Archive for the ‘absurdities’ category

The NJM Narwhal and Nemesis “Carl…”

January 26, 2023

For a company that boasts of “no talking animals or irritating jingles,” the NJM insurance company has given us some great ones. And what’s wrong with talking animals, I want to know? Sirs, I am one! 🦊

One of the first great talking animals that NJM has given us was this full-suited narwhal. Now it’s not everyday that you run across someone in a narwhal fursuit, and this fellow has the best intentions…he just wants to audition to be the NJM mascot, and gets zero tolerance. The poor fellow seems to have a flaccid horn…don’t they have a drug now that you can take for that? No wait, that’s the infamous “bent carrot” commercials for Peyronie’s Disease, thanks to which we’ll never see misshaped carrots the same way again…aargh! 😾

Anyways, the NJM receptionist sics laid-back security guard Carl on the poor would-be narwhal mascot to usher him from the building. Wearing a full-body narwhal costume isn’t all peaches and crèam; it’s easy to fall on stairs, for example…

Now Carl the Security Guard played by Scott Watson ordinarily has a boring and uneventful job, except when blue narwhals show up. He is unflappable, and plays the role to deadpan perfection, even in this surreal circumstance. He is the perfect foil to the irrepressible narwhal, ebulliently played by Jared M. Smith.

The narwhal is not easily discouraged or defeated, and in subsequent commercials tries to re-enter the premises, including by vehicle again to be thwarted by Carl. “I’m outta here!,” blusters the narwhal, only to find that his flippers make poor appendages for operating a car…

So catch the delightful rivalry of Narwhal vs. Carl, which to me is vaguely reminiscent of Charlie the Tuna trying to get Starkist to take him in those old commercials. This might be a great live action cartoon…

And now for the first time ever, we bring you the fox-narwhal hybrid. Yes, I think I could get into that character! Please note that my horn isn’t floppy or bent. Everyone sing now: “Fox-narwhals, fox-narwhals, swimming in the ocean, and causing a commotion, because they are so awesome…

Liberty Mutual’s “Catchy Tune…Squirrel Squad”

January 24, 2023

If you’ve ever been to a Chuck E. Cheese place or visited the Orlando, Florida area in times past, you’ve probably had contact with those animatronic animal robot bands that may have been high tech at one time, but now are more cornball and laughable than anything else. Liberty Mutual recreates the look and feel of those vintage robot animal bands in their recent commercial, “Catchy Tune.” You see, if a catchy tune can be implanted as an ear worm in your head, perhaps you’ll be more likely to think of the company or product it promotes should you want to buy something as mundane and unexciting as insurance.

What’s more, it appears that this animatronic Squirrel Squad band exists on a miniature stage neatly squirreled away (pun intended) right inside a wall of your very own house, ready to be summoned forth at any time! That would get old in what…a minute or two? You might even say that this Squirrel Squad would drive you nuts! What would be more appropriate, actually? But I kinda like the drummer…and hey, these guys work for peanuts! I demand pizza or some Chinese noms…. 🦊



(What?I’ve played a few gigs…)

“Catering by Linda” Progressive Commercial…

January 20, 2023

The world of anthropomorphic singing fruits and vegetables is one that I usually don’t visit, being that it’s too “trippy” for me if not outright nightmare fuel. One wonders exactly what spices small business owner “Linda” is adding to her stewpot, but I’ll leave that to the authorities to determine…

Anyways, as singing carrots, onions, and other ingredients tunefully offer themselves and others of their kind to Linda’s blade for slicing and dicing, we are wondering if we’re witnessing renegade Muppets, a rejected episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, or perhaps some kind of off-beat horror movie. An assistant then advises Linda that their delivery van has been sideswiped, and she must inspect the loss of mirror there suffered, and then call Progressive, through which she has small business insurance…

It’s not long thereafter that Linda can return to “living the dream,” unless you are one of her ingredients, I suppose, who must then be living a nightmare… 🦊

NJM’s “The Breakup” Walrus…

January 16, 2023

I find anthropomorphic walruses rather unsettling, although I’ve seen some portly balding dudes with brushy mustaches who rather resembled walruses; think Wilford Brimley! NJM has brought us some rather outstanding anthropomorphic animals in the past, including a standout ferret. He was a winner, whereas this guy is just disturbing…

In the commercial, the lady announces to her walrus dinner-date who symbolizes her former insurance company that she is breaking up with him, and going with NJM, a company that the walrus notes does not even have a mascot. The walrus is disturbed, and leaves in a huff, announcing that he is not then paying for dinner! The lady says that this is fine, as she’s saving money with NJM. The walrus waddles off in a huff, leaving us to notice the amazing details in his costume, flippers and all. I just think that the commercial could have gotten more into some walrus behaviors, like having him throw down an entire raw fish for dinner.

It’s important to remember that no actual walruses feelings were hurt in the making of this commercial.- – Goo goo goo joob!

Festivus, now more than ever!

December 23, 2022

I would be remiss if I failed to wish you a Happy Festivus this December 23rd! Festivus…for the Rest of Us, is to remember all of us who feel disconnected from the joy of the holiday season. Perhaps you are tired of Xmas promotions since October, are flat broke from spending money you don’t really have to prove that you care about certain people, dread the thought of spending time with relatives you hate, or simply can’t stand to hear Holly Jolly Xmas one more time. Come to Festivus, all ye who are Xmas weary and heavy laden before it even begins! Festivus has a big tent!

Now Festivus has a rich if artificial tradition, and is highly therapeutic, all without the prohibitive expenses of psychotherapy. Beginning with the Airing of Grievances, Festivus allows you to tell other people near you exactly how they’ve disappointed you, and what problems you have with them! Talk about clearing the air…

And Festivus, first presented in a 1997 Seinfeld episode, is all about simplicity. No need for an elaborate natural tree with decorations…you simply need to put up an aluminum pole that can be stored in a crawl space, and used year after year. Talk about eco-friendly!

As Festivus rolls on, you progress to the Feats of Strength, much like wrestling where a designated person grapples with the head of the family…and remember, Festivus isn’t over until you pin them! Yow, that one must have hurt!

So if all of this talk about the traditions of Festivus “scratches you where you itch,” it’s not a coincidence…it’s a Festivus miracle! I feel strangely purged and better already! 🦊

And Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, and Happy Festivus to all from Foxsylvania!

“The Mean One” Grinch Horror Parody…

December 2, 2022

If you’re tired of annually getting Xmas drummed into you from late October through New Year’s, you just might be in the right mood to appreciate The Mean One, a parody of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Xmas. Tag line: “First he stole Xmas…now he’s back for BLOOD!”

Forget the Grinch being redeemed, this is the Dark Grinch, or as Stephen King might say it, “Full dark, no stars.” This is Krampus as opposed to St. Nicholas, the Grinch as horror movie Xmas slasher.

Forget Scrooge, who got all soft and wimped out on us. This Grinch means business. It seems that he killed little Cindy Lou-Hoo’s mother during the daughter’s encounter with him, and now twenty years later, she’s back like Sarah Conner after the Terminator with an accompanying skill set..

The Grinch always did seem to have horror star potential, but hey, as Kermit the Frog famously noted, “It isn’t easy being green.” There are leavening notes of dark humor in the premise and available trailer footage, because after all this is a parody and satirical in nature. Memorable lines by Cindy Lou-Hoo; “It’s time to roast this beast!,” and “You’re a dead one, Mr. Grinch!”

Just color me green with envy for this dark Grinch, with battle scenes against Santa figures reminiscent of Shapeshifters Anonymous! Cindy’s weaponry includes an illuminated Walking Dead “Negan-esque” bat, and some kind of wonderful candy cane shotgun. So let’s all go on a slay-ride, everyone! 🦊

“Break Free” VW Tiguan Commercial…

November 22, 2022

As the movie Lamb showed us, sheep have been, well, shorn of proper respect and attention in the animal kingdom. They have untapped potential as pets and child-surrogates. This is brought to our attention in a recent commercial for Volkswagen’s Tiguan.

So what happens when you allow a wayward sheep into your VW Tiguan, and take him home with you? Well, he or she becomes much like a dog, hanging out the vehicle’s window, and making themselves at home in your home, demanding walks, drinking from the toilet, making a mess when you’re away, and adorably taking a bath while bleating.—Ahh, the many joys of pet-parenting!

Life gets bigger, you see, when you break from the herd. So “make your own kind of music.” Who am I to judge? Just don’t call your new ovine pet Lambchop. They might get the wrong idea…🐑

And a Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! 🦊





RIP, Gallagher…

November 15, 2022

There’s something in the American character that delights in smashing things for fun, which is why I suppose we have demolition derbies. Tapping into the lust for therapeutic wanton destruction was the late iconoclastic comedian Gallagher, whose brilliant if unconventional performance art wrapped observational and prop comedy in a keen sense of the absurd, delivered by a large wooden mallet, the Sledge-O-Matic…

As Steve Martin aptly observed, “Comedy isn’t pretty,” so it was prudent to attend a Gallagher performance wrapped in a plastic rain poncho or at least covered by plastic sheeting if you were sitting in the first several rows of the audience to protect you from the side spray of the mallet mayhem. All kinds of fluid-containing smashable foods (but especially fruit) came under the hammer…

Now what is it about watermelon, anyways, that makes people want to be mean to them? Well, fruit in general tends to be funny, as we can tell from the frequency of banana jokes and the supposed hilarity of slipping on banana peels. Watermelon is just a really big fruit, and it almost begs to be abused, being green and striped and all. Gallagher aside, you can find videos of people seeing how many rubber bands it takes to stretch over a watermelon before it simply explodes. Watermelon rights activists, of course, might take issue with this…

Gallagher showed us how to deal with annoying fruit and other such nuisances. His last performance was in 2014, and he took a lot of fruit with him. His shows could be oddly purgative and therapeutic, kinda like primal scream therapy for comedy. He will forever be memorable, and may he rest In peace… 🍉.

“The Munsters;” Brittle Bones?

October 2, 2022

With October and spooky season here, it’s great to get into a Halloween-related post or two. I have to admit, however, that I was never a great fan of the 1960’s TV sitcom The Munsters, far preferring The Addams Family, which not only survived but thrived in its transition to movies, and brought us Wednesday Addams as a breakout character.

Now Rob Zombie absolutely loved The Munsters, and his film is a labor of love to them, described as a prequel that brings the characters of Herman and Lily together. Herman, a Frankenstein monster clone, is sewn together from body parts that include those of a bad comedian. Lily, a vampire, becomes romantically involved with the big guy much to the dismay of her vampiric father. This all becomes tiresome rather quickly, and the film is criticized as being overly-long and thin on plot.

Endeavoring to make a family-friendly horror movie is a difficult mission, and it tends to ultimately become more irksome than successful. The genres are not readily compatible, and the bright colors used in much of the film are hardly gothic. Filmmaker Rob Zombie is best known for far gorier cinematic fare, and he is rather out of his element here, even if he does love The Munsters. The characters here are all fish out of water, masquerading as everyday citizens whereas they are in reality stock-monster types. This plays better as a brief TV sitcom than it does as an extended movie where it gets wearisome.

From a furry perspective, I do like Lilly’s brother, Lester the Werewolf, portrayed here as an entrepreneurial werewolf who confidently makes really bad business decisions. Lester’s recessive genes are why Eddie Munster is a werewolf rather than a vampire or Frankenstein clone…

At any rate, diehard loyalists may find The Munsters a treat, whereas to many of us the movie is a pointless ordeal. Sometimes, dead television should be allowed to rest in peace…

Liberty Mutual’s “Tools” Commercial…

July 17, 2022

I’ve never had an emu work on my vehicle, but I could argue that some gorillas have. We’ve all been at the mercy of garages and mechanics. Even the venerable Plymouth Duster chariot used by the dynamic duo of Doug and the LiMu Emu occasionally needs work, and in the Liberty Mutual “Tools” commercial, we are taken inside a garage housing a Bat Cave’s worth of assorted vehicles, all the brand’s trademark “banana yellow” color. I mean, there’s a motorcycle, some kind of utility vehicle, and even Skidoo-type things…

Doug is hard at work beneath the chassis of his Duster, but is he up to the job? – – Nope, and neither is the Emu, who hilariously brings his human partner the wrong tool specified for each step of the job. When asked for a socket wrench, the Emu brings a hammer. When a blowtorch is requested, LiMu deposits a stuffed animal into Doug’s hand…

At the end of his efforts, Doug somehow manages to extract what appears to be a distributor from the bottom of the vehicle! “LiMu,call a mechanic” are Doug’s closing words. Clearly one is needed to prevent this Duster from entering the dustbin…

The LiMu Emu and Doug are best buddies who dress identically, and have a long-standing history, the details of which we someday may learn…or perhaps it’s best not to ask!


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