Thursday, October 11, 2012

At The Commercials: Creepy and Insane Anastasia Global Spot

Please excuse my shaky-cam recording, but this commercial was just so insane that I had to record it the other night, after finding out it wasn’t on YouTube.

Please take 31 seconds out of your day to watch it. I’ll wait for you.

Okay, I’m hoping you’re all back with me, some of you after the rape shower. The spot is mind-numbing on a couple of levels, the most surprising one to me being that this currently plays in primetime on the cable networks.

Specifically, I recorded this 30-second spot from the otherwise-excellent 30 for 30: Broke. That aired from about 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and ESPN has commercials for vaguely-Russian brides and what not??? What gives? Aren’t you still owned by the Mouse? Bill Simmons can’t even swear on his podcast, and you’ve got attractive blonde girls whoring themselves out. ESPN isn’t the only one taking this ad – I’ve also seen it on my late night recordings of TNT, USA and FX.

I think the thing that makes this spot creepier than the generic phone sex commercials is the somber piano and the love angle. To contrast, here is a commercial for the poorly-named Nightline chat, which I’m sure Ted Koppel is very proud of, even though he’s been retired for seven years now.

Side note: This is only the second thing I’ve ever been motivated to upload to YouTube. The first? Why, a montage of the ridiculously silly coroner from MST3K classic Zombie Nightmare. You can see that below as well, because I am a kind and giving soul.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

At The Commercials: ****ing Hamsters

Hi there people. Let’s talk.

When did we as a society decide that when it comes to respectable automobiles, what we need are hamsters? Or, as the t-shirt so drolly states, Hamstars! Get it? Ha! I’m putting that one into my stand-up routine.

But anyway, I hate that god damn commercial, and all of the other hamster commercials. They saturate every network I watch, and I have no idea why they’re so omnipresent. No one I’ve spoken to in person has expressed a contrary opinion.

So imagine my surprise when I look up the video on YouTube for this post, so I can complain about it, and it has 58,000 likes vs. only 2,400 dislikes! What gives, humankind? The economy is bad enough, we shouldn’t be encouraging the taking of human jobs by CGI hamsters, even if they are hamstars.

Let’s focus on a better commercial featuring a superior animal – This Whiskas commercial with a gorgeous British silver tabby:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Let’s Talk About Glee: Or, Why Am I Still Watching This ****?

Oh look, Rachel's sad! What a unique and compelling plot point!
So, I’m still watching Glee, although I’m now only hanging in on the show by a thread. It has gotten pretty dire in recent weeks though.

For one, the creators seem to have the same problem that every high school-ish show seems to have – clinging desperately to characters that are horribly eff’ed out and that no longer fit with the rest of the show.

Yes, I understand that the singing of Lea Michele (Rachel) was a big draw for the first couple of seasons, as was her on-again, off-again and finally on-again romance with Finn. However, for the love of God, why do we need a fourth season of this?

It would be more tolerable if Rachel-Finn was the only relationship shown to be in constant danger, but it isn’t. Kurt-Blaine, Emma-Will, BritTana, NewRachel-NewPuck and pretty much everyone else on the show have Serious Drama going on in their relationships. A general rule of thumb for Glee is that nobody is ever legitimately happy.

If anything, that’s the direction I’d take in Glee’s fourth season – Just having the kids be effing happy for once. They won nationals to close season three, but in the very first episode of season four, it deals with the “piss in your Cheerios” storyline of the newest member of the club and her mom, the lunchlady who gets harassed by popular kids.

By the way, this storyline seems ripped from an era that no longer exists. I graduated from high school in 2002, and we weren’t doing shit like picking on lunch ladies, because we didn’t live in a 1970s sitcom. I can stretch belief that jocks might pick up the glee club kids, but not that they shit over every member of the student body, and the tone of the show has drifted from the first season, where it was more of a satire in my opinion.

So yes, Glee is another show I’m mostly hate-watching this year, and I didn’t even comment on the other things I found excruciating, like the new Puck, the ridiculousness of the actor ages and how they manage to make Heather Elizabeth Morris somehow look like crap. The only thing I’ll credit the show with – some of the songs and mash-ups are still really good to me. So, they do have that going for them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inexplicable Book Review: Everything Matt Christopher

From Amazon. Dot Com.
Piggybacking on my last post, which was about The Angel Park All-Stars, one of the few young adult series aimed at boys… There was one author who consistently wrote for boys, and if you are a guy, you probably know his name – Matt Christopher.

If you can think of a sport, Matt Christopher wrote a book about an earnest youngster overcoming his struggles in it and eventually succeeding. Off the top of my head, I can think of hoops, baseball and soccer books with these themes, but Wikipedia tells me that he also wrote books about golf, volleyball, snowboarding and dirt bike racing. (Really???)

I remember him most for his seminal work, The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. The book came out in 1972 – yikes – but I probably read it when I was in first or second grade, around 1990. The work is exactly what it says on the tin. A kid sucks at baseball, but after speaking with a Mysterious Stranger, he only hits home runs until the final game of the season.

Surprisingly, I don’t think any of his books were optioned into movies. Maybe he just had no interest in that, but pretty much all of them could have been done seamlessly in the Mighty Ducks / generic Disney sports movie mold. He died in 1997, so I’m presuming that he had interest from studios at some point.

Anyway, if you’re a parent of a young child and reading this, first, please stop. It’s probably bad for you to be reading anything I write. But secondly, go get your kid some Matt Christopher books. They’re easily digestible for the kid mind.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Inexplicable Book Review: The Angel Park All-Stars (the sequel!)

So, way back in July 2010, I wrote about a series of books aimed at adolescent young boys: The Angel Park All-Stars.

In case you don’t feel like clicking that handy link, the 14-book series is about a Little League team from California that (spoiler about a 20-year-old book series) wins a couple of regional titles. It stuck in my mind as one of the few series aimed at young boys that wasn’t fantasy-based, like the works of Lloyd Alexander.

However, at the time I lamented that I had only gotten to read about half the series, because there were 14 books to track down and read. Fast forward to about a year later.

Out of the blue, I got a nice e-mail from a lady in Oregon. She said she bought the entire series at a yard sale, and while her sons hadn’t liked it so much – to be expected, since it’s somewhat dated now – she was willing to ship them out to me for about $20.

I jumped at the chance, and finally got to read up on the rest of the series. I’m not going to lie – It felt very odd to be finishing them up as a 27-year-old man, just reading them in my apartment. Each book is about 75 pages, max, with big font, so a single book took about 30 minutes.

However, they didn’t disappoint, and I’ve kept all of them. Ideally, I’d like to keep them until I have kids of my own someday. (Side note: I put the ETA on that sometime in the 2020s. I’m pacing myself.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inexplicable TV Review: The Great Food Truck Race

Confession - I've watched every episode of The Great Food Truck Race the past two years, even though the show is pretty damn awful. There is absolutely no reason to legitimately watch it.

All of the food looks generic and bad, except for a couple dishes made by The Asians. By that, I mean all of them - there were Asian-only teams in the first and second seasons, and they were the only trucks that made something beyond shitty-looking waffles or meatball subs. On top of that, the truck owners clearly just gouge the consumers, charging the rubes $10 at times for shit served on a paper plate.

The show also has no real sense of drama. In the latest season, one girl spoke about how she trying to earn a food truck in honor of her dead fiance, who died overseas because he was in the military. It was a sob story, and the only remotely interesting background of people running the trucks.

Of course, she was eliminated in week one. So basically, it seemed really cruel to me that her sob-story background was played up so much by the producers / whoever edited the show, since they knew she was getting shit-canned after one episode. But hey, on the plus side, maybe they got an extra half-point in the ratings for it.

Beyond that bit of ick, there is a bunch of manufactured drama, like trucks getting into traffic accidents - oh no, how will they ever pay the insurance deductible? There is a huge quality split in the various contestants as well, and the editing is so slipshod that it isn't covered up well for drama purposes, unlike a competent reality show like Top Chef.

Also, the show itself is pretty threadbare. Between the commercials, and intro recaps in and out of every break, the actual show is maybe 40 minutes.

So yes, I'm pretty much hate-watching the show - I like to see how low Food Network can set the bar. I'm eagerly anticipating season three as a result.

The image is from the big banner on Food Network's website for the show.

Monday, October 1, 2012

At The Commercials: Super Aggressive Chips and Poker

Guys, if you've seen this commercial, I bet you had the same thought I did - Wow, I'm glad a company has finally tapped into my desire to have a sweet girlfriend who is turned into an aggressive-looking bag by some potato chips!

Because if I know one thing, it is that guys always like the rougher, more ragged looking woman more than the clean-cut one. You know, like Lohan after cocaine, or Spears after the crew cut and kids.

Why would we want a sweet-looking girl in a simple blue top when we could have a ragged-looking skank in a black leather jacket and sunglasses? I'm glad they were able to get Randal Kleiser, the director of Grease, for this commercial.


Related Posts with Thumbnails