Sunday, February 5, 2012

NBC's casts band together in a fantastic Super Bowl Promo

Suppose you're an actor from a show on a network whose ratings are tanking faster than the GOP's enthusiasm for Newt Gingrich. Suppose that your network has one property - NFL Football - that's keeping it afloat enough that your show can continue, even though there are less people in your audience than cast members on your show. You would want to celebrate that event, wouldn't you? Well, if you are on an NBC series, you would, and you would do it with song and dance.

This promo, like so many NBC productions, is weird, fantastic, and totally alienating to its target demographic. I'm prepared to assume that there is not a huge overlap between people who enjoy sharp, self-deprecating parodies of famous Broadway numbers and people who want to watch Tom Brady either crush or get crushed by the Giants. (And no, liking the Family Guy "Shipoopie" number doesn't put you in the first category.) There are moments when NBC seems more like a niche cable network than a big four station, and at this point they should probably just embrace that.

It's also a little puzzling that the cast of Community plays such a prominent role, given the show's recent disappearance from the primetime lineup. Maybe the screen time given to the adorable, talented cast, in combination with a brief, listless shot of the leads from Are You There, Chelsea? and Whitney (seriously, the gang from SVU was having more fun), is a sign that the study group is poised to return to the airwaves. Oh, and did anyone else find it weird that the only people who didn't sing were the successful, chart-topping singers on The Voice's judges panel? And that, right after Jenna Maroney and Jack Donaghy sang their lines celebrating mediocrity, the cast of Smash was introduced?

Besides a few perplexing bits, however, the ad was great fun. The stars of Up All Night and Parks and Recreation were almost as charming as the Community cast, and it was nice to see the hosts of Today perform with their late-night antithesis, the cast of Saturday Night Live. I'm hoping that Katrina Bowden's appearance as the scantily-clad Cerie is a sign of her imminent return to 30 Rock, because I was just wondering where she had gone. And the tag, starring a tap-dancing Jimmy Fallon, was a lovely ending. Here's hoping that next year he'll make it in time.

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