More Like “Stupid Bowl”: A Guide to Skipping the Super Bowl
This Sunday, around 160 million Americans will tune in to watch the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. It will likely be the most-watched television program of the year and will set the tone for ‘water cooler talk’ around the country for the next week or so. But there are plenty of good reasons to join the half of the country that ignores the big game: Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft (QB, coach, and owner of the Patriots) are all Trump supporters. The NFL fleeces taxpayers for new stadiums while claiming tax-exempt status for itself. The league acts on things like brain injuries, sexual assaults, and domestic violence only when they become wide-spread PR problems. The game will be overstuffed with corporate branding. The commercials will be crass and cynical attempts to influence American culture in the name of selling more candy or corn chips or soda pop. The commercials will probably suck. The game will probably suck. The announcing will definitely suck. The Packers didn’t make it!
And then there is the half-time show featuring Lady Gaga. There is much speculation that she might use the platform to make some kind of anti-Trump protest. Whatever happens, everyone should fully expect all social media to become completely unbearable and stupid and hateful for the duration of her performance.
So why not avoid the hassle all together? You can do something more useful with your time and get the smug, hipsterish satisfaction of being out-of-touch with the latest hot #trendingtopics. To help you out, we’ve put together a brief guide to blowing off the Super Bowl, Milwaukee-style.
What else is on? If you’d prefer to spend your Sunday at home, there are plenty of other options on good ol’ over-the-air television. Instead of the game, you can watch hour-long blocks of "Becker," "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Barney Miller" on channel 6.2, Antenna TV. Call it a “grumpy male protagonist” marathon. If you are skipping the Super Bowl because you feel that football has gotten too soft, you can slake your thirst for blood (and kicking) with a four-hour block of "Walker, Texas Ranger" on channel 24.3. Of course, the clear choice here is on Comet TV, channel 24.2, where you will find SEVEN straight episodes of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," starting at 10 a.m. and running past midnight. And for those of you with cable, there is always the Puppy Bowl.
Where can I go to drink? Doubtlessly, just about every bar television in Milwaukee will be set to the game on Sunday, but there are a few watering holes in town that are entirely screen-free. You can go cocktailing at Bryant’s or At Random (if it’s open) or find a make-out buddy in the semi-private booths at Two in Riverwest. If you’re into low-lighting, craft beer and good whiskey (they have over 400 on hand), you can also check out Palm Tavern in Bay View, another local television-less option.
What’s going on outside? The weather forecast for Super Sunday is pretty mild by Wisconsin winter standards, so get your ass outside! Did you know there was a treasure that was (probably) buried somewhere in Lake Park in 1981 that no one has ever found? With the weather and the game, Pokémon activity in the park will probably be minimal. Get a heard of your football-hating friends together and give the neighbors something entirely new to complain about.
Can I see Some Oscar-Nominated Movies? You sure can. La La Land, nominated for over 700 Academy Awards this year, is playing at the Oriental, Times, and Avalon. Also at the Oriental is Best Screenplay nominee 20th Century Woman; Jackie, which earned Natalie Portman a nod for Best Actress; and Lion, which is up for Best Picture and acting prizes for Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. At the Downer, you can catch Manchester by the Sea, up for six award, including Best Picture, Director, Actor (Casey Affleck), Supporting Actress (Michele Williams), and Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges); or Moonlight, up for 8 awards including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris).
Can I help to save our country and defend the Constitution? Well, you can certainly try. You can spend Sunday evening checking out the many ways you can help in this new era of national panic, a good place to start is right here. You can also write letters to your elected officials, and also write short scripts for phone calls to their local office for the week to come. You can clean some of the crap out of your closets and list it on eBay and have some or all of the sale price go to charities like the Cream City Foundation, which fights for equality and welfare of LGBTQ+ people in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can join or donate to the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin or Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
Can’t I just pretend the Packers are playing for another ring and that the country is in competent hands? Well, you can try. Slopping up some Miller Lite and checking out Super Bowl XXXI or Super Bowl XLV on youtube would be a good start. Just remember to return to reality in time for work on Monday.