Culture

Rambling Dispatches: Commercials

billy mays

Every week in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he damn well pleases.

(Editor’s note: A cover photo for this piece proved difficult. Even stock photos of a man yelling at a television were hard to come by. This led to the prompt of “man yelling in television,” so enjoy Billy Mays.)

So in my apartment, we often don’t use the broadcast channels. Mostly that’s because reception is horrible and half of them are in Spanish, but it’s also because we stream everything through our Xbox. This is awesome, except when you watch Hulu. I’m usually able to just ignore commercials, but Hulu does this thing where they relentlessly beat the fuck out of you with the same commercial every break for weeks at a time. When you spend so much time looking at the same commercial day after day, you begin to notice and ask questions, and with the way my brain works, it often gets kind of weird. My roommates have already been exposed to my thoughts in this department, but I thought I would share with the world just a few of the thoughts inspired by some of the popular commercials on Hulu recently.

1) Chase, though it’s my bank, can go fuck itself.

The reason isn’t even the annoying bastardization of Footloose to tell you about cash back you can get with your card (which isn’t much, actually, from someone who has the card that’s being advertised), or the fact that the guy in the commercial isn’t even playing the beautiful guitar he’s holding. My issue happens in the first two seconds. Watch the way the card goes through the machine. It’s in the wrong fucking direction. I never knew just how OCD I was about it, but that takes the damn cake regarding things that piss me off. No one ever does it that way. Why hasn’t the cashier reached over the counter, beat the person, taken the card out of their hands and said “No more shopping for you. Looks like you’re back to a barter-only system.”

I literally have an adverse reaction to the song being played now. I actually shudder, because I know that damn card is going through that machine the wrong way somewhere, even though I can’t see it. I want to go to a place, use my card incorrectly, and just show the cashier this commercial as an excuse for why I’m a shitty person. And it isn’t even just this commercial; every credit card commercial does this. I wish I knew why they do this, so if any bank CEOs or something are reading and can tell me, I’ll listen. But probably still hate you.

2) People are actually cast to be disgusting in commercials.

The commercial I’m talking about is the one from State Farm, where the dumb lady comes over while a guy is just casually taking pictures of a car accident. That’s a red flag right there; the guy has all the composure of a serial killer while taking pictures of an accident no one else is near. I’m betting that the other person involved is in the trunk of that car. But I digress. So this lady meets her date (at the scene of a car accident, so a great start), and it seems the guy is a big, ugly neckbeard dude. He’s the embodiment of every story where someone claims they’re a young girl on the internet. I bet this guy had to resist the urge to ask his date “asl?” when he met her.

But those creepy things are not my point here. My point is that someone who created this commercial had to cast a creepy guy for the role. This makes sense, for people are cast for roles all the time, but those are usually for movies or television. This was a commercial, which begs the question of whether this guy went to the casting call thinking that this was his big break? The director saw this guy in a binder and went “That’s our disgusting bastard,” and called the guy? Think about it. Everyone just sees the dude and goes “eww.” I wonder if this is a broken actor who’s just working for a paycheck at this point, or if his goal was to be the grossest person in all of television commercial history and he’s living the dream.

3) Apparently people in “The Nation” are absolutely psychotic.

I just saw this about two days ago and instantly had an uneasy feeling. It’s about the vanishing deductible they have, and it makes its point, in an extremely eerie way. Watching the commercial, you see all these annoyances disappear for the people that’re being annoyed. You know what you don’t see: one goddamn look of panic on anyone’s face about the disappearing people. The guy on the plane disappears? The other guy smiles and shrugs his shoulders. The entire road clears up? The lady just gets a “what can you do?” look on her face and drives on along. The grumpy dad eye-murdering the boyfriend in his yard, who’s just coming to pick up his daughter, watches the boyfriend and his car disappear. He just smiles and gazes upon the sadness in his daughter’s eyes. If we’re to assume that the Nation (as stated in the beginning of the commercial) is a place, everyone needs mental help right away. People annoy the fuck out of me, but I promise I wouldn’t just shrug my shoulders and smile at the strange demise of anyone who irritated me. That’s the worst part, too: they’re all smiling, like their pacts with Satan just paid off or they know that somewhere an old wizard is rubbing his hands together just muttering “good…good” to himself. Not sure that’s a world I want to live in.