Archive for April, 2010

Then and now: 80s commercials vs contemporary commercials

April 26th, 2010

Commercials these days are soulless and annoying beyond words. Nearly every commercial I see on tv these days makes me want to break into the mansions of the presidents of the corporations and ad agencies that are responsible for these abominations and re-enact the break in scene from A Clockwork Orange with my own personal entourage of droogs.

Things didn’t always used to be this way. Things didn’t used to be that way at all. If you visit this site with any degree of regularity, you’ll realize that this is a recurrent theme of preservethe80s. In my family, bitching and moaning is a passion. It’s one that we’ve truly made into an art form. Throughout the generations, everyone as had their favorite topic to wax irate over, and the decline in commercials is mine.

One commercial I really hate that is epitome of the modern commercial watching experience is for the Honda Insight. What a fucking stupid name for a car. I can picture the focus group they must have used to come up with that gem of a name. I’d be shocked if even one member wasn’t wearing skinny jeans, a tight sweater, and dyed black hair hanging over one eye. It’s the one where some asshole with a generic college style singing voice sings some song that starts with “When I grow up, maybe I’ll be a singer in a band…”. Throughout the commercial, various young people with greasy hair are shown doing different activities and wearing facial expressions that state to the world “I am asshole, hear me roar”. I hate them. Once when I was 9 years old, I was walking down a hallway in a convalescent home and I happened to glance into a room in which I saw a fat naked old guy bending over to pick something up. As disturbing and damaging as this sight was, it wasn’t 1/1000th as offensive to the senses as the aforementioned commercial. Here’s a link to the shitpile. Proceed at your own blood pressure related risk

Another commercial I hate is this one for some new line of tampons from Kotex. The commercials seek to parody the typical tampon commercial and then try to turn it around in the last few seconds by turning the screen to black, showing some tampon cases with brightly colored lids, and spouting off an attempt at biting satyristic sarcasm which fall flat. With the exception of the last few seconds, these tampon commercials are the very thing they claim to be avoiding. Either they think everyone is too stupid to realize that, or they think they’ll appeal to the angsty Alanis Morrisette/Fiona Apple deep within the souls of the targeted 18-30 year old women and put out a stinging statement that grabs said women by the balls and forces them to buy their product. Not only does Kotex fail to get that visceral emotional reaction they’re going for, they also seem to need some serious education in regard to female anatomy.

They’ve since taken this commercial off of YouTube, so here’s another annoying Kotex ad.

I also really hate all the commercials that appear on Adult Swim. The only show I watch on Adult Swim is King of the Hill, and at least once during every commercial break they show a spot for an upcoming Family Guy episode. The episode trailers in and of themselves aren’t what I find annoying. What annoys me is how at the beginning and end of each one, they show a graphic of a bunch of sperm attempting to fertilize an egg cell. If I wanted to see something like that, I’d whack off on to a microscope slide and stare at it, which is not really my idea of a good time. I guess there wouldn’t be an egg to be fertilized, but you get the point.

I couldn’t find a clip of this, but instead I have a link to one of Peter’s unfunny and far too long fights with the giant chicken. Make your life suck more and watch it. This one is even worse than most as it was made by one of those “Holy shit, I should record what’s on tv on my iPhone and post it to YouTube” ass hats.

There’s a common link between the commercials I’ve just mentioned. They all are designed by assholes, have no heart or soul, are horrendously annoying, and make me envy the dead. Now let’s go back in time to the 80s. Not literally of course. If such a thing was possible, I’d have done it long ago and I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this poor excuse for a website and you wouldn’t be pissing away your time by reading it. We’d all be back in the 80s, reveling in a world without iPhones, health nazis, or kids named Dakota. We’d be back in a time where every day was cause for celebration. Since I can’t build a time machine, I’ll do the next best thing. I’ll take you on a trip down memory lane by showcasing some of the finest commercials of a generation.

First up is a commercial for Thomas’s English Muffins. This is a commercial that debuted in 1983. It does not attempt deceit, doesn’t portray self-indulgent lifestyles of arrogance, and doesn’t try to talk down to the viewer as today’s commercials do. It is simply a celebration of the world’s greatest English muffins –  nothing more, nothing less. It is a commercial that lifts up the spirit and makes you feel a little more equipped to take on the slings and arrows of life after you’ve seen it.

Another commercial from the 80s worth mentioning is an ad for New Coke featuring Bill Cosby. There were actually several of these commercials that were made and aired in 1985. They didn’t need fancy bells and whistles or trendy assholes intended to represent aspiration groups to make people want to buy the featured product. All they needed was  green (gray) screen, Bill Cosby, a snappy Bill Cosby sweater, and a can of New Coke. Bill Cosby pours out his heart in an honest and genuine expression of his love for New Coke. I know a lot of people out there didn’t like New Coke all that much but I must respetfully disagree with all of you naysayers. New Coke was by far better than Coca Cola Classic and never should have been pulled from the market. Just because you don’t share the same cola insight as the great Bill Cosby, it is no reason to accuse him of being an insincere corporate shill. In the 80s, Bill Cosby ate Jell-o and bled New Coke and so did I.

The last commercial I’ll expound upon in this post is an advertisement for the late McDLT from McDonald’s. Fuck the Big N Tasty and the new “deluxe” angus burgers at McDonald’s. In my eyes, the McDLT will forever be THE lettuce and tomato hamburger. This commercial fills me with a desire that no other non-pornographic production ever has or ever will. There are no words to adequately describe the deliciousness that was the McDLT and there is no way that I could ever do this commercial proper justice through a mere online homage. This commercial does an excellent job of employing both sight and sound to express what cannot be said in words. For 30 seconds, it’s just you and a burger. It may not be heaven, but it is too good to be Earth. I’m not a Buddhist and don’t put too much stock in the concept of Nirvana, but if there is such a thing, I can only imagine it’s basically this commercial.

Now that you’ve had a chance to see how great commercials were in the 80s as compared to how atrocious they are now, I hope you will have a greater appreciation for why nearly all things post-1989 should be scorned and rejected.

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Celebrating one year of painful awkwardness

April 17th, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Preservethe80s.

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Why does everything have to be undercooked these days?

April 2nd, 2010

Nobody ever cooks things for long enough anymore. This especially seems to be true for any kind of bread product. I can’t imagine what health benefits this would have, but I’m sure the health nazis are somehow behind it.

One of the areas where this is most notable is with Italian bread. You just can’t get a good loaf of it anymore. Gone are the days of the dry, crusty Italian breads upon which many of my fondest childhood deli memories are based. This is the way that all Italian bread used to be. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little history lesson for you: Did you ever wonder why some people call subs grinders? It’s because in the earliest days of subs, they were served on whole loaves of Italian bread. The bread would be so deliciously well cooked and crispy that there would be a crunch when you’d bite into it. Sometimes it would be so firm that it’d almost be difficult to bite through it, requiring one to “grind” their teeth against it to eat their subs. I’m fortunate enough to have experienced such sandwiches, and the thought that this is no longer possible makes me so enraged that I might just have to slash my tires to make it so that I don’t drive to the nearest bakery, bust inside with a baseball bat, and do whatever feels right. Even as recently as about 5 years ago you could still get some pretty good Italian bread if you went to the right places. Those days are now gone. A few weeks ago I bought a loaf of Italian bread that made me want to hang myself. I could have soaked a bunch of tampons in a bucket of water for 10 days  and they would have a more satisfying sandwich exterior than this bread did. It was bleach white on the outside and was as malleable as silly putty. It was almost wet to the touch. I guess people are such pussies these days that they’re afraid of a loaf of bread that throws a little bit of a challenge their way. Let’s just go ahead and make everything soft and cuddly. Let’s start making knives out of cotton and bullets out of ky jelly while we’re at it too. People make me sick.

Another area in which undercooking has been a problem as of late is with pizzas. Every pizza I get lately is whiter than the KKK. The crust is always floppy and weak, barely able to support the sauce and toppings above. You can ask for your pizza to be made well done, but the people who make it will usually just ignore your request. I recently got a pizza that was so pale, doughy, and disgusting that I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. It reminded me this one time when I was a kid when I bought a slice of pre-made pizza from a convenience store and was lambasted by this guy who looked like he’d just walked off the set of one of the Godfather movies. He told me something along the lines of “What da hell are you buyin dat gawbage for? If ya threw it at a wall, it’d bounce back atcha!” With this diatribe going through my head, I decided to try a little experiment. I rolled up one of the pizza slices into a ball and took it out to my garage, then cast it toward the cement wall. It didn’t really bounce, it just sort of stuck there and slowly oozed down. Now I was disappointed on two levels. This pizza had failed as both a meal and a source of entertainment. Since then, I always make sure to check the pizza before I leave the restaurant to see if it’s well done enough and if it isn’t, I have them put it back in the oven. I don’t really feel too good about doing this though, because most people don’t want to do their jobs anymore and since I’m actually asking them to do just that, they probably get pissed off and spit on the pizza when I’m not looking. Paranoia and a love of quality pizza can be a bad combination sometimes.

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