Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Has this guy been for the last thirty years?

Typical thirtysomething guy sits down at a table with a bunch of typical thirtysomething friends of mixed ethnicity (of course) at Olive Garden. "I know what I want already" he says.

Waitress: "Have you heard about our endless pasta bowl?"

Guy is gobsmacked- Endless Pasta Bowl? Wow, this is going to cause some major rethinking! "Friends" find this funny and burst out laughing, which suggests that they decided not to wait to get sloshed on Olive Garden's cheap wine selection and instead got tanked before dinner.

Ok, let's stop right here. "Have you ever heard about our endless pasta bowl?" ranks right up there with the cashier at MacDonald's asking me if I've ever heard of the Big Mac, or a kid at Seven-Eleven asking me if I'm aware that store sells hot coffee. Seriously, has this guy been in a cave for his entire life?

Back to the current situtation, in which this guy must now find a way to save face for his "I know what I want already" boasting (how dare he? How could anyone be so certain before looking at Olive Garden's extensive menu of crap faux-Italian food?) He pulls it off with aplomb- "I know what I want...FIRST." More laughter from his clearly shit-faced friends (if they aren't drunk, he certainly picked them well, as they seem capable of bursting into laughter at every mildly amusing thing he says. Maybe he's the boss back at the office, and his "friends" are actually butt-kissing supplicants.)

Come on. When you go to Olive Garden, it's for one purpose- to get cheap-tasting food at a reasonable price. If you want GOOD Italian food, you aren't going to the Olive Garden. Which means you don't go there for a nice steak, or good seafood. You go there for pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. And breadsticks. Because you're too damned lazy to make it at home, and don't mind shelling out ten bucks because at least you don't have to do the dishes when it's over, and you can pretend you treated yourself to a night out. But let's not make it more than it is. It's all the spaghetti and rolls you want, without waiting for the next church dinner. Period.

When you walk in, you know what you'll get. Because, really, it's all they've got.


  1. A similar mindset can be counted on for most of Ben Yehuda's paying customers (excluding the ones who just sit there and don't order anything, but just go "to go".) Pizza? Obviously. As if hungry high-school students with limited budgets are going to order tilapia or salad. The cashier should just ask "How many slices?"


    MAD-TV -- Olive Garden.

  3. Pooglespeak- I'm amazed that anyone could ever allow themselves to get hungry enough to eat a slice of the grease-laden, flavorless (ah, but Kosher!) cardboard they serve at that place.

  4. It is possible the guy is like me and Quite Broke and does not get out to eat all that often so he's forgotten that such a thing as the bottomless bowl of pasta exists, and that's why he's surprised. *shrugs* He could also never watch any TV and that's why he has no idea about the pasta bowl, but then he'd probably know zilch about OG in general so he wouldn't be announcing he knows exactly what he wants, now would he? He'd have to look at the menu because he'd have no idea what, exactly, they offer.

    Since he does confidently announcing he knows what he wants without picking up the menu, he clearly goes there fairly often so there's no reason, other than he's a complete moron, the server's question should take him by surprise and require him to rethink what he wants.

    Whatever the scenario, deciding between one set entree and a bottomless bowl of pasta isn't rocket science and shouldn't take more than a moment or two of consideration, if that, and what kind of friends (term used loosely) laugh like your surprise is the funniest thing in the world? I'd be mortified and furious if 'friends' ever did that to me.

  5. I thought "Endless Pasta Bowl" was one of the torture techniques used at Gitmo!

  6. Fortunately, we don't have very many Olive Garden restaurants here in Canada; when we want to eat taste-free pseudo-Italian food whose sauce has a distinct ketchup base, we go to East Side Marios. The fun thing about their ad campaign from the middle of this decade was that the pitchman acted like a refugee from the set of the Sopranos.

  7. It's a pretty strictly supply-and-demand situation, although anyone with an ounce of brains will realize there are a CVS and MacGruder's RIGHT THERE that sell cheaper, healthier, better-tasting foods.

  8. I had never heard of the Endless Pasta Bowl until I saw this commercial, but I've only been to Olive Garden maybe twice in my life. What got me about the commercial is the guy's idiot girlfriend (wife?) saying "He always knows what he wants" like this is the funniest and most awesome thing about him.

    Also, if memory serves (been a while since I saw this commercial), aren't the Racially Diverse FriendsTM broken out into neat little single-race couples? How I hate that. "Look there's a black guy and a girl in this commercial, but don't worry, they're dating each other! No miscegenation here!"

    Perhaps I'm actually the one with the problem, because I guess there's nothing that specifically says that the two black people are "together", except perhaps body language. Maybe I'm reading too much into it? As a member of a mixed-race couple, I notice I don't see that much representation on TV of mixed couples.

    1. This comment has certainly aged in ten years- today, you are at LEAST as likely to see a mixed-race couple as a single-race couple in American tv commercials. And any ad featuring two guys or two women now could be seen as featuring same-sex couples, with only the Most Triggered even batting an eye.