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.