There are family holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then there are friend holidays, such as Halloween and the Super Bowl. And the latter is unique: some of your friends are knowledgeable and invested in the spectacle at hand, while others are curious at best, and more interested in hanging out with their friends than anything going on in the game.
And God bless them all, because everyone should enjoy Super Bowl parties on their own terms. Every year, though, predictable and sometimes-maddening tropes will present themselves at your Super Bowl party. Here are the five people you will almost certainly encounter.
1. The person who brings a laptop
If you’re watching the Super Bowl in the 2010s and you’re curious of a particular statistic, you can probably just look it up on your phone. So if you bring a laptop, it means serious business. It also means that you’re taking up valuable space on the coffee table, that a drink is going to be spilled on your laptop at some point, and that fellow party-goers will wonder what the Hell is wrong with you and why you can’t just be a normal person.
Odds are high that Person Who Brings A Laptop is a sports blogger. Without exception, sports bloggers are irredeemable joyless lumps who have to turn to the Internet because nobody in real life will understand their hilarious inside joke about, I don’t know, Wes Welker or something, doesn’t matter. Don’t sit near or talk to this person.
2. The person who enthusiastically cites “we’re talkin’ about it right now!” to argue for the effectiveness of a particular commercial
It’s fun to debate over Super Bowl commercials from a business angle. You aren’t a marketing executive, and neither is anyone at your party, but you’re fine with a little amateur speculation.
One person at the party is more than fine with it. This person has been waiting all night for the conversation to turn to commercials. When someone says something like, “there’s no way that ad was effective,” he slowly turns to face you, and with wide-eyed earnestness, he says ...
BOOM. This person just rendered decades of advanced market trends, demographic studies, and advertising psychology completely irrelevant, and he’s dominated the conversation in the process.
See, he sees things that you don’t (and misuses the phrase, “case in point”). He’s really got an eye for this kind of thing. You can keep on going like “I don’t know about this” and “I don’t know about that” if you want, man, it’s your life. But this guy? He cuts the shit, man. He cuts to the quick.
Know that this is just the introduction to a minutes-long spiel that he delivers with supreme confidence because he delivers more or less the same spiel every year.
He is really smart.
3. The person who has to sit on a piece of exercise equipment because there isn’t enough furniture
Some Super Bowl parties are hosted by people who are accustomed to entertaining guests. Some are not, and as a consequence they do things like fail to piece together a proper seating arrangement. At these parties, three or four people get a decent seat. Your other options, listed from least to most undesirable:
- Desk chair
- Patio/camping furniture
- A milk crate
- The floor
- Exercise equipment (pictured)
- Plastic chair from host’s child’s Fisher-Price picnic table
- Lap of significant other that basically everyone at the party (significant other excluded) knows you are planning to break up with in the near future
4. The person who is all about looking up the ‘Too Hot For TV’ portion of a commercial online
Of all the cliches dragged out for the Super Bowl every year, the worst is the generation of artificial controversy. Ad agencies create commercials that they know will be rejected by the network for one reason or another, and when they are, they’re all TOO HOT FOR TV TOO COOL 4 SCHOOL YOU GUYS and show them on YouTube.
GoDaddy popularized a common variant: a TV-friendly 30-second commercial that segues into a CONTROVERSIAL accompanying second portion found online, with the TV version implying that there will be sexual content in the Internet version. This is popular with the “I didn’t know there was sex on the Internet” demographic.
During the Super Bowl, you will probably see this stunt pulled at least once.
And at least one person at your party will totally mark out over it.
5. The non-football fan who is trying really hard to make salient societal observations
This person isn’t a football fan, but is all about singling out football-centric minutiae and blowing it up into an indictment of football and of society at large. For example, this person will always assign erotic qualities to the players’ tight pants, and/or the quarterback’s snap behind center.
After a few drinks, this person will move on to the larger issues. A lot of the larger issues.
A word of advice, and this is really important: the moment this person starts discussing politics, immediately interrupt him with a summary of a This American Life podcast or something. This person will then shift gears and start on a line of discourse about “who ACTUALLY makes our hacky-sacks.” This discussion will be insufferable but preferable to the alternative.