Monday, June 13, 2005

The Edible Missile

I saw via Lance Mannion that for reasons passing understanding -- and I mean, really passing my understanding -- some kind of controversy erupted in Left Blogistan over, of all things, an ad for some kind of upcoming show based on Gilligan's Island that TBS aired involving, again of all things, a pie fight. (You can see the ad here.) The Daily Kos sported an ad on his blog for the show, as part of his blogads or Google Ads or something similar, and some other people found the ad demeaning, and apparently it all went downhill from there, continuing today.

Now, I'm not that interested in the whole thing surrounding the ad; what interests me is how crappy the ad itself is. I can sort-of see what they're getting at: they wanted a Ginger versus Mary Ann catfight, since catfights are held to be sexy or something, so they parody a somewhat memorable ad for Miller Lite from a few years back, in which two buxom young women escalate a fight over the classic Miller Lite debate ("Tastes great!" "Less filling!") into fisticuffs, then water, then a full-out mudfight. The Gilligan ad up now does the same thing, substituting Ginger and Mary Ann for the two women from the Miller Lite ad, and coconut cream pies for the Miller Lite itself. (Coconut cream pies often figured in the slapstick comedy of Gilligan's Island.) A few pies are exchanged in each others' faces, and then they're rolling on a table full of them. No, it's not particularly sexy or erotic. Coulda been, but isn't. (Believe me. I'm a believer in the erotic possibilities of such scenarios, and a firm believer that Cool-Whip isn't just for iced coffee drinks and ice cream sundaes, if you take my meaning. But a pie in the face is, to me, a goofy scenario, not an erotic one, and rolling around on a table of them is of no greater erotic quality than doing the same in a vat of jello, mud, or Cheeze-wiz.)

The problem, as far as the ad goes, isn't that it's sexist or demeaning; I'm not sure it's either of those things, because it's not thoughtful enough to rise even to that level. The problem is that the Gilligan ad completely ignores the actual concept of that original Miller Lite ad. It wasn't a beer commercial featuring a catfight, because if you remember that ad, you recall that after the buxom women have been inexplicably fighting for a few minutes, the scene cuts to a bar where two guys are staring dreamily into space while two intelligent women standing beside them look at them like they're idiots, and one of them says something like, "That is your perfect beer commercial? You guys are idiots!" The Miller Lite ad was using stereotypes to make fun of men, not women; but the Gilligan ad completely omits this punchline, so all we're left with is a pie fight that happens for no reason under the assumption that it's sexy or something. Ho hum. To have something erotic happening, you have to have a story behind it, something emotional. There's no such happening in the Gilligan ad. Nor was there in the Miller Lite ad; but then, there wasn't supposed to be.

I'm not sure if I have a point here; I just wanted to elucidate why I think the Gilligan ad stinks. And that's despite my own love of a pie in the face.

(By the way, I've been saving this for a Sunday Burst of Weirdness, but I guess it's relevant here, in a "kinda sorta" way. I suspect that no matter what topic you can come up with, someone out there will have a ranked list for it. Case in point.)

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