I’m embarrassed to admit this to you, but I don’t watch TV. I’ve been living without it for a long time now. I DO have a TV set … an old-fashioned one, the kind that’s roughly shaped like a cube … but I don’t have cable or an antenna or a dish or any other way of watching live television while the rest of the world is watching it. I just stick with DVDs and VHS tapes.

Many years ago, I had cable for a short time, but I decided to have it cut off because the monthly bill was an abomination. I also bought a nifty little “rabbit ears” antenna once. It allowed me to watch one channel — sometimes two, if I was standing in the right part of the room. Sure, one of those channels featured “The Lawrence Welk Show” a little too heavily for my taste, but it was still a treat for me to watch something other than DVDs and ancient VHS tapes.

As soon as I got used to the luxury of television, the whole world switched from analog to digital, rendering my little antenna completely useless. It was as if somebody, somewhere, had found out about my antenna and decided to put a stop to my new pastime. (I know, I know. I could have gotten a converter box, but I never got around to it. Oh well.)

Once again, I was cut off from the world.

It’s not so bad, though. I have a computer and I can watch almost anything on YouTube. And I have the first few seasons of “Doctor Who” on DVD. (The show isn’t as good since David Tennant left, anyway. But that’s only my humble opinion.)

Do you know what I miss most about TV? I miss the commercials. I’m guessing you yourself watch TV. And you probably take them for granted. But I think commercials are lovely little pieces of art in their own right. There are paintings, there are sculptures, there are books, there are films … and then there are TV commercials. They may not fall into the category of “high art,” but they’re still special and important.

At least I think so.

My dad is kind enough to record shows on DVD and send them to me in the mail sometimes. The other night, I was sprawled out on the couch (with my cat sitting next to my head so that her rear-end was mashed against the side of my face; I don’t understand WHY she likes to do that, but that seems to be her favorite way to relax) and I was watching an episode of “Happy Days” recorded on TV Land. I didn’t like that show very much when I was a kid, but it’s growing on me now. (Even though I can’t understand why Fonzie replaced his leather jacket with that strange white coat. But that’s a discussion for another day.)

As I watched, I realized that the commercials were just as interesting as the show itself — even more, in a way. I was fascinated with those talking blobs of snot in the Mucinex commercial … and that charming little light bulb in the Intermezzo ad, rolling around in bed, trying to sleep. I noticed that his pull-chain functions as a hand. Some brilliant person thought of that. Someone sat down at a computer and MADE that happen.

Then I started thinking about the commercials I fell in love with as a child — particularly the ones with Will Vinton’s animation in them, like the California Raisins and the Noid.

So I decided to recognize them and celebrate them here.

Yes, I get excited about little things that nobody else cares about. Yes, there are many more important topics I could probably blog about.

Oh well. I don’t care. It’s late at night and my mind is frazzled. (PS – the picture at the top of the screen is an old ad I found. It’s not my work.)

1.) Intermezzo…

2.) The Noid…

3.) The California Raisins…

4.) Lucky Strikes…

5.) Mucinex…

6.) Click at your own risk…

24 thoughts on “Commercials

  1. haven’t seen these commercials in a long time! Remember the little raisins and noid figures they came out with?

  2. Hey, good I found your blog, since I deleted my Facebook profile πŸ™‚
    Have you seen the Nostalgia Critic commercial videos? If you have the time, search for “Nostalgia Critic Commercials Trilogy” on YouTube, you have to see that ^^

  3. A great collection! I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure they ran the California Raisins ad on British TV too, it seemed way too familiar.
    Intermezzo was clever and sweet but the product itself was a little scary with its list of possible but terrifying side-effects! πŸ˜‰
    Can you elaborate on Chia Pets by the way? I had been meaning to ask you about the name of your blog…

    • I’m glad the California Raisins made it to the UK. That makes me so happy. And, yes, the Intermezzo side effects are frightening. Do you have medicine commercials in your country? Do they have to list all the side effects at the end of the ad? It’s common here. Any time they advertise a new drug, they have to mention all the ways it can kill you in the last two seconds of the commercial. It’s always ironic and terrifying and funny in a twisted way.

      Chia Pets. Oh yes. I got one for Christmas when I was a teenager. It looked like Einstein’s head. About six or seven years ago, I saw one in a store and bought it for nostalgic reasons. Since then, I’ve been collecting them. When I was trying to come up with a name for my blog, I wanted to call it The ____ Circus. But I couldn’t think of what the middle word should be. I wanted it to be something that related to my regular, everyday life. I looked around my living room. On my coffee table, I had about three or four Chia Pets lined up. So I decided “The Chia Pet Circus” sounded good, even if it didn’t make any kind of sense.

      You can (kind of) see what I’m talking about here:

      • Medicine commercials are pretty low key here. If there’s any mention of side-effects I haven’t noticed them and I’ve only ever seen the really scary side-effects listed on prescription meds. It’s always fun weighing up whether the cure is better than the illness!
        I’ve seen ‘Chia Pets’ or something similar for sale in Hawkins Bazaar and I think The Chia Pet Circus makes a great title πŸ™‚
        I love the gifts you have for sale, btw, your artwork looks great! You must be really pleased with them. I especially liked the water flowers πŸ™‚ I’m gonna start saving my pennies!

      • Well thank you. That’s nice of you. I wasn’t trying to hint at anything, I promise. I just wanted to show you the Chia Pets on my coffee table… Do you remember how I was watching Burger King commercials the other day? Well now I’m sitting IN Burger King, just so I can have the twisted pleasure of watching the old Burger King commercials in Burger King itself. Oh, the things that amuse me.

      • I see what you mean. It’s a constant thing, so it would totally consume you. But it might be interesting if you could, only temporarily, step back and eavesdrop on yourself (as odd as that sounds) and capture it on paper. I bet it would be really funny stuff … and good material for your writing.

        I say that because the book I’m writing now isn’t science fiction at all. It’s like an autobiography, told in the third person, with everything changed around and exaggerated. In the last few weeks, I’ve realized that my own life experience is a gold mine. It might sound egotistical, but it’s not. My main goal in this book is to make fun of myself. (I make fun of other people too, but not in a harsh way.)

        I’m not sure why I just told you all that. I guess my point is that some of the best material you can imagine is actually sitting right under your nose.

      • I think many writers can go their whole lives without realising that one, so well done on having the insight and courage to branch out!
        I’ve tried a few different genres and different age groups and so I’d agree that it’s good to be open-minded (though that’s probably a good life outlook full stop :-)).
        I’ll try the eavesdropping idea and let you know if I catch myself being amazing! πŸ˜‰ In the meantime have fun with the new project. I always think that’s the most fun bit xx

      • Double take. 4:12 a.m.? Do you work night shifts? It’s 9:30 a.m. here in good old Blighty. Which makes me think A) Not as big a time gap as I’d have thought and B) am I really still surfing the net, get out into the day, Jill !

      • And breeding little icon creatures with horns, no less.

        Yes, I work night shift. Midnight is my afternoon. But 4:37 am is pretty late, even for a basketcase like me. I meant to go to bed early tonight (like 2 am) but I got wrapped up in this chapter I’m working on and the time just got away from me. I wrote some good stuff tonight though. It’s a shame I won’t wake up until 1 in the afternoon. Poo. 😦 Hopefully the mill will let me have the weekend off and I can have a good, happy time finishing Chapter 6. It’s a good one. It involves a lot of dogs, horses, and parrots. And logs popping in a fireplace. And hilarity ensuing. (Sadly, the rulers of the mill enjoy making us work seven days a week in the blazing heat of summer. Hopefully that won’t be the case this time around.)

        Old Blighty??!!! What kind of cruel nickname is that? A “blight” is a bad thing, I thought….

      • Hope you got to wind down enough from your writing to get some proper sleep and that the boss men will let you have the weekend off. The new WIP sounds fun and it’s a good feeling to run with a project like that when it’s hot πŸ™‚
        As for Blighty, who knows where it comes from (Wikipedia mention something about some root Persian word or some such thing) but it’s a term of endearment always meant with fondness. As in ‘dear old Blighty’.

  4. Pingback: Take a ride in my Time Machine. | Jill London

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