By our very nature, writers have a tendency to scrutinize things more deeply than non-writers. This propensity makes us more critical of any story: fact or fiction, long or short. Ask around. Most authors have difficulty finding companions willing to watch movies with us since we (a) know the ending long before anyone else, (b) point out inconsistencies in plot and characterization, and/or (c) announce how we would write the story differently.

 

But movies aren’t the only bits of entertainment to fall victim to our internal editors. Toss in television shows, books, and plays. Is it any wonder writing is considered a solitary business? Since I’ve already burned bridges with all the other media items, my latest target seems to be commercials. In this case, though, I’m betting it’s not a writers’ hang-up, but something that affects all of us: writers, readers, and couch potatoes. Is there a person in the world who hasn’t had one of those FreeCreditReport.com jingles stuck in his/her head for hours? (Forgive me if I just planted one!) My twelve-year-old son and his friends sing those songs all day long. And speaking of singing, my husband knows just how to annoy me at any given moment: by crooning the five dollar footlong jingle. (Sometimes it takes tremendous self-control to keep from reaching for the tequila bottle before noon.)

 

Come share with me. I’ll tell you some of the commercials I hate. And you tell me yours. Maybe together we can laugh our annoyances away.

 

My current number one least favorite commercial is the Dannon Light n Fit ad where the blond girl strolls the dairy aisle, suddenly rips the lid off a cup of yogurt and downs it in one long disgusting slurp where she sucks the sides of the cup nearly flat. Let’s see if anyone can guess what those Mad Men are telling us there, huh, kids? I refuse to buy that brand of yogurt simply because of that one ad. There’s power in advertising, but maybe not so much the way Madison Avenue always thinks.

 

Another commercial that gives me the willies? The talking-without-moving-their-mouths mannequins for Old Navy. Some of the acting on these ads is stiff enough. Now we’ve resorted to mannequins?

 

Speaking of things that shouldn’t talk, how about the baby on the E-Trade ads?

 

Cheerios is big on my hit list these days. From the ad where the man is stuck backpedaling because he assumes his wife is eating Cheerios because they’re low in fat to the one with the wife following her husband around, chomping down a mixing bowl full of the cereal, while he does all those household chores he’s been putting off. These are couples who sincerely deserve each other, but that doesn’t mean I deserve the insight into their sad lives, thankyouverymuch.

 

How about the NuvaRing birth control ad with the swimmers diving into the pool? “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…” Yeah, you get the idea. Please just shoot me now.

 

Just the other day I saw a commercial for Hi and Dry deodorant where a girl on an elevator raises her arm to display a huge wet stain. Then of course, the next day she’s on the same elevator but when she raises her arm, she’s completely dry. What creeps me out most about this one (aside from the obvious) is the expression on the guy standing next to her. He looks like an armpit-o-phile (if such a hideous creature exists.) Like if he could, he’d fall to his knees in the middle of the crowded elevator for the opportunity to sniff her underarm. Pass.

 

The Quiznos talking oven (“Put it in me, Dave.”) Ick.

 

I could skewer ads for hours: Head-On, Geico, Burger King, Sham-Wow, Enzyte…

 

But now it’s your turn. Give ’em to me. I’ve got the tequila bottle at hand…

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