Super Bowl halftime shows don’t often receive the documentary treatment. But the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performance certainly deserves another look.
You remember the Super Bowl show live from Houston’s NRG Stadium. It happened in February, 2004. Janet Jackson and Timberlake were two of the biggest pop stars in the world. Timberlake joined Jackson on stage near the end of her six-minute performance. And as the two performed Rock Your Body, Timberlake appeared to rip off part of Jackson’s bustier, revealing her breast. The move was planned to show Jackson’s lacy bra. Obviously, it revealed more on network TV in the most-watched show of the year.
Seventeen years later, Hulu and FX teamed up for Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson. It’ll drop on Nov. 19.
The Super Bowl incident made “wardrobe malfunction” one of the buzziest phrases of the year. Janet Jackson never fully regained her superstar career, while Timberlake didn’t appear to suffer any blowback. In fact, he was the featured act of the Super Bowl in 2018.
Culture Changed Since the Janet Jackson Super Bowl Show
But the culture quickly changed in the 17 years since then. The same folks behind the Janet Jackson documentary also did the one this year on Britney Spears.
Jodi Gomes is the director and producer. She knows the Jackson family well after directing the documentary The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty for A+E Networks. According to a press release, Malfunction features video footage of the incident. Plus, there will be interviews with those involved.
The halftime incident overshadowed an incredible Super Bowl. Everyone remembers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. But quick, who won the game? New England did. Tom Brady led the Patriots on a winning field goal drive. Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yard kick with 4 seconds gave the Patriots a 32-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Earlier this year, a Britney Spears documentary placed a magnifying glass on the pop star’s early career. Controlling Britney Spears explored what happened to her through the lens of 2021. It was so uncomfortable for Timberlake, he apologized to both Spears and Janet Jackson. Timberlake dated Spears.
Timberlake said: “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
His statement also said: “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from.”