The American Ford Granada of the mid-70′s was perhaps the most unexciting car ever produced. Due to the energy crisis of the time period, there was no shortage of American automotive misfires. The Japanese were about a decade ahead of us, and they enjoyed several years of laughter as we continued to design rolling garbage boxes like the Granada. My father, God rest his soul, was a veteran of both WWII and The Korean War (and no, that does not place me in my late-40′s…I had an old dad). He owned a t-shirt that said: “Toyota, Datsun, Honda….From The Same People Who Brought You Pearl Harbor.” My mother owned a t-shirt in which sunny-side-up eggs were displayed over her breasts. My childhood neighbors owned a Granada, complete with hood perpetually raised and an interior that smelled like a crotch.
Ford must really have a low opinion of you, the buying public. Otherwise they wouldn’t dress up a Taurus and sell it as an entry-level Jaguar. This behavior parallels some bygone design hilarity with the Lincoln Versailles. This is a Ford Granada that’s been cleaned up to help spread STD’s throughout the era’s singles-only communities. Additions included Lincoln’s fake spare tire well, leather, vinyl top that’s sure to shred into the next decade, and two extra headlights. The Granada was a “sensible” (most models came with the 302 V-8) transport for the guy who spent 50 hours a week sticking his arms into dangerous shit, while, you know, those jobs were still around. I have no idea who the Lincoln Versailles was for. That minutely-detailed website should be of interest to those who care. Please scroll to the bottom of this page before you part.
Last night, I watched Pay It Forward.
A collection of entries that didn’t make it into this.
“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 climbing back through the bottom after having 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 on 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 you own a full service restaurant.
Widely known as a rightwing, fanatically Christian corporation, Chick-fil-A locations are staffed to the gills with a buttery curtain of acne-ridden youth group counselors. Understandably hesitant to put this face on an ad campaign, they instead chose to shoot for the street level appeal of Christian ska band, Skallelujah. Causing a bouncy ruckus throughout the restaurant, the band puts the party back in God’s chicken strips, and probably diverts attention away from the bible camp instructors feeling each other up in the kid’s playground human-sized Habitrail.
“Big Buford” (Rally’s/Checkers)
The sandwich has been around for years, but only recently did the idea of a “Big Buford” character come into the boardroom. The character exited the boardroom shortly thereafter. A hulking, bedraggled, Vietnam-vet vigilante named “Buford” approaches people on the street, asking them what they want for lunch. When one man replies, “Whatever makes a turd,” Buford burns him to a crisp with his back-mounted flame-thrower.
“Sheila” (Taco Bell)
In response to criticism over TV advertisements that feature hot quasi-hipsters cracking friendly jokes as they take a drive-thru order, the ‘Bell went with the usually fruitful “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 inside 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. Catchphrases: “Why don’t you just accept that we’re the best.” “You obviously have horrible taste.”
“The Oreoizer” (Church’s Chicken)
Tiny LED’s that pepper the dulled circuit board of urban blight, Church’s has always offered a very authentic therefore very terrifying, econo-chicken experience. Momentarily proffered to “certain markets” was an image upgrade by way of “The Oreoizer” to coincide with a menu expansion that included budget versions of what your average Babyface fan might order at an Applebee’s. The super hero sped about on a Kawasaki crotch-rocket, enjoyed the tinny sounds of Quincy Jones from the motorcycle’s useless radio, and brandished a shoulder-mounted weapon that fired riblets, chicken fingers, buttermilk shrimp, and steak fajitas at worthy adversaries. His bumbling sidekick, Sensible Loafer, always arrived late to the scene in his factory P.T. Cruiser.
“Wack American” (Long John Silver’s)
Sweeping the recently hipster-trampled pirate aesthetic under the rug, Long John Silver’s subsequent shot at mainstream urbanization was a great (whispered) pop-cultural fiasco. At first, no think-tanker could manage a name other than “Hungry Wigger” for the new appropriately confused white kid spokescot. Offensive to too wide an audience, the moniker was changed to “Hungry Wegro,” then dead-ended at “Wack American.”
….the need to stay prolific with my postings. Today, I’m not feeling it. I do want to post some fractured ideas. Maybe one day I’ll expand them into full pieces, large or small, but today is not that day.
1. Uncle Buck holds up. Uncle Buck holds up tight and solid. If David Mamet wrote and directed a medium-hearted, 80′s, wide age range comedy, it would have come out like Uncle Buck.
2. The 70′s/early 80′s output of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.
3. Working in Alaska.
4. My distaste for the intensely yoga-fied female body. I do not like women that resemble Iggy Pop. I do not like women that resemble a male long distance runner. It’s a loose version of what the New York Press referred to as The Sarah Jessica Parker Syndrome: Women talk at length about how beautiful she is, but men know the truth, and men keep quiet about the truth.
5. I so wanted a fifth idea. I did. Er…ok, Eugene Mirman is not funny. Esquire magazine referred to him as a cross between Andy Kaufman and Andy Warhol. That… is fucking hilarious.