Archive for the ‘animal elements’ category

E*TRADE’s “Bear Market” Commercial

June 9, 2020

 

Bears have not gotten their proper representation or respect in commercials, with the toilet paper obsessed Charmin bears a case in point. One cannot readily imagine them functioning in a species-specific parallel world either, as the Chantix turkey appears to do so effortlessly in a number of memorable commercials. That may now change, as at long last, we are finally given a peek into a world where bears have meshed into the trappings of human civilization, courtesy of E*TRADE.

These bears calmly prowl the aisles of a supermarket on their hind legs, sniffing at cantaloupes and filling their shopping carts with generous amounts of honey, appropriately in those little bear-shaped clear containers. A bear family stops at the fish counter where they’re waited on by one of their own; there’s even a disabled bear who whizzes by in a motorized shopping cart! The cashier is likewise a bruin, calling for a price check on a honey container that stubbornly refuses to scan while the customer moans his annoyance.

“If this is your idea of a bear market,” we hear in the closing voice over, “maybe trading’s not for you.” We’re advised not to get mad, but rather get E*TRADE, and get more than trading…and I’d like to get more glimpses into the universe of these very relatable bears! They’ve evolved so far from the days of Yogi…

Liberty Mutual’s “Emu”

March 18, 2019

For many years now, insurance companies like Geico and Progressive have been producing clever and memorable commercials to tout and lure us to their services. Arriving a bit late to the commercial fray, Liberty Mutual has now produced commercials that incorporate an animal representative in the rather unlikely character of an emu

These ads invoke the “buddy cop” series of the 1970’s, exemplified by such shows as Starsky and Hutch; Robert Blake’s series Beretta even included a cockatoo as Beretta’s companion.

In the Liberty Mutual commercials, the bird becomes even more of an active partner, riding shotgun with his human partner Doug while wearing aviator sunglasses! Called the LiMu Emu, this bird rocks, although in the Reflections ad he does have a bit of a problem interacting with his own image in a window glass, showing those bobbing, weaving, and pecking behaviors that birds sometimes manifest when confronted with reflections that they consider to be another bird.  Partner Doug explains that the LiMu Emu spends so much time time interacting with humans on insurance customization that he doesn’t know quite how to respond to another bird, but that he’ll “figure it out.”

Now I know how to distinguish my own reflection, but do confess to a weakness with distractions posed by shiny things.  At any rate, we can rely on the new dynamic duo of the LiMu Emu and Doug, and as Beretta might have reminded us, “Keep your eye on the sparrow…”

Geico’s “Lobster Hot Tub Party”..

March 11, 2019


I have often walked past the lobster tank in my local supermarket, pitying the poor doomed creatures within and wishing that I could set them free, like some kind of crustacean messiah. In a recent Geico commercial, I can imagine one such liberated lobster enjoying his freedom, sitting in the corner of a hot tub, his claws spread wide as he enjoys the tub jets. There are also two newlywed humans in the far corner of the tub with him.

“I can’t believe it!,” says the guy as he looks at his phone. “That there’s a lobster in the tub with us?,” questions his new wife. It seems that the guy is more incredulous about how much they saved on car insurance with Geico, and how easy it was to do it. The mellow lobster, voiced by H. Michael Croner, asks if the couple is staying at the hotel, and congratulates them when he learns they’re newlyweds. Marriage is not for him, however, as he’s afraid of committment…he’s been boiled alive! The hotel chef appears at this point, looking for the lobster and causing him to duck underwater. We can understand when the lobster reappears, and proclaims that the chef is “the worst!” If you look carefully, the lobster appears to redden somewhat as the commercial progresses…

This cool crustacean can hang out in my bathtub anytime, and should the Lobster Liberation Army ever stage it’s move, I’m maintaining my innocence…

 

 

 

 

“Cats,” the Movie, Coming in 2019…

February 18, 2019



Dancing feline animorphs are coming to the big screen in 2019… you have now been duly warned!  The movie version of the musical will boast some diverse and major stars as cats, including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, and Ian McKellen…that’s right, Magneto is gonna play a cat, although appropriately enough a theatrical one.  What would be really cool would be if he’d play a cat with mutant powers.  Perhaps Catwoman from the DC universe could also make an appearance, and we’d really have a blockbuster!

But I digress…the British-American cooperative venture, several years in the planning, is set to come to theaters in later December 2019… 

Allstate’s “Overly Confident Dog Walker”

January 18, 2019

Dean Winter is back as Mayhem for Allstate Insurance as the “overly confident dog walker” who would walk 100 dogs “if his paws were big enough to hold all the leashes.”  Well, he does have quite a herd of dogs leading him, and all that fur makes it hard for him to see where he’s going, causing him to take quite a header on a loose brick, his face impacting with a sickening thud on unyielding brickwork.  The homeowner viewing the accident via camera comments that Mayhem is not Kevin, his usual dog walker…Mayhem responds that he is today. Our man of infinite sorrows adds that unless the homeowner has Allstate Insurance, paying for his medical bills is gonna be “ruff.”  A dog sweetly licks Mayhem’s battered face…

In my twisted mind, I’d like to see some kind of apocalyptic standoff between Flo of Progressive Insurance and the Mayhem dude where he’d cast all kinds of calamities at her (fire, flood, lightning, raccoons, etc.) which Flo in her flawless white outfit would simply shrug off.  It would be kinda like a battle between two X-Men, the irresistible force versus the immovable object. Flo’s sister Janice could be indifferently chewing gum in the background, her attention riveted on her cell phone… (fade to black)

 

“The Masked Singer,” American Edition…

January 3, 2019

Aha, I just knew that we were going to be able to sneak some compelling furry images and characters onto mainstream television soon, and with The Masked Singer on Fox (- -how appropriate!), our time may have finally come in 2019!

 

Now for those of you not in the know, The Masked Singer is a new reality show (for the U.S., anyways) in which celebrity contestants perform and compete entirely clad in costume head-to-toe, concealing their identity. Most often those costumes are of animals, monsters, or other fantastic life forms with the contestant’s group of twelve including among others a unicorn, a deer, a hippo, a French poodle, a pineapple-man, a lion, and my personal fave, a rabbit! For the first night, six contestants competed on a paired basis, with the lesser voted contestant of each match-up relegated to the bottom three, and the weakest of that group unmasked and sent home. Victors in the matches included a Peacock winning over a Hippo, a Unicorn beating a “Monster,” and a Lion defeating a Deer. The Hippo, a real-life football athlete, ranked lowest and was sent home.

 

The show kind of blends American Idol with The Gong Show by way of a furry convention. Some of the costumes are elaborate and impressive, and dependent on their individual gifts and the bulk of their outfit some of the contestants incorporate a little choreography into their stage presentations. All of the contestants are supposedly well-known figures in music, comedy, or athletics, and the identity of each will ultimately be revealed as the weaning-out process continues. Popular in Asia and originating in South Korea, the American version of The Masked Singer is certainly different, even if it’s not for everyone…

“A Mercy” Episode on, “The Terror”

April 23, 2018

When the going gets tough, it’s time to throw a party as a counter to the growing anger, despair, and psychosis growing among the crews of Erebus and Terror, as we are shown in Episode 6 of the series. The party is a wild one, thrown in an enormous tent rigged by the seamen, complete with drinking, hot tub bathing, and men wearing dresses, ahem!  There are seamen wearing animal head masks…yes, 19th century furries!   Rum is even being fed to the brain-dead crewman Private Heather, his skull torn open in an earlier Tuunbaq attack.

Unfortunately, one of their own, Dr. Stanley, has quietly gone mad, and he seals off the tent before dousing it and himself with oil, and igniting both.  Stanley’s arms-spread self-immolation is evocative of a scene from The Thing from Another World, and is perhaps the most horrible thing in the episode, rivaled only by Lady Silence‘s staggering bloody entrance, her tongue self-removed in an attempt to forge a shamanistic bond with the Tuunbaq.  We do see the creature briefly, his face a disquieting mix of ursine and human features.

With their food supply starting to run low and the canned food producing recognized symptoms of lead poisoning, expedition leadership now plans to abandon both their mission and their vessels in a risky trek on foot hundreds of miles south to civilization. The ill-fated party was an effort to boost morale prior to food rationing, climatic suffering, and the further predations of their Tuunbaq adversary, although clearly it had the reverse effect, adding also to the mounting body count.  

With only four episodes left to run, we unlike the poor devils in the Royal Navy know that this will end badly, because as Captain Crozier observed, “The place wants us dead…”


“The Terror” is Coming!

March 19, 2018

I love creepy stuff, and there’s so little of it that’s done really well!  For this reason, I’m really looking forward to The Terror, an upcoming horror series on the AMC network. Based on a novel by Dan Simmons and the ill-fated real life Franklin Expedition, The Terror looks like wonderful stuff indeed.  

Incorporating elements of the movies The Thing with Alien and the rich period atmospherics and fine acting of the Penny Dreadful tv series, The Terror has it all.  It kind of combines a real-life historical event, the Franklin Expedition, with a horror/fantasy overlay. This kind of thing has been done in a lot of sci fi/alternative history fiction, and has lately been seen in films like Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter.

Now the ill-fated Franklin Expedition was real stuff which was kicked off in 1845 when the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror left England in search of a segment of the Northwest Passage, a kind of 19th century wormhole which it was felt would convey trade to the Orient.  The vessels, advanced for their day, became hopelessly ice-locked in the Canadian Arctic, forcing their crews to abandon ship and walk in search of a settlement.  They faced slow and miserable deaths from exposure, starvation, and lead poisoning caused by their badly-canned food.  All 129 souls on board the ships died from their ordeal.

In the television horror drama, the Royal Navy expedition instead of finding the Northwest Passage discovers a cunning, monstrous gothic-style predator who stalks the crew in a game of survival which could impact the region and its indigenous people forever.  For a tale of frozen wastes, sailing ships, and Arctic monsters I’m booking passage on The Terror for sure!


Michael Jackson’s Halloween…

October 28, 2017

This year brought the novelty of a new Halloween special in the form of Michael Jackson’s Halloween, a 3D animated hour-long special which aired on CBS October 27th, and featured the music of…Michael Jackson!  While centering on the efforts of two young people to rescue a dog and defeat an evil witch (Conformity) who wants to banish music and dancing, the high point of the hour to me occurred about seventeen minutes in when the two protagonists guided by a talking Bubbles the Chimp to “follow the music” entered a surreal pumpkin field where Hay Man, a groundskeeping scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head voiced by Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), was kind of channeling Michael Jackson in a Jack Skellington-esque way…

With an entourage of dancing pumpkins and forest and field animals (including some foxes), a rather funky rendition of Jackson’s Dangerous was performed, complete with Jackson’s trademark moves and even a pelvic thrust or two.  Also memorable was a later encounter with a mad scientist cat voiced by Dietrich Bader, Franklin Stein, creator of a machine to destroy music but really a frustrated musician himself whose technology becomes converted to summon Jackson.  And fear not, the evil witch (Lucy Liu) is defeated in a big dance finale by a stylized representation of 1980’s Michael Jackson himself in an outfit reminiscent of his Thriller attire.  Music and dancing are safe, so relax…

Jackson enjoyed both scary things and animals, and his presence looms large over this special, both in terms of the soundtrack and assorted images of the performer, seen even in the wallpaper pattern of the mysterious Jackson Street Palace Hotel where much of the action transpires.  As someone who appeared in quirky delights such as Disney’s Captain EO and Moonwalker, Michael probably would have liked this “magical adventure of personal discovery,” and we foxes do like to get our groove on!


 

 

 

The “Black Wolf” Mountain Monster Saga Continues…

May 3, 2017

 

 

The Black Wolf, according to the visitor to the AIMS base camp in the previous episode, has been around for 200 years, and is the spirit of a Shawnee shaman who takes their spirits to the afterlife, kind of like a Grim Reaper.  As Jeff is apparently at least part Shawnee, it was speculated that the Black Wolf was some kind of legendary spiritual entity there to collect Jeff.  Once again, the Black Wolf was not revealed in S5/Ep4, but only more complications and plot twists.

Going out at night close to the base camp, the team found a scent post and claw marks on a tree.  They later found another tree construction (a medicine circle) with a dead black rabbit in the center of it.  The next day, Willy and Wild Bill constructed a maze trap with multiple snares within it to capture the Black Wolf.  A paw print was found in the woods that seemed to suggest an animal presence.

Meanwhile, Buck and Huckleberry went to meet Jeff in the woods, finding him standoffish.  A scuffle ensued over Jeff’s phone, which he originally claimed was turned off and had no reception in the woods, but which rang nonetheless during the encounter.  Following a scuffle over who he was talking to, Jeff stormed off.  Pursued, his nose was found to be streaming blood although no blows had been landed. 

The rest of the team decided to stake out the farmhouse where Jeff was staying that night, observing him to leave in a truck with two people.  They pursued the truck at a distance, eventually finding Jeff at the previously discovered medicine circle, which had been lit on fire together with the ill-fated deceased rabbit.  When Jeff and his companions had left, a trip wire was triggered to draw then back.  Jeff alone returned in the truck and walked around the vicinity of the trip wire while shadowed by Buck.  When Jeff doubled back it appeared that Buck would be discovered, a fate he avoided by hiding in the bed of the very pickup truck that Jeff was driving.  This truck with Buck as cargo then drove off, but was pursued by the rest of the team until it stopped by an old barn.  Deciding to venture within the barn, they discovered Jeff with team leader Trapper within, and the others wondering what was going on. – – Such high tension! –Can you stand the suspense?

This ended the episode, which again failed to reveal either the Black Wolf or the Woman of the Woods.  One hopes that this tiresome tangent of a tale isn’t dragged on too much longer…