Archive for the ‘twisted reality’ category

Progressive’s “Maid for Us” Commercial…

April 8, 2019


Back in the 1960’s, sitcoms ruled television, and many of them were poorly connected with actual life…heck, we even watched Gilligan’s Island!  A show called Hazel which ran from the early to mid-60’s even featured a household maid as the title character. Drawing upon this television tradition, a recent Progressive commercial features their iconic spokesperson Flo unwillingly cast into the role of new maid by the generic middle class family moving into a house that Flo is merely trying to inspect, but at each turn she’s perceived as being “the wacky new maid” who just pops up unexpectedly everywhere while they are performing such activities as carrying a large decorative fish into the bathroom.  

The Progressive commercial even includes a theme soundtrack written just for the ad that has a 60’s sound and sitcom feel, and includes the lyrics, “she’s not the maid we wanted, but she’s the maid we’ve got.”  Actress/comedian Stephanie Courtney as Flo shouting her disclaimer at the family in their front yard seems to do little to sway the neighborhood impression of her, however, in this retro sitcom parody…

KFC’s “The Most Delicious Union…”

March 29, 2019


I had thought that last November’s KFC commercial featuring a Colonel Sanders impersonator dancing with a human-sized bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup was a once-and-done thing, but in a companion piece commercial airing currently, the Colonel is back, complete with a misty, bedroom-eyes type expression as he meets Mrs. Butterworth in a marble hallway while a Celine Dion ballad plays.  I know that they say “the South shall rise again,”  but this is ridiculous!

Mrs. Butterworth appears to make the first move as the impossible couple stare into each other’s faces and the Colonel caresses her molded plastic cheek, probably thinking of all the syrupy goodness contained within…then the couple lean towards one another as a preliminary to a kiss which thankfully, we don’t get to see!  

I don’t know what will happen next, and frankly prefer not to go there.  Some things are best left to the imagination, and I cringe to think of a Sanders/Butterworth union.  Perhaps in the aftermath, however, a horror writer could pen an installment called Children of the Syrup.  It would not be suitable for children or sensitive individuals, and viewer discretion is advised…

 

“Johnsonville Jeff” and His Forest Friends…

March 26, 2019

In a hokey but charmingly surreal commercial, Johnsonville Jeff is eating his breakfast sausage out in the deep woods when he is approached by a talking raccoon asking about his meal.  In the shorter version of the ad, Jeff also interacts with a wolf and a turkey, whereas the longer version additionally adds a squirrel and a porcupine.  Most notably the wolf asks the man in the longer version where he learned how to talk to animals. “Books,” replies Jeff in a deadpan fashion, as if there was really nothing remarkable about the encounter; he’s kind of like Dr. Doolittle in hunting garb. They all have a good laugh together at the end, with the wild turkey practically loosing control of himself…

Johnsonville Sausage incorporates employee input in all phases of their operation, including this commercial which was conceived and is starred in by an actual long-term company employee.  Since without the animal presence this commercial would consist of ho-hum talk about sausage, we’ll listen to anything if an animal presents it!

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…”

“The Masked Singer” Concludes…

February 28, 2019

After nine episodes, The Masked Singer concluded its first season on February 27th, that episode clocking in at an inflated two hours. The first hour was a recap of the contestants previously unmasked and eliminated, leading down to the three finalists of Monster, Bee, and Peacock. My enthusiasm for the series dwindled when Rabbit (Joey Fatone) was eliminated in the semi-finals, which I think was caused by his later selection of materials, none of which generated the excitement of his first performance of “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” No one really wanted to hear Rabbit sing “My Girl” or perform a country number, although he reportedly remained in character even when on breaks during rehearsals, and I felt that he and Peacock best incorporated dance and stage presence into their performances.  Perhaps these guys could continue to perform as their costumed characters; I’d go to a psychotic Rabbit concert!

I was rather surprised that Bee (Gladys Knight) came in third, with the Peacock (Donny Osmond) coming in second…this guy is an underrated performer!  Monster (T-Pain) won the top honors with his soulful croonings, and seemed to be a sentimental favorite despite being nearly eliminated in an early round.  

The series was weird stuff, but we are living in strange times for which the antidote may be this kind of freaky escapism…and by the way, The Masked Singer has been renewed for a second season, to begin at an unspecified date…

The “Banana Splits” Murders…

February 21, 2019

 

I, for one, am not surprised that the Banana Splits gang are finally going homicidal; they always were rather surreal, shady, and oddly disturbing, and one knew that there had to be something more darkly seething under the surface than what they wanted you to see.  

For those of you who just fell off the turnip truck, the Banana Splits were an oddball creation of Sid and Marty Krofft, and were people costumed in cheap fursuits with unchanging and unmovable faces that presented themselves as being a gorilla, elephant, dog, and lion on kiddie television episodes that aired from 1968 to 1970, continuing afterwards in syndication for a decade. They were supposedly a rock band, and a typical segment might involve them running madly about before running into one another and falling down. Their theme song was extremely annoying, but an ear worm that could play inside your head, driving you to madnessIt was the ’60’s, after all, and we didn’t know any better.

Anyways, the Syfy channel is bringing back the Banana Splits for a movie in which a boy and his parents go to a taping of the old show when things take a turn for the worse, and the body count starts rising. I’ve always suspected that this moment would be coming…

“Better Butterfinger” Commercial…

February 14, 2019


The Butterfinger brand has been bought out from Nestle by Ferrero, who have amped up the brand and its slogan with an alien presence in a new commercial.  The trademark admonition that “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger” has been said by many over the years, including Bart Simpson.  Last uttered in 2012, the slogan has now been updated to “Nobody lays a finger on my better Butterfinger!

In the frenetic ad, a yellow and blue alien (Butterfinger colors) escapes from a lab, helps himself to a dusty Corvette, and goes on a thrill ride with a hitchhiker he picks up who happens to be selling alien T-shirts!  The wild ride ends with the alien using his telekinetic powers to help himself to a Butterfinger bar, after which he proclaims the revised slogan.  

I saw this commercial for the first time after watching a recording of a Project Bluebook episode, and then seeing LaToya Jackson revealed as the Alien character on S1/Ep7 of The Masked Singer.  I think that the powers that be are trying to tell me something…

(Tip o’ the pen to Cary Comic for the idea for this post!)