Volkswagen's Bug was the star of its nostalgic “An American Love...

Volkswagen's Bug was the star of its nostalgic “An American Love Story” Super Bowl ad. Credit: Volkswagen of America

First impression from all those pre-releases: Not great.

Second impression from the game: The first impression was too kind.

Will any of us remember what the E*trade talking babies said a day, or a minute, from now? Did Reese's really need to add caramel topping to the peanut butter cup? And from this night of 1,000 stars, will anyone care what product each was shilling or why they needed to shill in the first place? (And that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. commercial? Seriously?)

But after 58 Super Bowls, we all know the drill. Find that one ad that doesn't offend, repulse, bore and infuriate — or that masterpiece that inspires, edifies and amuses.

Find that and our night is done.

Did we last night? Your call, but mine was it was tough for commercials. Really tough. But as always, the pleasure (and pain) was in the search. Failing to find one flawless gem, there were still a few diamonds in the rough, and lots of lumps of coal too. Here they are, in order:



Volkswagen doubles down hard on emotion, memory and nostalgia, with just one celebrity — the "Bug" itself. This best-of-game ad was directed by Lance Acord, also behind 2011's best-of-game for VW, "The Force."


Ken Jeong is revived from a cryogenic 50-year deep freeze to be informed that there's a "better" chicken wing. Not just one effective (and funny) sight gag, but half a dozen.


This 60-second throw-down makes little sense, especially when Lil Wayne turns up, followed by that giant champagne bottle. "I love it," says Jeff Goldblum to Dan Levy and Heidi Gardner. Me too. A glorious absurdity in miniature.

4. BMW

"Talkin' like Walken" featured a bunch of Christopher Walken impressions and wraps with Usher heading to the halftime show. The single best use of a celebrity (Walken) of this Super Bowl.


Anheuser-Busch needed to score here, and actually did, with Bud Light genie (Sonny Valicenti) who grants wishes. Bud Light's? To forget about 2023.


The extended version got a lot of pre-telecast attention because of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, but the rest (Jelly Roll, the Beckhams) is good too.


Etsy poses a challenge — America has to get the French a gift after the delivery of the Statue of Liberty. The obvious solution is a cheese platter. (Ooh la la. Funny indeed.)


Martin Scorsese's Super Bowl debut works best if you watched the 60-minute teaser online. (He and his daughter, self-described "nepo baby" Francesca Scorsese, build a website). But the weirdness still works.


Who doesn't love a Super Bowl ad featuring feisty seniors with Superman (or at least Spider-Man) skills, as part of a tradition that goes back to at least 2010, when Betty White and Abe Vigoda ate turf for Snickers?



Bronx-born rapper Ice Spice snuggles a pair of cartoon characters, Lem and Lime, when her former boyfriend approaches and his head explodes. Beyond the general awfulness of this, the punchline (and ad) might've almost worked if the name on his shirt (most likely "Mountain Dew") hadn't been blurred out. Starry chickened out.


Just another soul-sucker starring a super-truck that tears up the wilderness for no conceivable reason, except to celebrate a handle on the passenger side? Say whaaa? And that's what you get for the $31,500 base price?


Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Tom Brady start a boy band, forcing America to wonder "why, why, WHY!" (Jennifer Lopez was along for the ride, too)


A twerking giant gummy is slathered in Nerds, while Tik Tok star Addison Rae winks at the camera. Could anything be more grotesque? Oh yes. Read on.


Ghastly in the extreme, Pluto essentially tells its viewers that they're a bunch of inert blobs who need to be forklifted off their couches. Now there's a reason to watch Pluto.


Is "twisting" an Oreo even a thing? If so, has anyone ever twisted an Oreo without ending up with just half the filling on one side? Besides, the Oreos here looked like mini plastic frisbees.


Beyonce "breaks the internet" had me until this ad broke my spirit — with a largely nonsensical message and no particular reason to understand why.

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