4 Things That TV Commercials Will Never Show You
Commercials use their compressed airtime to present to us a heightened version of our world where their product -- their glorious, problem-obliterating product -- forever alters the path of our lives, for this food/gadget/service has slit the throat of our need for a food/gadget/service such as theirs. And look! This food/gadget/service is 17 cents cheaper than the other 12 versions of it made by some other disreputable assholes!
When commercials reach that high, they tend to overlook some fairly commonplace experiences associated with their products so they can just show you the good stuff. They create a glaring absence. No matter how obviously unrealistic their short narrative is, there's still that one aspect of a food/gadget/service they never depict. Simple, everyday things like ...
Toothpaste Foam All Over Someone's Mouth
Brush your teeth for more than 15 seconds and your lips will be dripping with foamy toothpaste residue. It might dribble down your chin, land on your shirt, or roll down your hand. It's universal. No one is exempt from looking like they French kissed a luffa ... except for people brushing their teeth in toothpaste commercials, whose faces are so attractive, they repel messy substances. They've been scotch guarded by God.
I guess it makes some kind of sense from an advertising point of view. Why promote the fact that your product makes a mess when it's supposed to be a cleaner? From that conclusion, we get commercials where we don't even see the product being used. None of the people brushing their teeth in commercials is ever using toothpaste:
If you've ever brushed your teeth with slightly less toothpaste than you normally use, you know that if you continue dragging those dry, lifeless bristles around your mouth, you're imposing a shitty start to the day onto yourself. If you see someone brush without toothpaste at all, they're just going through the motions of life. They have no real reason to live. They're doing the absolute bare minimum needed to survive. Toothpaste foam is a sign of effort, and yet look at all those people in the pictures. Brushing bone with something as dry and flavorless as a sun-bleached bone is the pinnacle of delight for them.
And it's so sad. Clearly these people have no one in their lives that'll be upfront with them. No one to come out and say it: "Sally, your breath smells like shit and I'm worried you might kill yourself. All you're doing is dusting your teeth. You need some foamy buildup, girl," says the sassy gay character in the first act of the rom-com that is Sally's life.
Get your shit together, people in toothpaste commercials. Get some foam on those lips like a human. Brush like you matter.
The Sketchiness of Any Place Open Late
First, watch this:
As a person who regularly stays up late, I know a thing or two about the atmosphere surrounding any place that's open late. Obviously, Taco Bell doesn't attract roaming gangs of break dancers and DJs once the clock strikes midnight, as if their tacos were gremlins that turned into people looking to jam in the moonlight. Still, there's a general sense of free-wheeling fun in commercials about places that stay open late. Here's a Wendy's commercial about two dudes with their convertible top down, just looking for some rad midnight burgers and werewolves or some shit:
Everything's bright and cheery. Everyone has a smile. No one is paranoid of the creeps in the night. No one is a belligerent drunk trying to put sloppy, half-assed midnight cheeseburgers inside of themselves, effectively loading their stomach guns so they can rapid-fire burger vomit along the side of the road a few minutes later. And no one looks like they want to rob you because it's past midnight and the law is getting some shut eye.
IHOP is open 24 hours a day, yet in their commercials people are bathed in the golden rays of a beautiful morning:
They don't show IHOP at 2 a.m. because people would wonder why there are pancakes in an ad for methadone clinics. Or they'd wonder when their local police station's drunk tank started serving Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruities.
Moms in Paper Towel Commercials Being Anything Other Than Psychotically Happy
I'm not saying moms in paper towel commercials should be mad at their children for making a huge, sometimes purposeful mess. I just want to know why the moms are always so happy about it.
Either their child is a brat or their kid has motor skill issues and is looking for a snack. And then ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE AND THE KID IS FLOPPING SPAGHETTI ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE AND THERE'S FRUIT PUNCH SHRAPNEL FLYING EVERYWHERE AND MY GOD IT'S A MEATLOAF IED! SAVE YOURSELVES! LET THE CHILDREN DIE!
Luckily, there is a hero, and her name is Mom.
"Smile ... hurts ..."
The moms of paper towel commercials all exist within the same alternate universe where female joy is limited to being a Roomba made of people meat that erases all traces of their child's destruction. That shit's like parachuting for them. She needs a cigarette after wiping away chocolate milk that somehow got splattered on the back of the fridge.
"A mess! I can feel validated and useful!"
Some paper towel commercials take it even further, like this one, where a real dickhead of a kid purposefully douses his unsuspecting mom with a shaken 2-liter of soda:
In response, she sprays him with a sink faucet hose and they have a jolly good time soaking their kitchen. But it's all fine! That lady has a roll of Viva paper towels, which miraculously went untouched by liquid. This is so far from normal human behavior that I will refer you to a YouTube comment left on the video by a person named Improbable Lobster, because Improbable Lobster summed it up best: "Why kind of fucked up mom is that."
Why kind indeed, Improbable Lobster.
Men in Shaving Commercials Who Actually Have a Need to Shave
Some guys have to shave every day or else they show up to work with that unmistakable "I've gambled my life away, so where's my scotch? Which one of you bastards took my scotch?!" look. Their morning routine involves at least 10 minutes of fighting back their nightly transformation into an alpaca.
"Rough morning, Bill?"
Guys in shaving commercials, on the other hand, seem to shave compulsively, like with every swift stroke of the razor the memory of that horrible thing they did gets pushed down harder, deeper into the abyss of their memory.
"If I cut myself, then the memories will leak out, right? RIGHT?!"
That, or they don't grow facial hair fast enough to warrant a shave, a fact evidenced by their complete lack of anything resembling even the faintest memory of stubble. Look at tennis player Roger Federer as he tries to slice away his face flesh to be more aerodynamic seemingly just an hour after having shaved.
The blade exposing a baby-smooth patch of skin as it carves through the rich lather does its job of selling the product but raises all sorts of questions about the person shaving. What kind of internal and external pressures are they under that compel them to shave without reason? Can any of them actually grow facial hair, or are they just going through the motions, like a boy "shaving" with a bladeless razor to feel like a grown-up? And why the hell are these masochistic psychos shaving against the grain from the start? Don't they know they're leaving themselves open to the horrors of razor burn?!
In their relentless quest to get a shave so close that it defies all natural laws of man, they'll slice through the cheek and start shaving the plaque off their teeth. And if they did, do you think they'd show any messiness around their lips as a sign that they're actually accomplishing anything? Nope.