“Sheila” (Taco Bell) – In response to criticism over TV advertisements that feature hot quasi-hipsters cracking friendly jokes as they take drive-thru orders, the ‘Bell went with the usually fortuitous “it’s right in front of our faces” approach. “Sheila” is anything but down-to-earth or boring, especially with that $573.00 monthly note on a Kia Optima (that already needs major work) and a bad attitude that could peel paint.
“Innocuous Secretary of Defense” (Subway) – Pulled after one commercial. Suited high-level government employee bursts into a “control room,” alerts everyone that a citizen ate at (insert less healthy, rival chain), declares CrapCon 4, and raises the terror alert level to a Code Brown.
“Glutton Star” (Hardees) – Hardees briefly toughened-up the trademark smiling star to coincide with their “Thickburger” campaign. With sunken eyes and barely-defined features, a life-sized, sentient version sits next to customers, mumbling its catchphrase, “Finish your Thickburger, or you’ll be wearing sunglasses to the grocery store tomorrow.”
“Burger King Blogger” (Burger King) – Disheveled 22-year-old in a Ratt t-shirt and women’s jeans carries laptop into various Burger Kings, interrogating customers about service and satisfaction.
“In ‘n’ Out Asshole” (In ‘n’ Out Burger) – Aggressive, antagonistic man donning In ‘n’ Out t-shirt enters rival restaurants, berating customers in a condescending tone. “Why don’t you just accept that we’re the best.” “You obviously have horrible taste.”
“New Leaf Franchise Owner” (Smoothie King) – Come within conversational distance of the average down-on-their-luck 30 or 40 something, and you’ll be treated to the common aspiration of someday, somehow, this person’s going to run a restaurant. Knowing full and well that Smoothie franchises are a sure (and bottom) step on the ladder for those prone to pie-in-the-sky talk of eatery ownership, Smoothie King invented a character in the process of climbing back through the bottom after having already fallen through it. The “New Leaf Franchise Owner” (male and female versions) trumpets an impressive array of failure: Bankruptcy, several DUI’s, some college, divorce, drug addiction, and current ranking amongst a regional Amway pyramid scheme. As proudly boasted during the promo, not only can they get back on their feet, but one of those feet is now firmly in the door of, well, feeling and talking like they own a full service restaurant.
Things that rattled my cage during the very early developmental stage of my sense of humor. They did not hold up.
1. The various between-song rants and intros on The Meatmen’s We’re The Meatmen…and You Still Suck!!!
2. Bill Cosby’s Himself (the movie)
3. The Ben Stiller Show and the simultaneously aired The Edge
4. MTV’s/Alex Winter’s The Idiot Box
5. The Accused album, More Fun than an Open Casket Funeral
6. The Dead Milkmen album, Metaphysical Grafitti (note: “Anderson, Walkmen, Buttholes, and How!” still rings funny to me)
7. Much of the Great Phone Calls album. Though this defined my 19th year, little on this juvenile pants-soiler stays on the right side of embarrassment. Album is notable for indirectly launching Turkington’s Neil Hamburger character, and featuring a young Mike Patton on a suitably dumb phone call.
8. Many of the public access lo-jinks that circulated around in the 90’s.
9. Hollywood Shuffle
10. Amazon Women on the Moon
How do marginal celebrities attract attention?