Monday, May 9, 2011


Yesterday, my roommate observed that there are now more interracial couples in television commercials.  This makes perfect sense; contrary to popular belief, a recent study concluded that humans of all races can both interbreed and agree on The Home Depot for their home improvement needs.  Now, thankfully, a black man can star in a Chili's commercial with his ambiguously brown wife (either Puerto Rican or some kind of Asian) without any rumblings, save those of a Sizzling Fun-jita Platter.

Traditionalists fear this new social order.  Four years ago, for example, a Reese's commercial described the "perfect threesome" between chocolate, peanut butter, and the viewer.  For old-fashioned types, it was scandalous enough to behold the interracial lovemaking of chocolate and peanut butter.  Adding in a third party―the innocent viewer, no less―amounted to defilement, albeit a delicious one.

Consumers began to complain, and commercial-makers faced a difficult dilemma: How could they portray minorities in a way that made everyone comfortable?  The answer, of course, was to make sure each race acted the same way in every commercial.  With a predictable cast of characters, commercials became as reliable as an episode of Law and Order: SVU. (Spoiler Alert: the first person they interview will be the killer,  Stabler and Benson will disagree, and Ice-T will quip, "Maybe you should've thought of that before you murdered your wife.") 

Likewise, in some commercials, you see the same people so many times that you can read their thoughts.  I leave you with some salient examples, all from a single cell phone ad:

  • White Dude on the Go:  "Sorry, I didn’t have time to shave my scruff because I’m on the go.  I’m wearing my motorcycle jacket next to my motorcycle because you use them together to go.  I’m glad this phone works in remote deserts; I use the Pandora app to listen to my Johnny Cash station.  Guess which song is next?  Something about how 'I’ve been everywhere.'  Isn’t that a coincidence?  If you can’t afford a motorcycle, just get this phone for your 45th birthday instead."
  • Competent Asian Woman in a Power Suit:  "I just finished a power lunch, but I somehow found the time to show you that this telephone, like me, is really fucking competent.  I smile, but never with teeth because doing so would imply that this phone is a joke.  The only jokes I like are efficient ones, maybe knock-knock jokes.  'Knock-knock.'  'Who’s there?'  'Someone unimportant.'  'Talk to my assistant.'"        
  • Blonde Mom:  "Yogilates are way more challenging than this phone.  Even a hot person or a stay-at-home mother can operate it.  Don’t I look too attractive to have children?  It’s because I used this phone to schedule an abdominoplasty."  
  • Latina in a Sundress:  "You can also speak Spanish into this phone.  I'm talking in English right now, but my accent puts Hispanic people at ease, and my looks seduce white men aged 34-55.  Watch as I laugh animatedly with my girlfriends from nursing school.  Isn’t being young great?  My friends, also Latina, sport iconoclastic styles; one's even wearing pigtails under a newsboy cap!  ¡QuĂ© loco!"
  • Handsome 45-Year-Old CEO:  "This phone's design is sleek, much like my cars and wallets.  It's of so high a caliber that I feel comfortable brandishing it in front of my handsome executive friends, much like my penis.  I'm just old enough to relate to technophobes, but I'm young enough not to scare away youths." 
  • 30-Something Black Woman in Business Casual:  "Attention, Black People: Use this phone.  Don't worry, white people, you can use it, too.  I'm wearing pearls and muted colors."
  • Tan Surfer with Ponytail and a Beard:  "Hey, didn't see you there; I'm a pretty casual guy.  This isn't just a business phone.  I've got some sick apps to help me find waves.  Yes, I can afford this phone—why are you looking at me like that?  Maybe my parents helped, so what?  Anyone with access to money should have this phone." 
  • Rocker Chick:  "This is the craziest, most alternative phone ever.  Look, I even affixed some jeweled stickers like the ones on my temples.  Maybe I'll go to a concert and take pictures from a mosh pit, or I'll hook up with the drummer and tweet about it.  I'm so glad there's a phone that understands my lifestyle."
  • Brown Girl:  "If the phone left out any races, this should take care of it.  I love wearing nondescript clothing—maybe a drab V-neck—so I can relate to any socioeconomic class.  It feels great to be relatable like my phone.  I think that does it; an ambiguously ethnic man might be overkill."
  • Brown Guy:  "No, it's not."
  • Asian Male:  "Never mind, I’m not in any commercials."  

Once they devise a Jewish phone, I'm all in.


  1. Jewish version of asian power lady:

    'Knock-knock.' 'Who’s there?' 'Someone unimportant.' 'Talk to David.'

  2. I LOVE hearing a diverse multiracial group of people tell me how non-racist I am for using (the) iPhone.