Americans for Idiocy

I pretty much never watch commercials these days, since it’s 2008 and all. Praise DVR technology. But when I’m watching background TV while cooking or cleaning or some other around-the-house hands-on task, I’ll let the commercials run so I don’t have to interrupt my activity. And thus begins the rage/bafflement at the few ads that do get through to me.

I just saw one such Dunkin Donuts ad on Comedy Central, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

On the one hand, it’s potentially funny, I guess — I’m a total sucker for musical spoofs, and I laughed out loud at the baffled array of faces. But on the other hand, Grant puts it blunter than I do (for once):

[18:35] Hasukawa: Man, I’m tired of the “OMG WTF FANCY COFFEE?! I JUST WANT A COFFEE! HA HA HA” joke.
[18:35] Hasukawa: It’s, like, 20 years old. Fuck you.

And on yet another hand, FRITALIAN? Is the occasional culinary term in a Romance language REALLY that troubling, America/Dunkin Donuts Head of Advertising? REALLY? I mean, come on. Even if we ignore the idiotic, blundering fact that your company’s byline is STILL that you sell “lattés”, and not “steamed milk with concentrated coffee in it”, I sort of bristle at this particular “ha ha aren’t Americans dumb and isn’t it funny?” joke. (I know I’m a little atypical in my obsessive polyglot tendencies, and I get that not everyone needs to attempt to master a bunch of languages like I do. But this is just bullshit.)

Plus, when you have a ten-foot HD screen like we do, details that probably slip past most viewers tend to stand out.* Right next to the totally believable “Half Caf Cap” are phrases like “Hinan Plu Cento” and “Isto Cinno”. That’s not even Fritalian. That’s just marketing gibberish. I guess I shouldn’t complain — it serves the purpose of being funny, right? — but it just irritates me when they make pointless shit up. There are plenty of actual asinine drink names without having to invent them. And Almost Live already did that bit before I hit puberty.

*Grant and I always pause shows whenever any written document is on the screen, so we can read how hilarious it is. You’d be surprised at how inattentive shows are when it comes to this kind of consistency.

With quality shows like 30 Rock and The Wire, the text in question is usually hilarious or realistic, respectively. But even awesome shows like Dexter slacked on this — one fake email address Dex used in a Craiglist-ad-writing episode was at “” in one shot and “” the next. Yeah. DOT NET. Way to go, Showtime.

And with shows like Heroes that contain a certain element of cocky studio exec bullshit, the documents are almost always weird fake shit some intern had cobbled together at the last minute — clippings from ten-year-old papers, articles with headlines that don’t even match the content, or sometimes that “lorem ipsit dolor” text that they use to test site builds. Nice attention to detail there, Imaginary Intern.

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