Screw James Bond's heart-achingly beautiful Aston Martin -- ACTUAL spies, like the one in NBC's Chuck, use motherfuckin' minivans with sliding doors so they can somersault out of them and kick a ninja right in the tits. Or at least that's what the show wants you to believe. Facing budget cuts and the threat of cancellation, the producers of Chuck needed to sell out, and sell out fast. Besides, what vehicle embodies intrigue better than a Toyota Sienna? We understand some product placement is to be expected, but the amount of lip service Chuck gives his new toy is absurd.
So what revolutionary spy features is Chuck gushing over? The rocket launchers behind the headlights? The smoke screen that comes out of the tailpipe? The four-person ejector bench? Nope: The Sienna comes equipped with dual screens (like most new vehicles these days), Bluetooth (ditto), and a sound system (which is like bragging that your car comes with free wheels). All this comes to a head when you hear Chuck summarizing the Sienna's wonderfulness by deeming it the "perfect tailing vehicle." We're sure Toyota displays that endorsement proudly in every dealership they own: "perfect for stalking your exes in comfort and luxury!"
Car and Driver
"Now move your rocket launcher; I need a place for my spy groceries."
A show like Days of Our Lives, still clinging to life but only barely, has two choices as to what to do: pack up and quietly move to Rerun Land, or turn their show into an infomercial with storylines that shamelessly shill any product with eight bucks or a free sample to spare. Of course, they chose the latter.
An example: This scene involves a man and a woman bonding over oats. The girl informs the guy -- and we want to be perfectly clear that the man in question would very much like to store his penis inside the woman's body for an indeterminate amount of time -- that "there isn't much fun to be had here, except for these bad boys." It only sounds like she's seguing into a sex scene; she's actually referring to her box of Cheerios.
Although it may very well have ended in sex; we were sort of channel surfing by this point.
The man questions her eating cereal at night, because on a show where alien babies, demonic possession, and a tropical zombie island are everyday occurrences, eating breakfast after 9 a.m. is fucking crazy-spice. She emphatically informs him that her bad boys "aren't just for breakfast" and clarifies that, since she's studying to become a nurse, and because Cheerios has "whole grain, and only 1 gram of sugar," it's the ideal late-night study snack. Her guy friend, who has converted faster than an infidel in the Inquisition, adds that they will make her "feel all happy and confident." Then there's an awkward silence where you can actually hear their self-respect die.
And it just. Doesn't. End. Barely an episode goes by without a box or bag of something becoming the star while actors desperate to avoid unemployment do their best to replace the plot with their grocery list. We've got Midol:
Nothing enhances a show about romantic tension like the specter of severe PMS.
That's the least appealing beach we've ever seen.
Wanchai Ferry, a bagged Chinese food that presumably goes very well with hard liquor:
Frozen food and midday drinking. Nothing to criticize here.
And Nature Valley Nut Clusters, which isn't above enslaving children to do their advertising bidding:
"That's right, sweetie; now smile big and help pay off Mommy's gambling debts."
And finally, yet more cereal. This guy does indeed yell "They're grrrrrrrreat!" and will have to live with that until the day he dies.
"The talent agent GRRRREATLY exaggerated the artistic integrity of this part."
We are now going to pretend to be blissfully unaware that there is likely an ad placed about three inches below this very sentence.
Chan Teik Onn enjoys his quiet afternoons shitting on today's teenage trends via Facebook. He recently made a Twitter account just for that. Dylan Moore has a story on Jukepop Serials that you can read.
Without fail, most of your favorite television shows let you down in the series finale. In our latest podcast, Soren Bowie, Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and director Abe Epperson join Jack O'Brien to discuss their version of finales that would've much improved the overall series. You can download it here and subscribe to it on iTunes here.
Related Reading: Want to see what it would be like if great movies had product placement? The Cracked forums can help with that. And if the stuff in this article seemed bad, the time Marvel teamed up with Craftsman power tools was even worse. If you're down for more of Hollywood's best sell-outs, this article can oblige.