The Super Bowl XXXIII Episode
Run for Your Lives! The Big Women are Angry

posted 2 Feb 2013, 23:51
It's Super Bowl Sunday, an event held annually in the USA to showcase a rather strange spectacle which they like to call 'football' but to everyone else looks like some form of rugby on steroids. Apparently real football is called 'soccer' over there! And if you find all that confusing, imagine how it must appear to an alien from another planet; particularly one who has just come down in the last shower.

Still it is an excuse to recall this particular episode from Season Three of of Third Rock from the Sun (aka 3rd Rock) first broadcast on January 25, 1998 - 36! 24! 36! Dick. For those who know next to nothing about the American game rest assured that, much like the Super Bowl, there isn't any 'football' in this episode but plenty of digs at popular culture that became the hallmark of 3rd Rock over the years.

So it will never be The Beautiful Game, but the presence (invasion if you will) of Cindy Crawford, Angie Everhart, Irina Pantaeva, Beverly Johnson, among others, in this double episode special isn't half pleasing to the eye. And let's not forget Sally (aka Paul Mitchell) who has to infiltrate the gang and thwart their diabolical plan of total world domination - though there are many who wouldn't object to being dominated in such a way.

The Super Bowl, being the most watched broadcast on American TV, has become a challenge for major brands and advertising agencies, who strive to come up with ever more creative and inventive commercials marketed specifically to Super Bowl audiences. Super Bowl TV commercials have become a cultural phenomenon in themselves. This is what we see being gently parodied by the makers of 3rd Rock.

This episode itself was a Super Bowl special and lead in programme to Super Bowl XXXII (the Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers - you mean you don't remember?!). It drew the highest ever audience for the show; garnering 33.6 million viewers and a 34% audience share. It is also memorable for being one of few episodes that takes place in a real location and outside of the fictional Rutherford, Ohio. To the best of our recollection, Dick Will Take Manhattan (also a two parter) from Season Six is the only other instance (correct us if we are wrong).

Note too the declaration by Tommy that as soon as he gets back to Rutherford he's going to cut his hair. He fulfils this promise later on that season in Just Your Average Dick. As if it's not bad enough being confused for a girl, he also suffers the indignity of being referred to as an ugly baby!

There's also an interesting love angle between Don and Judith which is never explored further even though it's a far more likely pairing than Don and Sally. But that might have something to do with Judith's admonition 'never to speak of it again' even before they get amorous.

Yes, the Superbowl is one of those events that will probably mean absolutely nothing to people who haven't actually been raised on the tradition. If you find yourself in that category, then you are likely to be among those who ask bemused questions like: 'who are those people and what are they doing out there on that field of play?' Or the obvious question of: 'why do they call it 'football' when they hardly ever kick the bloody ball?' Or maybe even: 'Why are the cheerleaders only part of the interval entertainment? They're the most exciting thing that's happened so far.'

But stop to think about it for a second. Look at it from the point of view of those who are fans and aficionados of that cruel and unusual punishment sport. Maybe questions like those are every bit as irksome as having to explain how the offside trap in football (sorry soccer!) works to someone who is obviously a moron. Don't they teach these things in school?