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May 30th, 2004


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01:19 pm - THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE ON TELEVISION (SPRING 2004 EDITION)
Folks, I'd like you to meet the Stupidest Man on Television. I will point out that it's an incredible honor to be selected as the Stupidest Man on Television, since the field, as you may well know, is incredibly wide. It's also full of distinguished names of famous celebrities, Hollywood and otherwise, but our Stupidest Man on Television is, at least to us, not known by any name.

He's the husband in the Enterprise Rent-A-Car commercial who is enjoying a quiet afternoon home with his wife when she informs him "I've made reservations for our rental car at the airport through Enterprise." This leads him to affect -- and I know this was meant in all seriousness, for if it had been tongue-in-cheek it would have actually been funny -- leads him to affect a slackjawed look of surprise and exclaim "Enterprise Rent-A-Car?! I didn't know they were at the airport!"

Oh, I know, it's tricky all right, what with it being an airport and all. But honestly: who the hell is surprised to find a rental car agency at the airport?! Ok, sure, maybe the Enterprise location just opened there and, being the frequent traveler from said airport, the man had not heard the news and he is happily surprised, because he's fond of the company, but none of that is mentioned in the commercial. They could have had a nice chat about the new Enterprise location opening up at the airport they're going to, and he could explain how glad he is to hear this, as he loves their service, and then still being the stupid fellow he is, he could go have a stupid dinner with his wife but forget which hole the food goes in and end up stabbing his eyes out with his salad fork. (To give you a wonderful visual idea of how stupid he really is, remember that he's got two eyes, so he'd have to make at least two attempts.)

At least he doesn't work in the office with the dreaded Pepto-Bismol People, who have won group honors for being the Stupidest Group on Television. If you live in North America and haven't seen this ad yet, consider yourself extremely lucky, unless you haven't seen it because you've stabbed your eyes out with your fork. It's a bunch of people in an office doing a hideous line dance while a staid British-sounding announcer chants all the symptoms that Pepto-Bismol cures: "Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!" As he runs down the laundry list of symptoms the peppy people clutch each body part affected, so at the end when they get to diarrhea, they grasp their rear ends and exclaim "YAY, PEPTO-BISMOL!" And lest we forget the catchy little jingle, it's repeated three or four more times, each time increasing with enthusiasm until they've surpassed Up With People! as the most moronically cheerful people you'll ever meet.

You can tell that they at least had fun making the commercial. Probably. Who wouldn't want SAG minimum to dance around clutching their ass all day and cheering?

Put your hands down; that's a rhetorical question.

But I'm sure those behind this ad campaign are pleased as punch to know that they finally made the first commercial specifically designed to be mocked by fifth-graders. Much love goes out to you fellows, because lord knows they were out of things to mock since the snot-nosed paste-eating kid moved away and Ellie got her braces off.

For the Stupidest Woman on Television, I think I shall give the laurel and hearty handshake to the woman in the McDonald's ad who is so caught up in the "fitness boom" that she makes the dog move the newspaper from the front step to the curb so she can take an extra 30 whole steps (ok, 30 out and 30 back) and then sink happily into her fast food salad with a smug aura of superiority emanating from her. On the one hand I admire anyone who comes up with creative ways to help better themselves, but the commercial doesn't seem to suggest she thinks anything more needs to be done. At least the woman in the other ad who runs up and down the steps of the office building each day is getting a better workout than the 60-step woman, who, if this were the Presidential Fitness program, would receive the "Certificate of Participation" rather than the "Certificate of Accomplishment."

(I always got Certificates of Participation. Dammit. Except for I think like walking, and even then I got the "Did 5 miles" certificate instead of the gold "Did 25 miles! Wow! What a Walky Walkerson! Signed, President Reagan" one. But I'll have you know that at least in my school, each and every Walky Walkerson was a gigantic f'n liar.)

So I give her the Stupid accolade because she's bought into the whole thing -- but only partway. She, like so many of us stupid and lazy folks, seems to want the maximum reward for the minimum effort. OK, maybe she really is dedicated to the whole ideal, and her dedication goes beyond the bounds of a commercial brought on by a fast-food company who is trying very hard to present a healthy image in spite of their CEO dropping dead of a heart attack and Supersize This! showing exactly what a fast food diet can do to a man.

But she's still a tool of the Clown. And she clearly demonstrates where we, as a society, have veered straight into the realm of Lazy 'n Stupid. And when I say we of course I mean Americans, because no other society on the planet could dare be this silly, could they?

That's another rhetorical question, son.

It's all about that reward-without-effort thing. We want to lose weight WHILE WE SLEEP! or WHILE WE EAT FATTY FOODS! instead of EATING WELL! and STARTING AN EXERCISE REGIMEN! and not only that, we don't want to lose just a few pounds, oh no! We want to drop TWENTY POUNDS! IN A WEEK! IN ALL CAPS! We want it because we're special and we don't have time to wait! Well, I've got two great ideas how you can drop that much weight real quick. One involves malaria, and the other tapeworms. Go crazy, America, knock yourself out. You deserve it.

Snopes actually classifies the urban legend of diet pills containing tapeworms as "Undetermined" so it may have already happened and if so, I'm going to be mighty jealous as that's one more brilliant idea sprung in full battle armor from the side of my head that someone already thought of first. I'm especially ired up because apparently some Atkins people are pissing circles around themselves with excitement because -- get this -- cicadas are low-carb.

God damn! Who told them?

I'm extremely jealous because if there's a scheme cooked up that involves getting stupid people to eat bugs, by god I want to be a part of that action.

As it is, I'm just going to have to come up with a better scheme, one truly original. Probably one that insinuates that clutching your ass in airports with forks stuck in your eyes will help you lose weight. Say, that's not a bad idea. It's mine, and you can't have it.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:mschlock
Date:May 30th, 2004 11:09 am (UTC)
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Thank ghod for TiVo -- I haven't seen a single one of those.

I always got certificates of participation in that goofy Presidential Fitness blahblah thingy too. It always bugged me that the Presidential Physical Fitness got handed out at a BIG ASSEMBLY, but the certificates of Academic Fitness got handed to you by your teacher in your classroom before Sustained Silent Reading or whateverthefuck.

Help help, I'm being repressed...
[User Picture]
From:lentilstew
Date:May 30th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
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I was the king of that one stretch that required sitting down and reaching past your toes. I ruled my subjects with a copper fist and a flexible spine.

Good times.

Good times...
[User Picture]
From:daisyglaze
Date:May 30th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC)
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I kicked ass at that one too. I dunno if it was because I was flexible or because I had monkey arms.
[User Picture]
From:mschlock
Date:May 30th, 2004 12:34 pm (UTC)
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I was good at that one until I started growing. Woe betide the girls with the really long legs.
[User Picture]
From:luckimunki
Date:May 30th, 2004 04:02 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I was Queen of the doing a foward split, and putting my face on the ground in front of me. That's right. I was foldable, and fit easily under the bed after use!

I can't do that any more.
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From:derspatchel
Date:May 30th, 2004 04:54 pm (UTC)
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I could never touch my toes. Not even when I was skinny as a beanpole. Never, ever, ever.

That's right, I even got the "participated" certificate for the Touching Your Toes challenge.
From:aussie_nyc
Date:May 30th, 2004 12:19 pm (UTC)
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There was a trio of documentaries about the USA, by a British comedian whose name I completely forget, about 8 years ago. The three films were entitled Fat, Rich, and Stupid. Damn but I want to get hold of those again, but a google search on those three words and "documentary" just turns up conservative rants about Michael Moore.
[User Picture]
From:mwittier
Date:May 30th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)

What can Pink do for me? Because of what Brown did for me.

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Isn't the Diarrhea Dance Party supposed to be a reference to the Macarena as well, making it even more repugnant? As if that's possible, anyhow.

Do you remember the recent toilet paper ad that had people wiggling their (thankfully: clothed) anuses at the camera, while wearing light-colored summer pants and skirts? That was lovely in the same way.

I just don't ever want to think about people crapping. I don't have difficulty accomplishing that generally, I'm proud to say. But advertising creative types (of which I am one, sadly) seem to think that's just the concept to provoke people into spraying cash (or even better, credit.)

I don't get it.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 30th, 2004 04:57 pm (UTC)

Re: What can Pink do for me? Because of what Brown did for me.

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The sad part is I just know some wacky morning DJ must've sung a "Hey, Diarrhea!" parody at the peak of the M-dance's popularity (1996, if memory serves correctly.)

It seems too crass to have been passed up.

The worst toilet paper commercial I can think of in recent memory involved the happy pooping cartoon bears. Sure, they were happy cartoons, but they were TAKING DUMPS BY A TREE and then wiping themselves with TOILET PAPER.

I AM EXACTLY 100% CERTAIN THAT IS HOW IT WORKS IN THE WILD.
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From:hemlock_martini
Date:May 30th, 2004 08:03 pm (UTC)
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I won the Presidential Academic Fitness Award.

I guess that meant that either (A) ME WAS TEH SOOPER SMRAT or (b) my macho muscular brain could pummel everyone else's weak, puny little brains into submission.
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From:annilita
Date:May 31st, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
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He's not totally stupid, just behind the times. Enterprise used to be an exclusively insurance-rental business for when your insurance company needed to provide you with a car while they fixed yours. So, they didn't have airport locations until relatively recently, and many still don't.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 3rd, 2004 04:55 am (UTC)
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That's very interesting to know. Maybe we can all learn something from the Lesson of the Enterprise Guy. (It might have helped for his pleasant wife to explain that to him in the commercial, but perhaps she didn't know either!)

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