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Maroon 5's Halftime Show Was Forgettable, Excluding All The FCC Complaints Filed

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All right. Unless you're a Patriots fan, this last Super Bowl was a bore. The halftime show starring Maroon 5 was also pretty forgettable.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Forgettable, but that did not stop viewers from complaining.

BARRY PETCHESKY: Almost every year, someone in America is upset about something.

KELLY: That's Barry Petchesky. He's the deputy editor at Deadspin. And Barry has been dutifully retrieving all the complaints the FCC receives after every Super Bowl since 2012.

CHANG: This year, it turns out many Americans could not handle the sight of Adam Levine's nipples.

PETCHESKY: I knew there would be some nipple outcry, but I did not expect it to be on this scale.

KELLY: Levine, Maroon 5's lead singer, took off his shirt near the end of the show. The outcry came from far and wide. Here's some NPR staff with a sampling.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: During the Super Bowl halftime show, there was a half-naked man on TV showing his nipples.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: They were completely uncovered. This is offensive, as young children could have seen it, and how can we explain to them that people have nipples?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Where's the decency? Are nipples all over my television screen OK now? I remember when it was an issue during another Super Bowl.

CHANG: That issue at another Super Bowl was 15 years ago, when the halftime show starred Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. During the performance, Jackson's breast was exposed in a so-called wardrobe malfunction, seen around the world. The FCC fined CBS $550,000. Jackson's career took a major hit in the aftermath, so viewers were calling hypocrisy this time around.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: If the FCC punished Janet Jackson for showing her functioning nipples in 2004, they must immediately fine Adam Levine for displaying his vestigial nipples. The fine should also be doubled, as Levine displayed double the nipple.

KELLY: OK, I will admit we are struggling here to tell whether some of these viewers were serious or joking. But joking or not, Barry Petchesky says people need to stop worrying so much about the kids.

PETCHESKY: Yeah, everyone needs to calm down. Like, they're nipples. Your kids have seen nipples. They have nipples. Their parents have nipples. Their favorite players have nipples, too.

CHANG: We reached out to the FCC. They declined to comment.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS LOVE")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Oh, this love has taken its toll on me. She said goodbye too many times before. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.