The Real Breakfast

There is currently a commercial playing for a restaurant serving a new dish, Cinnamon Swirl Brioche French Toast.  I don’t want to say the name of the establishment for fear of getting “words” from their legal department, but if I was playing charades the clue would be kangaroo.

It doesn’t really matter what the restaurant is or what the food is because this is about my trying to understand why people do things. It’s the topic I’m most fascinated by—how people think. And that’s one of the primo benefits of blogging–sharing my thoughts and seeing what others think.

In the commercial there are three couples pictured in a pristine restaurant enjoying this new dish and commenting on it. An entire blog could be devoted to the absurdity of this sugar coated, calorie stuffed breakfast dish that is contributing to the obesity of our society and the eventual catastrophic effects on our healthcare system but the simple fact that the overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t want to take responsibility and recognition of the effects of said food item on their physical and mental health makes it both funny and sad and therefore temporarily excuses the corporate chains. Phew. Let me catch my breath.

Ok, again, I’m teetering on getting too far away from my original intention. In this commercial there are three couples, a thirty-something couple consisting of a white dude and an asian woman, who look to me to represent the modern cool couple of mixed race, judging from his t-shirt he probably works in tech, and judging from her beauty, class and dress she’s corporate. But yeah, they would eat there.

Then there’s the African-american couple, very clean, very nice and intelligent, and sitting next to each other, not across, obviously in love. And yes, they would eat there, on their date night, without their kids.

And lastly there’s the slightly younger, can’t quite tell if they represent the hipsters or just slightly younger version of the first geek couple, but they both have glasses, a little bit unkempt hair and thrift store dress. And hell no, they would not eat there!

Unless it were four am and they were either drunk and thought french toast would still be good or they thought it would be “ironic.” I don’t think that any of the couples pictured would go there, only the actors portraying them because they really don’t have the disposable income because this is the only national spot they got this year and the residuals run out quick. Plus actors are by definition terrible with their money, so it’s already been spent.

I’m not dissing the place, I’ve gone there, will go there or similar again, but I want to know why they make commercials like this? Do they think those kinds of couples are going to watch and want to go?  Do they think the people that really love to go there but haven’t been for a while will want to go there because now cooler, more attractive people will be there? Do they think that the American public is that dumb, and in fact, is the American public that dumb? BECAUSE RESTAURANTS LIKE THIS ARE NOT FILLED WITH HAPPY, SMILING, ATTRACTIVE AND CLEAN PEOPLE.  Really, neither are expensive restaurants.

And it’s not just them. It’s the friendly staff at the superstore that I’ve never seen. It’s the polite, attractive and courteous patrons at the pharmacy I’ve never seen. And my favorite, it’s the people that eat too much fast food, drink too much beer, and take too many anti-depressants with too many side effects yet they’re ecstatic, living the perfect life, and in the case of the beer ads, getting all the really hot girls.

Having studied the history of magic as a performing art, I know that it’s time when the public gets too smart and the illusions have to get better. Come on folks, let’s all up our game.



How Dumb Are We?

I saw a commercial while eating lunch at my desk. I eat lunch at my desk because that’s the only surface in my studio apartment besides the futon in case that sounded like I was a really committed, hard worker. Anyways, this was a commercial for where the host was serving chicken from his grill but then they “pulled away the curtain” and they showed that he was taking the chicken out of the box and putting it on the grill.  Cue guffaws. I only say guffaws because I don’t really know the sound one makes when one guffaws but I imagine it would be the only one that would be emitted at something so unfunny. I tend to make the fake DJ laugh out loud when I see those kinds of things.

I’m not really making fun of the <chicken franchise that shall not be named> because I’ve seen similar commercials from other fast food and regular speed restaurants. What I’m questioning is “how dumb are we?

Because the simple fact is that in this corporate machine age we live in, money is not spent unless money is not made. So there must be focus groups and charts and data and wasted airline tickets that back-up the notion that people find this funny. Or people find it appealing enough to go to the  over Taco Bell. And I say Taco Bell with 90% assurance that Taco Bell never used that motif for advertising because you can’t really hide behind a grill and make a taco. And who would take the meat out and put it on the grill to pretend to put it back in there? It’d be a mess, with the lettuce and the grated cheese accidentally spilling into the grill. Besides they had that dog and now they just have a new flavor every 7-10 days.

So really it comes down to us. We think that’s clever, we give it our seal of approval the same way we do the Kardashians, which I also noticed at lunch that the Huffington Post front page had four headlines out of twenty in their sidebar about them. Headlines and the front page, not the entertainment or the celebrity page.

Are we so tired of bad news that we’ll laugh at anything remotely funny? To be honest, I don’t think so. I think the quality of funny, the quality of intelligence, the quality of quality is a little down. Not to say we’re not capable, we’re just not doing it. I know that I was lazy as a performer because what I knew worked, and I’m really striving now with this blog and my writing. Because it excites me. So maybe we just need to be excited again.

Then again, maybe it’s just chicken and I’ve read too much into it. Let me know what you think.