Archive for the ‘absurdities’ category

Ernie the Elephant…

November 27, 2017


One of the latest commercial pitch-beasts is Ernie the Elephant, voiced by John Cena.  Although a fish out of water or elephant away from the jungle, Ernie is strangely at home everywhere, and would be infinitely more affable as a symbol of the Republican Party than the sitting American president.  

Now Ernie prefers pistachios to peanuts, and touts them for the Wonderful Pistachio company at a variety of sites including a ball field (above) and even in an elevator where he’s set off a weight sensor alarm. Ernie regards pistachios as a healthy snack, which he relates to be important in a age of unrealistic body images; ain’t it the truth! Nothing says healthy snack more than an elephant with saggy gray skin and a ton of junk in the trunk, apparently.

Elephants in commercials are rare, with the icon for Elephant Insurance being the other exemplar who comes to mind.  Ernie is far more laid back, however, and if you have to have an elephant in the living room, I’d rather that it be this easy-going guy.  In my mad world I’d love to see a cross-over series with cgi animal characters such as Ernie, Chester Cheeto, and the milk-that-messes-with-you cow from the Lactaide commercials…now that’s entertainment!



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Seen This “Cheeky Monkey?”

September 12, 2017

Better known for voicing Shrek and creating Austin Powers, comedian Mike Myers creates another Brit Tommy Maitland in the ABC network revival of The Gong Show.  Shown here with a furry act, Myers/Maitland is the flamboyant host of the series, strutting on stage each episode wearing a matador’s hat to the punchy notes of a killer band.  

While non-existent, Tommy Maitland is reportedly a beloved 72-year-old British comedian with a long history of career successes.  A small British flag and a picture of a younger Queen Elizabeth adorn a table on the set.  Performing in deep makeup, Myers as Maitland presents and champions each act before sending them off for a “nice cup of tea” and another reward which varies.  The “presenter” frequently mimics or mocks each act with props and exaggerated expressions during their performance.

This inner joke within a spoof can be quite a hoot, or Snax the Rabbit as the case may be.  And by the way, the proper reply to the question of “Who’s a cheeky monkey?” is a resounding response of, “YOU ARE!”  

And in closing, we pose the questions:

…Isn’t Snax a great name for a rabbit?

…Aren’t we all Cheeky Monkeys, at least some of the time?  

 

The Trump Rat…

August 16, 2017

 

What’s orange, inflatable, fifteen feet tall, and full of hot air? – – Why, the Trump Rat, of course!  Now, Donald Trump has been depicted as a variety of anthropomorphic animals, including a rooster.  The Trump Rat, however, shows uncommon attention to detail.  In addition to the trademark hair, there’s also the pursed lips, the red tie, and in a whimsical touch, Confederate-flag cuff links!  

The Trump Rat was positioned a short distance from Trump Tower when The Donald retreated to New York, and has become a popular site for tourist selfies.  Its creator was supposedly inspired by a particularly revolting rat that he spotted in New York City some time ago. The windbag is supposedly poised to travel to other locations, at times shadowing Trump himself.  

I would hasten to add that normally rodent-human hybrids have a proud and respectable heritage, with Mickey Mouse, The Secret of NIMH rats, and Fivel of An American Tail but several examples that come to mind…

Advantage II for Cats Huge Flea Commercial…

July 25, 2017

Fleas the size of humans are the stuff of nightmares, especially if you happen to find them watching a movie with you, or (shudder) squirreled away all cozy in your bed… 

The giant fleas in the Advantage II for Cats commercial are both repulsive and oddly fascinating; it’s hard to look at them or away from them, perhaps because they’ve acclimated to human life so well.  They seem like world-weary couch potatoes, not really trying to make a fuss but just fit in.  And so it is when the woman vacuuming approaches the giant flea encamped on her couch, the insect very accommodatingly lifts a hind leg to allow her work to continue.  The flea fits in all too well, and is possibly less offensive than other house guests.  

If your cat has fleas, you probably do also” is the commercial’s disturbing message.  Perhaps in a sequel, we’ll hear the pitter-patter of not-so-little flea legs around the house, or see the one on the couch pick up the phone to order a pizza…

“Irritabelle,” the Viberzi Woman…

July 10, 2017


I find people with their internal organs visible disquieting, unless of course they are zombies, in which case you expect that kind of thing, and it’s part of the desired effect.  When said people with visible internal organs jabber and cling, they can be downright annoying, however.  Zombies at least just growl and make noises while they’re trying to eat you.

Submitted for your approval is Irritabelle, the Viberzi commercial woman. Now Irritabelle wears a flesh-colored body suit that’s non-descript except for the imprint of her lower gastrointestinal tract.  Yes, I know, pretty soon all of the young and fashion-conscious will be wearing them.  Irritabelle hangs around her greater self at such places as the market, the office, the bedroom, the beach,  the store, and the doctor’s office, promising the woman she’s part of such sought-after things as abdominal pain and diarrhea, and almost gleefully dragging the woman she dogs off to the bathroom.  She’s a bit of a cut-up too, even wearing an improvised cape at the doctor’s office like a demented superhero…colon girl, perhaps.  Irritabelle and the Lactaide cow whose milk messes with you would probably get along famously.  A show starring the Cow and the Colon would probably beat most reality television.

At any rate, as the personification for Irritable Bowel Sydrome in a commercial for a remedial medication, Irritabelle seems to have plenty of get-up-and-go.  Never has a “gut leotard” looked this good!

 

Cheating Death Stuntman…

June 12, 2017

We all know that it’s not a great idea to try and cheat death, since eventually he’s gonna win.  Even 60’s “Batman” Adam West couldn’t hold him off indefinitely, and death is pretty intimidating in his popular “Grim Reaper” incarnation, with black garb, skeletal hands, scythe, and all. This Grim Reaper can even exude a rather impressive black spectral cloud around himself for dramatic effect.

…but when you’re a stuntman, cheating death is what you do; if you want to save 15% or more on your car insurance, switching to Geico is what you do.  So this stuntman racing death cuts out of a race for a bite to eat, and then rides conveyances, rolling out of a cab in time to beat death to the finish line.  Death shrieks his displeasure, but has lost…at least for the moment.  Time, however, is on his side, and the race goes not always to the swift.  Until that time, the Reaper will always have a place at heavy metal concerts…

Dentists Where Not Expected…

June 7, 2017

It’s said that the most terrifying thing that you could find on your doorstep after midnight is a clown, simply because they don’t belong there. Wouldn’t you find it equally creepy to be broken down on a desert road, and have a dentist approach to render aid, clad in a crisp professional white jacket? How about being lost on a wooded trail, and have a dentist appear to lead you to safety, again wearing his white clinical coat? How about being stuck in an elevator, to have a dentist appear prying the doors open?

These are the scenarios in three recent commercials for Aspen Dental, featuring dentists as the proverbial fish out of water, appearing unexpectedly in all kinds of atypical places to render help. Supposedly this is because Aspen is a different kind of dental clinic with different kinds of dentists. But for me, this is all strangely unnatural, someone terribly out of place who we aren’t happy to see even in their proper domain. Steven King could have dreamed these scenarios up for one of his horror stories.

“Open wide,” says the dentist as he pries apart the elevator doors. Conditioned from times in the dental chair, two of three elevator occupants gape their mouths open: how quickly we are trained!  In yet another commercial of the series, a dentist foils a bank robbery, only to have bank patrons throw their wallets at his feet as if he were in on the heist.  Come to think of it, I’ve surrendered more than a little of my money at dental offices, although voluntarily and under legal circumstances.

I’m more accustomed to see dentists portrayed as villains: the ex-Nazi dentist of Marathon Man, for example, or the sadistic dental practitioner of Little Shop of Horrors. If dentists continue to crop up portrayed as unlikely heroes, perhaps “Molar Man” will eventually join the Marvel or DC universes.  I shudder at the thought…