Commercial Break / Listeria: Ten Commercials I’ll Be Glad Not to Have Rammed Down My Throat Anymore
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 30, 2007
They can’t all be Sir Charge, I guess
So the playoffs are officially over, and the two teams I bothered to get emotionally invested in both ended up going down in straight sets. Still, there are some definite advantages to the series being over–more time to catch up on the second-tier new TV that I’ve been slacking on recently (Dirty Sexy Money and Life are still on the air, right?), as well as time for a certain new video game I’ll surely be writing about fairly soon. But even more importantly–no more watching the same fucking awful commercials every night.
Despite having hardly slacked on my TV watching in any way in recent years, it’s been a fairly long time since I actually watched the same show on the same channel every night for weeks at a time–the closest thing I can think of is when I’d watch I Love the _0s shows every night in their premiere week on VH1. Consequently, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to watch the same blocks of commercials over and over and over again. Needless to say, it’s not something I’d generally reccomend, as the decent commercials invariably become irritating, the irritating commercials become unbearable, and the unbearable commercials start to haunt you in your sleep. Here are ten of the worst, as well as the five actual quality ones that helped restrain my channel-flipping thumb.
10. “There’s only one…OCTOBER!” The most consistenly oppressive series of commercials to be aired during this post-season was this Dane Cook vehicle. How the third-most annoying man in stand up (Mencia, Williams assuming he still counts) booked the gig is beyond me, but truth told, he doesn’t do a half-bad job–conveys the necessary enthusiasm and decent rapid-fire editing takes care of the rest. It could’ve avoided inclusion on this list if it wasn’t for the ubiquity, and if it wasn’t for that damn catchphrase, which Cook keeps trying to find new ways to emphasize (“THERE’S ONLY ONE…october??!”) with limited success. Parodied cleverly by SNL’s Jason Sudeikis (“I think one of them’s a hockey team” he says about the Diamondbacks/Rockies series).
9. The Twinkly Bank of America Ads. Talk about trying too hard. I hate when commercials attempt to imply deep emotional connections with products to which no human could actually feel a deep emotional connection, and this ad for a bank–which has customers seeing the logo protecting them everywhere they go (or something, I never paid too close attention) while twinkly but super-serious piano plays in the background–is in egregious violation of this. Plus, everyone knows that Commerce is really where it’s at.
8. The House / Bones Ad. House ads always look stupid, and Bones ads always look…well, even more stupid, considering the show it’s advertising is fucking Bones. But this would be relatively harmless if it wasn’t for the song in the background, Swingfly’s “Something’s Got Me Started.” Already included in an episode of Private Practice and ads for TGI Fridays, this song is in huge, huge risk of becoming the next “Cobrastyle” if ad men aren’t careful (which, of course, they won’t be).
7. Not Your Country Yet. The great thing about my previous decade-plus of avoiding sports on TV? 95% of the time, I was able to avoid those Jeep ads with John Mellencamp’s “Our Country.” I’d heard horror stories from my friends about it, but the actual commercial only appeared on my horizon a handful of times, so I figured it was harmless enough. Once I started, thoguh, the floodgates opened, and now I could probably recite Mellencamp’s self-parodic rallying cry better than I could the National Anthem (which “Our Country” basically is now, as far as I can tell). The only reason it’s not higher on this list is because TBS seemed to phase it out by the end of the Division Series, and by the time the playoffs reached FOX I don’t think I saw it at all.
6. Got a Little Captain in Ya. Have nothing against this series of commercials in particular, but the one showed constantly during the playoffs (the one where the two guys go into the pizza place and order delivery so the driver will take their inebriated asses home) rubbed me the wrong way. Just the smirk on the dude’s face when he says “Yeah. Delivery.” So smug and self-impressed with his drunkenness.
5. Philawareapragueicago. One thing more annoying than commercials trying to make emotional connections that aren’t there are ones that try to coin catchphrases that just aren’t happening. The new AT&T ads (about phone coverage that works in a variety of places, I think) do this with the aforementioned geographical smush, reiterated several times throughout the commercial. I can’t wait to forget this phrase’s existence.
4. The Gilette Champions. Apparently Roger Federer, Thierry Henry and Tiger Woods have nothing better to do with their time than to do lame Gilette ads, and lame Gilette ads have nothing better to do with Federer, Henry and Woods than to dress them in suits and have them walk in tandem towards the camera, spouting motivational phrases like tools. Remember when Tiger Woods commercials used to look like this?
3. You’re My Number One. Verizon has pretty much yet to do a watchable commercial with that “Can You Hear Me Now?” loser (who makes the “Dude, you’re getting a dell” guy look like Sean Connery), but this one is a new low. I really just hate cell phone commercials in general, I guess–I refuse to believe that anyone actually cares that much about the minutae that these ads pore over. Does anyone actually give a damn about who they put in Their Five?
2. Frank TV. “The show that will literally change the face of late-night TV!” First off–stop using the word literally when the situation is not literal at all. Second off–what exactly is so revolutionary about a fat dude being unfunny? The guy’s actually not bad at the impressions, but no one can sustain a TV show on impressions alone, and as it turns out, no one can sustain an ad campaign on them either. Only thing keeping this from pole position is its mercy-kill upon the transition of the series from TBS to FOX. Now it all just seems like a bad dream.
1. Three Rules to Live By. Putting Coach Bobby Finstock to shame, the chode in the newest Taco Belll commercial advises his bro that real men do not own lapdogs, never date women with dragon tattoos, and always get chili on his nachos bel grande–then, of course, his dragon tattoo-laden wife hands him his lapdog to walk. Hilarious! As if this wasn’t bad enough, they also started showing an edited version of the clip where the first two pieces of advice, as well as the part with the wife, are edited out, leaving just the nachos bel grande part, and absolutely zero jokes. The only thing that could make this commercial worse would be the misappropriation of isolated, out-of-context lyrical phrases from a classic pop song. Heh.