I watch more TV than an out-of-work victim of medical negligence whose new shipment of catheters hasn’t arrived. But I could be entitled to financial compensation, so you should probably stay on my good side.
I know that “I watch a shit ton of TV” is something I shouldn’t say. Sort of like, “I drink pickle juice directly from the jar,” or “there’s a callus on my thumb from scrolling through Facebook on my phone so much.” All true, but probably shouldn’t be broadcast to the masses.
TV is my go-to afternoon/evening activity. I wish I could tell you that I ride my Peleton in my Hamptons estate while my perfectly groomed children practice their Mandarin during my nightly viewing marathon. I guess I could tell you that, but I’d be lying, and transparency is important when you write abject nonsense on the Internet for people you don’t know.
Good or bad, I’m at least being honest, which is more than I can say for the cast of Hamilton. We all know the Founding Fathers were third-rate rappers. Nice try, Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I need historical accuracy in my extravagant Broadway musicals. I suggest watching Les Miserables for guidance. French bourgeoisie and peasants were unilaterally (1) gorgeous and (2) classically trained singers. Fact.
In my nightly TV browsing, I’ve found there are certain commercials that grate on my nerves. My nerves are already fried from everything else in my life: work, relationship, excessive alcohol consumption, and speculative bidding on Hummel figurines.
Admittedly, it doesn’t take too much to annoy me, but the upside is that when I get annoyed, you get a funny list to read. A possible downside: my life is shortened by a few days due to hypertension. But don’t feel guilty or anything. I’ll sacrifice for you.
1. Prescription Drug Commercials.
I’m grouping these all into one category, because I’m the one writing this. There’s really no better candidate for grouping them.
Toujeo. Breo. Taltz. Movantik. Cantēven. Okay, I made the last one up. But if AstraZeneca is reading this, I’ll sell you the rights. Hit me up on twitter.
Watching TV lately, you would think that the sweet spot for advertising dollars is the coveted “constipated diabetic junkie with psoriasis and asthma” demographic.
According to the ads, diabetics are a lively bunch. Sometimes they dance through the day, jamming out to Earth Wind and Fire. Most of them are middle-aged blue-collar workers. All are ultra happy their pancreases don’t work correctly.
Although, there is the one guy who looks like he’s introing a very special episode of Punky Brewster, warning you to stop (letting your blood sugar go off the rails) or you’ll go blind. Oh Punky!
If you’re covered in psoriasis plaques, take this medicine and you’ll be confident enough to hand a tiny flower to a confused guy with a dog. *sad falsetto singing in the background conveys newly found confidence.
If you’re unable to breathe because your asthma isn’t controlled well with another medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid, take this medicine and you’ll be able to frolic with your grandkids in the autumn mist. Did I mention that you shouldn’t take it if your asthma is well controlled by an inhaled corticosteroid?
Oh, also, inhaled corticosteroid.
If years of heroin and Oxycontin abuse as a roadie for Molly Hatchet have left your pipes all out of whack, it can be hard to set up amps when you’re carrying around that truck stop burrito from three days ago. Take this medicine and you’ll be back playing Indian casinos in no time flat.
Just remember that if you can’t afford your medicine, AstraZeneca may be able to help. But your elected representatives, paid by AstraZeneca, will not. *this burn can be treated by voting differently next time, Buford.
2. Bears Wiping Their Asses.
Is the toilet paper business a cutthroat endeavor? I honestly don’t know. *cue someone from the toilet paper industry commenting to educate us all on the struggles of dedicating one’s life to keeping rear-ends clean.
I am a businessman, believe it or not. I can’t blame you if you think I’m lying. You’re reading my well-articulated thoughts on TV commercial cartoon wild animals covered in fur and their difficulties in making sure their butts are clean when left with only low-rent toilet tissue. It would seem that I have a significant amount of free time on my hands.
Yeah? Well guess what, haters: that’s because a good businessman hires amazing people and builds systems that run themselves. And a truly great businessman parlays his free time into writing nonsense about toilet paper commercials. I’m a visionary, I know. I forgive you.
But I digress, and I do it often.
The fact that I understand how business works makes me question the amount of toilet paper revenue a company should dedicate to toilet paper advertising. Apparently, the answer is “a metric shit ton.”
That sort of forward-thinking, 21st century management culminates in a family of cartoon bears making sure that you know that (a) a bear does indeed shit in the woods, (b) they use whatever toilet paper brand they are advertising, and (c) if you don’t use it, you will soil your fur. Nobody likes soiled fur. Well, somebody probably does, but that’s not the target demographic for TP.
Note to whoever made that commercial: it should probably worry you that I can’t recall whether I’m supposed to buy Charmin, Quilted Northern, or 3M Medium Grit.
And please remember, if you can’t afford your toilet paper, AstraZeneca may be able to help.
3. Infiniti Driving Test Girl.
Ladies, it’s an outdated notion that men are better drivers. Driving is life and death multitasking, and there is no one better at multitasking than a mother. In lieu of marriage proposals, please send your likes and comments to www.hittingthetrifecta.com, attention: Rickey.
Then comes the TV commercial with the 16-year-old girl arriving at the DMV to take her driving test. Her mom tells her to do it, “just like I showed you.” I’m going to say her name is Hannah, because she looks like a Hannah.
Hannah proceeds to take the driving instructor on a Le Mans tour de parking lot, drifting like she’s Ludacris running from the ghost of Paul Walker through the streets of Tokyo.
The DMV employee is a low-level state bureaucrat, needing to tick this test off the list before he can go back inside, take his lunch break, and play Bubble Witch. His name is Lloyd.
Lloyd is white-knuckling the “oh shit” grips in the Infiniti, contemplating the fact that his funeral will be a sparsely attended affair at best. He once dreamed a dream that God would be forgiving of his detachment, but he now feared it wasn’t true. Years of closing himself off from those around him have taken their toll on all of his relationships. He’s thankful he bought that funeral insurance from the TV commercial, because at least he knows he won’t be a burden to a family who has long forgotten the sound of his voice. *single tear rolls down reader’s face.
Hannah’s having a good old time. She ghost-rides the whip at one point, I think. She cuts the wheel and slides the Infiniti in between two parked cars and says, “Thanks, that was fun!”
Lloyd says, “You’re welcome.” His voice starts to crack. The flood of endorphins and adrenaline belie the recognition that this signals a return to his role as a soulless drone in a bureaucratic hive. He almost escaped his earthly shackles. “Nicely done.”
Snap back to reality.
Besides the fact that you’d be arrested if you drove in a driving test like that, there’s an underlying sexist notion in this commercial.
Lloyd is surprised at Hannah’s skill behind the wheel, because in Lloyd’s mind (that is, the director’s perception of the public’s mind), she shouldn’t be able to drive like that. Because Hannah is a girl. *audible gasp.
Friends, this is what the kids on campus at Berkeley call a “micro-aggression,” right before they are pepper sprayed in the face. We’re not going to get to equality until we examine the built-in assumptions we’re sold. It’s not okay for someone to profit by leveraging shitty, outdated stereotypes.
So, I invite you to boycott Infiniti. If you’ve already bought one, just send it to me and I’ll rid you of this four-wheeled badge of misogyny.
I can think of about 50 other TV commercials that deserve skewering, but my skewering time is up for today. If you found this funny and/or thought provoking, subscribe here on my site by clicking the “follow” button, or visit me at facebook or twitter.
If you didn’t like it, I recommend you try wiping your ass a little better next time.
11 thoughts on “At the end of the day, I watch TV.”
Those bears have been around for-EV-er. In fact when I see one of those commercials (which is rare since I don’t watch TV much these days), I think of Angela Lansbury, or Andy Griffith as Matlock. Daytime TV from long back!
And like you, I can’t for the life of me tell you which TP they are advertising. Just that cartoon bears as happy as they are, are extremely annoying.
Bears have been wiping their asses for generations. Sometimes with the help of actors who’ve been old since they were young. But we don’t give bears a lot of credit – sure, we know they snatch salmon from idyllic rivers and enjoy occasional pic-a-nic baskets. But to understand that they have money, exchange it for toilet paper, use their paws as efficiently as we use our hands, and actually wipe their own asses….this is a game changer, friend.
Ricky you skewer with such great humor. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Mel! I’m glad you enjoyed it! My post about HGTV went viral, believe it or not. Got picked up by several different sites after one big one reposted it. Crazy, huh! I’m trying to respond to everyone!
Please review swifter ads in your next iteration of this post (should there be one).
Mom finally has time to bath herself now that she’s switched from the janitor mop to swifter wet jet. How ever did she clean her otherwise immaculate house before the swifter came along?
I think all of those kind of commercials share the same formula as the “as seen on TV” commercials, e.g. “Has THIS ever happened to YOU?” *cue perfectly able-bodied person spilling their can of soda directly onto their crotch and letting it pour significantly more than anyone ever would. Zoom camera, show pained look and shrug shoulders. I don’t know how that works, psychologically. I see those people and say to myself, “I am only about 50% as inept as that jackass, I don’t think I need this product.” But apparently others see the same thing and act now so they can get a second doo-hickey ABSOLUTELY FREE (just pay separate shipping and handling, which is more than the price of the item).
Be careful Rickey.
I own an Infiniti.
On second thought, you want me to just ship it to your place (smog test is due on it)??
Haha, I was just angling to get a free car out of the deal. I figured if even one person took me up on my offer to rid them of their liberal guilt, I’d come out ahead with a fine automobile. It’s a win-win, really.
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