Trying my best to wipe this from memory
We’re consumers. We consume ... everything. If you read this at any point between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’ve probably spent some time consumerating out there with your fellow consumaters ... and might still have some energy (if not money) left for Giving Tuesday.
Me, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I’m trying to get to the bottom of one of the bigger mysteries to cross my TV screen in years.
To wit ... why do bears sell toilet paper?
Now you hip cats and cool kids with your streaming gizmos might not be aware of this, but those of us who still watch commercials are quite familiar with this family of bears — Mama, Papa and Junior — who are the spokespeople for a brand of tissue that promises comfort and cleanliness.
And I’m sitting there thinking ... bears? Why does this family of bears have a bathroom? What’s the next thing that television is going to try to teach me ... that the Pope isn’t Catholic?
Here’s the setup for the latest installment of this family melodrama: A pair of Junior’s undies — briefs, not boxers — are on the bathroom floor. Mama and Papa Bear each want the other to pick them up, because they don’t want to touch the presumably soiled garment.
Never fear, though, because Junior struts in and picks them up himself — and tells his parents the briefs are clean because of the thorough cleaning provided by the comfortable toilet paper.
But, here’s the thing ... Junior’s naked. Come to think of it, Mama Bear and Papa Bear are sans apparel as well.
You see my dilemma. Why does a naked bear need to wear underpants in the first place?
I mean, if the toilet paper company can’t follow its own ground rules for a society in which bears live in houses — then how are we to believe them when they say their tissue is comfortable or, more importantly, does a thorough cleaning?
They should really only use spokesbears for things that make sense — like those polar bears who pop up every winter to sell us Coca-Cola. Sure, they might not drink soda in real life ... but at least they’re shown in the snow, and without underwear.
I haven’t been this flummoxed by a promotional ad in quite some time. I believe it was a spot for a cellphone service provider who said that their network allowed you to travel with your friends, family and business contacts at all times — and showed their customer checking into a hotel, followed by (you guessed it) their friends, family members and business contacts.
How do all those people travel with the customers? Where do they eat? Or sleep? Or do they sleep? If not, do they just stand outside the customer’s hotel room all night, not making a sound? Are all those people customers themselves; and, if so, do they each have a network following them?
The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of the Charlie Kaufman film “Synecdoche, New York” ... and that thing kept me up for two nights trying to unravel the plot ... and I hated that movie.
The marching horde following the wireless customer gave off a creepy vibe, but not as creepy as the slew of insurance agents in their matching white uniforms appearing like the children of the corn, chanting and stalking some poor schlub who just wants to figure out what’s wrong with the engine of his truck.
At least those agents are people; true, they could be zombies, but they appear to be humanoids.
There’s an emu — a real one — in a yellow dress shirt (although no underwear) selling insurance. And have you ever noticed that the duck who sells insurance only says one word, over and over, — as though it were the fowl cousin to Groot and Hodor?
Of course, there’s the gecko with an Australian accent (also naked) who not only sells insurance, but interacts with an office filled with co-workers who find nothing strange about that arrangement. Would you buy an insurance policy from people who talk to a lizard?
His latest ad ends with the knee-slapper that one of his fellow cubicle drones doesn’t know the gecko’s name, when we all know — if the ad writers are doing their jobs at all — that it obviously should be Gordon.
But for obviousness, or maybe obliviousness, the prize really goes to the makers of this multi-faceted doohickey that TV watchers are being told they need to wear around their wrist.
“This watch,” we are told at the beginning of the commercial, “tells time.”
And just to make certain we get the point: After displaying all the other functions the gadget can perform, the Serious Sounding Voiceover returns at the end to say it once again.
“This watch ... tells time.”
No clue, Sherlock. It’s a watch — it tells time. That’s the point. I mean, it’s not as mind-numbingly dumb as the nasal spray that touted its multi-uses by reminding us that “6 is greater than 1,” but the primary function of a watch shouldn’t need such clarification.
On the other hand, maybe you do have to remind the hip cats and cool kids that their new doohickey is supposed to tell time — but they’re busy streaming and not watching the commercial.
C’mon, does a watch tell time?
Does a bear ... well, apparently they don’t in the woods anymore, so all bets are off.
For sale: Twin outdoor cast-iron bathtubs. Never used. Contact Mail Tribune copy desk chief Robert Galvin at email@example.com.