It’s month 38 of the MLB postseason, and you’re running out of potable water again. You always do this. You always forget that the postseason is basically an extended, eternal version of the Joe Buck tweet. You’ve watched ... how many hours of baseball this month?
During those games, there are commercials. You have watched these commercials several times, and you want to stab all of them in the ear. It’s time to rank these commercials in order of how angry you are at them.
Before we get started, I would like to point out that this postseason marked the first year where we were not bombarded with boner commercials. Scientists have been concerned for years that commercial over-farming of sultry 40-year-old vixens with British accents would have devastating consequences, and the fallout is all around us. Rest in peace, boner commercials. You were good material for me. I have a feeling they will be back next year, though. Oh, yes, they will ... rise again.
Anyway, these are in reverse order, but know that I have a lot of regrets about the ones I missed. It seems like it was just never that I was in a Taco Bell and thinking about how that place needed to start screwing around with eggs, and then we were treated to the “what the” commercial 47 times per day. It makes me want an update of this Onion piece about George W. Bush’s paintings, but with Stephen A. Smith and someone retching up slimy Taco Bell eggtillas the morning after a wild night. There were too many horrible commercials to list.
These were the very worst, however. Please, just read the words. Don’t watch them again. You have so much to live for.
5. Bryce Harper’s T-Mobile ads
I have T-Mobile, mostly because when I’m in the woods or on the coast or in the mountains, I don’t want to have reception. It’s great not to have reception, actually. It’s totally great. So great. Anyway, my point is that I’m a rabid baseball consumer with T-Mobile, and I’m still not sure what’s in it for me. Do I get to go on the field during the games? I probably get to go on the field during the games. Gonna swipe me a rosin bag.
The reason I hate these commercials so much isn’t necessarily the content. They’re only mildly obnoxious, and there’s an Only Mildly Obnoxious category at the Clio Awards every year. No, I hate them because they’re a living reminder that the Nationals fall into an open elevator shaft every postseason, and Bryce Harper plummets down with them.
Check out this unfortunate spot:
Hitting a walk-off is unexpected ... but not for Bryce Harper!
It’s not his fault the Nationals didn’t advance! I’m not trying to pick on him. And I suppose, technically, the commercial did reference a walk-off homer, and Harper didn’t have a chance to hit one of those. But every time I see the commercials, I’m reminded that Harper dominates in the postseason, just not in the way he wants.
It’s depressing, really. Stop making me sad that we won’t see Harper in the World Series until he’s on the Dodgers.
4. Frog Tape
This commercial, man.
FROG TAPE EXEC: So what we’re looking for is a commercial to run during baseball games, and we want it to have a baseball theme.
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Oui.
FROG TAPE EXEC: Is that something you can riff on?
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Je ne connais pas grand-chose de votre “base-ball,” mais je vais honorer vos souhaits.
Have you paid attention to the play-by-play? It’s brutal.
In comes the All-Star, with the game on the line.
So far, so good.
Let’s see if Smith can protect his home turf.
Nobody really says that, but OK. They’re syncing the audio with the action on the screen, which is painting, so they’re trying to pun-associate here. Also, I wonder if the first draft had “Jones,” but they were worried it would be too exotic.
He’s really painting the corners tonight.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Smith is a closer. He’s protecting his home turf. There’s an emphasis on the quality pitching.
And here’s the 3-2 pitch ... Smith pulls one to right ... a walk-off homer to win the game. What an amazing finish.
Wait ... Smith was the batter? Why would the batter protect his home turf? Who was the dingus who wrote play-by-play for a baseball game without listening to a baseball game on the radio and then didn’t run it by someone who had listened to a baseball game on the radio?
Also, there are no exclamation points in that blockquote because it doesn’t deserve them. The announcer’s call is like something from the SNES, where there just wasn’t enough memory on the cartridge to include actual excitement. That’s the voice I use when the vending machine spits out two Nutrageous bars instead of one, and if a real announcer did that, I would hope that he’d be fired the next day.
The only good news is that I learned that FrogTape is for painting. My little guys are going to be so happy and free in their tank now, and I feel awful about the misunderstanding.
3. GEICO referee
As usual, GEICO has a dumb ad, and as usual, they pay for 4,399 hours of run time and a man to break into your home and whisper the copy into your ear while you sleep. I took notes all postseason for this column, and I had four GEICO commercials listed. The worst part is that I didn’t realize that two of them were actually GEICO commercials. There was the Gary on a motorcycle (which engages in tasteless, regressive dork-shaming), repurposed He-Man footage (NOT CANON), and the triangle solo at the symphony (a professional triangler would have better chops than that, come on), and only the last one actually stuck as a GEICO commercial in my brain.
I’ve watched some of those commercials 57 times, probably. No idea they were GEICO. And they don’t care. They just hope to have one of their six dozen commercials to stick in the brain of every living American.
The worst problem problem with GEICO is that they use the flimsiest damned tag lines to shoehorn in their crappy jokes.
If you’re a ref, you way over-explain things. It’s what you do.
They are one step away from a dog-humping-the-leg-of-a-Paul-Bunyan-statue commercial. It’s what you do. And the triangle solo is worse:
A triangle solo? Surprising.
This is what people do. This is surprising. It’s the laziest crap imaginable.
A tree trying to parallel park? That’s a mess. What’s not a mess is ...
Hey, GEICO, hire me. Pay me six figures. I have cracked your code.
No one expects a magician to conduct a choo-choo train. That’s silly. What’s not silly is how much you’ll save ...
I require eight weeks of paid vacation, during which time I will meditate on the pain and suffering I have caused others.
If you sleep in the supply room at your office, you might wake up with a stapler lodged in your colon, and that hurts. What won’t hurt are your low rates at ...
Call me. I hate you. Call me.
2. Woman stressed out about her friend who lost her debit card
This ad is unrealistic because this woman cannot possibly have friends. She has never survived a single ride with another person without getting thrown out of the moving car, as if mobsters were trying to send her a message. Her panic grows and grows and grows, and if the commercial were 10 seconds longer, she would start shrieking like a locust person and physically trying to alter her friend’s behavior by attempting to crawl into her body through her mouth.
The real problem is the actress is too good in this role. I can’t imagine the character in scenarios that actually matter.
That mole looks weird to me. Shouldn’t you be worried about that mole? It seems like it’s an odd shape. Such an odd shape. Do you know the ABCDEs of melanoma? That’s asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolution, and that one has asymmetry, at least, and I’m starting to think the color is off. Don’t you think the color is off? You should get that checked out. I’m going to drive you to the dermatologist. I’m going to get you there right now. Actually, I’m just going to pull over and bite the mole off your arm with my filed, pointy teeth, and then I will bathe in your incurious blood. Because you should get that checked out.
The sneaky worst part is the friend, who doesn’t care that she lost her debit card. Do you know how annoying it is to lose a debit card? Oh, man, it’s the worst. It upends your life for at least three or four days. You have to start carrying way more cash around than you’re used to. You have to use checks like you’re a steampunk version of yourself. And even after your card arrives, you’re punched in the groin two months later when you realize that you used the old card to autopay your water bill, and now you can’t shower before your date.
This woman is like, “Oh, ha ha, I’ll just turn the card off and sit on hold for a half-hour to get a new card later. Good thing I’m on vacation, where it’s super convenient to be carrying around $800 in cash at all times. Maybe I can have them get that to me in nickels,” and I don’t like her obliviousness.
But at least she’s not her friend.
1. Sweet Caroline
This could be spots one through five, and no one would blink. Everyone hates this commercial. Neil Diamond wants to throw a sequined flip-flop through the screen whenever he sees it. Even people from Boston think they’ve gone too far. It’s a godless commercial of the damned, and no one will be spared.
The only thing I can think of is that Hyundai has a very specific demographic, but they didn’t know how to reach it.
AD EXEC 1: “Hyundai: A car for assholes, by assholes.”
AD EXEC 2: I keep telling you, we can’t say that.
AD EXEC 1: “You’re an asshole. Drive the car that’s made for assholes.”
AD EXEC 2: We can’t even bleep it out! Move on!
AD EXEC 1: “If you’re an asshole, you don’t need to spend extra money for a BMW. Hyundai has you covered, asshole.”
AD EXEC 2: Stop it! This isn’t helping!
AD EXEC 1: WELL I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.
Then, after long, sleepless nights, an epiphany. They’ll just show assholes doing an unbelievably asshole thing and let the viewer decode it.
Imagine the kind of asshole who would sing that loud with the window down. Any song. I’m partial to “Runnin’ with the Devil” because I have my David Lee Roth yowls down, but, dammit, I don’t share that with the world. My window is up, and when I’m at a stoplight, I quiet the hell down. It’s only polite.
Now imagine the asshole who still isn’t sick of “Sweet Caroline.” It’s a great song. It’s also ruined. Move on to “Cracklin’ Rosie” with the rest of us, and keep Jimmy Fallon away from it. There is something fundamentally broken with someone who says, “Oooh! ‘Sweet Caroline’!” in 2017, and you should run away from them.
Now imagine the asshole who would sing “Sweet Caroline” that loudly in traffic with the window down.
Now imagine two of them at the same time.
That isn’t a traffic jam. That’s a terrorist cell. But I guess I shouldn’t be upset at Hyundai. They looked around, and they realized that there are more assholes in 2017 than at any point in history, and assholes buy cars, too. It’s just good business.
This asshole, however, will avoid Hyundai for the rest of his life on general principle. Even in a sea of bad ads, this one is the absolute worst. Bad ads never seemed so bad.
(SO BAD! SO BAD!).