The Superbowl is never without its share of controversy.  Power issues. Blown calls.  And, of course, the commercials!

What am I talking about?  Well, find out for yourself.  Presenting, the most controversial ads in superbowl history…

Holiday Inn compares itself to a post-op transexual:

Apple’s depresssing misstep:

The great Fred Astaire dances with a vaccuum cleaner, compliments of Dirt Devil:

Lifeminders’ self-proclaimed worst commercial.  Coincidentally, they’re no longer in business:

Just For Feet’s superbowl commercial was so controversial, it’s almost impossible to tack down.  Check it out here:

Ah, women.  So bossy and temperamental.  So says Pepsi:

Snickers manages to simultaneously offend homophobes and the LGBT community:

The HomeAway test baby:

Save the whales money with Groupon!:

Free Tibet!  I mean Save with Groupon!:

Ah, Ching Ching and Ling Ling!  We hardly knew you:

This year’s Volkswagon ad featuring a white guy speaking with a Jamaican accent (and attitude) sparked controvery.  Some found it racist.  Interestingly, all of my Jamaican friends found it hilarious:

And then there was this year’s Go Daddy ad that featured model Bar Rafaeli making out with some uber-nerd – complete with close-ups of them tonguing each other.  Yech!:


Our walk down Atlantis memory lane continues with…


There invariably comes a time in every season when the producers take a look at the bottom line and realize they’re over-budget and need to come up with a relatively inexpensive episode to put the show back on track – and, more importantly, ensure there is enough money for the big season-ender.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  And just how desperate depends on how much money you’re looking to save.  If you’re in not bad shape, you can look to do bottle show, an episode that takes place on the existing standing sets.  No extra builds or moves to exterior locations are a big money-saver.  An even bigger money saver is to eschew the bottle show in favor of the dreaded clip show, an episode that makes use of pre-existing material to tell a story. Sometimes, they can be great.  While other times…well, they can be pretty forgettable.

One of the keys to producing a good clip show (relatively speaking) is to have a great story at its core – and, in the case of Inquistion, we had a pretty good one: Finally, after so many years of playing the role of galactic policeman, the Atlantis expedition was being held accountable for their actions.  One the one hand, they had successfully defended the inhabitants of the Pegasus Galaxy from the wraith.  On the other hand, at what cost?  And there’s also an argument to be made for the fact that their presence in the Pegasus Galaxy only exacerbated the problem.  It was an interesting debate that fandom had been heatedly discussing for years and, while there weren’t any easy answers, there were some convincing arguments on both sides.  This then was the premise of the episode – at turns controversial and complex.  But, hopefully, all sorts of entertaining as we would include flashbacks to various spectacular situations from seasons past.  As clips shows went, it was a tall order – and it happened to fall on first-time writer – and longtime Stargate script coordinator Alex Levine.

Alex was more than up to the challenge.  It was a tough script but, ultimately, a great learning experience – as he explained on his blog:

“Inquisition’ is a clip show, [and] that didn’t make it any easier to write. You see, there’s a particular aspect of writing clip shows that’s extra tough, and that is the part where they move in and out of the clips. Of course Paul Mullie, who did the re-write and produced the episode, has lots of clip show experience, but this was my first attempt. And writing specs and other scripts didn’t prepare me one bit. So let’s just say it was a great learning experience.

“At the end of the day, the writing staff was very kind. They met with me on my first draft, gave me notes and some time to re-write the script. I did another draft too on another round of notes. In the writing I found some things about the characters and the story that worked well; other stuff was discarded. There’s certainly some of my writing in the finished product, but I must credit Paul Mullie and the writing staff with much of the episode’s success. And my experience is not unlike other first time writers of any show. Stargate is no exception.

“The coolest part of the show, which is always why people watch clip shows, is that you’ll get to see pretty much every cool space battle we’ve done. There’s also great acting in this one — keep your eyes open for the character of Myrus (the Council Liaison), who is played by my real life brother, Tobias Slezak (different last name). He did a great job.”

Many of you will recognize his brother, Thobias, from SG-1’s Heroes in which he played the part of Tech Sergeant Dale James, or more recently from the SGU episodes Intervention and Visitation in which he played the part of Peter, or, perhaps even more recently, from my Superbowl get-together where he played the part of “Guy scoffing down doughnuts” –

1As for brother Alex, his writing career continued to blossom post-Stargate with credits on King, The Border, Verdict, Flashpoint, and an upcoming scifi series.

I knew him when…

21 thoughts on “February 5, 2013: The Superbowl’s Most Controversial Ads! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past continues with…Inquisition!

  1. Those commercials are terrible. In particular, the GoDaddy one with the kissing is pointless and gross. I guess the point is if people are talking about you then it works, but ads like that make me determined NOT to use their services. I did the the RAM truck ad was very well executed.

    I remember when “Inquisition” first aired thinking “oh no, not a clip show, THIS close to the end of the series!”, but in the end it turned out pretty good, since there was enough meat in the main story that it had a point, and that the clips they used were great. It definitely a reminder that real life involves a lot more shades of grey in morality than what we would like to think.

  2. I wonder who the ad agencies are for some of these; they should be fired!

    Inquisition was suprisingly, well, ok. 🙂

  3. The Go Daddy one is just disgusting. I have no idea what Go Daddy is because I’ve never looked into whatever it is they’re selling since their ads are obviously not aimed at me. I mean, do they realize how much that ad dried up all the girl bits in the nation in just 15 seconds? Totally gross.


  4. Hey Joe

    Would that be one of your “upcoming scifi series”?
    Enquiring minds want to know!


  5. All I know about the Superbowl ads is that I loved the Clydesdales one to bits! And yeah, that Go Daddy slurpy one was disturbing. ewwwww – if I ever was to need their services (whatever it is they do) I certainly would turn to their competitors after watching that.

    Inquisition wasn’t a bad episode after all, I really liked the idea of a trial although I thought they should have faced actual consequences. But Woolsey was great using his lawyerly skills and I did love that Woolsey/Sheppard Denny Crane cigar moment at the end. 🙂

  6. Not sure what it says bout me that the whale one horrified me and the Tibet just somewhat offended, but I hope the brainless idiots behind them got smacked. I thought the hair pulling one pretty funny, far more homophobic-poking that offensive to gays.

  7. I missed some of the commercials, with most of the ones I saw being in the meh category. Budweiser came through of course, and a couple of others were humorous.
    as for Inquisition, not bad for a clip show. then again, the stargate franchise always worked to make clip shows a bit more than the “character a is in a coma so characters b-s reminisce about what a means to them.”
    And somehow I lost another day. Review of Iron Man? What is it about Monday that I keep blanking out? Ah well. I will find some way to do penance I guess. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  8. “and an upcoming scifi series.”

    yes, “what” sci-fi series…. please? Need details… 🙂

  9. My son had a website through Go Daddy. Go Daddy does web hosting. I’m with you about the Go Daddy commercial Yech. I kind of feel sorry for the actor though. I mean, the whole world is grossed out by him but I hope he gets a lot of money for being humiliated.
    I liked the VW one but the others, not that great. I’m surprised some company okayed these commercials at all but especially for an expensive spot like the Super bowl.

    gforce: Yay for your stepmom!

    A Clip Show! I always think of them as a “Flashback Show”, so thanks for the correction and the education. Sometimes a clip show is great to review a show. Especially, if you’ve started a series in the middle. A “Bottle Show”? You mean like being trapped in the sinking puddle jumper? (Grace Under Pressure)

  10. Ah, women. So bossy and temperamental.

    And being assaulted is just hilarious.

  11. @ thornyrose – I missed the entire game, commercials and all. But the ads are all over the net and tv now, so I’ve seen most of them, at least in part. The only two I really like are the Bud horsie and Mercedes-Benz deal with the devil ones. In fact, I thought that MB commerical was damn clever:

    But on a different – or maybe not – note, I just have to share this with those who have not yet seen it. CAUTION: offensive language…but man, it’s pretty funny (no one actually died in the incident, despite comments to the contrary).

    Homeless hatchet guy hitches ride and saves woman from racist Jesus:




  12. @Tam Pretty soon, we’ll be like Minority Report. Thought police/pre-crime.

    @GForce Glad to hear.

    As clip-shows goes, I’m generally not a fan. But what I genuinely liked this episode was that it showed that Woolsey really was behind our team and he got to sport some of his strengths.

  13. @ Tam Dixon – I don’t think people were grossed out by the actor (at least not on my part), but it was the sound effects and the close-ups that grossed me out. Same two, and a sweet little kiss (even on the lips), and I wouldn’t have had a problem with it at all. In fact, it may have been quite endearing. But it was the combination of everything that just about made me wanna puke.


  14. Being the episode to reprise one of my favorite lines, “Major Marks, please make that ship go away.” The end reminded me of LA Law, but not as funny as Bill Shatner.

    I didn’t watch much of the “Super Bowl” therefor, I missed most of them. I did see the VW commercial. While I thought it amusing, and being from Minnesota(h), I appreciated the juxtaposition, but thought not much of it unlike the professionally offended. I have a friend from MN who lived a few years in the hills and can speak it too.

  15. Ok Joe, I taped the game, just so I could fast forward to the commercials, but now I can just tape over it all, thanks for testing the commercials for us, and Cookie is probably glad it was not him…now i want cookies.

  16. The GoDaddy ad is offensive on several levels. First, it’s clear we’re SUPPOSED to be grossed out by the fact that guy kissing the girl is outside of the societal norm for attractiveness, and therefore not deserving of someone like her. Another is that it’s just a gratuitous prolonged close up shot of two people kissing. I suppose that’s to hammer home the point of number one. Another is that this is an ad for a webhosting/domain name registration company and this has NOTHING to do with it. But I guess the saddest thing is that I expect that there’s a significant portion of the population that thought this was funny as heck.

  17. I just want to say that Alex really sells the “guy scarfing doughnuts”.
    I totally buy it.

  18. I love flashback shows, especially comedies. Inquisition was good. But how come you and Paul didn’t have any “Excerpts Written by”? I guess you writers thought maybe the Atlantis team might have been guilty of some crimes, so you decided to state your case to the fans? Seems like it ended up 50/50. I think I have been watching too much American Idol because that council reminded me of the panel on Idol. You had the old successful record producer, the country singer, and the pop star diva judges. I expected Sheppard to break out in song at any moment. But Woolsey would make a great lawyer!

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