9 Simple Tasks That No One in a Commercial Can Do Right
You and I live in a world of amazing gadgets and helpful household products. Unfortunately, everyone selling these products seems to be living in some kind of dystopian dimension where even the most mundane task is a struggle. I've collected data from countless miracle washcloths and smoothie makers to compile this list of nine simple things no one in a commercial can do.
Do a Situp
Situps are the most explored yet least understood area of human science. No commercial can agree on what makes one situp useless and another one pointless. All we know is that there are upper and lower abs, neither of them can ever be worked properly, and isolating your obliques requires several products and a degree in robotics. The situp is the first exercise we learn as children and the first movement we make each day, and yet every commercial for an ab device starts with some idiot kicking and screaming through a situp like Steven Seagal escaping a mermaid costume.
Look, if you can't manage a situp, that's fine. It's just your body's way of agreeing with you and pie that it's time to retire to a doughy cocoon. In fact, go ahead and lie motionless forever, because from what I've learned from ab commercials, the human skeleton was not designed to move. Unnamed fitness scientists and actors in lab coats both reveal that crunches and situps strain your back and neck in pulsing, painful ways. There is so much insane and misleading information in ab commercials that after watching one you might actually think an electric belt can remove fat. And if it can't, so what? It will at least cook the pudding mix you're eating.
Crunches were so treacherous in the '90s that millions of the lazy and gullible bought ab rollers. They were like training wheels for your torso. They helped make exercise easier, but unfortunately the word "easier" turns a workout into pointless wiggling. Progress still marched on, so soon ab rollers weren't easy enough. Rival products began using it as an example of how impossible situps can be. For example, this man from John "Fitness Personality" Basedow's Fitness Made Simple commercial demonstrates how hard it is for a stupid fucking asshole to keep his head on a speeding Ab Roller:
Is falling off a neck pillow really the main roadblock to rippling abs? Are regular situps actually difficult and dangerous? If you think so, you also think it's normal to run out of breath darting your head toward hot dog smell. You think "lower abs" are the muscles that ghost hunters heave out of the way to search for your penis.
I'm not a physical therapist, but there are millions and millions of 80-year-olds out there today with functional spines and necks. With the blinding speed of aerobics technology, those people grew up at least 450 generations of situps and toe touches behind us, and they're fine. In the '40s and '50s, women did crunches by tying their menstrual belts to a mule and asking their slaves to frighten it. Men only lifted with their legs as a way to signal other homosexuals. The point is, exercise isn't a complicated thing. Anyone telling you differently is trying to justify their physical education degree.
Infomercials are great at building a whole new life for you inside your imagination. You see a little machine you strap to yourself for five minutes, and then you get fit! You can do that; why wouldn't you set aside all reason and embrace that fantasy? I mean, the whole reason you're about to get free, sexy abs is because you're not stupid and fat. This is the same lunatic reasoning they use in organization commercials.
Organization is like fitness in that you can't get it from a device. You either care about putting things away, or you live in a pile of garbage. I'm not here to be your life coach, though, so if you think a product will help you obtain a skill every living person and squirrel already has, fine. More logic for the rest of us. Here, let's look at a typical ad for getting your shit together:
Naturally, the Palm Wallet has to first show us how hard our life is with our current wallet. Our receipts get everywhere, it seems like we've had some serious chromosomal damage, our wallet milk is mixing with our wallet meat, and all that searching is disturbing our wallet hornets. And that barely scratches the surface of the dangers of disorganization. The man in that ad actually cried out in pain when he sat on his overstuffed wallet. That seems like a rare concern, though. Any gynecologist will tell you that if you scream from sitting on your wallet, you probably bit down on one of your mouth's ovarian cysts, you pussy.
Oh man, that fella has way too many pap smear receipts in his pocket.
Will a special wallet or a closet organizer really fix a disaster of a person? Say you order an Aluma Wallet to help yourself get together. Let's overlook the fact that keeping your money in a little folding file cabinet is the adult equivalent of orthodontic headgear. Storage capacity doesn't matter in an As Seen On TV wallet, because you only need to carry zero condoms. The first time anyone takes a prophylactic out of a Palm Wallet, it will only be to prove that you can buy them in extra small. Ignoring that, extra pouches don't change whatever led you to this point in your life, shrieking from atop a mound of receipts. You still have to dismantle your old wallet, organize your new one, and maintain this new lifestyle you hate forever. Of course, not being able to fit anything in your purse is nothing compared to another simple activity no one in a commercial can do ...
Wear a Bra
Is there anything more difficult than breasts? They attract baby goats, they punch you in the eye while trampolining, and there's got to be a better way to make homemade trail mix. Any amazing new bra commercial will tell you that a woman's body is a minefield of dumb bulges painfully poking through fasteners and cups. Some ladies have it so bad, all they can do is stand in one spot shrugging and fussing about the kind of bullshit do-nothing Congress that would allow straps.
A breasted woman faces untold trials. If she doesn't buy a napkin for her chest, her boss can see down her shirt every time he lowers his head into her cleavage. If she wears a brassiere, her sternum is poked by underwire, her shoulders are scratched by straps, and her back fat is pushed in directions only a sausage maker with poetry experience could describe.
Every single bra commercial cites a study that found that 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. Wait, really? How can almost all ladies be wearing the wrong bra? I'm usually very wrong about women and their anatomy, but I know that two boobs and a band size isn't quite enough math to overload the female brain, even if a constricting bra is trapping her thinking blood inside her port-side thorax. How can only 2 out of 10 women dress themselves properly? Maybe those statistics include some really stupid woman with several million breasts. Ladies, couldn't you get better numbers than that if you leaped chest-first into Tupperware every morning? I'm starting to think the researchers who did that study were a little distracted at work by all those tits.
Let's assume the absurd data is accurate and everyone is wearing the wrong size bra. I still don't get how ordering your underwear over the phone is going to help. Do you tell the sales associate to listen carefully and drop a boob on the phone? If it slaps, you're a 34D. If it thuds, you're a 36DD. If it quacks, you're a hilarious prank caller. It's not like it matters. From what I've seen in commercials, women have more serious problems than wearing bras. They also can't ...
Wear an Anything
It's true. Ladies don't know how to wear an anything. Their slacks catch on their high heels, their reading glasses are always escaping, and oh the panty lines. For men, putting on clothes is easy. We crush our love handles into Slim T's, lose those love handles in superheated spa pants, and then the bravest among us die trying to put on shoes without a shoehorn.
In commercials, women can't get dressed from the very moment they step out of the shower.
I don't want to brag, but I can keep a towel in place by simply reading a breast-feeding manual. I understand that female bodies don't have that option, but is it truly so hard to tie a knot? The makers of the Wearable Towel thought the secret to wearing an ordinary towel might be resting the corners on your tits and hoping Isaac Newton was a liar. And if that didn't work, their plan B was argh, just give up.
This is a perfect example of how these ads aren't trying to relate to actual, living people. Most of these products solve problems that cannot and do not exist, and nothing illustrates this better than showing someone fail at failure. This is an actress trying to market togas 15 centuries after the fall of Rome, and even she's not stupid enough to know how to screw up a towel. If murderous sheep burst into her bathroom to get revenge against the fabric industry, it would be a more believable scenario than her growing up in a world without knots. Advertisers might as well try to convince women they aren't capable of wearing a seat belt.
Oh, goddamn it.
So they can't wear bras, clothes, towels, or safety belts. At this rate, the only thing women will be able to figure out are blankets. No, wait. Shit.
I'm not sure how the Snuggie happened. Was there some kind of need for a filthy robe you store on the floor? Was the Snuggie a scheme by the barbarian community to make wizards look less fuckable? All I know is that when you're selling products to a demographic that has trouble with blankets, maybe it's genetically irresponsible to sell anything other than poison labelled as candy.
When they were developing the easier blanket, I can't imagine who they talked to for market research. If you asked a focus group what's hard about a blanket, they'd tell you, "We're happy our learning disabilities are finally coming in handy, but we don't get how a person can fuck this up." Yet somehow, the Snuggie marketers decided that a fussy lady cursing the impossibility of blankets was the kind of situation late night TV viewers could relate to. The success of the product suggests that they were right, but their follow-up product, Snuggie for Dogs, suggests that they might just hear whispering voices that demand the Harbinger's message be delivered in sleeves.
I thought we'd reached the limits of imaginary human ineptitude when advertisers suggested that we have to attach blankets to ourselves, but the selling point for the Phrobi is that Snuggies are too hard to work.
"Mother, cover yourself. We can see your hopeless despondency."
So yes, there's a product that fixes your inability to wear wearable blankets. Is there anywhere left to go from here? If this stupidity arms race continues, our grandchildren will be selling blankets to one another that attach with a chin strap and skin grafts.
Preparing food is definitely more complicated than the other items on this list. It's why culinary institutes are more respected than colleges that teach you how to fit breasts into a bra and sit under a blanket properly. Yet despite all the complications with cooking, the products being sold on TV seem to only solve shit we can already do. For instance:
While those inventors were developing a robot hand to help the world crack eggs, their customers might have had more need of an egg that's easier to spell. There are so many egg-cracking products, and people keep buying them. Are you telling me your dad got through a hitchhiker's diaphragm and you can't manage to get through a chicken embryo's membrane? Not being able to crack an egg by yourself is your way of telling evolution you don't believe in it.
Meatloaf was developed in the fifth century, so anyone with a bucket of squeezable food and a heat source could master a dish. If you can smash meat into a pan without losing a sock in it, the world's greatest meatloaf expert has nothing more to teach you. So it's truly insane that someone decided we needed this:
The woman in that commercial was unable to move food across several inches, so she stopped serving dinner to look up and demand an explanation from God. That's not a normal reaction -- that's a madwoman one incident away from drowning her children. As fancy as it might be, draining the grease out of that lady's wad of beef is only going to give her something to throw at her husband when he forgets to replace the toilet paper.
I guess I don't see how anyone can physically or mentally struggle with meatloaf. Maybe you're a fish dying on the floor but helplessly compelled by Aquaman's command for the perfect meatloaf? If so, you must really understand the troubles presented in that commercial. But I dare anything to relate to the ads for the Perfect Patty or the Chef Basket. No one is stupid enough to just pound random piles of beef into a cookie sheet while making burgers or grab for a searing pot while boiling water.
I was starting to wonder if there was a way to show how useful a gadget was without bad actors pretending to trip and fall into boiling pasta. That's when I saw the Salad Chef. It somehow manages to sell a device without any pratfalls or attempted suicides. Let's take a look:
|Who has time for salad? Well, I always find it rude to answer a rhetorical question with a duh response, but you're advertising on TV at two in the morning. Literally everyone who can hear you can spare a couple minutes for salad. I get your point, though. You're saying salad is impossible. That's crazy, yet far closer to my reality than seeing anonymous hands baffled by an egg.|
|While the commercial may overestimate the trouble with lettuce, no stuntwomen are being injured by falling vegetables, and there are no housewives mashing through food with a splitting wedge and panicking. It addresses both of the salad problems -- cutting a few leaves and scrubbing off Spanish bug poison. Now let's eat?|
|Oh, right. We need to pour the dressing on or whatever. So your product is a bag of chopped lettuce with salad dressing already on it? Smart!|
|Oh, there's more. Well, we already had the knife and cutting board out, so screaming about more chopping might be a little dramatic. Still, a bit more fuss is a perfectly normal expectation of the homemade salad process. If this were a commercial for that ludicrous meatloaf pan, the actress would have cut her fingers off by now and arranged them in a circle to ritually murder her croutons.|
|Wrapping and sealing? Weird. I thought we were making dinner. Apparently this commercial thinks I'm some kind of ... salad museum curator? I'll have to shift gears a bit in my thinking, but wrapping, sealing, and storing salad is exactly the kind of thing I should expect in this line of work. Now that I'm a big time salad curator, I hope I can romaine humble. Ha ha ha, you must hear that one all the time!|
|Holy crap, so I am making dinner? Then the hermetical sealing and storing of the salad was, what? A way to tease my family while they sat at the table and waited? What does this fucking product fix? Because it seems like the problem here is me, not salad. By this point, I wouldn't be surprised if people in commercials weren't able to ...|
Taking the light bounced off of an object and turning it into something your brain can interpret is a complicated process. Lucky for us, it happens automatically in the area located behind what's called the human face. But I don't think these commercials are made for humans. Take for instance the one for InstaBulb. They want to demonstrate the frustrations of darkness, so they show a blind woman yelling at the cans in her pantry.
"How do I get out!? Who's saying that!? Why hasn't some kind of giant man in space invented light!?"
It's not only darkness that confounds our sense of sight. Drivers in commercials have mirrors made entirely out of blind spots. No one over the age of 30 can see, and reading glasses aren't a possibility, since ...
Besides, as the Knight Hawk Pen says, embarassing reading glasses make you feel older than you really are. Yes. It's much more young and hip to read a menu with a bird-themed magnifying glass.
Why are these commercials so excited about electric lights and glass lenses? In the 21st century, explaining what magnifying glasses do is like explaining you found a vagina on a horse. It's useless information, but definitely a strange, troubling kind of useless.
Lots of ads talk about the growing problem of darkness, so Olde Brooklyn Lantern went a step further to show how there is no way to solve the darkness problem. An old couple has to prepare a meal during a power outage. It goes fine, surprisingly, but now we're getting to the real problem. How are they supposed to eat in the dark? It obviously takes two hands to work a dinner, so holding a flashlight is out. The wife tries to get clever by balancing it on her shoulder, and the only thing she gets for her effort is a flashlight careening into her night spaghetti.
Night Spaghetti Flashlight Syndrome kills or injures one impossible dipshit every 29 seconds.
The mess that dingbat made is especially tragic because nobody in a commercial can ...
Imagine you were selling a gadget that washes a person's feet, ass, or ears. Somehow you need to tell customers what your product cleans and also remind them that clean things are better than dirty things. It sounds obvious enough, but no commercial has ever tried it. Instead, they decided that the best way to sell cleaning products is to show tragic but unlikely accidents. For example, if your gardener had a muscular disease and you filmed him dying in an earthquake, you just produced the world's most ordinary hose commercial.
Are you in the market for a vacuum cleaner for a human ear? No? Well, you might change your mind when you see some stupid dick poke his own brain with a Q-Tip.
It's a pretty desperate gambit to hope your audience has no idea what ears are and how they work. We can all agree that if you injure your brain with your own Q-Tip, keep doing it and follow the light. It may one day save the life of the child you mistake for ice cream, you criminally stupid ape. Stop hiding from cotton swabs and call your mother -- science wants to know how she was a handful of goat meat left out in a sperm bank break room.
How has this sales technique become standard? We all know a cotton swab has at best a 1 in 10 zillion chance at killing us because that's how many we've used and we're all still alive. Is there someone at home who sees the WaxVac ad and suddenly feels lucky to have survived Q-Tips all these years? Maybe. They're discovering new mental disorders every day. Probably not, though. Falling on your face to make an identical product look good works great in beauty pageants, but looks goddamn stupid in advertising.
Let's take a look at Craig Burnett. He's an actor who's starred in dozens of commercials and nearly died in all of them. He can't clean a dog, wash a car, install a webcam, or change a shower head. If you're making a commercial for suspenders, he's the guy you call to accidentally choke himself with a belt and look to camera in defeat. He's as close to a professional idiot as you can get, and even he can't make a garden hose look difficult.
While it's weird that actors in commercials seem to seize uncontrollably whenever they clean something, it might be stranger that no one in a commercial seems to know how to ...
In the world of advertising, hamburgers squirt from buns, no spoon can contain the fury of moving soup, and anyone pouring milk might as well throw it all right on the floor.
Commercials not only take place in a world where no one has the motor skills required to move nutrients into their mouth, they also seem to hate food. Families become clinically depressed when handed dinner, and any time a woman checks a box's nutritional information, she makes a face like the only ingredients are pictures of urethra surgeries.
Commercials work hard to make us believe we can't work out, wear clothes, cook, clean ourselves, or eat. Next thing you know, they'll be trying to tell us we don't know how to ...
Did you know sleeping wrong can cause an injury to your neck or spine? I imagine you didn't, since all of you have slept every day of your life and hardly any of you are crippled from it. In a commercial, however, sleeping is the only thing more dangerous than a situp or a garden hose. Now that I think about it, what does a doctor prescribe when you're injured by rest? A knife fight over a bag of amphetamines?
Most ads for mattresses or pillows expect you to believe that mankind has had bedding wrong for centuries, but none of them will shatter everything you know about sleeping like Kush, the comfortable nighttime companion:
When I first heard that sleep was secretly destroying girl skeletons, I thought the solution was simple: pillows shaped like angry dogs, so no one lets their guard down. Apparently, the answer was far dumber. I ... you know, I've been making fun of these commercials for taking place in stupidly absurd worlds, but Kush, if you're telling ladies that the secret to a good night's sleep is always having a phallus between your boobs, that's a stupidly absurd world I can live in.
Seanbaby is a leading Internet hilarity technician. You can follow him on Twitter or play video games with him on GameGoon.com.
For more of his jokes about commercials, see Giant Dong Comics Issue 1 or Giant Dong Comics Issue 2.