Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping up the year with more Hate from Tide

It only makes sense that in a year where Idiot Dad was the star of roughly one out of every three commercials, my final post of 2010 would feature Cool Facebook Friend Mom outwitting doofus puritan Out of It dad and winning even more Favorite Parent Points from Daughter.

In this episode, Doofus Dad has greasy hands (from doing those mechanical Things Guys Do on the weekend, no doubt.) He notices from the clothesline that his leggy teenage daughter has taken to wearing underwear in lieu of shorts and decides that since he has no say in anything that happens in his own home, the only chance he has of preventing his daughter from being the neighborhood slut for even one day is to ruin this article of clothing with his oily hands.

Well, Daughter quickly discovers the short shorts in the hamper, and presents them to Mother with a "why the fuck did you marry that dick and ruin my life" expression of unlimited disgust. In return she gets a "this is the work of your worthless choad father, all right, but don't worry- Mom fix" nod, and Mom/BFF gets to work repairing the "damage" dad did on Daughter's favorite accessory.

In no time at all, Daughter is back in style- which is to say, she's ready to hit the tennis court and attract guys like moth to a flame with her barely-shorts. Mom heartily approves her daughter's efforts to get laid ASAP, Dad is beaten, yay team.

Message received: All advertising agencies hate men. Especially dads. But nobody hates dads like Tide. Tide wants no misunderstandings with it's commercials- Mom is every kid's best friend. She's also every kid's ally against The Enemy, which is Dad. Dad isn't satisfied to be a clueless slob. He wants to cramp your style. He Doesn't Get It. Thank God Mom Does.

Thanks for the final serving of Hate before we ring in the new year, Tide. Looking forward to seeing what level of family-unfriendly loathing you manage to reach in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I kept waiting for the laugh track

Honestly, when I first saw this commercial, I thought I had accidentally switched to Comedy Central and was watching an old Saturday Night Live faux ad. I mean, how on Earth do you expect to sell people on the idea that making your own soda is something that A) you'd want to do, and B) is some kind of magical "Experience of a Lifetime?"

This ad reminds me of one of my favorite old Bob and Ray radio shows: The guys interview a man for a show called "I Did It Myself," who built a 200-mile pipeline connecting his basement in Upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean so that he could draw natural sea water into a makeshift lab and make his own Iodine. The punchline is that it ends up costing the guy roughly $5000 a bottle to make the stuff, but hey, "I Did It Myself."

With the new SodaStream System, there's no more lugging those Impossible to Carry, Burdensome, Incredibly Heavy 2-Liter bottles of soda home from the store. Now all you need is an $80 SodaStream System to make your own soda at home. And it couldn't be easier- all you need is a replaceable gas canister (which is good for about sixty uses before it's exhausted) which attaches to the back of the machine. Fill the included plastic bottle with regular tap water and attach it to the front of the machine. Push down the button on the top two or three times to add carbonation to the water.

Now, remove the carbonated water from the machine. Pour a medicine-cup measure of thick, concentrated soda syrup (available God Knows Where, $4.95 each) into the bottle of carbonated water. Shake GENTLY for a few seconds. And BINGO, you've got a bottle of soda- and You Did It Yourself!!

Yes, yes, yes, this is an eco-friendly way to provide your entire family with the soda they want and (according to Americans Against Food Taxes) deserve. Except for those plastic bottles of syrup, of course. But seriously, is anyone really interested in going through all this trouble to make SODA- which is very cheap all made and placed in convenient, recyclable packages for your convenience already? I mean, at least ice cream makers allow you to experiment with different flavors, cut back on sugar, and might provide a nice little activity for you and the kiddies. But making SODA?

What's next? A kit for making our own lightbulbs at home? How about shoelaces? I'd like a machine that allows me to mix chemicals and make my own laundry soap- is that on the way?

At best, this looks like another stupid, pointless toy for upscale dickweeds with too much money to stick next to their Latte machines and Brewbots. Actually- at best, this is a very clever joke masquerading as an advertisement, and a great tribute to Bob and Ray.

After all- "An Experience of a Lifetime?" Really? That is one sad life!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A day I'll never get back, courtesy of the American Commuter Rail System

What's the point of even HAVING a blog if you can't give in to a sleep deprivation-induced rant now and then?

My sister’s house in Barre, 4:30 AM, December 27- my nephews head to Washington DC by car in a blizzard which is forecast to only get worse as they travel south- they are going to drive right into the center of the storm, Springfield, Massachusetts, in a car without snow tires. They are insane. I go back to sleep- I’m the smart one in the family. I have a train ticket, purchased months earlier. Suckers. They’ll probably end up spending the day at the Fabulous Comfort Inn of Brattleboro. I’ll be living the high life in business class, gulping down complimentary sodas and coffee and watching movies on my laptop and reading my Kindle in comfort.

Montpelier-Barre, 9:30 AM for a scheduled 9:42 departure: “the train may be an hour late, it may be on time, don’t know yet” says the hobo who apparently lives in the 8x8 ‘station.’.” (snicker, bemused grin: I believe the Bemused Grin is the Official Facial Expression of Amtrak Employees. If I had seen it one more time before the end of my trip, I would have ended up on the Early Morning News.)

The train arrived five minutes late.

Hartford, Connecticut: We arrive exactly on time despite traveling through white-out conditions. Very impressive. Oddly enough, when we reach Hartford, no one considered that upon changing engines, the tracks would need to be cleared of snow. So we are stuck here for two hours as two guys with shovels clear the tracks and two other guys “try to unfreeze the locking system.” At this point, I think it’s fair to remind everyone that we are in the closing days of 2010, not the freaking Gilded Age.

(It’s around this time that I notice that I am no longer getting power from the AC plug, but my computer is being drained of battery life. Nowhere in business class is there a working power outlet. IN BUSINESS CLASS.)

New York: 8 PM. We are still only slightly behind schedule, but here’s where it all goes to hell in a handbasket. We are at Penn Station for two and a half hours because....well, the ‘because’ all depends on which Bemused Amtrak Employee you happen to ask. One guy tells me it’s because there are problems with the switching system south of the city (this is confirmed by a text from my niece in Vermont.) Another guy tells me that it’s another engine problem, and this is confirmed by repeated (I mean every four minutes or so) explanations and apologies broadcast over the intercom– “we’ve got mechanics coming to Look at It, and they’ll determine what to do next...” Several times we are told that there are MAJOR DELAYS IN LEAVING NEW YORK CITY, in a tone which suggests that we should have known this already, never mind that the only alerts I got from obsessively checking online and calling Amtrak four times in the hours before boarding were that trains were cancelled between Boston and New York and south of Washington, DC. So exactly WHEN were we supposed to get this info about MAJOR DELAYS IN LEAVING NEW YORK? WHERE was this info? On the televisions Amtrak doesn’t provide? I mean, this announcement was in the same tone as a pilot declaring “I’ll just remind you that we are flying at VERY HIGH ALTITUDES today, keep that in mind....”

We even get a “I guess No News is Good News” announcement, which is totally mystifiying to me, maybe because I once spent 24 hours on an Amtrak train in Springfield Mass waiting for the East Coast Blackout of 2004 to clear up, and never once got any kind of status update at all (when I called Amtrak several days later to get information getting a refund, the operator actually acted surprised.) only to have to return to Barre and start the trip all over again a few days later (that’s right- in August of 2004 I spent 36 hours on an Amtrak train, only to end up right where I started. I'd like to see the kid in this commercial play-act THAT eventuality. )

Several Amtrak Employees of Uncertain Duties are sitting in the dining car, ignoring their piercingly loud walkie-talkies as they smirk and giggle and speak in code about engines “blowing up” and “working 195" and “delivering 36" and how the train we’re on may or may not move south of Philadelphia, assuming it ever leaves Penn Station. They have a lot of questions, but no answers- in fact, they think that the idea they should have answers is kind of silly, and they let you know it.

New Carrollton, MD, 2:30 AM- for the first time EVER, I fall asleep on an Amtrak train. Naturally, I’m only 30 minutes from my destination, so I’m in the middle of a dream when I’m suddenly shaken awake by the conductor, who is anxious that I get off the train as soon as it pulls into the station, so I can begin to wait for the subway system to reopen as quickly as possible, I guess.

Washington, DC, 3 AM: 16.5 hours after I got on the train in Montpelier, I get off at Union Station. The subways are of course closed down until 5:20, so there’s nothing to do but sit at Au bon Pain and type. There aren’t even any Hot Spots available. I do get one more bit of amusement in checking the “Arrivals” board- it tells me that my train has Arrived, and the Arrival time is 10:40 PM. What Amtrak lacks in Honesty it makes up with Chutzpah, I guess.

Washington DC, 4:15 AM: Finishing up my little missive here at Au bon Pain, only an hour and a half away from being able to take the train to Takoma Park, then wait for a bus to my house. Estimated total trip time, from sister’s house to mine: 22.5 hours.

(I flew to San Francisco once- I got on the plane at Newark, sat on the tarmac for an hour, then had to exit the plane and wait six hours for another flight when it was discovered that some jackass had attempted to flush a disposable diaper down the plane’s one toilet, rendering the plumbing system useless. The airline gave me a $200 voucher for a future flight and $25 worth of food vouchers to use at the airport while I waited. Know what I’ll get from Amtrak for all my inconvenience? A 6-page survey asking me what I most enjoyed about my trip, and what suggestions I have to make future experiences more enjoyable.)

(I took Amtrak once while in college. I met a beautiful girl from Uruguay with whom I shared my Walkman. She fell asleep leaning her head against my shoulder for a few hours. Before I got off at my station, we exchanged addresses, and we wrote to each other for several years, though we never met again. Naturally, THAT trip featured zero delays. Hell, we probably got in early.)

My nephews, by the way, got in at 4:30 PM. They only beat me by about 14 hours. But if they drank soda and coffee on the way down, they had to pay for it. Suckers.

(POSTSCRIPT: Standing on the freezing platform at Union Station, waiting for the first Red Line train of the day to take me to Takoma. Sign says "ARR TIME 13 MINUTES." The time counts down. When the Arrival Time hits Zero, the sign lights up "BOARDING." Except that the train doesn't stop- "NO PASSENGERS." And now the sign reads "ARR TIME 20 MINUTES." I didn't know that the saying "you can't go home again" was meant to be taken literally. It would make a decent slogan for rail service in this country though.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bringing back mostly bittersweet memories

I lived in Buffalo for four years back in the early-90s (yes, during the great Bills Win Everything Except the Super Bowl Dynasty) and I know a little about what Buffalo Wings are supposed to taste like. I first ate REAL Buffalo Wings at the Anchor Bar downtown, where the things were (allegedly) invented. I've eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings. Not terrible- but not Buffalo Wings. However, this isn't a food review column, so let's move on to the commercial....

When I was a "guest" at BWW, I watched a game while consuming my food and beer, and when the game was over, I left. I mean, I was there to eat food and watch the game on a big screen tv. Not to live, and not because I was trying to avoid anyone at home.

It never occurred to me that if I didn't leave on my own volition when the game was over, I'd be kicked out. I never heard anyone call "closing time" or "last call." My assumption upon leaving was that I was making a personal choice that enough was enough, fun is fun but I had papers to grade at home, or something else to do before the weekend came to a close.

But the people in this commercial seem truly anxious that if the game they are watching is allowed to end, they'll have to leave, and they "aren't ready to go yet." (They are obviously also not fans of either of the teams they are watching.) So they encourage the eager-to-please ref to fuck over one of the teams and make an atrocious, Overtime-inducing (and hopefully investigation-launching) call. Everyone in the restaurant cheers. Yay, bring another pitcher of Miller Lite and a platter of Not Buffalo Wings, and don't skimp on the celery!

This is all very stupid- and it gets even worse later, when the ref trips a player, preventing a game-ending touchdown- but it does kind of help explain some of the truly crappy calls I've seen in the NFL this season. And why the Steelers are still in contention for a playoff spot. Buffalo Wild Wings must be really popular in Western PA. Which is strange, because the people who live there could be eating REAL Buffalo Wings if they'd just take a quick drive to the shores of Lake Erie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm guessing they aren't on their way to the MENSA meeting

Once again demonstrating why a cell phone with ultra-fast downloading capability has become a necessity, this commercial features four brain-dead choads carpooling Daycare? Therapy? The latest Jackass movie? They aren't talking (who talks anymore? Talking just distracts you from checking your phone, after all) which suggests to me that they are together by necessity, not by choice. Or, they've adopted the social skills of your average preteen who has also been handed a cell phone by their clueless, "please let's be Facebook friends" parents.

Anyway, three of them are interrupted by an incoming message, no doubt sent by someone who managed to talk the passengers into subscribing to his Twitter Account. Oddly enough, the driver is not interrupted- is there some special order you can attach to "Tweets" (God I hate this century) that will magically prevent them from creating distractions for people operating automobiles? If there is, I can only say that considering how many times I've seen people driving around with phones perched on their steering wheels, thumbs flying, giving an occasional glance at the world in between messages, the function isn't very popular.

The guy with the Superior Phone- hell, we might as well label him the Alpha Male in this day and age- releases the kind of high-pitched breathless laugh that Stephanie Miller would be proud of. We are left to use our imaginations to picture what absolute hi-LARIOUS joke or video was sent to this guy's wonderfully fast phone. Whatever, it's universally funny- because each of the other passengers laugh hysterically in turn as the joke/video finally arrives in their Not As Good phones.

So the message here is--- what, exactly? Yes, one guy got the joke a few seconds before the others. But all of the others DID ultimately get the joke. Was the first guy's life enhanced significantly because he got Squirrel Water Skiing OMIGOD This Is So Funy from YouTube a few moments before the others? Really?

I hate to say it, but I think the message is more like "there's a lot of worthless shit out there. And because you have a cell phone and lack the brain capacity to discriminate who you give the number to, you're going to be exposed to most of it. Might as well get it fast, and move on with your life as quickly as possible."

Or maybe it's "your phone doesn't distract you often enough. Here's another reason to do nothing but look at your phone. Don't think for a moment that you'll never get these seconds back. There will be plenty of time to think about that when you are on your death bed."

Either way, it's just another sad phone commercial. There's a lot of this going around. All we can do is take comfort in those cell phone radiation articles. I mean, there's got to be some redemption out there, somewhere, right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Dark Cloud hangs over this house- now all we need is a little lightning

There is so much hate in this commercial, and just in time for Christmas!

Our narrator is thoroughly frustrated at her inability to curse her friends, relatives and acquaintances with a "normal" family portrait of her disgusting jackass family. Daughter is texting (can't do anything about that now, can we?) while a brother ("Hunter"- don't get me started) is attempting to jam a Transformer (product placement inside a commercial for an unrelated item!) into the ear of his brother ("Cody"- again...)-- so this family is either off it's ADD meds, or it's made up entirely of insufferable jerks. Take your pick.

Well, discipline is out in this family (if, in fact, it was ever in) so instead of trying to get her worthless lump of a husband (this guy is bad even compared to other tv dads) and spoiled rotten shithead kids to behave just long enough to snap a photo which is designed to convince the world that this is an actual functioning family unit, Narrator Mom is going to use modern technology to photo shop all that ugly, nasty reality away. Cell phone surgically attached to worthless teen removed. Toy/Weapon blanked out. Smiles pasted on.

Ah, that's better- it's got nothing to do with this woman's actual family, but it's presentable, and that's the whole point. Stable. Happy. Normal. Keeping up appearances, THAT'S what's important.

And here's the truly hideous punchline- "Windows gave me the family nature never could." She doesn't just tell us- she says it loud enough for the family to hear, and they bend their heads in shame (at least, most of them do. Daughter is just back to her texting.)

Most commercials just leave me bemused and a little bewildered. This one just makes me angry. Are there really families out there like this? Why the hell would anyone want to see a photo of these people? How many Facebook friends does this loathsome pile of excrement have?

Hell, I could have spend this entire rant on that fucking daughter- you can't get her to stop texting for a family photo? Really? Who's paying the monthly bill, mom?

Instead, I'll end with my favorite line of the whole ad- "Finally, a photo I can show without ridicule." First, who the hell asked you for a photo? Second, are you such a sad, dim bulb that you don't realize how PATHETIC it is that you have to perform electronic surgery on a FAMILY PHOTO? Third, how did you ever manage to get pictures of these people smiling at all- where they drugged?

And finally- you really think that there's nothing to ridicule in this photo? What about the matching plaid shirts and white pants?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Awesome attire for when you watch two other teams in the Superbowl this year, Saints fans!

1. "There's nobody else like you"- um, unless you insist on joining the crowd and dressing like everyone else. Then there are a lot of people just like you- mindless, witless followers.

2. The song "Personality" sure as hell doesn't fit in this ad. If you think that wearing a shirt "personalized" to read "Summer Brees," "Daddy Brees," "Cool Brees" (I've seen at least half a dozen of those in the last year, and I don't live anywhere NEAR New Orleans), etc. shows off your "personality," well, I feel really sorry for you. All it does is show the world your level of wittiness. And it's not a pretty sight.

3. Anyone else play on that team? Oh sure, but they don't have this awesome last name that allows the "clever" puns to write themselves!

4. Congratulations, shop. You've made it fashionable to root against the Saints with this ad. Or at least, to root against Saints fans.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Less Hype, and a lot fewer ad buys, would be nice

This is a cute little machine, isn't it? And a cute little commercial, too. Nice effort- after all, it's not easy to find a new angle to sell a very expensive machine ($100-$200, based on a quick glance at online stores) that, let's be honest, does exactly one thing- heats water.

But isn't it going just a shade too far to depict a hot water heater with glowing eyes and the qualities of a Transformer, even sitting up on it's metal haunches, asking "what can I get for you?" and offering you your hot beverage of choice with a metal hand? Because, dammit, in reality this machine does none of those things (if it did, I'd probably buy one, even if it was STILL just a hot water heater.) It heats hot water. Period.

So this "smart little bot" (so smart it "obeys your commands," which means nothing more than when you press a button, it does what the label on the button says it will do- you know, like your microwave, which you'd never refer to as smart) is worth the price- why, again? Not because it has glowing eyes and will hand you your hot drink. Because it doesn't, and it won't. What the hell?

Was this post repetitive? Not as repetitive as this damned commercial, which plays roughly 500 times an hour on MSNBC in the morning. And all to sell us a hot water heater. "What Can I Get For You?" How about a rest from beating me over the head with this?

When is Norelco going to try to sell me an electric razor by depicting Santa Claus using it as a sleigh? I miss that ad. Just thinking out loud.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Should have gone to Hollywood University!


Once upon a time, there was this magical land called America In The 1980s. Everything was fun back then- we had this amiable actor in the White House, the United States was the Terror and the Hope of the World, gasoline was a dollar a gallon, phones were starting to lose their cords and your Personal Computer from Radio Shack was really cool with it's monochrome screen and floppy disks.

All throughout this magical land, kids graduated from High School and went off to college, which was basically a kind of Earth-bound Paradise, to spend four years swilling beer, playing music by The Cars, Blondie, U2 and Michael Jackson and having lots and lots of sex with stunningly beautiful young women. There were also things called classes, which were supervised by fat, dull and dimwitted versions of your parents. Classes were important to go to because it was the place to find out where the next kegger was and to meet stunningly beautiful women while they were still clothed.

I didn't live in America in the 1980s. The place I lived in had colleges, but they were nothing like the ones I've been seeing on TV and in movies for the past thirty years. Catholic University back then didn't bear much resemblance to the movie version of Revenge of the Nerds, or the TV version for that matter. Maybe Dear Old CUA was just an outlier- except that my High School didn't look a whole lot like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, either. And it sure as hell didn't look anything like "Glory Daze," the television's most recent attempt to feed on the apparently all-but-unanimous theory that college is just a four-year orgy of booze and sex. It's as if screenwriters watched Back to School and figured it was a documentary on campus life in the 1980s.

Hollywood tells me I came of age in the right decade; maybe I just grew up in the wrong country? If that's so, damn you, Mom and Dad!! Look how much fun I could have had if you had just emigrated to America before I hit my teens!! All these college kids I see on the silver screen have more fun in one night than I had in four years!

Look, I'm not complaining all that much. I got a good education in college, spent Fridays at The Dubliner with my girlfriend and my dad's American Express Card, and the Homecoming dances were pretty cool. But if I'm ever reincarnated, I'm rejecting the scholarship and going to Hollywood University. I'm joining one of these frat houses with big impressive Greek letters on the doors. And then I'm spending four years in a dazed stupor, drinking gallons of booze between one-night stands and screaming "PAR-TY!" at the top of my lungs whenever I'm at a party, or just think that it's time to start one.

Next time, I'm doing it right. And I'm doing it to the strains of Crowded House and The Boss. Thank you, Hollywood, for showing me the error of my ways. I only wish Rodney Dangerfield was still with us to provide extra guidance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Delightfully Adult-Free Breakfast

There's plenty to hate on here. Check out dad, who at first glance seems perfectly happy to be eating his Honey Nut Cheerios all by himself in his raggedly Old Man Robe- except that he's got a perpetual scowl on his face, insists on angrily jamming his spoon into the cereal (looks to me as if he's bitter that it's not bacon and eggs) and basically acts like a man who is being forced to take his medicine.

Check out son, who for once in these commercials is actually justified in his clear disdain for Dear Old Dad, who in all honesty is acting like a lame drama queen here. Son is not amused by dad's whiny "this is for my heart!" or his "your mom will be crying over my arteries" (what does that even mean, anyway? It sure doesn't sound like Cheerios takes the heart-healthy attributes of it's cereal very seriously.) The "nice speech, dad" is a bit over the top for me- I can't imagine saying such a thing to my dad- but as I implied, this guy almost deserves it.

When the kid finally exits the stage, Dad goes right back to applying Cheerios to his mouth (seriously- it doesn't even look like he's EATING the stuff- just trying to put it away as quickly as possible, so he doesn't have to actually taste it.) The stupid cartoon bee shows up- why? The message of this ad, I think, was that Cheerios is a heart-healthy cereal. Which suggests that it was designed to appeal to adults. Even if the adults it's aimed at are as childish and weird as this guy, do they really need the added come-on of a cartoon bee?

Maybe. Considering that Cheerios makes a practically sugar-free version of it's product (it's called Original Cheerios) and that there are a LOT of cereals out there more "heart-healthy) than this Honey Nut crap, this guy might just need extra incentive to eat a cereal with slightly less sugar than Cap'n Crunch for the sake of his poor arteries. Maybe Honey Nut Cheerios is step three of his five step Heart Health Program- first eggs without bacon, then Cap'n Crunch, then Honey Nut Cheerios, then regular Cheerios, then Grape Nuts?

I'd hate to think of the look on this guy's face when he gets to the Grape Nuts. At least he won't have to worry about having to share it with anyone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'd hate to see what's rated "Immature" the game a commercial for the Jeep, or is the Jeep a commercial for the game?

Isn't Jeep basically telling us that when it's time to take a break from pretending to be a kick-ass mercenary in mommy's basement and make a run to Seven-Eleven for Cheetos and Red Bull, this is the only vehicle worthy of your insufferably clueless, juvenile ass?

Is there really a strong correlation between people who play these Hero-Wannabee games and can afford $30,000 status symbol automobiles? (Oh, who am I kidding? There probably is. Just as youth is wasted on the wrong people, so is money.)

Does Jeep know that there are real wars going on, right now, which involve real Americans dying in real firefights? If video game technology had advanced sooner, would immature losers have been able to recreate Operation Rolling Thunder in their rec rooms, complete with a Torch The Gook Village option, back in the mid-60s? Would this have been acceptable to anyone?

Finally- is there anyone at Jeep who understands what the word Mature means? Because seriously, I wouldn't use it to describe anyone who would spend five minutes of precious life playing crap like these games, and I sure as HELL wouldn't use it to describe anyone who would plop down a small fortune to play Pretend Soldier in the suburbs by driving around in one of these stupid faux-military transports. Anyone who actually would deserves to be mocked into keeping it hidden in the garage during daylight hours.

If you see one of these Tough Guy ego boosters cruising your neighborhood, feel free to join in the spirit of Jeep and strafe it with rotten vegetable sniper fire. Hey, it's all part of the fantasy, right?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In keeping with the Spirit of the Season

This is actually a pretty old commercial. GMC has been using some version of it for years, every holiday season, like clockwork.

The difference is that this year, it's narrated. And the narration sure does add a lot- it's not just the raping of a beautiful piece of classical music anymore. It's not subtle, "clever" wordplay left to be deduced by the viewer. This year, GMC has decided "to hell with the mildly grotesque, socially inconsiderate allusion." This year, GMC cuts right to the chase.

Happy Holidays. Here's a tune you've probably loved since childhood. You certainly recognize it. Well, we've got something else for you, too- a big fucking truck crashing it's way through snow drifts to give you something to look at while you are enjoying the beautiful music. But you know what? Screw the music, because you still might not get the message. This Mother is a NUTCRACKER!! Get it? This is one freaking awesome man-machine (not a Man Ship, however- that's another commercial.) This thing kicks ass! And we would say so, in exactly those words, if we thought that current standards permitted it. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, check out the NUT CRACKING capabilities of this powerful sonofabitch!!! No one's getting in your way if you are knocking over snowmen behind the wheel of THIS baby! So what are you waiting for, Mozart??

Again- maybe next year. Because nothing is sacred. Absolutely nothing.

Coors's answer to Eddie Murphy!

Some twenty-five years ago, Eddie Murphy starred in one of the truly seminal Saturday Night Live skits; a skit so damned classic that it's fondly remembered by people of my generation as one of the great moments of television comedy to come out of the 1980s. In wonderful deadpan fashion, Murphy went "undercover" as a white man to find out how white people act when there are no black people around. Hilariously, he discovered that white people "give each other things....for free!" and that life as a white person in the United States was basically paradise when those "silly negroes" were out of the picture.

Well, it took a good quarter-century, but it seems that Coors Light has come up with an "answer" to Murphy's "expose." Check out the well-dressed executive-type black guy as he abruptly dismisses his white friends outside the office building. (Ok, one of these people is a hot African-American chick; wonder why she wasn't invited?) Next thing you know, he's surrounded by other young, hip, and good-looking African-Americans on a Coors Light "Love Train" (shame on you, O'Jays, if you actually still owned the rights and sold out your plea for World Peace to a beer company owned by a family which probably thinks that Sarah Palin is too liberal to be trusted with power.) The beer and the music flow freely, and everyone has an awesome time on the Coors Silver Bullet train (well, at least there's one bullet train in the United States.) It's all good, because there are no white people around to mess things up with their Miller Lite, Mickey D's Dollar Meals and Jerad-endorsed Five Dollar Foot Longs.

Yes, it's nothing but fun on the Highly Segregated Love Train. Leaving me to wonder what is more insulting here- the idea that African Americans are expected to equate "love" with dumping white coworkers to hang out with people with similar skin tones, or the idea that African Americans equate having fun with drinking Coors Light. I'll leave that conundrum to the philosophers.

Meanwhile, Eddie, you've been served. And it only took another generation to do it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Proper Care and Feeding of your own Bundle of Joy

You've been an insufferable, whiny, petulant little brat all your life, why start making sensible choices now just because your driver's license identifies you as an adult?

After all, when you were a pout-faced little cherub, you had no problem dismissing your mom's attempts to keep Christmas within the family budget by steering you toward a slightly less exorbitant version of That Thing You Really Wanted And Were Quite Willing To Throw a Quiet Fit If You Couldn't Get Right This Minute. By barely acknowledging her presence, and dismissing her with a soft, but determined, "No, it's Not," you let her know that there was No Way You Would Ever Love Her Again if she didn't succumb to Her Precious One's demands.

And when you were the punk wannabee who dragged dad to the guitar store, you didn't let that lame-ass old fart suggest that the slightly cheaper Piece of Shit You Didn't Even Bother to Look At was anywhere near as good as the signature series beauty you were going to make him pay through the nose for, if he didn't want you hating him more than you already did, the cranky, out of touch old loser.

And now you are on your own (I bet your parents are heartbroken over THAT fact) and the world had better know right now that you are living life on your Own Terms, As Usual. You've always demanded the Best, and you Always Will. Right now, that means a BMW. I don't know what it will mean to you later- and frankly, I don't care. Because people like you make me want to vomit.

We all know where self-indulgent monsters who think the fucking planet revolves around their wants come from- they come from indulgent parents. They are easily recognizable, and once again we are living in an era where they are to be admired and emulated, rather than despised. Just because this prick didn't actually throw himself on the floor and kick while screaming his face blue doesn't make him any less loathsome as a child, and his calm, assured "this is the one" doesn't make him any less repulsive as an adult. Every version of him shown in this ad is equally vile. And all I can do now is hope that his decision to use gold as a hedge against inflation blows up in his face and he spends his golden years splitting his prescription meds and dining on Brand-X mushroom soup. Whether it's really "good enough" or not.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not the Answer to Rachel's problem

Rachel wakes up with back pain. So she gulps down two Tylenol. A few hours later, she spots some hard benches, assumes that they will result in back pain, and so gulps down two more. A few hours later, it's been a few hours, and Rachel, being a creature of habit, gulps down two Tylenol just for the heck of it.

That night, she is the object of a one-person intervention by her husband, who forces her to watch an Aleve commercial on the family's big screen HDTV. "Hey honey, nobody wants to force you to give up your pill habit...but maybe if you switch to Aleve, you'll be down to a bottle a month...wanna give it a try?'

Now Rachel gets up in the morning with her ever-present friend, back pain, and gulps down two Aleve which last "all day long." Aleve's pain-numbing medicine is so much more advanced than that of Tylenol that it will keep her in drug-induced non-agony until she turns in that night. Yay. Of course, it's only a matter of time before Rachel starts popping two pre-emptive tablets before she turns off the light- why wake up with pain, after all.

I just wonder- before Rachel's kidneys and liver finally surrender to the nonstop chemical barrage they are receiving from this poor woman's constant intake of pain medication, Rachel might consider actually picking up a phone and MAKING AN APPOINTMENT WITH HER DOCTOR. Because I'm pretty sure that over the counter drugs like Tylenol and Aleve aren't really designed to deal with medical conditions which produce long-term pain. When I was in a car accident seven years ago, I suffered a back injury which required me to ingest a daily dose of Oxyprozin to deaden the pain while I completed physical therapy. Today I deal with back pain with exercise and only take drugs to deal with EXTREME pain- the kind that prevents me from getting on with life. They aren't part of my daily diet, and I kind of suspect they aren't supposed to be.

There's something very wrong with ads for over the counter drugs (or any drugs, for that matter) which suggest that it's perfectly ok to include allegedly powerful painkillers along with your coffee, orange juice and toast routine. Especially since your body doesn't want a lot of this stuff in it's system, and will let you know this, in very nasty ways, sooner or later.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How do they get away with this?

Ok, I've given Hyundai a hard time with their ads in the past. "Hyundai Uncensored" is nothing more than blatant false advertising- either the "hidden video" is heavily edited or (much more likely, in my opinion) it's not hidden at all, boiling the entire campaign down to "let's lie to our customers."

Hyundai isn't exactly LYING in these "Lease a Hyundai Sonata for only $199 a month" ads, but they come pretty damned close- too close to just let slide. Check out the fine print- there's just a LITTLE money due at signing, hardly worth mentioning (which I guess is why it's not mentioned by the thrilled-to-death narrator.) Because this is a Full Service Site, I won't make you burn out your eyes trying to find the figure I'm referring to. It's $2399.

That's Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety-Nine Dollars. Due at lease signing. Before you can drive off with your "$199 a month" awesome deal.

There's a little something there concerning taxes and tags too, but that's to be expected if you've ever bought a car. Let's stay with that Due at Signing figure. Exactly how much IS $2399, anyway? Well, my trusty calculator tells me that it's the equivalent of another ENTIRE YEAR OF LEASE PAYMENTS.

So what is this great deal, really? Quite simply: You can lease a Hyundai Sonata for $199 a month, for three years. You just have to pay for four years.

Great deal, huh? Oh, and don't forget to bring it back without a scratch, and under 12,000 miles per year on the odometer. Other than that, enjoy the car you are essentially renting for $9563 for three years (paying for four.)

But before you head off to take advantage of this Great Deal, just ask yourself: ARE YOU A FREAKING MORON?????

Well, if you believe that the "Hyundai Uncensored" commercials are legit, you probably are. But heck, if you believe those commercials, you're probably driving around in one of these stunningly overpriced imports already. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Town of the Living Dead

Here's a delightfully cutesy ad for yet another phone-gaming-texting-video hybrid monstrosity featuring an entire town of drugged zombies who are simply incapable of taking a step or developing a thought which does not involve gazing fondly at a screen and pushing buttons.

Here's a guy who can't play his keyboard unless he's got his little security blanket positioned where he can read it- or maybe he's just not willing to do anything that doesn't involve using the thing he convinced himself he needed last month. Here's another guy who isn't about to be drawn into a conversation with the driver of the car he's in- to hell with that, he's too busy playing some clueless, braincell-sucking game. Here's another guy on a bus who figures that he might as well take a photo of two total strangers, because what the hell, his overpriced little toy does that, too.

Best of all- here's a guy with flowers who is having a hard time finding the object of his affections because he's relying on his phone to guide him to the very SPOT she's standing. Never mind that all he has to do is LOOK UP- how could he bear to to that, what with this wicked cool electronic thingee? And of course, his potential Better Half is doing exactly the same thing. These guys are one dead battery way from never meeting up at all- and seriously, would this really be a bad thing?

Sometimes I feel like I live in this town. More than once (more than a thousand times, actually) I've taken long walks through local parks and down local streets, passing people whose necks seem permanently bent down and their brains focused on the Really Important Thing that's happening on that little screen in their hand. I've seen small children practically beg for attention from their parents (usually in vain,) and I've seen older kids apparently resolved to the fact that it's not worth the bother. More and more of these older kids have their own nifty little time vampires to keep them happy in their social retardation, so it's All Good, I guess.

Still, I don't regret the fact that this junk didn't exist when I was younger. I guess I'm just weird in some ways.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Here at Dr Pepper, we've got money to burn!

I just gotta say, this is a lot of work in service of not a whole hell of a lot- basically, we get a big production number just to hear the most predictable play on words imaginable.

I just wish I could have been in the boardroom where it was decided that yes, it makes perfect sense to invest a huge amount of time and money to bring a sad reminder of the 1970s back to the stage to utter a bad pun. "Look, we'll get Doctor Love, and we'll get KISS on stage, and we'll have him say something like, I don't know, a KISS of flavor or something like that! Get it? KISS of flavor? DOCTOR Love? Trust me, it will be GREAT!" I mean, how out of it were the guys who signed off on the production costs for this lump of Not Very Much At All?

Then again, this is an ad for Dr. Pepper, a soda popular only with people who think that soft drinks should taste like cough syrup. So maybe this works with the target audience. For the rest of us, we are left shaking our heads and wondering why every corporation in the US isn't as willing to part with it's money for so little return. Think how fast we could wipe out unemployment among 70s rockers!

"Famous" being a relative term, of course

Once upon a time, this kid would have contorted himself for a few minutes to the sole amusement of this one guy ("Show me something cool? What the hell? Who are you, anyway? Looks to me like this kid just walked into the kitchen looking for a glass of milk- why does he have to perform on demand because this guy has a phone, anyway?) A good laugh would have been had by the two guys, and life would have gone on as normal, with no else the "wiser."

Once upon a time, you could trip and fall and know that at the very worst, you'd suffer momentary, swiftly-forgotten embarrassment if there happened to be a few people around. Hey, these things happen. Your face turns red, there are a few giggles, and the moment passes.

It's not Cisco's fault that those days are gone, but The Human Network would like to claim at least a LITTLE of the "credit." Now, every stupid thing you do in a moment of God Please Don't Make Me So Desperate I Pick Up a Book boredom can be captured for the "entertainment" of the entire planet. Every little dance, every bad joke, every alcohol-induced moment of foolishness or frightful honesty can be captured by any jackass with a cell phone and broadcast around the world in roughly fifteen seconds. That moment may be forgotten- God knows that 99.999% of it is utterly forgettable- but it's been cached and filed and is available to anyone with internet access and a search engine.

Remember this the next time someone holding an electronic device asks you to "just do something." And hope that when it happens, you aren't drunk or otherwise have your usual defenses down (or does this generation even have defenses against invasions of privacy anymore? Does the word Privacy even hold any meaning these days?) Know that what you choose to do is going to be fodder for internet-addicted strangers all over the world before you have a chance to rethink your actions ("rethink" implying that there was a thought process at work in the first place), let alone sober up.

These Days, thanks to Cisco, anyone can be Famous. And that's a good thing- umm, why, exactly?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The 99ers? Let them eat cake- somewhere else

Is it especially evil of me to want this police officer to club these two bleating jackanapes senseless with his nightclub before hauling them off to the local Bastille to await the National Razor? I mean, wouldn't that just be a public service to the poor job-hunting, "just stepped in to rest my aching feet and read the want ads before standing in line for another three hours at the unemployment office" population?

Who the HELL wants to listen to this self-congratulatory, "hey listen up everybody I've got money to play with in the stock market" BS? My guess is that the outsourced father of three wondering where the next mortgage payment is coming from wouldn't mind being deprived of a conversation consisting of buzzwords like "market trends," "double bottom patterns" and (groan) "gap reversals."

I know ScotTrade has a product to sell, and the right to market it as best it can. But that doesn't mean I have to like the flood of "make money by pushing it around and not by actually producing anything or providing any value to society" commercials, does it?

I hope not. Because right now, all I really want is to see the torsos of these two grinning WASPS deprived of their empty heads, and those empty heads gracing pikes on the city walls. Instead, what we are all going to get is an extension of tax cuts which primarily serve to put more money in the pockets of people like these guys. The lovers of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity will just have to wait.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Favorite Smirking, Eyeless Weirdo is back!

The look on the face of the guy in the first few seconds of this commercial says it all- he's just sitting outside the cafe, minding his own damned business, and the look he gives us so is clearly "oh jesus, THIS shmuck again!" makes me wonder if State Farm doesn't realize it's milked it's Wandering Sack of Smarm campaign dry and is just kidding with us now.

The rest of the commercial is more of the same- our favorite Eyeless Smirking Wonder strolls pointlessly through some hip coffee shop, barely avoiding collisions with customers and employees alike, all the time spewing some focus group-approved bs about how State Farm, and ONLY State Farm, can guide you to the Promised Land of Savings. It concludes with this overpaid sack of doorknobs settling down at a table and being handed a cup of coffee he didn't even order, for which the waitress gets barely an acknowledging nod. He didn't even have to conjure it up by bleating the magic State Farm jingle!

I'll note that the guy's coffee is delivered in a To-Go cup; is that a subtle hint, or what? Hey buddy, you found your way in- now PLEASE, find your way out, and stop lecturing us about the awesomeness of State Farm, ok?

But when you do walk out, don't expect to find Exasperated Black Guy still sitting outside- he saw you coming, gulped down the last of his joe, and took off, rather than risk listening to any more of your pointless banter. Can't say as I blame him.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Tis the season of revolting excess- Again.

If it's December (and it isn't even, yet) it's time to watch White, Upper Class Spoiled Rotten Repulsive devotees of materialism using Family Money to buy luxury cars for their Significant Others, and to then display their total lack of taste or dignity by wrapping them in huge red bows (or, in a twist introduced this year, encasing them in massive boxes or stockings- oh how fucking imaginative and delightful these "givers" are!)

Because in an age of 17% unemployment (that's the REAL number, when you factor in the people who have simply stopped looking,) underwater mortgages, crushing credit card debt, and prohibitively expensive health "care," who couldn't relate to people handing each other $40,000 cars to grace the driveways of their $2 mil homes?

And if you are in a position to actually give someone who lives in your house a freaking BRAND NEW LUXURY AUTOMOBILE for Christmas, why WOULDN'T you advertise that fact in the most ostentatious way imaginable? I mean, it would be a real shame if everyone else in the neighborhood wasn't made aware of how great life has been for you while the US economy crashed and burned around them, wouldn't it?

Don't you just know that people who give each other cars wrapped in bows are the same type who bitch about the mere possibility that the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% will be allowed to expire next month? Don't you just know that these are the kind of people who cheer on slimebags who hold up extending unemployment coverage unless an extension of those tax cuts is included?

When society finally collapses under the crushing weight of these self-indulgent pigs and we finally start ordering Guillotines from whatever visionary French company still makes them, people who took it upon themselves to trumpet their monetary superiority like this should be moved to the front of the line. As consolation, we should assure them that they will be buried with their pretty bows. Or in some other package which reminds us that they were Better Than We Are in life, and continue to be so in death.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Derivitave Studios Presents....

Is it just me, or has Due Date (which is NOT Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with a different cast and a tweaked storyline, so stop saying it is) been in theaters for roughly six months now? What, did the marketers discover an unspent $2 million in the advertising budget and decide "what the hell, we might as well chop up the original trailer and broadcast it again during college football?" Or is more like "our film is being buried underneath new releases- quick, let's remind people it's still not quite available on Netflix yet!?"

Sorry, guys. If I wanted to see this movie, I would have done so when it was first released- what was it, back in August? Or, I would have popped in my copy of...oh wait, I keep forgetting. This is a totally different film. Of course it is.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Simple Transaction

You know Her. You know how much she costs.

Are you willing to pay the price?

Zales. The place to go when you are ready to pay through the nose for an ancient rock that will finally break down her defenses. No, she still doesn't care for you all that much-- but how many karats did you say this was, again?

Try to forget how much that rock costs when you go house-hunting and you realize you don't have enough cash for the down payment or closing costs.

And try not to kick yourself for ignoring the warning signs; you married a woman who uses the word "gosh." That should have been your first clue that it was going to be your job to explain where babies come from.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh no, State Farm. This isn't Racist. Not in the slightest!

State Farm really does a great job on the Laundry List of Offensive Stereotypes in THIS ad. We've got the Motormouth, Head-Waggling Black Woman who was apparently ready to spend the rest of the afternoon talking at the speed of light had her boyfriend not interrupted with the magic State Farm Jingle. We've got this woman giving us her version of a Fantasy Boyfriend- a rapper-type in tight jeans and with no shirt, and a gold chain no less (what is this, a casting call for I'm Gonna Get You Sucka II?

Then we've got her boyfriend's retaliation- his version of Fantasy Girlfriend. She's a leggy, busty MTV-video type whose breasts threaten to escape from her tank top and whose shorts are strictly a formality. Not to mention what my lovely ex would refer to as Fuck Me Pumps.* Beautiful.

Naturally, the narrative ends with New and Improved Motormouth playing Hypocrite of the Year by chastising her boyfriend- "I was perfect the way I was, blah blah blah..." whatever.

Still not convinced that State Farm has crossed a line here? Then I invite you to read my reaction to State Farm's "Hot Tub" ad ( Check out the white guy's fantasy girl- a fully-clothed, studious looking type who seems to have been caught doing something important with a laptop when suddenly whisked into the ad.

Need this explained further?

Black guy's fantasy= call girl spilling out of what little fabric is covering her body. White guy's fantasy= "girl next door" type, equal parts brain and skin-deep beauty.

Way to be a Good Neighbor, State Farm. Way to shrug off the fact that it's the 21st century and that these kind of disgusting stereotypes are bad enough when they are displayed in films like Lottery Ticket.

You'd think a reputable insurance company would stay away from crud like this. You'd be wrong.

Bottom of the barrel? State Farm is there.

*Ok, I know you can't actually see this woman's shoes after her "transformation." But you just know what they look like anyway, don't you? And I really have been dying to use the term "Fuck Me Pumps" for quite a while now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks for Nothing, Mom

So the message here is.....

This guy's mother is an internet-obsessed jerk who doesn't give a flying damn that she's invaded her "good son's" privacy and humiliated him in public?

This guy's mother is determined to ruin her son's life by posting every stupid photo that has ever been taken of him on the internet?

This guy's friends are total dicks who live for opportunities to laugh at him, secure in the knowledge that nobody THEY know would ever treat them like this?

Whatever the message is, where does "so use this credit card's reward points to do something nice for someone" come in? Because it sure seems to me that the clearest message is "people are assholes. Don't do nice things for them, because it will come back to bite you."

I mean, at least that jerk with the entitled parents who bought them Shea Stadium seats probably just got a simple "thank you," and weren't rewarded with an attack of cyber-stalking.

BTW, anyone have a guess as to why this guy can't just call his mother and tell her, as politely as possible, to knock this shit the fuck off? He DOES call her once a week, after all. Seems like this might be worthy of an unscheduled call home, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh, NOW I don't know what's going on!

What I like about this commercial is that it's makers show real respect for their product's potential buyers. I mean, it's so chock-full of information concerning what the Turbo Boost Intel Whatsit does, how much it costs, and why we need it, I had a hard time not calling in sick from school so I could rush off to BestBuy and grab, computer, I guess...for myself.

Ok, ok, enough snark. Obviously I'm not in the targeted demographic- 11 year-olds in the market for a new computer with superfast technology who are swayed by the marketing power of the penguins from Madagascar VII: The Milking Continues. You know, the 11 year-olds who have been handed several thousand dollars by their parents and told "I'm too busy, go out and make your own technology purchase decisions."

Ok, I'll be serious now, I mean it. What the hell is this? I don't know about you, but there are three common commercial gags that have never, EVER convinced me to buy a product:

1. Using children as pitchmen.
2. The appearance of Not Funny So Grow The Hell Up And Stop Trying To Convince Us They Are chimps.
3. Cartoons.

Here's a better idea: tell us what the product does, why that's important, and why it will make my life less of a sad, empty shell than it currently is. Would that really be so hard?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meet Five Guys who've never had a good seat during the Super Bowl

This is too easy.

First- are we really supposed to celebrate and admire a handful of five rich choads who have so much disposable income that they've attended every Super Bowl? They aren't football fans (I don't care what the tag line says.) Spending huge amounts of money to watch two teams you don't root for in the regular season doesn't make you a football fan. It makes you someone willing to blow a wad on yourself. Not the same thing.

Second- I love the guy who fondly runs through his pristine collection of old Super Bowl tickets- they aren't even in plastic cases, for christ's sake. Good for you, buddy, really. Each ticket represents god knows how many Thanksgiving dinners that could have been provided at your neighborhood food bank, if not for your idiot obsession with "the big game."

"Going to the SuperBowl is like Fourth of July and New Year's Day put together." Really? Only if those two holidays involve spending huge amounts of money on tickets and travel so you can sit in a crowd of 80,000 strangers watching what looks like ants wearing uniforms of Teams You Don't Root For In The Regular Season running up and down a field.

Third- "when I get that ticket in my hands, and I realize I'm going again..." seriously, I'm pulling for you, man. Especially now that the NFL has agreed to play the game in NYC in the very near future. I'm hoping for snow and a wind chill of -80 F.
After all, you and your buddies want the REAL football experience, right?

I salute all these guys, who have somehow managed to convince their families that a couple of grand on tickets, travel, and hotel rooms is a lovely tradition to continue just as the Christmas Visa bill shows up. Have a great time at the next sterile-atmosphere neutral-site Super Bowl, played indoors and on carpet, surrounded by corporate hacks armed with Tax-Deductible tickets who care about the actual teams playing just as much as you do. As usual, I'll be watching the game from the best seat in the house, which happens to be the couch in MY house.

I won't miss a single play. You'll miss plenty. But hey, you get to brag on your "tradition" in a commercial for Visa. More power to you, idiots.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I can tell you that they don't make deer this tough in Vermont

Never mind the idiotic "pulling the spare car out of the trunk" gag. Decent visual, not all that interesting, and the only thought that came to mind during it was why the hell the nice-looking woman of uncertain ethnicity can't be bothered to lend a helping hand while the guy is struggling to extract an entire car from the remains of his old one. But, whatever.

I'm more interested in what exactly caused this wreck. We get a glance at a deer in the commercial's opening seconds, strongly implying that this little thing is somehow at least partially responsible. But obviously, there has been no collision, unless the animal is a refugee from Krypton or something. So what's the deal? The car isn't crumpled up against a huge rock or some other immovable object, it's just sitting there in the middle of the road. How did this happen?

Seriously, this is one mysterious commercial. How does a car end up completely totaled in the middle of the highway like that? And while we are at it, how fast was that car going, to create this level of damage? Neither of these people seem to have a scratch on them, or to be even the slightest bit upset or even disheveled. Of course, they DO have that spare, which I guess is such a perfect copy of the old car that it contains all of the luggage, CDs, etc that the trashed car did....

And they drive off and just leave their wreck in the middle of the highway? That's nice- leave a little surprise for the next young couple that comes cruising around the bend.

I know I think about all this just a bit too much, but I still want the back story. How DID that deer cause this accident? Because maybe I don't really need to know, but I'm sure the insurance adjuster would like an explanation. And I don't think she's going to buy the "we hit a deer" story.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who wants to see this?

Is it really a good marketing strategy for a restaurant to make commercials which deprive the viewers of their appetites?

Seriously, this commercial isn't designed to make us hungry. It's more like a diet aid. Who the hell would be stimulated to run out and buy pork drowning in bbq sauce based on these stunningly unappealing images?

We start off with two unattractive weirdos with "we don't know how to act- is this what 'I'm in love' looks like?" expressions ultimately attacking these disgusting sandwiches. And it's all downhill from there, as we move from one slob after another finding emotional fulfillment in jamming this junk into their faces, naturally leaving blobs of greasy, oily crud behind to be slopped up with napkins (or, more typically, fingers.) Uck.

The only saving grace is that it's over quickly, and these ugly pigs get the hell off my screen before my stomach has completely flipped. Oh, and that for some mysterious but welcome reason, McDonald's refuses to put the McRib on it's permanent menu, so we only have to deal with this garbage every couple of years or so. But for the next few weeks, big screens and HDTV are not our friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get this kid out of my face, please

Here's a commercial where the Precocious Little Prick theme is brought to a whole new level.

This kid is too good for the Family's Lame-Mobile, and he knows it. As he struts around his suburban neighborhood his parents work to keep him in, wearing the faux-leather jacket his parents caved and bought him so they wouldn't look "lame" in his eyes for a few minutes, this insufferable little ass spits all over their efforts because gosh darn it they drive this REALLY Out-of-It car. I mean, don't you just hate parents who don't get that their kids have reps to keep up?

Anyway, this needs-to-be-beaten-and-I-mean-right-now knothead with blond curls finds a solution- to hang with "Mrs K," who isn't a blood relative but at least has a sweet ride worthy of this pathetic little snot. Someday, his own parental units might realize the damage they are doing to their insufferable little snot-spawn's social life by chauffeuring him around in something way beneath his standards, but until then, he'll be letting the next door neighbor do the honors.

Who does this ad appeal to? Pre-pubescent boys with $40 G's burning holes in their pockets? Parents who are deeply concerned that their children "don't approve" of their cars? Parents who, having given their children all the cell phones and video game systems and plasma HD televisions they've asked for STILL don't feel sufficiently "loved" by their little darlings, are more than willing to rush out and buy a new car if that will FINALLY convince their children to take "My Parents Suck" off their Facebook walls?

And here are two pieces of really bad news concerning this ad:

1. The kid in this ad has three names. Child actors with three names mean one thing: Mommy's Little Meal Ticket. This kid is being groomed for stuff beyond commercials. Get ready for The Riley Thomas Stewart Experience , coming soon to The Disney Channel.

2. This commercial is just one of a series. So if you thought the surly kids from the Kraft Mac 'N Cheese ads of this summer were obnoxious, wait till you see the spoiled little dicktards Highlander has lined up to sell us their latest gas-guzzling planet-destroyer. It's going to be a long, painful ride.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, we know how it all turns out, all right

Here's another movie trailer that serves the rather welcome purpose of not only letting us know what the featured film is about, but how the story is going to unfold, what the major conflict is, what the moral is, and how it's going to end.

In short, another movie trailer which basically admits that Americans don't go to the movies to actually watch stories present themselves, unfold, and reach a satisfying conclusion anymore. They go because it's Something to Do on Saturday Night That Doesn't Involve Talking to People, and because it's another place to really annoy people by using your cell phone.

To sum up: Rachel McAdams plays the Career-Driven Go-Getter who Ultimately Loses Track of What's Really Important (which, for a woman, is enjoying life and falling in love. Being a Career-Driven Go-Getter? That's a no-no unless you are a guy. It's usually a no-no if you are a guy, too, by the way. Kind of helps explain why we don't make anything except stadiums and reality tv shows in this country anymore.)

Harrison Ford plays the scruffy, cynical, war-weary tv veteran who acts like a self-centered ass but who Nevertheless Has An Important Message to Impart Near the Tail End of the Film. Diane Keaton plays Diane Keaton, just as she has for the past forty years. Nothing about Diane Keaton ever changes- not her character portrayals, not her hairstyle, not even her fricking eyeglasses. She's a female version of Jack Nicholson- there to play herself. And collect a paycheck.

In the end, Rachel McAdams Learns the Very Important Lesson from Harrison Ford. The lesson is Love a Person, Like Your Work, Don't Make The Same Mistake And End Up Regretting The Path You Took Blah Blah Blah Condescending Manipulative Sexist Tripe Which Leads to Blossoming Self-Awareness Which Leads to Tearful Embrace Roll Credits.

I picked this up watching the 20-second version of this trailer. This two-minute plus version is like the Cliff Notes for this stunningly predictable pile of Reminding Women That They Are Not Men crud. No way anyone actually walks into the theater wondering how it all turns out even if they didn't see the trailer at all- I mean, come on, they even tell you it's from the makers of The Devil Wears Prada- what do you need, a punch upside the head?

This film is released every single year- sometimes multiple times a year- under different names. Was this idea EVER fresh? Because in 2010, it's literally blue with mold, stale as last year's doughnut, a plateful of nutrition-free sludge which just screams "Been There, Seen That."

Needless to say, I didn't actually go to the theater to see this 90-minute serving of warmed-over pablum. Am I way off on my plot summary? Doesn't really matter- after all, it's the trailer I'm mocking, and the only message it sent me was "Nothing to See here that you haven't seen many, many times already. Move along now."

Friday, November 12, 2010

There's a little disgusting, clueless poser in all of us

This is so weak, so insulting, so infuriating, so just plain WRONG that it's almost unsnarkable. The idea of a collection of fat, middle-aged secretaries, office jockeys, Not-Even-Weekend-Warriors, and Kobe Bryant playing soldier is simply rank.

"There's a little soldier in all of us?" Not enough to get us down to the recruitment office, clearly. But enough to inspire us to buy some disgusting, "War is so SuperAwesomeAmazing OMIGOD it's all about killing people and walking away without a scratch LOL" video game and pretend to be "heroes" by blowing digital "enemies" off of rooftops using plastic guns and controllers. Ugh.

I know real veterans, of real wars. Thankfully, there was more than "a little soldier" in these guys. There was enough soldier to get them to sign on the dotted line and go off and actually put themselves in harm's way- in real life, where the bad guys shoot back, and there's no Reset or Save buttons.

Know what these guys all tell me? That good old Bill Sherman was right when he said "War is Hell." That's HELL- not Fun, not Cool, not something you engage in because you are bored and your pathetic little lives are so devoid of meaning that you get some kind of sick thrill by playing Soldier in your darkened living room. So, Fat Secretary? If you are going to play soldier, do us a favor and take the "I Support the Troops" bumper sticker off your Rav 4. Because you don't know what being a soldier is. Kobe? Cut the fucking crap, and cut a check to the nearest VA hospital. No, it won't be as fun as blasting High-def images off your flat screen, but at least you'd be accomplishing something besides being an even bigger, more clueless ass than you already are.

Hey Gamers- if you really think there's "a little soldier in you," how about huffing and puffing your sorry asses down to the recruitment center? See how much "fun" you find actual combat. Quick warning- you might get your hair mussed a bit. And again- the guys you shoot at will be shooting back at you- with real ammo.

Meanwhile, cut the War is Fun bullshit, ok? It's a massive insult to the real heroes, who are putting their lives on the line on the other side of the planet so you can play Soldier in your basement. God what contemptible trash you are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Men Are Helpless, Part 380,146

A few questions:

If Dave and Mandy are going on vacation together, why would they be searching individually online for resorts, etc? Isn't this something couples generally do together?

Is the narrator telling us that Dave stayed up all night searching websites that he actually missed the flight, so Mandy went on vacation by herself? Does this really happen?

The narrator tells us that Dave "misses flights." That's plural. So Dave REGULARLY obsesses over travel websites all night, including the nights before they are scheduled to leave? This makes no sense- what is he looking for online if the tickets are booked already?

Or are we being told that Dave stayed up all night searching websites and was never told that his girlfriend had found the perfect vacation- so she went without him? Is that it?

Is the message of this commercial really that if you don't just assume that your girlfriend is 100 percent smarter than you are and should just be allowed to make all the travel arrangements, she's going to dump you for some local she meets while on vacation by herself, or while you are asleep back at the hotel?

The company being advertised is called Why don't I see any kayaks in this ad?

I mean, what the hell?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If the guy in the car said "No, I'm actually getting bored of games, I'm reading a book," I think his friend's head would have exploded

It's not that these two pathetic losers are exchanging "no MY life is less meaningful than yours is" barbs while discussing their shared obsession with a video game. It's not that these two alleged GROWN-UPS seem determined to establish who the Alpha Male here is based on the number of two-dimensional images they've managed to "eliminate" from the comfort of their overstuffed couches while sitting on their overstuffed asses back at home.

It's not even the "funny" situation that unfolds during the sad verbal smackdown after the guy in the car admits that he actually drove to Wal Mart at midnight to make sure he got himself a copy of the lastest Have to Have Even Though You Haven't been a Teen-Ager in a Decade video game. (Someone, PLEASE, do an intervention with this guy. To say he and his friends need LIVES is the understatement of the year.)

It's the fact that we never do find out why this guy was pulled over on his way home from the store with his precious little toy. Which allows me to hypothesize that the poor fat choad, realizing while on line that he had left his VISA card at home, snapped and left a bloody mess where Debby the Drained of All Life cashier and Robert the 80-Year Old Greeter used to be. Having committed multiple homicides, Our Hero, all sense of right and wrong drained out of him by years of Grand Theft Auto and Halo marathons, casually sauntered out of the store and into his Special Edition Black Ops Jeep (separate post on this monstrosity coming later.)

And now the local police, backed up by the Feds, have nabbed the psycho, who will be headline news tomorrow. Once again he's beaten his nemesis on the other end of the phone, who never managed celebrity beyond a surprise appearance on To Catch A Predator. And really, showing up your "friends" is really all that matters in life, right?

What is it with you "Gamers," anyway? I played video games when I was a KID- back when I was in HIGH SCHOOL. Games like Atari Bowling and Space Invaders. At some point- around the time I went to college- I discovered girls, interesting classes, girls, running, girls, hiking, girls, swimming, and girls. I left sitting in my living room pretending to do something while my brain turned to play-dough back where it belonged- in my CHILDHOOD. Somewhere along the line, "Gaming" became a way of life for a rather large population of witless slackers, along with Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football, which primarily to serve the fantasy that those who engage in such activities have a life which is more than Fantasy (you know, kind of like having 8500 "Facebook Friends" but no one to ask to the movies next Saturday night.)

Sorry to disturb you though- please, get back to your virtual worlds, where there are virtual people to virtually kill. But when you find yourself in the parking lot at Wal Mart at midnight with a plastic bag containing the latest Kill Everything video game, take a moment for self-reflection. If you've got any ability to look within left, I don't think you'll like what you see.

(Why DID this guy get pulled over, anyway?)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'd switch, but I hate that stupid lizard even more

Full Disclosure: State Farm is my insurance company, and I've never had any serious complaints about their service. Whenever I have invested fifteen minutes to check out Geico I've been offered very uncompetitive deals and passed. My premiums are very reasonable, and when I got hit by an uninsured drunk driver some years back, State Farm took care of me.

All that being sad, this is a disgustingly clueless, insulting pile of steaming crud disguised as an ad for renter's insurance. First, when a baseball comes through the window of this guy's apartment his first thought isn't to quickly look outside to see who did it- you know, like any normal, functioning human being would. He doesn't even make the first effort to clean up the broken glass. No, it's all about contacting State Farm, and quickly.

Time out. We know this is an apartment in a rather substantial building, because "the girl from 4G" is about to be summoned (more about this later.) Would this guy's insurance company really be responsible for replacing the broken pane of glass? Even if the apartment management office didn't automatically take responsibility, how freaking low is this guy's deductible, that he's thinking State Farm is going to pay for this damage?

Ok, back to the commercial, because here's where it gets really really bad..

One of the renter's friends tries out the jingle by asking for a sandwich, which magically appears. Inspired, the renter requests that "the girl from 4G" is whisked away from her private surroundings to decorate his hovel. She appears, and seems not the least bit concerned that she's now apparently at the mercy of this doofus and his equally weird and worthless friends. Then, in what is (not surprisingly) a Howl Out Loud LOL moment to the knuckle-dragging glue-sniffers over at YouTube, one guy yells "And can I get me a Hot Tub?!" Of course, that magically appears too (creating more damage for the State Farm Agent to deal with.)

Assuming that this guy hasn't been harboring fantasies of getting his male friends into a hot tub, I think it's safe to infer that the tub is part of the "girl from 4G" plot point. Nice for her- not only is she transported against her will to an apartment full of half-witted, power-crazed jackasses who don't know what her name is, but the guys she finds herself with are now taking it for granted that she'll happily strip and climb into a tub with them. Not a lot of respect for female customers over there at State Farm, is there?

I'm not going to dump State Farm over this ad, not only because I get the best deal from them but also because EVERY substantial insurance company seems to be spending a lot of their customer's premiums to produce mind-numbingly stupid commercials. But I am more than a little irritated that my money played even a small role in the creation of this junk.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A little bit of everything except respect for our intelligence

1. Washed-Up Character Actor from the 1980s- Check.

2. Crowd of twentysomething jackanapes so ungrateful at having a job in an era of near-10 percent unemployment (adjusted to 17% when factoring in the people who have just given up) that they are willing to steal their employer's money by slacking off shamelessly- Check.

3. Sexist imagery (in this case, pompoms appearing from nowhere to be waved by the female coworkers)- Check.

4. Stern, grey-haired MALE boss asserting his position as Bull of the Herd by barking "JOHNSON!" (has anyone out there ever worked at an office in which the boss refers to you by your last name, with no prefix? Anyone?) -- Check.

5. Stern, grey-haired MALE boss congratulating Chief Slacker for coming up with a way to rob the business of productive work from it's employees, who are presumably being paid to work Sundays- Check.

6. Mindless cheering at male boss's stunningly predictable response to seeing his entire staff blowing off work for The Big Game (why do they "have" to work Sunday, anyway? If the work was so important, why is this slacking off even possible? I mean, what the heck?) --Check.

What kind of fantasy world is this, anyway? Why does the office have to be open on Sunday? What kind of coworker would risk his job setting up a projector to watch a football game when he's supposed to be working? What kind of coworker would practically GUARANTEE his dismissal by bringing beer into the office during working hours? What kind of boss would buy into this for a BUD LITE??

Most importantly (if the word "important" could ever really be used to describe anything that appears on this blog,) how can this ad sit well with the mass of unemployed or underemployed citizens previously mentioned? Here's a crowd of gainfully employed, good looking young people perfectly willing to risk dismissal rather than put in a few hours on a Sunday- and getting away with it. Great message, Budweiser. I'll remember it this Sunday, when I'm picking up a few extra dollars reading an SAT to a student instead of watching football.

But no, I won't be smuggling a television or a six-pack into the school to make the task more pleasant. Go figure.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick, Let's Avoid Talking!!

Terrified at the thought of having to sit with This Woman He Seems to be Married To for anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours during a delay at the airport, Our Hero gets the bright idea of connecting to "The Cloud," which in his case means accessing their home pc and bringing up recorded television shows.

His unkempt wife is on board, as long as it's "Celebrity Probation- the Premiere." Is this a real show? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Nor does the closing scene, which features these two sadly distant airheads happily watching television ("Yay Cloud!" sighs this truly pathetic, witless, sad woman as she stares at people who seem to be having a pillow fight on a couch. Not exactly PBS..) complete with sound, without the use of earphones.

In fact, there are several of these "Cloud" commercials which show clueless antisocial choads happily consuming brain-sucking television in public and using their laptop's speakers, oblivious to the possibility that the people around them just MIGHT want to be left to enjoy conversations, books, or their own God Don't Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts or My Life Partner Distraction Tool without being forced to listen to (gag) "Celebrity Probation." Just more examples of the "F-U, I'm having fun, if you don't like it, wear headphones yourself" culture we find ourselves living in.

It started with transistor radios. Then it was the Walkman, and then the cell phone with the loud, obnoxious ringtone which actually encouraged people to delay answering. Now we've moved on to portable television, which we are urged to enjoy any place, any time, without headphones. Awesome.

It's getting stupid out there. Stupid, and very, very rude.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This commercial has a camera in my head!

The disconnect here is AT&T's apparent misconception that when people are "using" their cell phones to text, surf the net, etc. they are actually USING them, and not just filling empty space in their equally empty lives. The misconception is that people who stare at cell phone screens are actually seeking information and not just trying to drown out the dull echo of nothingness that inhabits their skull. That they are trying to accomplish something, not just avoiding eye contact. That they are trying to get a question answered, not actively avoiding their children, spouses, and other fellow life forms.

Please, who are they trying to kid here? People who spend huge chunks of time staring at their phones are not victims of spotty service or slow connections. If they really are looking for specific info and find it a few seconds faster with this new phone, they'll just move on to some other brainless "activity" more quickly than they planned to previously (if the word "plan" has any application here.) I guarantee you that a phone which provides instantaneous, lightning-fast web access will cause people to cut back on their vapid, antisocial phone staring about as much as McDonald's Dollar Menu cut back on the consumption of cheeseburgers.

I do get what AT&T is trying to do here, though- people don't want to believe that they spend so much time staring at phones because their lives are so pathetically devoid of meaning and actual human friends. People don't want to believe that, left without their shiny toys, they'd be driven insane by their inability to form coherent thoughts about anything more deep than "I wonder what's for dinner?" I'm quite sure that nobody wants to admit that 99 percent of the time they spend on their phones is about as fulfilling and useful as a mouthful of cotton candy. And I'm also quite sure that there's a large audience of delusional morons out there who are capable of conning themselves into believing that if ONLY I could surf a LITTLE FASTER, I'd be able to get off my phone and have an actual conversation with an actual human being who is actually in the same room as I am. Just look at the vacant half-smiles on these zombies- they aren't doing work. They are just so devoid of personality and meaning and purpose that they can only find satisfaction and belonging with their phones.

The question is, what happens to these people when they purchase this phone-- and nothing changes? It would be nice to think that the hot girl in the teddy tells the asshole to take his phone and get the hell out. It's pleasant to imagine the little kid telling his dad to just stay the hell home and skip the ball game altogether next time, you useless prick. (The frustrated "here's a baseball to the head because you value your pointless surfing more than watching your son play baseball" is a good start.) It would only be justice if these worthless jackasses were just cut loose from society and left to waste their lives in sad isolation with their real loved ones, so we could stop pretending that what they really want is to put them away.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, I'm not buying the "save us from our phones" line. For way too many people, it's an offer to "save us" from our security blankets or cloak of invisibility. I don't know anybody who honestly WANTS to be saved, because it's way too comfortable in that electronic womb.