers hands the trophy to another bouncer, who commences to bark like a dog. This, apparently, is the way Bad Guys express triumph in the Temple of Patti LaBelle.
Patti LaBelle shoves her way through the bouncers and begins singing a song which goes “re-re-re-re-re-re-re-release yourself!” which is apparently Bad Guy language for, “We have stolen the trophy, and we are willing to sell it to the San Diego Chargers.”
At this critical juncture, Indiana Jones arrives at the stadium via parachute, having apparently been unable to score tickets. His arrival causes massive consternation among the bouncers at the Temple of Patti LaBelle, despite the fact they outnumber him 800 to one.
Or 800 to two. He has a female companion named Marian whose job it is to shout, “Indy! Indy!” every few seconds.
Then, Indy is attacked by a bunch of Bad Guys dressed up as either kung fu warriors or killer monks. He dispatches them by the dozens, using no weapon except choreography.
Marian manages to get captured, despite her repeated invocations of the word, “Indy! Indy!” Now Indy has to beat up about 20 Bad Guys, which he accomplished mostly by twirling.
Marian does her part by setting a bad guy on fire with a torch. This, to me, is the essence of why the arts are so rewarding: I can sit at home, eat chips, drink beer and watching a man catch fire on live TV.
The flaming Bad Guy then plunges into a pit, which is apparently the same one the San Diego Chargers had fallen into.
Indy and Marian grab the trophy, escape the Temple and run all over the field. Then, in a predictable plot twist, they find themselves in a nightclub starring Tony Bennett. Can you believe their rotten luck?
Indy and Marian face many perils here, the main one being that Tony can’t hear the music and seems to be singing “Caravan” while the pianist is playing “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Suddenly, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval delivers a blazing trumpet solo. I have no idea how this was allowed to happen. Sandoval is a musical genius and thus does not belong within miles of a Super Bowl halftime show.
This lapse into good taste lasts for only a few seconds, because suddenly, Indy and Marian get up and pretend to dance. They leave their Super Bowl trophy sitting on their table, because, frankly, they are morons.
However, a bunch of Mighty Morphin Power Monks burst into the nightclub and proceed to toss the trophy to each other, thus completing more passes than Stan Humphries.
Marian varies her performance by yelling, “Jones! Jones!” thus showing her versatility.
Then a bunch of sabre-wielding dervishes attack Indy, and he dispatches them with yet more deadly dance steps, although frankly, by this time, I was hoping he would whip out a gun and shoot them.
He recaptures the trophy and announces, “I’m giving it to the winner of Super Bowl XXIX.” In hindsight, he should have just called Steve Young up to the stage right then and there, given him the trophy, and sent everyone home.
But no, there was still the grand finale to get through, which consisted of another song, some laser lights, and a bunch of flash-pot explosions. This created so much smoke that the field was obscured for the second half kickoff. The cameras could barely peer through the murk. It hardly mattered since most of the country had already switched over to “60 Minutes.”
On a final note, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kathie Lee Gifford’s spectacular rendition of the National Anthem at the beginning of the game. This too was subtle and understated. Ms. Gifford’s quiet, folksy voice was accompanied only by a 1,000-piece orchestra, the entire cast of “Annie,” the Three Tenors, the Village People, and the massed howitzers of the U.S. Sixth Cavalry.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.