Commercials are woven through our lives. But that doesn't mean we have to take it lying down...

Just The Facts

  1. TV commercials cause more suicides each year than Japanese youth culture and the stock market combined.
  2. The first television advertisement was broadcast in the United States on July 1, 1941 and it probably sucked.
  3. For each hour in a broadcast day, advertisements take up a fairly consistent proportion of the time (all of it).
  4. One day we will describe to our children the ancient art of hating the cable company.

The Bizarre Universe of McDonald's Commercials

I need you, distinguished reader, to understand that this article is different. When you sit in your leather-bound arm-chair with a glass of wine in one hand and this article in the other as the warm glow of your fireplace makes the shadows dance, you must brace yourself. There is a time and a place for my rapier-like wit and my insightful yet entertaining take on some TV show that you've never heard of and will probably never watch. But this is not full of nuggets of wisdom and moving, poetic illustrations like much of my prose. This article is about one thing: my psychological health. If I don't get some of this stuff (metaphorically) off of my chest, I'm going to explode. And by "explode" I mean I'll bury my anger deep inside until I let it all out on an unsuspecting drive-thru attendant by screaming unspeakable obscenities at them because they refuse to get me a Shamrock Shake in November.

Speaking of McDonalds, there is no place I would have rather been than the pitch meeting where this commercial was discussed:

I have several questions about the setting of this scene. First of all, where is this? The logical answer would be either a retirement community or a college campus, since those are the only two places on earth where ping-pong is regularly played. But this conclusion only brings up further questions: Why are these two teenagers hanging out at a retirement community? (Or even more chilling: Why are two old women going to college campuses and hustling young kids for food?) They clearly aren't there to visit anyone... are these two losers who regularly buy McDonald's food and then eat it while mocking old women who are just waiting to die? Congratulations John Edwards, you are no longer the worst person to ever live.

"Hey, want to grab some McDonald's and then go down to a retirement home and mock old women as they try to enjoy their last months on this earth"

"That sounds like more fun than clubbing these puppies to death with kittens, plus my hands are getting slippery from the kitten's tears."

But these aren't just the worst two people to curse the earth with their sinister, revolting presence since Hitler cloned himself. They are also two of the dumbest. The old woman asks, "Do you want to play for your McNuggets?" Clearly neither party present has any concept of how a bet actually works. What does the young man get if he wins? Other than bragging rights for having finally bested an old woman at a "sport" that involves prancing back and forth hacking at a small piece of bouncing plastic. This "generic young person" has literally nothing to win and his half-eaten undoubtedly luke-warm "chicken" to lose. What is his goal here? Is there a back story that later commercials will explain to us? Has this mean old woman been mocking and abusing this kid every day for years so that now, even with nothing to win this guy is so desperate to re claim his manhood and reputation that he is willing to take this rivalry straight to the ping-pong table? If this old woman is really putting him through this kind of psychological nightmare, shouldn't he just push her down, take her fanny pack and then yell that her grand kids aren't adorable as the men in white coats drag him off to be medicated for the rest of his life?

And WHY McDonald's WHY!??!! Why would you portray your customers as the lowest forms of life to ever use up air and sunlight that they don't deserve? I understand that McDonald's executives manage one of the most iconic brands of all time, and that perhaps they don't lose sleep wondering if enough people have heard of McDonald's. But at the very least, you would think they could avoid actually insulting the people who spend small amounts of money for even smaller amounts of flavor injected into meat-like-product? I'm assuming McDonald's next campaign will show two of its customers intentionally causing the Gulf Oil Spill and then celebrating by lighting their cigars with a flaming baby pelican that they just dipped in the oil slick.

We already feel a deep sense of shame when we eat at your "restaurants". No need to pile it on.