Archive for the ‘twisted reality’ category

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…

   

Does Pepe Le Pew Stink?

March 10, 2021

(Warning:  some adult themes in the following post, albeit about a cartoon character…)

Striped skunk Pepe Le Pew has been kicking around as a Warner Bros. character since 1945, but to some this skunk is a male chauvinist pig and sexual predator.  With some saying that the amorous skunk normalizes rape culture, Pepe has been dropped from the sequel to Space Jam, and won’t be appearing in further Warner Bros. productions for the foreseeable future – – Sacre bleu!

Now this skunk was a one-trick pony, so to speak,  portrayed as a french character complete with accent who fancies himself highly desirable, whereas his skunk scent and unwanted advances made him in reality abhorrent to the object of his affections, usually one Penelope Pussycat, who was originally nameless.  In his classic routines, Pepe would be easily deceived into thinking that the black and white feline was another skunk once she wound up with a streak of white paint down her back.  Penelope would vigorously resist the skunk’s unwanted advances and attempt to flee from him, but Pepe could easily keep pace with her with a kind of bouncing hop classic to himself; he was truly “high on a feeling.” There were variations to this formula, but Pepe seldom abandoned his arguably predatory pursuit.

 

Herein lies the rub, and Pepe’s conflict with contemporary societal norms.  To the skunk, no never meant no, but resistance was all part of the game, and represented normal behavior.  It was alright for Pepe in his own mindset to persist in his unwanted aggressive physical advances, because the female was simply playing “hard to get,”  and her resistance was adorable, appealingly cute, and even amusing.  Hence, the accusations that Pepe was normalizing rape culture.  He simply grabbed poor Penelope, and tried to foist himself on her.  Fortunately, we never saw any skunk/kitty domination porn out of it, although in some dark corners of the internet you could probably find it.  Trust me on this; I’m a furry…

There was a bit more to the character as well, playing upon the stereotype that all Frenchmen were great lovers, whether they actually were or not.  Pepe certainly thought that he was, and his narcissism lent a bit of comic irony, which was part of the running shtick of the character.  He was also a skunk, and they don’t smell like roses!  Whether blinded by love or lust, Pepe in most of his cartoon outings failed to recognize that Penelope was of a different species entirely, so you had that comic misidentification  going on, a “love is blind” kinda thing.  Pepe was at core sexually frustrated in spite of his personal perspective that he was at least potentially some kind of love god, a hot item “on the make.”  He never prevailed, but he was certainly persistent, to a flaw. This is no longer considered a virtue as it once perhaps was, but now is rather a red flag of inappropriate behavior.  Pepe might today face charges for his conduct were Penelope of a litigious mind; watch out for a kitten who isn’t smitten!  Perhaps Foghorn Leghorn could defend Pepe in court…“The boy, I say, the boy was just doin’ what comes naturally, and after all, he’s French…”  

This unwanted persistence of male suitors played well generations ago at the general time of his origin, and Pepe Le Pew was certainly not the only character guilty of it.  For example, Dean Martin’s seasonal song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has also been largely dropped from favored Xmas song playlists for just the same reason as kind of an anthem of date rape. There’s a fine line between seductively sexy and creepy these days, and what was once constituted as “boys being boys” doesn’t fly well any more; just ask any number of disgraced pervy politicians, although charges stick much better to some than others, ahem! 

I’m kind of glad that Warner Bros. is dropping Pepe Le Pew rather than trying to reform him; it just wouldn’t be the same, and our skunk is after all incorrigible, a self-deceived romantic rogue whose essence would be destroyed by being sanitized.  While Pepe was a product of his time and that time is now past, I’m going to miss the lovestruck rascal even if he is politically incorrect by today’s standards…this skunk was such a dog, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor, a slick if clueless anachronism and stereotype, the “locksmith of love” in love with love and himself.  The path of true love, so they say, seldom runs smooth, although hope springs eternal even while the “game of love” may for some have a baffling rule book.  As Pepe might say, “You know, it is possible to be too attractive.”  He may have been delusional, but he didn’t suffer from self-concept problems…

 


Dr. Seuss Books in Racist Row…

March 3, 2021


Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published owing to racist images and references within them, specifically in regards to black and Asian people.  Not to excuse or condone such things, but they were common stereotypes of the time, and I did grow up with them while never becoming a white supremacist.  I far preferred the surreal iconoclasm of Dr. Seuss to the exclusive vanilla wholesomeness of the Dick and Jane readers, plus he drew awesome anthropomorphic animals!

Objectionable racist portrayals in kiddie lit and entertainment of the time were not by any means restricted to Dr. Seuss.  Consider Elmer Fudd as a ludicrous Native American in Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt.  Remember Disney’s Song of the South.  Visit the 1961 Dick Tracy cartoon series for stereotyped crime fighters Joe Jitsu and Go Go Gomez.  These are but a few examples, to be sure.

The discontinued Dr. Seuss titles are but a few books among many that do not have objectionable content, and generally are among his lesser-known works.  Dr. Seuss got a lot of kids reading, and eagerly so.  His art had furry roots, and could be quite thematic while wildly entertaining.   It largely holds up well today.  While Theodor Geisel was a product of his times as are we all, he was a pretty cool dude whose legacy remains a good one.

And all I know is that I’m keeping and cherishing my Fox in Socks book forever, even if the fox does appear to have some kind of strange unknown disease or genetic affliction…

 

 

 

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…)

 

 

FanDuel Sportbook’s “Payout Falcon”

December 10, 2020

FanDuel Sportsbook is an on-line gaming company that in a recent commercial shows the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to deliver your winnings as quickly as possible to you; they’ve trained a peregrine falcon to deliver your winnings, on the fly as it were.  The falcon swoops down to the splendid outdoor location of a patron who retrieves his winnings from a tube attached to the bird’s leg, and before departing, the falcon swipes the guy’s sandwich, taking it with him for his return flight!

“Honey, I’ve come into some money,” the man tells his presumed off-screen wife.  “And I’m going to need a new sandwich!”  Undoubtedly, some will raise objections about this commercial.  Should the guy pictured be gambling?  And should his wife tell him to make his own damn sandwich?  He does have legs, after all…

I, for one, champion the peregrine falcon, who at least gets a sandwich as the wages of his forced servitude…fly free, magnificent bird!

Geico’s “Clogging,” “RATT,” and “Fencing” Commercials…

November 30, 2020


Geico Insurance has a keen sense of the surreal in life in a number of their recent commercials featuring generally happy homeowners with a fly in the ointment, something like the RATT problem, the Clogging problem, or the Fencing problem.

Modern life can be anything but easy if you’ve got the ’80’s hair-metal band RATT performing loudly upstairs, or perhaps a family of never-stopping clog dancers, or neighbors who fence with foils intrusively through your house and garden.  We’ve got to expect such things, I suppose, in this very atypical and challenging year of 2020…

The cloggers are the real-life Tucker family out of Utah performing their percussive dance, even while eating pasta or brushing their teeth; an art form can permeate every aspect of your existence, you see.  Media exposure was good for revitalizing the career of RATT, who are once again on the charts for their hit, Round and Round. And who knows, fencing may even surge in popularity in the U.S. from seeing the white-clad couple battle their way amicably through their neighbor’s property!  Think conflict resolution and fewer divorces…

 At least Geico makes bundling your car and homeowners insurance easy, and you can save money.  For other things, you’re pretty much on your own, but there’s always a life coach or Dr. Phil…  

 

VRChat Furry Hangouts!

November 13, 2020



When Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani erroneously booked the Four Seasons Total Landscaping business instead of the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia for a press conference, hilarity ensued as furries recreated a virtual reality version of the business complete with Trump campaign trappings on VRChat, and populated it with themselves as a hang-out! 

The virtual reality recreation of the event location is spot-on with great attention to detail, complete with Trump campaign posters plastering the outer wall, and even the podium at which Giuliani not-so-memorably spoke.  Instead of dour-faced Trump reality deniers populating the site, however, it is now virtually inhabited by furry avatars who can move about within the location while conversing with their fellows.  Truly, lemonade has been made from lemons, and art imitates life!

Talk even exists about expanding the site to include the adjoining real-life properties of a sex shop and a crematorium, which would make it truly a commentary on the human experience.  I wonder as well if Four Seasons Total Landscaping would offer attractive rates on raking up and disposing of my blasted leaves, since yard work is hardly one of my favorite things to do… 

 

“Cats,” the Movie, Now On HBO…

October 12, 2020


Director Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Cats is now available for a broader audience on HBO, and it was there that I viewed it in its entirety for the first time.  If you don’t have HBO, wait a bit longer, and you’ll probably be able to catch Cats on Fx or a similar network.  Released in December of 2019 to almost universally scathing reviews, Cats is an odd duck if you pardon  the mixed metaphor.  It is, as one reviewer aptly described it, a plotless spectacle probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen, or would wish to see again.  By one estimation I’ve read, only 27% of those viewing it actually liked the film.

My short take on the movie is that it’s not as bad as you’ve been led to believe, although you may just want to sample it to see what all of the negative reviews are about.  It definitely helps to be a furry as I am to appreciate Cats, although once the spectacle of seeing A-list stars morphed into felines wears off, the novelty is gone really fast, and the movie light on plot becomes repetitious and even tiresome.  While not a horror movie, Cats can be horrible, and it’s said represents a career low for many of the big name stars in it.  

Parts of the movie are memorable, and the anthropomorphic cats move and dance with a fluid grace and athleticism that is memorable.  Taylor Swift projects a lithe feline sensuality that…well, I won’t go there.  The creepiness factor that set so many off the film is readily identifiable mixed with the incomprehensible such as why these cats are rendered with humanoid hands and feet.  As one reviewer huffed, “This is not a cat…this is an abomination!” – – Jeez, lighten up dude, this is entertainment, although it may have failed in that purpose for many people.  I think that the long-running Broadway show version of Cats worked better for many as patrons were always aware that they were viewing actors and actresses in dazzling cat costumes rather than a CGI-generated hybrid.  A live theater performance also permits a kind of interactive intimacy between performers and audience that is largely lost in a movie.

Love it or hate it, Cats is a unique experience likely to persist in the memories of its viewers as either a vision or a nightmare…Meow!