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Wednesday, 11 February
Madison Avenue Encourages Me To Stay Home

My old nemesis, the television, has been acting up again. I think it might be getting frisky after totally boning us at the Super Bowl. It's getting a little sad. To wit:

The ads for Starsky & Hutch. Does anyone really want to see this fucking catastrophe? I mean, look at it: it's got Owen Wilson-- he's the uninteresting portion of the Shanghai movies, and look at how damning that judgment really is--and Ben Stiller, who needs to stop. Just stop, Ben. He's been doing the same awful schtick for about six years, and look at his glories: Mystery Men. Meet the Parents. Zoolander. Along Came Polly. The only exception has been the marginally tolerable The Royal Tenenbaums, a movie that is a slightly funnier version of Magnolia, a similarly sprawling disaster whose threadbare charms are also, again like Magnolia, thanks entirely to an irritatingly talented director.

Chevy has a series of horrifying ads out as well, and you've seen them: they're the "hemi" ads. Bafflingly, they feature a highly icky couple whose prominent dynamic seems to be mutual loathing for one another. And this isn't very surprising, as the actors both come off as utterly repulsive people. The progenitor of this set of misanthropic ads has the mom cooing at the kid in the back about the gentle ride of the ginormous SUV they are navigating, and extolling the virtues of the DVD player and the gentle shocks. The irritable husband chafes at this, and says, "What are you DOING to him?" The terrible wife, adopting a rather glacial tone, responds that she's just trying to educate the doomed little sprite as to the relative benefits of their war machine. The husband rolls his eyes extravagantly, as if to say, "I can't believe I put up with this horrific cunt every day." The wife of course looks like a vengeful rodent.

Next you see the brutish dad holding up the kid and pointing to the vehicle's huge-ass motor: "There's only one thing you need to know about this car--HEMI! Can you say "hemi"?" The kid does, completing the circuit of dysfunction that will surely earn this guy periodic weekend visits once his terrifying wife destroys him in family court. Well done!

But by far my favorites are the new tampon ads. I don't know what it is, but there's something truly weird about these spots. Inevitably, the viewer is treated to many low-angle shots of women doing things involving her legs, like running up stadium steps or perhaps just bending over to do something stereotypically matronly, like digging out the vacuum. "Now for more comfort . . . " these ads soothingly say, particularly the O.B. ads. I'd really like these to be more direct. Say, something like, "O.B.! Designed by a female gynecologist. Now with thirty percent less snatch-pain." Or testimonials: "Since I switched to O.B., my pussy feels like a hungry cougar. It wants some fresh meat." Then they could cut to nervous-looking men. It might be a good tie-in with Cialis. Those unfortunate bastards with the alarming four-hour erections could finally have something to do with their time.

We have to make sure that Ben Stiller isn't attached to any of these projects.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

Don't say it, people. I know you are thinking it, but I swear to all that is good and holy that I will go postal on the next person who tries to correct Skot. ^It's not as if you don't have ample opportunity anyways.^

Comment number: 004318   Posted by: avogadro on February 11, 2004 05:53 AM from IP: 24.75.116.133

The thing that irritates me about the Chevy commercials is this: What the fuck is "Hemi?"

Comment number: 004319   Posted by: KOTWF on February 11, 2004 06:06 AM from IP: 65.78.217.189

The tampon ad where the woman plugs the leak in the boat with a tampon. What's the guy's problem? She plugs the leak with a little chunk of cotton and he looks at the thing like it's going to leap at him like the Killer Rabbit.

On the other hand, what's she doing with a jumbo box of the things in her purse out on that boat in the first place?

Comment number: 004320   Posted by: Chaz on February 11, 2004 07:08 AM from IP: 65.203.76.4

From the glossary of drag racing terms:

Hemi: A Hemi engine has a hemispherical shaped cylinder-head combustion chamber, like a ball cut in half.

Also, I loved Zoolander. Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller should make a million movies together!

Comment number: 004321   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on February 11, 2004 07:38 AM from IP: 206.47.252.98

(and see how good I was? I didn't even point out that Hemi is a Dodge thing, not Chevy... oops! I just did!)

Comment number: 004322   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on February 11, 2004 07:39 AM from IP: 206.47.252.98

Ahhhh . . . Dodge, Chevy. Whatever. Whatever monstrous beast it is, I'm still never going to buy one.

(This is me attempting not to feel stupid, even after straining to pay attention to the ads in the first place.)

Comment number: 004323   Posted by: Skot on February 11, 2004 07:45 AM from IP: 140.107.120.123

The same company also has those retarded ads where the guys working at the fast food place pine lovingly for the Hemi truck.

What the fuck is the principle behind this crap? Impress the fast food drones?

And that couple is just beyond surreal. I don't understand the idea behind "Buy our truck, like these dipshits did".

Comment number: 004324   Posted by: dglynn on February 11, 2004 07:51 AM from IP: 12.160.158.10

I was at a baseball game last summer with a friend of mine and, noting the large Dodge Hemi ad in the outfield, she asked what the hell a Hemi was. I wasn't sure. Something to do with an engine, I said. She thought, in the earlier commercials, that the guys were asking about some kind of ham sandwich.

Has anyone else noticed the actual Chevy commercials with that ass who goes in to get a coffee and the "for sale" sign blows onto his truck and people swarm it and he has to shoo them away with his enormous penis?

Comment number: 004325   Posted by: heather on February 11, 2004 08:10 AM from IP: 12.33.160.67

I like Owen Wilson. He was in Bottle Rocket.

Comment number: 004326   Posted by: on February 11, 2004 09:20 AM from IP: 64.27.149.146

I like Owen Wilson. He was in Bottle Rocket.

Comment number: 004327   Posted by: tokS on February 11, 2004 09:20 AM from IP: 64.27.149.146

Owen Wilson is a tool with a really annoying voice. And why does every Ben Stiller movie have to feature him doing something stupid in a bathroom?

Comment number: 004328   Posted by: spygeek on February 11, 2004 09:32 AM from IP: 192.28.2.52

I think the winner in the tampon-commercial category has to be the one (I believe it's for Pearls, which are a whole can of worms all their own) where the girl and guy are sailing a canoe that springs a leak, and the girl manages to plug the hole with the tampon whilst her beau is looking away. (Which is TOTALLY what I would do in that situation, am I right ladies?) When he looks back, his reaction is not, "What the hell is that, a fucking TAMPON!!???" but a knowing nod and smile at her female resourcefulness.
Gack.

Comment number: 004329   Posted by: abby on February 11, 2004 11:57 AM from IP: 4.43.249.55

Don't I feel silly now that I just noticed Chaz's comment. Actually even though I interpreted the guy's reaction as "Wow, what a genius! I'm not at all disturbed by the implications!", I kind of think that looking at the tampon "like it's going to leap at him like the Killer Rabbit." is a lot more realistic. Wouldn't you be a little, I don't know, taken aback by a girl whose first response to any mishap was a Tampax Pearl?

Comment number: 004330   Posted by: abby on February 11, 2004 12:02 PM from IP: 4.43.249.55

Actually, the wife in the Hemi ads is kinda hot in that "I'd-like-to-degrade-that-vengeful-cunt" sort of way. Maybe that's what they were going for.

Comment number: 004331   Posted by: jonmc on February 11, 2004 12:16 PM from IP: 65.118.193.190

"Hemi: A Hemi engine has a hemispherical shaped cylinder-head combustion chamber, like a ball cut in half."

That doesn't sound all that great. I think it's just the word HEMI. That sounds macho or something.

Comment number: 004332   Posted by: Stacey on February 11, 2004 12:44 PM from IP: 129.106.21.180

I can't wait to see the Hemi ads now. I love that I am a virgin to the ad so that when I do see it for the first time it will be through the jaded eyes of Skot's analysis.

Comment number: 004333   Posted by: hot toddy on February 11, 2004 12:44 PM from IP: 199.79.222.123

Skot, I hate to point out that The Royal Tennenbaums was co-written by Owen Wilson.

So sorry.

Comment number: 004334   Posted by: Nora on February 11, 2004 01:38 PM from IP: 24.189.179.23

The Royal Tennenbaums was also directed by Owen Wilson's brother... can't remember his name right now. I thought it was quite brilliant... but Magnolia did indeed suck.

Still, Skot, you're brilliant, and I forgive you for anything offensive, just because... er, well, just because you're damned funny.

Comment number: 004335   Posted by: Tracy on February 11, 2004 02:27 PM from IP: 152.15.164.144

We should all be a little less disturbed by women thinking "outside the box", so to speak, when using tampons to solve novel problems.

* Getting ready for bed--but out of cotton balls? Tampon!
* Out to dinner and spilled your iced tea? Tampon!
* No paper towels to dry your hands? Tampon!

If MacGuyver had carried a Swiss Army knife and tampons would be all be so coy?

Comment number: 004336   Posted by: Joel on February 11, 2004 03:17 PM from IP: 12.109.16.140

The Royal Tennenbaums was also directed by Owen Wilson's brother... can't remember his name right now. I thought it was quite brilliant... but Magnolia did indeed suck.

Nah, it was by longtime Wilson Brothers cohort Wes Anderson, who also directed Rushmore and Bottle Rocket.

Comment number: 004337   Posted by: Steve on February 11, 2004 06:54 PM from IP: 138.88.80.82

Skot! I like Magnolia! I want you to like it too. Save your venom for "My Life as a House of Sand and Fog!

Comment number: 004338   Posted by: Johnny13 on February 11, 2004 07:00 PM from IP: 67.73.168.138

I think it's just the word HEMI. That sounds macho or something.

This is funny because when that campaign first started and the billboards popped up everywhere I couldn't help but read "IT'S GOT A HEMI!" as "IT'S GOT A HEM!!"

Comment number: 004339   Posted by: Dave on February 11, 2004 07:01 PM from IP: 66.143.221.138

(and see how good I was? I didn't even point out that Hemi is a Dodge thing, not Chevy... oops! I just did!)

You're extremely brilliant. We're all in utter awe of your immense brain, I tell you what.

Comment number: 004340   Posted by: avogadro on February 11, 2004 07:22 PM from IP: 199.183.107.37

I just spit coffee all over my monitor at the hungry cougar bit. I think the best truck commercial ever is the one in which the husband was raised by wolves.

Comment number: 004341   Posted by: Trance on February 11, 2004 08:10 PM from IP: 24.15.197.9

I thought that tampon in the boat commercial broke new ground. No more euphemisms! Call a plug a plug.

Comment number: 004342   Posted by: Miel on February 11, 2004 08:38 PM from IP: 68.160.172.134

Joel forgot the best emergency use for a tampon: stopping pesky nosebleeds.

Comment number: 004343   Posted by: S on February 12, 2004 02:31 AM from IP: 205.240.228.30

"And this isn't very surprising, as the actors both come off as utterly repulsive people."

Now, now, tiger. I went to college with the woman who played wifey in this commercial and we were pretty good friends. she's great. and i know you're not making a comment on her as a person (right?) but i felt like i had to toss out a bit of a defense. i don't know anything about the guy in that commercial though so fuck him.

Comment number: 004344   Posted by: Jeannie on February 12, 2004 07:05 AM from IP: 128.208.34.223

she's great. and i know you're not making a comment on her as a person (right?) but i felt like i had to toss out a bit of a defense.

Oh, of course not. I'm sure the actors are fine people. But the whole premise of the ads is totally baffling to me: "Dodge automobiles: For the deeply dissatisfied couple." The spots all just give me a stomach-ache, which I doubt is what Dodge was going for.

Comment number: 004345   Posted by: Skot on February 12, 2004 07:34 AM from IP: 140.107.120.123

Wouldn't you be a little, I don't know, taken aback by a girl whose first response to any mishap was a Tampax Pearl?

In that situation? Not at all. "Hey, good thinking!" I'd be taken aback by her carrying two dozen around with her, though.

Just so long as she didn't go making angels out of her Tampax Pearls.

Comment number: 004346   Posted by: Chaz on February 12, 2004 07:44 AM from IP: 65.203.76.4

Wouldn't you be a little, I don't know, taken aback by a girl whose first response to any mishap was a Tampax Pearl?

In that situation? Not at all. "Hey, good thinking!" I'd be taken aback by her carrying two dozen around with her, though.

Just so long as she didn't go making angels out of her Tampax Pearls.

Comment number: 004347   Posted by: Chaz on February 12, 2004 07:46 AM from IP: 65.203.76.4

You're extremely brilliant. We're all in utter awe of your immense brain, I tell you what.

Wow! And I was just trying to be a smartass. I didn't realize I'd be producing awestruck masses as well. :P

Comment number: 004348   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on February 12, 2004 10:06 AM from IP: 206.47.252.98

I think the worst ad out there I've seen recently is the one for Wal-Mart (which makes it unforgiveable already) where the poor spotty kid who is too unskilled to get anywhere else is saying to the camera "These DVDs are so cheap, even I can afford them!"

Did Wal-Mart (who already has a horrible reputation as the worst kind of employer) stop to think about what that says? "Hey, these DVDs are so cheap even our horrendously underpaid EMPLOYEES can afford them! We're raping our own employees to save you 27 cents!"

Comment number: 004349   Posted by: Krizzer on February 12, 2004 01:01 PM from IP: 24.17.165.39

I think the worst ad out there I've seen recently is the one for Wal-Mart (which makes it unforgiveable already) where the poor spotty kid who is too unskilled to get a job anywhere else is saying to the camera "These DVDs are so cheap, even I can afford them!"

Did Wal-Mart (who already has a horrible reputation as the worst kind of employer) stop to think about what that says? "Hey, these DVDs are so cheap even our horrendously underpaid EMPLOYEES can afford them! We're raping our own employees to save you 27 cents!"

Comment number: 004350   Posted by: Krizzer on February 12, 2004 01:02 PM from IP: 24.17.165.39

Yes, I thought my comment was so good it bore repeating.

Comment number: 004351   Posted by: Krizzer on February 12, 2004 01:04 PM from IP: 24.17.165.39

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