Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cavemen and Geckos and Bears, Oh My....

This nonsense has gone on long enough. The GEICO caveman thing - what the fuck? I just don't get it. That little gecko guy that sounds like Phil Collins? That's funny. I get it: a talking reptile with a bit of an attitude, cool. Geckos are also a bit cute, particularly when animated as opposed to seeing them in real life.

But cavemen? I know, I know the original tag line was 'GEICO insurance - so simple a caveman can do it'. Great. Then what the fuck is a caveman doing in a disco? And what does that have to do with insurance [or anything else for that matter]? When I first saw the caveman ad 100 years ago when it first aired, I was mildly disturbed. First of all, the guy looks more like a werewolf than a caveman. The guy doesn't even carry around a club to beat things with. Secondly, he's dressed in modern garb. So the theory we're supposed to believe for the premise of this campaign is that somehow, someway, Evolution didn't hit this one guy's family and he's still a caveman, but he dresses in a speedo and plays volleyball on the beach?

And another thing: the chicks. Listen, it's bad enough that an ugly [albeit talented] bastard like Billy Joel ends up with beautiful women - at least he can play piano. I absolutely refuse to tolerate a werewolf with a hot piece of ass on his arm trying to sell me car insurance. Call me old fashioned, but I ain't buying it.

Still, the ad campaign's been going forever so it obviously works [although I really think the gecko is carrying the whole thing, personally]. It's just one of a slew of things that are simply inexplicable to me. I have a real problem with what I like to call 'nonsensical absurdity'. See, I love the absurd. My whole life has been based on a kind of 'absurdity', in fact. Tremendous amounts of humor lie in the absurd. But even the absurd has to have just a tiny trickle of fact/reality to make it work, otherwise it's nonsense. The caveman is a perfect example of the nonsensically absurd. Whereas a talking gecko - equally absurd - is perfectly reasonable: 1) geckos really do exist; 2) some people really do sound like Phil Collins; 3) everybody knows somebody that's a smart ass [all I need is a mirror]. Put those three things together, and you get the talking gecko. The caveman who looks like a werewolf? Ok, neither cavemen nor werewolves exist anywhere [other than New Jersey]. But being imaginary doesn't eliminate you from being absurdly funny: for example, if the guy was in a loincloth smashing things with a stick while quoting, that could work. You lose me, though, when you dress him up like John Travolta. The problem: 1) I repeat, cavemen don't exist; 2) werewolves are inherently unfunny, and this dude looks like a werewolf; 3) there's not a blessed redeeming or funny thing that the guy says. Maybe if he was a serial killer, played the banjo or was figure skating in the nude I'd have something to work with.

Other examples of the nonsensical absurd? The Berenstain Bears cartoons on PBS. First of all, I'd like to see an episode where - in the middle of some great moral lesson Momma and Papa are teaching, a hunter walks on screen and blows both their fucking heads off. But that's because I'm sick. What really gets me is: nobody on that show sounds like a bear. Again, I understand it's a cartoon and that bears don't really talk - period. But, if they did talk, they wouldn't sound like Canadians. You watch the Berenstain Bears with your eyes closed and you'll think you're listening to Hockey Night in Canada. My kids are almost done with these fucking bears, and I'm counting the days. As a side note, Little Bear is equally guilty of this but to the nth degree: every fucking animal on that show sounds like a Canadian teenager. What the hell ever happened to creativity? Christ, when Mel Blanc was doing the voices of cartoons the man put some soul into the characters. Can you imagine Foghorn Leghorn sounding like a Bob and Doug McKenzie?

So, in conclusion: the cavemen and talking animals that don't sound like animals [assuming they could talk] are just two of the things that really piss me off. Items three through 10,202,221 will be forthcoming over the next few years of this blog.

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