January 01, 2010


The week between Christmas and New Year is a time of limbo.  You go to work, but you can't get anything done because no one else is there, and you don't feel like doing anything anyway.  You think about making dinner, but nothing sounds good.  You return Christmas gifts, but everything is so picked over that you end up buying crap you'll probably return again later.  You try to watch television, but all that you can find is the GMAC Bowl.

But there is one thing I like about this week that time forgot ... LISTS!  Lots of Lists!  Lists of the best movies, lists of the worst celebrities, lists of the most shocking events, lists of who died.  I pour over lists in magazines, newspapers, on television.  I wallow in lists.

So in that spirit, I'd like to present my own list.  I've spent at least 10 minutes of deep thinking compiling a list of televised commercials that I viewed during 2009 that I absolutely despised.  And since my reading public is vast ... literally "coast to coast", I will list only those commercials shown on good old U. S. of A. national television.  Of course, there are locally broadcast television commercials that I hate, like The Empire Carpet Man, or Bob Rohrman Kia in Gurnee, and even super lawyer Peter Francis Geraci, who promises you that bankruptcy is the one, the only, true path to happiness.

Here they are, from mildly offensive to "HULK SMASH" awfulness, my list of the worst commercials of the year:

Number Five - Depression is a serious issue.  But you can become a functioning member of society again with the simple action of swallowing a pill.  In this ad for Pristiq, we get a close up of a bland faced woman, tears welling in her eyes from the weight of the world sitting on her shoulders.  If this isn't sad enough, her metaphoric wind-up doll self is slumping, the key impaled in her back completely wound down.  But wind the doll up (gulp down a Pristiq), and she springs to life!  Sort of.  The frown becomes a fixed grimace and she takes off in a lock step, one foot in front of the other.  You go Stepford Wife!

Number Four - Masquerading as a trailer for a Tim Burton movie gone apeshit, this ad for Michelin opens with a landscape of squashed and mutilated cartoony creatures, all run over by careless drivers who didn't have the right tires on their cars.  Enter the Radialed One, who attempts to convince you that a set of tires is an adequate substitute for brakes.  At least the mangled critters come back to life, sans tire tracks at the commercial's conclusion.

Number Three - It took five viewings before I realized that this was not a commercial for Chipolte fast food restaurants, but instead for Boost Mobile.  Definitely not one to watch while you're enjoying breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Bonus "ick" points for the tendrils of burrito hanging from the morgue technician's yellowed teeth.

Number Two - Just one word ... EWWWWWW!  And for the record, I hate the concept of Axe and all of it's imitators.  There's nothing like giving a pimply, smelly teen-aged boy the bright idea that spraying yourself liberally with this odious stinking shit is an acceptable alternative to taking a shower.

Number One - I've had a hard-on for Procter & Gamble Company of Cincinnati, Ohio right from the beginning of their "Does A Bear Shit In The Woods?" ad campaign for Charmin brand ass wipes.  I hate them for making me think that I'm using too much toilet paper.  I hate them for making me think about the act of taking a shit against my wishes.  And most of all, I hate them for making me wonder why the hell those fucking bears don't have buttholes?  I mean, how the hell do they take a shit if they don't have an anus?  Their latest ad takes the proverbial cake.  Do people worry if they have bits of toilet paper stuck to their ass?  How do the bits get there anyway?  Is your shit so messy, so sticky, so viscous; and your wiping technique so mechanically wrong that you smear feces all over your butt cheeks?  And then afterwards, do you walk around in public with your pants down around your ankles so people can see the bits of feces-smeared toilet paper stuck to your ass?  This is enough to drive a normal person berserk.

Of course, there are a myriad of commercials on television that are light and airy; humorous and thought provoking. But I'll save a "best of" commercial list for that time in my life when I lose my dark cynicism.

Just don't hold your breath.

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