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    L&EPaulEmail

    BAD ADS 1

    Most TV ads are beyond reproach. Layer after layer of reasoned argument form a monolithic mountain of persuasive power, and so there's nary a criticism to be leveled. But occasionally, one falls short of excellence. It's my self-appointed task to pick the weak ones off the herd, like the horrible, cackling, carrion-eating hyena I physically resemble.

    Most of these ads are pretty dated, for which I apologize. Think of them as "aged to perfection."

    CRAFTMATIC BEDS

    Beds

    Actual make and model of bed corpse may vary.

    You know those adjustable bed ads? The ones with the pudgy oldsters calling an operator and pleading, "May I be rushed free information on the CraftMatic Adjustable Beds by mail?" and the operator says "Certainly, sir!" and doesn't send it to them? Those have been around forever and they'll be around long after everyone now living is dust. I understand that you don't change an old classic like that: it's a comfort to play your old tape of "GI Joe: The Movie" and have your little sister say, "Hey, that commercial is on all the time during Sponge Bob Square Pants!" It lets you, if just for a moment, deny your own mortality. And denying mortality what we all love the most! But there is one thing about that old classic they should change. They're offering a FREE 25-INCH COLOR TV if you buy the bed. FREE. 25 INCHES.

    COLOR.

    If they hadn't said "color," the alternative would never have occurred to us. You couldn't get a black-and-white TV if you tried. Maybe by robbing some museum, but then you'd have to wriggle around on the floor like Catherine Zeta-Jones, and if you're the pudgy oldsters from the commercial, that wouldn't be pretty. But on the other hand, a slick, self-aware new ad will be needed for when gen-Xers reach adjustable bed age, and that could be just the thing.

    THE THIRD CROCODILE DUNDEE MOVIE

    Croc Dundee

    Critics raved about Crocodile Dundee III: EIN KROKODIL ZUM KÜSSEN.

    One of the most disposable of all the throw-away ads for Crocodile Dundee III told us to "turn up the laugh meter" for Paul Hogan's triumphant return. Now, I am no laugh meter expert; I've never operated the thing myself. But I was under the impression, since it contained the word "meter," that a laugh meter was a tool for measuring laughs. So turning it up wouldn't actually do anything. I think they probably meant "turn on the laugh meter," since otherwise the laughs would be inaudible to the human ear.


    DISHWASHING SOAP

    Dishwashing

    It's like you're feeding me babies!

    On a commercial for some brand of dishwashing detergent, they do that creepy thing where they anthropomorphize an object (here a dishwashing machine) by giving it an eerily expressive CGI mouth. The mouth is the place where you dump in soap. I'll admit, it's less disturbing than those toilet bowl cleaner commercials where they anthropomorphize the toilet. That doesn't even bear thinking about. But still, it's soap, which can't really be called "yummy." The sad thing is that the dishwasher's mouth, rather than spitting in your face or swearing like a sailor every time you approach with the soap, actually thanks you. It says, "It's like you're feeding me sunshine!" Don't be fooled by its line of oppressed bullshit; you're no hero. Sunshine is carcinogenic, everyone knows that. It's like you're shoving asbestos into its captive maw.

    I AM AN ARMY OF ONE

    Army of One

    You know, you wouldn't have to do everything yourself if you were in an army of, say, two or more.

    The Army kicks off its "I am an army of one" campaign off with a bang, if your definition of "a bang" is "a bad commercial." A lone soldier runs across a trackless wasteland while delivering a lunatic soliloquy about how self-sufficient and proud he is, and about how many people are in his army (one). Along the way, he passes troop units, jeeps, and helicopters, all going in the other direction. It becomes apparent that there's something going on that's attracting a lot of units, and he is going the wrong way. Rejected army slogans include "The Army: Flee All that You can Flee" and "The Army: I am an

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