Archive for the ‘television’ category

Progressive Motaur’s “New Shoes” Commercial…

March 30, 2021

In his previous outing, we saw Progressive’s “Motaur” suffer a blowout, and I’m sure that we all wonder how such a biomechanical being responds to such an incident; why, he goes to a tire shop, of course!  Where the rubber meets the road also incorporates elements of the old full-service shoe store, with Motaur trying on a new set of tires, and the older store employee, completely nonplussed by his appearance, offering helpful comments from his perspective to close the sale.  Those full-service shoe stores are hard to find these days; if you were a kid, they would actually measure your feet!  Earlier still, some shoe stores would have an X-ray machine on site so you could see how the shoes fit on your underlying anatomy.  It was kind of, “Hey kid, want a dose of radiation with those penny loafers?”  But I digress… 

When Motaur voices concerns that his new kicks might be too tight, the employee opines that he just might want to break them in a bit, because he sure doesn’t want tires to be too loose!  A disturbing thought here; can Motaur actually feel his inorganic parts, and if so, how?  Anyways, the employee is a helpful and good salesman, and we wind up with Motaur back on the road again, another satisfied customer.  Sure is good that he had Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan!  Long may he ride to his Culture Club tunes!  Are we in for a Boy George revival?

In future installments, perhaps we’ll learn if Motaur sees a doctor or a mechanic if he gets sick.  Does he change his own oil?  Inquiring minds want to know…

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Interruptions” Commercial…

March 28, 2021

  

Biomechanical organisms can be both freaky and funny at the same time, and Terrence Terrell as Progressive’s Insurance “Motaur” is at it again, this time showing off his light side as he motors down a deserted country road, singing and bopping to Culture Club’s 1980’s hit, Karma Chameleon.  It was a catchy tune, and our Motaur seems to be enjoying himself thoroughly, even getting an arm dance thing going on.  One doubts that a Skynet creation would do this…

…but as fate would have it, Motaur’s free-spirited fun is over when his rear tire unexpectedly goes flat.  Fortunately, our boy has Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan, and will soon be on the road again.  This commercial is actually part one of a two part series, the second part called New Shoes, and set in a tire shop.

I just never expected the Motaur to be a Boy George fan, did you? And despite my fascination with cyborgs, I’m keeping all of my organic parts, thank you…

   

“The Proof Is Out There” On The History Channel…

March 19, 2021

If you’re like me, you have an approach/avoidance conflict regarding shows on the paranormal and the unexplained.  On the one hand, you love them and feel drawn to them, but on the other, such shows can vary greatly in quality, and leave you feeling unsatisfied.  There goes another hour of my life that I’ll never have back, you may feel afterwards.  Some such shows are so poorly produced and documented as to represent intellectual dishonesty, and be basically hack entertainment.  We are, however, living in a time when fringe conspiracy theories are surprisingly in vogue, so perhaps art is imitating life once again.

“I Want To Believe,” declared a poster on the walls of Fox Mulder of The X-Files series, and this sentiment captured the yearning that many of us feel, but as intelligent skeptics we want to be convinced by proof, hopefully that which can stand up to scientific scrutiny.  Each classic X-Files episode included the legend, The Truth Is Out There.  Playing on this, a new series on The History Channel is titled, The Proof Is Out There.  Hosted by Emmy Award winning Tony Harris, the series is captivating and fast-paced, and it covers several unrelated features, all in the time of half an hour.  The oddball phenomena covered tend to be labeled as credible, not credible, or unexplained.

An episode sampled (S1, Ep5) included segments on the Skunk Ape, whispering sounds heard in a tomb investigation in Egypt, unexplained apparent structures and lines on the lunar surface, and a light phenomena in Texas.  The Skunk Ape segment examined a paw print found on a car window as well as a video supposedly of the creature.  Neither was found to be credible, but the series added that such doesn’t rule out the existence of the creature, but only that the evidence examined did not factually represent its existence.   The “tomb whispers” from Egypt were examined by both a soundscape ecologist and an Egyptologist, but were ruled to be unexplained.  Supposed dome-shaped structures on the moon were found to be consistent with the formation of impact craters, whereas lunar tracks were thought to be from an earlier Soviet rover.  Lastly, blue light found crossing a woman’s kitchen was regarded as unexplained.

With episodes running half an hour, there’s not a lot of inflation, wasted time, or “puffing” of content on the show, which can be so notable on similar features.  There’s economy here rather than padding. There is no unity or theme between the individual segments of it, which can be seen as a strength or weakness.  Overall, the series shows good production values, is intelligently done, thought-provoking if not earthshaking, and generally worthy of your time.  I rather think that Fox Mulder would have approved of this series… 

“The Masked Singer” Season 5 Premier…

March 15, 2021

The Masked Singer has to date been a series friendly to furries, and the new season’s premier did not disappoint in this respect, featuring a raccoon, a cybernetic porcupine, and a couple of mollusks.  Snail (above) was like something one might experience during a bad trip with a recreational drug, featuring a shell adorned with a top hat, eye stalks, and a mouth with teeth.  Something to creep out almost everyone, together with a degree of strange cuteness!  Things got weirder when the Snail was voted off at the end of the episode, revealing the hidden celebrity within to be…Kermit the frog!  I guess that this counts as a double disguise of sorts as a puppeteer was operating Kermit who in turn was supposed to be operating the snail…quite surreal, and exceedingly strange.

More to my liking was Raccoon, who had western stylings and performed a version of Wild Thing by The Troggs.  This was a crowd-pleaser, and Raccoon when leaving the stage foraged through garbage cans that were part of the performance stage setting. It was completely in character, and I give Raccoon added points for that.

Robopine was kind of a cybernetic porcupine with implants on the right side of his body. In addition, he had prominent quills which together with the artificial parts made Robopine a rather formidable figure. He’d fit well into either the Steampunk Universe or the Borg Collective.

In addition to the performers mentioned, there was as a Russian Doll of the nested type most of us are familiar with, and Seashell, festooned with shells and probably a mollusk herself. The costumes alone are worth checking out this series for…

Nature’s Own Commercial, “Goodness:  Three Little Pigs”

March 6, 2021


It’s a charming commercial, with a bit of old world flavor.  The Three Little Pigs of fairy tale fame are busy in their kitchen, making breakfast…and Lordy, they’re making French toast with Nature’s Own bread!  I love French toast, and this looks more than good enough to eat, so gimme, gimme, gimme!  Pleasant low-key European-style dining music is playing in the background.  I’d be on board for this…

But wait…the Big Bad Wolf is also in the background, with a mighty exhalation of his classic breath!  Is he about to “blow the piggies” house down, and feast on the diners therein?!  Nah, not to worry…the wolf is blowing out celebratory candles on a giant stack of french toast thoughtfully prepared by the three piggies for some special occasion.  They all applaud the wolf’s efforts, and then everyone is sitting down around the rustic table to eat hearty.  All appears harmonious and well, but…

Hey, got any bacon?, asks the wolf.  This is followed by silence and blank stares by the pigs, and you can almost hear the crickets.  “Just kidding!,” the wolf then reassures his company.  He was only having fun with the piggies, you see, even if the joke was in questionable taste.  All is well here with the predator/prey breakfast repast, despite wolves having a bad rep.  Don’t kill the cook, I always say…

Nature’s OwnGoodness is in their nature.  It’s “goodness that brings everyone together.”  And even a wolf can be capable of peaceful coexistence, apparently.  It’s the wolves who pretend not to be one that you have to watch out for…

 

Liberty Mutual’s “Interruption” Commercial…

February 13, 2021


Nature’s little creatures can be cute and appealing on a singular basis, but creepy and menacing when they swarm you in large numbers.  We saw this theme at play in an earlier Jiff peanut butter commercial when one young lady eating a peanut butter sandwich encountered a squirrel beseeching a bite, soon to become a legion of them led by a humanoid figure with a squirrel head; creepy and surreal!

In this Liberty Mutual variant with two versions, we see in the longer version a guy eating a sandwich on a bench overlooking the trademark Statue of Liberty who breaks the “fourth wall” by asking if he’s in a Liberty Mutual commercial, then asking what happens in this one.  “Seagulls,” he is told.  One appears on the bench beside him, which the guy likes…then he is swarmed by a flock of them, which he likes much less!  The spot evokes a little of Hitchcock’s The Birds, still a worthwhile view after many years.  If you’ve ever fed a French fry to a seagull at the beach, you’ll know what the experience is like.  What’s worse is having the gulls poop on you, oh the horror, the horror!

In the shorter version, the same guy is on the bench, sandwich in one hand, chips in the other.  He talks about how Liberty Mutual customized his insurance so he only pays for what he needs…what a great day!  Then a gull swoops in, stealing his sandwich, making it just an “OK” day.  Finally a second gull flies by to steal his chips, making it a “messed up” day.  And some days, as Al Bundy observed, won’t get better until you return to bed.

Seagulls…I’m reminded of what one character spoke at the closing of the original The House on Haunted Hill movie….”They’re coming for me, now.  And then, they’ll be coming for YOU!”  🙀

 

 

Geico’s “Captain Ahab” Commercial…

January 22, 2021

I’m glad that Captain Ahab has found work finding parking spaces for people now that the whaling age is over.  I’ve always felt that ole Ahab just needed a good spin doctor; I’ve worked for bosses far worse than he was, seriously!  And there are cities where enterprising dudes grubbing for a buck will scout out and try to hold parking spaces for you.  It’s just a new Ahab for a new era; adapt and prevail, as the Borg might say…

So in our new Geico commercial, driver Sarah is asked by the announcer if she knows that Geico can save her hundreds on car insurance.  When she nods agreement, the announcer then asks if she’s waiting for Captain Ahab to find her a parking space in the crowded lot.  On cue, Ahab’s boots then thunk into her vehicle, and the old salt, protruding through the roof and complete with spyglass, is barking coordinates for open parking spaces to the young woman.  “Hard to starboard!,” he commands.  When the driver protests that the space is too small, Ahab counters that she should steer “to the northern lot, where there be parking spaces as big as whales!”  This Ahab (Played by Steve Coulter) is helpful if domineering, devoid of the obsessive psychosis that characterized him in Moby Dick.

Wouldn’t you like to have an auto GPS that spoke like an early 19th century Nantucket whaling captain?  And I hear that Ahab isn’t the only member of the Pequod crew to have found post-whaling employment.  I understand that ship’s mate Starbuck has done well with the line of coffee shops that bear his name, plus no whales are now harmed, which is a good thing (like the coffee)… ☕️ 🐋

( A whale-of-a-tale Foxsylvania production. Just don’t call me Ishmael.  Herman Melville rocks, woo!) 🦊

 

Tums Naturals Commercial, Camping Trip Chili…

January 20, 2021

 
It was the chili that drew it…the creature, the horrible thing out of the woods that reared up and tried to drag the woman from her campsite back to its unspeakable lair!

Add a new nightmare to your closet of anxieties.  Submitted for your approval in a brief new Tums commercial are two women enjoying a bowl of chili at a campsite in a peaceful, fern-covered forest.  Nice, huh?  But wait, eerie, forboding music is played, the woman is shown to have peppers in her chili bowl, and soon the stomach pains begin.  A huge pepper rears itself up behind the woman, the chili bowl is upturned, and soon the colossal pepper is dragging her helplessly backwards behind itself along the forest floor!  It moves with a powerful and remarkable locomotion, undulating like a gigantic worm from hell.  Is it taking her to feed its young?   Forget Bigfoot…fear the Pepper!

But wait…all is not lost!  The plucky woman extracts a bottle of Tums from her person, and brandishes it at the scarlet horror! Just the talisman needed at this crucial moment!  The pepper again rears up, but this time it is in fear, knowing that it’s outmatched, faintly making a high-pitched shrieking sound.  It retreats back into the depths of the woods, and once again the world is made safe from heartburn and the abominations that it spawns…

Tums has memorably shown us a number of culinary monsters run amok, including a parachuting meatball and a huge plucked headless chicken.  Can the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes be far behind?!  (*shudders*). 🙀 🌶🍅

Perhaps we will someday have inspired by this a feature-length Syfy Channel movie titled, Return of the Pepper, with an accompanying soundtrack by The Rolling Stones, containing their new hit song, Sympathy for the Pepper….

(exerp:  “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the broccoli?’  When after all, after all, it was you and me!”)

 

Geico’s “Pipes Are Making Strange Noises” Commercial

January 12, 2021



Many are the travails of new homeowners visited in Geico commercials; clogging problems, RATT problems, fencing problems…and now we have people for whom their “pipes are making strange noises.”  These “noises” we are shown are made by none less than an authentic bagpiper, complete in traditional Scottish attire, and playing his pipes loudly in such locations as under the kitchen sink, behind the water heater, in the bathtub, and…horrors…in the occupied bed of the couple!  

 

Not even the plumber can help these poor people, who utters the single word “Nope!” upon encountering the piping piper, who plays the same refrain over and over.  Now people tend to either love or hate the sound of bagpipes.  Some find the sound stirring or haunting, although I imagine a repetitious refrain such as is played might get old pretty fast.  No jigs are danced in response to the bag piping shown here, although this might have been a nice addition. And wouldn’t “The Masked Bagpiper” be a great new show on the Fox network?  I can see the choreography now, lads and lasses…Everybody Highland Fling, now! 

Unanswered are such questions as to why the bagpiper is haunting this house.  Did the bagpiper lose his lassie?  And should Lassie come home?  And when the time comes to “pay the piper,” are his rates reasonable?  Does the piper have a “greatest hits” album, every cut of which sounds the same?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Anyways, Geico makes bundling your insurance easy, even if home ownership is not.  And please, no bag piping after ten, oh Danny boy…

(disclaimer:  No Scots were harmed in the making of this commercial.  Your ears are another matter…)

 

 

“The Masked Dancer” Arrives…

December 27, 2020

Whoever would have thought that an oddball show like The Masked Singer would prove so popular as to inspire a spin-off show, namely The Masked Dancer?  The new series, beginning December 27th on Fox after NFL football, will be much like Singer but without the song, and of course far more kinetic…gotta dance, gotta dance, woo! 

Now the costumes on Masked Singer often tended to be both massive and relatively inflexible, in some cases so much so that the contestants sometimes could do little more than stand there or move slightly.  Were they to really dance, participants might have fallen over or literally lost their heads, which would have been humorous and entertaining but undignified for the celebrities involved.  There were exceptions…among others, Wayne Brady, the winner of one season’s competition as The Fox, managed to demonstrate some pretty impressive dance moves, even orchestrating dance breaks with his back-up dancers.  He made me feel proud to be vulpine…


But The Masked Dancer is all about dance, and will feature extravagant but flexible costumes and oddball characters including for Season 1 Disco Ball, Ice Cube, and a number of furry characters, including the dazzling Zebra… 

Now it probably will be easier to identify the costumed celebrities based on their normal voices, and Paula Abdul is on the panel as the resident dance specialist familiar with many favored styles.  Dr. Ken Jeong will be there as a cross-over panelist from The Masked Singer.  Gotta love the guy, even if he’s occasionally annoying with his “I know who this is!” routines.  The series will also incorporate Ellen DeGeneres, who inspired the new series with popular masked dancer segments on her show. 

So you may want to give The Masked Dancer a look, although the character of Hammerhead may haunt your nightmares.  Then again, we’ve almost made it through 2020 at this point, so we don’t scare easily anymore…