Super Bowl 38 was the last Bowl for a lot of things. It was the last Bowl for a while where the halftime act would be current, trendy singers instead of wrinkly veterans that had been performing for at least thirty years. It was the last Bowl where those singers would be allowed to sing uncensored lyrics about promiscuity and drug use during their performance. After this year, the censors took over, and it was right around the time Justin Timberlake approached Janet Jackson and declared, "I'm gonna have ya naked by the end of this SONG!!" And it turned out he wasn't kidding!

The dress was rigged to expose Janet's brasierre when Justin ripped it, but instead the entire thing came off, causing her bare boob to flop out for about two seconds -- well, not entirely "bare" because for some reason Janet had this elaborate piercing covering much of it even though no one could see it (or were supposed to). As was the style at the time, the guy who performed the ripping got off scot free while Janet was sentenced to cancelled performances and declining record sales for the crime of having the breast in the first place.

But the real punishment came down on the Super Bowl itself. It had been trendy for a while in pop culture to go for "shock" and present yourself in as vulgar a manner as you could get away with. It had gone far enough to start infecting the Super Bowl, an event most Americans regarded as family viewing. Several of the ads you'll re-see today are some of the edgiest that ever ran during the Big Game. (The word "erection" is spoken for the first and only time at some point.) The complaints the next morning weren't just about the halftime show, but how crass the whole thing seemed. After 2004, the axe fell.

The first "real" ad of the game starts out a pretty typical-looking one: a bunch of guys munching The Product while huddled around a small television showing football. The situation isn't made clear until A BRIDE and her maids of honor burst through the door...

....but she wants to watch the game too! I feel like if this had been made in any prior year, this would've strictly been a "Mars Venus" ad where everyone behaved according to the demanded gender roles. She would've been Ms. Nag, distracting him from his precious game and chips, and he would've said "Sorry, babe, not uintil halftime" and closed the door on her with his foot. Cue direct product shot!

While her interest in football is STILL depicted as atypical, at least it's not presented as impossible. Things would get better.

This is followed by an ad about a man who accidentally throws a McDonalds wrapper into the laundry dryer and then can't stop making out with his wife because she smells like hamburgers. Uhhhh, whatever you're into, bro.

Every decade it becomes trendy to pair a different celebrity up with the Muppets, and in the 2000s (at least for the first half) it was Jessica Simpson who hung around with the felt crew. It's one of the rare times Kermit is shown crushing on someone other than the pig, and the pig takes it about as well as you'd expect. HY-YAAAA!
I feel like this isn't the first time we've seen the premise "I trained my dog to fetch a Bud Light." It may be the first time we've seen TWO dogs trained to fetch a Bud Light, though -- the second one preferring a more direct approach than the first.

"Monkey on my back" means some kind of addiction, not dwelling on yout inability to find a car. I guess the point was just to work a monkey in there, as it's one of the most common Super Bowl cliches of this period. But on the subject of the Dodge Magnum itself...I'm willing to bet half the people watching didn't know what a Hemi was; they just saw how it was presented and assumed "it's a beefy roaring powerful thing that will increase the size of my junk." Shortly after this car was released, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shot gas prices through the roof, and Dodge NOW had to convince people that this overpowered monster engine was somehow gas-economical.

I like this one with the bears. Are we to assume the clerk was fooled? I don't think he was; he just knew better than to question the grizzly in front of him.

For those who weren't there, I may have to explain there was this bizarre arms race going on between the makers of shaving razors where the way to get ahead was to simply put more razors into it. It had come to four blades at this point. I believe there was one that went to five before the gimmick collapsed.

The last gasp of AOL! By the time this decade ended they would cease to be relevant, though they remain alive due to a small number of senior citizens who stick with one product for life. Their name is all over the infamous halftime show, which probably didn't help.

I think Universal does a pretty good job at making this Van Helsing movie look cool. Yet it's all but forgotten now; there have been about five thousand reinventions of the Universal Monsters since.

When will Bud Light stop getting Cedric the Entertainer into trouble? This is yet another crotch gag.

Willie Nelson really would make a better tax advisor than H&R Block.
Ugh, 50 First Dates. My first Sandler movie wasn't Happy Gilmore or Something Madison like for most people; it was this and I hated it. I was well into making Keiki at this time and had done enough research to know everything the movie had in it about Hawaii was wrong, most notably Rob Schnieder in Pacific Islander Face.

And for those who thought Tostitos dropped the ball by shying away from a "nagging wife" ad, here's Budweiser to the rescue!

Crotch Gag #3. If you think this year might've had some kind of fixation, you'd be right. This was followed by an appeal for an impotence pill, but the ad didn't specify what the pill was meant to do. Another one later on would.
Of all the Clydesdale ads Budweiser has ever made, the one with the donkey is my personal favorite, and I'm not alone.
Until recently Pepsi was always trying to stay on top of what the current trend among The Youth was, and when it happened to be stealing music....well, that posed a problem. But wait, what if they arranged a deal to give away free music in a contest? Then they could still appeal to the Fellow Kids while remaining square enough to pacify their parents, right?
We're not far from the Wardrobe Incident at this point, and a lot of the ads have had lowbrow punchlines, but none wilder than the moment a horse violently farted into a woman's face to sell beer. After the breast, the first thing anyone brought up when they griped about this Bowl was the farting horse, and how it was further evidence society was going downhill. No one mentioned the off-putting butt-related Charmin ad that appeared afterward, but they could have.

But to be frank I'm far more offended that Phillip Morris is STILL HERE. GO AWAY PHILLIP MORRIS, WE KNOW YOU'RE NOT SINCERE!

This Pepsi ad is stupid, so I'm going to focus on the far more interesting fact that....Linux got an ad? Linux is a free nonprofit operating system not tied to any corporation. Why is IBM hyping them up? What's the Champ have to do with it? What am I missing here?

No one knew who they were at this point, so Visa was ahead of the game by using them here. They would go on to become the best Olympic beach volleyball players of all time and win an elephant-crushing number of gold medals. I never missed one of their matches and they kept the winning streak up into their 30s.

The first commercial after halftime is rather subdued, compared to what we just saw and everything before, but at least we get a guy leaping off a tall building into a pitcher of ice water. You think that couldn't possibly be where it's going, but then it does go there.
If you can believe it, this talking monkey ad was another one of viewers' top complaints after the Super Bowl aired. They claimed it was promoting bestality. Yep, that's what they said.

Today, the complaint would be that the monkey doesn't respect her boundaries.

If the horny monkey wasn't the final straw for some people, it was the Cialis ad. Levitra never said what it was meant to do, only going as far as the visual of Ditka throwing a football through a tire. Cialis, despite the abstract imagery of two people on a cliff in separate bathtubs, dropped the E-bomb right away and spelled out in plain English what it was used for.

Resistance was futile. The thing about the Cialis ad is that it didn't just appear here, it appeared everywhere, all the time, for at least five years. By 2008, there was NO KID IN AMERICA who was not aware that an erection lasting longer than four hours requires immediate medical help.

Cars! That's all I have to say about this break. Although the second one fooled me for what it was actually for.
I find it hard to believe it took until 2004 for the Simpsons to get into the Super Bowl. Or was this the second time? Intel had an ad campaign with Homer once that might've premiered during the Big Game -- I can't remember. Someone be sure to correct me on the forums or social media so I can update this.

So this is Jerkass Homer, the version of the character that dominated the 2000s episodes. He's since mellowed back to normal. but the belief among the writers in this era was the worse Homer was as a person, the funnier he would be. They took the wrong lessons from "Homer's Enemy" if you ask me.

And now....the rest of them! A lot more car ads from this point, though there are more bright spots in the leftovers than there have been in the previous Bowls. I wish they'd bring the "Make 7Up Yours" campaign back. They were never NOT funny.

There's a record number of ad breaks in this game -- much more than in any other Bowl I've covered. I skipped the local breaks this time, which would've put the number up to 25 or 26.

And that's the most boundary-pushing, PG-13 Super Bowl in history! The resulting blowback wouldn't just neuter halftime, it would tamp down the kind of jokes you could make in Super Bowl ads for the rest of the 2000s and into the 2010s. But remember: blame Justin, not Janet.