Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Show Us Them Pearly Whites

I like to watch television. I’m just old fashion that way. It’s an American tradition, dating back to the first broadcast, when Thomas Edison strip-teased for Dr. John Watson, all the way to when Snookie strip-teased for an audience of absolutely zilch. I’m proud to be a part of this grand tradition.

Of course television, as the ever-evolving organism that it is, has been changing. This is only natural. As the medium grows, it’ll become bigger, its voice will deepen, it’ll have certain urges and hair will grow where there was none before. Wait, what was I talking about again?

With the invention of “Curated Television” * with devices and platforms, such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Netflix and Skynet, people can now watch the shows and movies they specifically want, thereby cutting out superfluous channels, (I’m not entirely against this, I only have sports channels in case the Testosterone Police show up to do an inspection) and commercials.

It’s the second one I draw offense at. People need commercials. They’re vital. I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Hell, I’ve even previous written at least three columns about them. Now, don’t get me wrong, commercials can really suck, (I’m looking at you General Insurance Company) but they can also be very innovative and/or funny, especially ones involving Jean Claude Van Damme doing epic splits.

But there is one thing about commercials that now seems to be standard and bugs the shit out of me: people smiling like they’re deranged.

I understand that for some products, it makes sense for people to smile, like toothpaste ads, or anti-depression medication commercials. Maybe even the occasion beer or Doritos spot. But these days, marketing companies are taking it too far. I’ve recently seen commercials for cars, pillows, cell phones, underwear, the very concept of cooking and even bleach. where people grin like maniacal goons.

Why do they do this? Not everything is inherently funny, or worth smiling at. There’s even a meme called “Women Laughing Alone With Salad” where somebody googled that phrase and came up with a surprisingly large amount of stock pictures of women doing exactly that. Who came up with this concept? What are women laughing at salads supposed to convey? Why didn’t anybody stop these mad men before these generic photos were taken? We may never know. It’s baffling.

What’s even more testicle-shriveling stupid are the commercials where the people are so ecstatic about the product they’re trying to sell you that smiling isn’t enough, they must DANCE! As spastically and incongruously as possible. And for once, black people don’t get a pass for automatically being better dances. In this endeavor, all races are equally bad.

I recently saw a series of commercials for a furniture delivery company where people are so excited about their dinning room table set appearing out of thin air that they must dance their dignity away, never to be seen again. Then, they drop their magic phones on the ground as the song accompanying the visuals implores them to “drop the mic”, because leave it to a furniture company to get with the times in terms of slang, right jive turkeys?

You all may not notice this phenomenon, (you will now dammit!) But I have, because I’m just that observant. And once seen, it cannot be unseen. You can never purge yourself of what your eyes will have beheld. Just pay attention sometime and you’ll wonder to yourself “Hey, why is that lady smiling like a crazy person while looking at that Tide Detergent pod? What does she know that I don’t?”

Always wonder, my friends. Always wonder.

*The very phrase is an abomination.

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