Monday, August 24, 2009

'The King and I' Needs to Stay on Broadway!

North Carolina is deep in the throes of another really hot, sticky summer, of the sort that makes you stay inside all day watching reruns and not caring that the lawn hasn’t been mowed since April Fool’s Day. I don’t mind, because I’m not the one who does the yard work and when Jenda takes a nap, I get to watch grown up TV. Trust me, there are worse ways to spend a summer.

So between catching up on the soaps and enjoying marathon sessions of Designed to Sell on HGTV, I have realized that all of the soap opera families name their kids really weird shit, like ‘Thorn’, and ‘Granite’, and as far as home staging, mine is more like ‘Designed from Hell’, but I still like to watch these shows. Sometimes, you just have to live vicariously through television. With that said, while I enjoy TV, I am flabbergasted at the depths to which advertisers have sunk to peddle their products.

It’s just a sad fact of TV watching that your show is going to be interrupted, frequently, by commercials. That leads to channel surfing by people like my husband and just dealing with it by lazy, er, patient people like me. So as I sat the other day waiting for whatever it was to come back on, I saw a commercial that gave me a worse case of the heebie-jeebies than that icky movie with that Leather Face guy and the chain saw. You might have seen this commercial. It’s an advertisement for Burger King’s new breakfast combo.

Picture it. The scene opens with a man in bed, just waking up as sunlight streams in the windows and birds sing outside. He yawns, stretches, rolls over and there is a GIANT, PLASTIC, BOBBLE-HEADED BURGER KING IN HIS BED!!! This is no lie! So this guy looks at this grotesque member of high-cholesterol kingliness, who proceeds to hand this hapless man a breakfast sandwich. The man takes a bite and then the two are laughing, having a manly breakfast moment. I have five words for this.


This is messed up on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. First, if there was some giant bobble-head in a crown in my bed with a sausage sandwich, I would start SCREAMING LIKE A BITCH!!! Then I would grab my rather heavy lamp off my nightstand and beat his bobbly ass to death. But then I started thinking more about the situation. Is the guy in the commercial a bachelor? If not, what happened to his spouse? How did His Highness get into the house? Why didn’t the guy react?

Sadly, I think this guy did have a wife or significant other who was probably very health conscious, or perhaps was a vegetarian. I say ‘was’ because she’s dead now. She had the good sense to freak out and not eat the breakfast sandwich and King Cholesterol killed her and turned her into a whopper combo meal. And then there’s the question of how the king got in. I assume that the house had no alarm system, because if it did, it was a monumental failure. Can you imagine calling your home alarm company?


“Thank you for calling ABC alarms. Your call is important to us and will be answered in the order in which it was received. Your estimated wait can be measured in terms of geologic time. This is a recording….”

And finally, something is really wrong with newly single sleeper guy. I’m talking fundamentally flawed here. He had the fight or flight response of eye crud. I asked my husband Jerry what he would do in this situation. I frequently ask Jerry for advice. In my world, WWJD means ‘What Would Jerry Do’ and when I find out, I usually do the opposite. Or I just suggest that he go ahead and do it since, in telling me what he would do, he obviously has a plan. Anyway, he pondered the situation and then said, “I would go all Tony Soprano on him and beat him to death.”

For once, we agreed. Sing with me, ‘This magic moment….’

While I realize that the economy is in shambles and consumer confidence and spending are down, I don’t think this marketing through fear is the right approach. This is not a commercial that makes me want to run out and buy the BK breakfast combo. It does, however, make me want to run out and buy a semi-automatic weapon. Did Burger King hire Machiavelli to come up with their new ad campaign?

“If it’s better to be feared than loved, then let’s scare the crap out of people to make them eat our food. No one wants to wake up next to a giant plastic burger mutant, so we’ll send the unmistakable message that if they don’t eat our food, we’re coming for them! BWUHAHAHA!”

The commercial ends with King Creepy putting his hand on sleeper guy’s knee, finally eliciting an alarmed reaction from him. Dude, why get upset now? He’s in your bed, he gave you food, and he probably killed your wife. He’s not leaving with just a handshake. The good old days of Have It Your Way are over. It’s the BK way or the highway. That’s when I had to go pluck out my own eyes and gargle with Drano. Well, no, but I vowed never to eat at Burger King ever again. That’s a pretty healthy outcome for me. But I’ll never look at Yul Brenner the same way again.

And I nailed all our windows shut.