06:56 AM EDT 12/19/2014

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The Best of the Super Bowl Ads: Oreos, Horsies & a Kid Who Won't Be Bullied

PEOPLE's TV Critic Reviews the Super Bowl Ads

Originally posted 02/04/2013 09:40AM

The Super Bowl adstravaganza disappointed me this year. The spots, which sold for a reported $4 million per 30 seconds of airtime, were so lavish, so tricked up by CGI, so weighed down by stars, so tightly loaded to spring into a joke, they suffered from bloat.

With many of the commercials posted online and scrutinized even before the CBS broadcast, they were events unto themselves – visually and conceptually splashy, but often guilty of overreaching at the expense of the message.

This is true even of the ads I enjoyed:

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