The Chicken Dance is a Weapon

I love board games almost as much as I love television; which makes this game, created by Pleated Jeans, the greatest board game I have ever seen:

Click the pic to see the board, players and weapons!

If only it was real and available for purchase.

As a side note, if you’ve never heard of/watched Arrested Development, it’s a Mitch Hurwitz creation that aired on FOX in the early 2000s. It’s absolutely hilarious and was sadly cancelled too soon. (And aired about ten years ahead of its time. It’s definitely a forerunner of Modern Family.) Watch the entire series on Hulu/Hulu Plus free trial…because you need something else to help you procrastinate.


Men Talking to Men

Before I start talking about what Men’s Wearhouse is doing now, I want to give a little side note about last night’s SAG awards. They did a shout out to commercials (since people in commercials are screen actors too)! I was pretty stoked about it, because it highlighted all the things about commercials that make them stand out: the creative gags and the silly jokes.  It’s nice to see commercials get some love, even if it was a three minute montage.

Now, onto the new campaign for Men’s Wearhouse. The business hired Mullen (a firm in Winston-Salem, NC! Woo!) to create a livelier series of ads that are less about suit specials and more about how it feels to shop at Men’s Wearhouse. Unlike the Bride ad, the  new campaign is definitely talking to men. (I’ve never seen any of these ads aired on WE.)

The commercial takes places “where men belong” (the trenches, the stake out van) and juxtaposes it with Men’s Wearhouse…another place where men belong…AND where they can find fine fashions. Now, I could go on a feminist rant about how it’s kinda sexist to say women don’t belong where there’s fighting or crime-stopping, but I’ll just take a breath and remember that these ads aren’t for me.

The change in the slogan, removing the “you’re gonna like the way you look,” and Zimmer’s limited presence in the video seem to be steps taken to make the ads more men-friendly. I know they’d definitely get my Dad’s attention (he loves war movies).

These commercials don’t warm my heart like the “Bride” ad did, but they aren’t supposed to. Men’s Wearhouse’s change in messaging may be just what they needed to get men interested in suit shopping. (That, and the line, “We’ll let them know you’re coming. RELEASE THE PIGEON.” It might just be me, but I find messenger pigeons to be amusing…how reliable could they possibly be?)

COUNTDOWN TO THE GREATEST DAY IN ADVERTISING: 6 DAYS.

 

 

 


NBC Thursdays

So, my favorite night of the TV week is “Comedy Night Done Right” on NBC. I watch it for Community, but I stay for The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock. I hope to give my thoughts on the shows here weekly, and work on my TV reviewing skills.

Community.

I was thinking yesterday about how some characters on Community support themselves. We really don’t hear about jobs, and with some characters, like Annie, Britta, and Shirley, we don’t know where they get their money, or how they pay rent and tuition. (How interesting that we don’t know how the women stay afloat, but with the guys, it’s pretty much obvious…I’m assuming that Jeff has lawyer funds, though that may not be true).

Anyways, it’s as if the Community gods heard my questions, because this episode addresses Annie’s financial situation. The girl’s collecting cans to make ends meet. She’s also saved everything from babysitting, birthday money, and the “period fairy.” (Apparently, a magical being that leaves a dollar under your pillow every time you get your period.) So, when Pierce wants to give her a check (he says for “being strong,” but it’s clear it’s a bribe to get more lines in the anti-drug play), she’s pretty willing to take it since she’s worried about making rent for her apartment above “marital aids store” Dildopolis.

Annie’s the character I most identify with (I’m also pretty high-strung and by-the-book), so her financial struggle was the most interesting part of the episode for me. The B-plot, with Jeff and Britta’s nephew’s miscommunication via text was amusing enough. Chang’s heroic antics at the end were spectacularly done by Ken Jeong. (A Carolina boy, by the way.)

I don’t want to give too many plot points, because I want you to watch it. Community’s the most fantastic show on TV right now…I highly recommend it. So, go to Hulu and watch now!

Side notes:

-Jeff Winger’s the coolest cat I’ve ever seen.

-“I’ve done a lot of acting…workshops.”

-From what I can tell, Pierce gives Annie about 300 dollars. (Though, it might’ve been 304? Kinda random number.)

-The Hawthorne Towelettes commercial is suspiciously similar to the Smucker’s ads.

-I really like what they’re doing with the Chang/Shirley arc. For a more elaborate discussion of that, go to the AVclub.

-Is it just me, or did Abed unconsciously catch that baseball?

Perfect Couples.

During this show, I baked cupcakes for my mother’s birthday (which is today: Happy Birthday, Mom!). Chocolate cupcakes with York peppermint patties baked inside. YUM. Anyways, I find this show kind of dull, hence the baking activity in place of viewing.

The Office.


The cold open filled my life with joy. I’d been watching the first series of the BBC version in preparation for that moment…and it was everything I’d hoped for, and more. Honestly, it didn’t matter what happened the rest of the episode, just to see that was great.

But, there was an episode, and it wasn’t half bad. Andy tried to sell paper under the guise of a small business seminar. Kelly, Kevin and Creed ended up helping out (Creed was the best), after Dwight, Phyllis, Stanley and Jim bailed for various reasons.

Jim’s bailing out was actually a really amusing sub-plot involving a bad end to a friendship from his childhood, but it’s part of a trend the last few episodes where Jim’s presence has been notably lacking. I’m sure it’s just because John Krasinski’s filming something…at least we saw more Jim this week than last week.

Overall, a pretty funny episode. Watch it.

Side note:

“Where’s your jetpack, Zuckerberg?”

Parks and Rec.

When Parks and Recreation first started, I felt like I was cheating on The Office by watching it. But now, it’s become its own show, and dare I say it, at this point, it’s better…not than The Office in its heyday, but better than the current manifestation of The Office.

This episode involved half the cast getting a serious strain of the flu and ending up in the hospital. While I’m not that emotionally invested in the lives of the Parks and Rec. characters, not like Community or The Office, I still enjoy seeing Amy Poehler be awesome. Her sales pitching can even stand the effects of a high fever and an overdose.

I’m looking forward to watching the rest of this season, if only because I loved Adam Scott in Party Down.

Side note:

-“You had me at Meat Tornado.”

30 Rock.

I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up…and make meaningful looks at Alec Baldwin while melodramatic music plays.

Outsourced.

I refuse to watch this show. I usually leave it on until a joke makes me sad…that usually takes about thirty seconds into the cold open. This time, it was some kind of fart machine.


Men Talking to Women

So, my Mom’s favorite Sunday night entertainment is My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. It comes on WE, Sundays at 9. Now, I’ve always fancied myself a bit of a party planner, so I enjoy watching it with her.

The usual commercial line up with wedding shows like My Fair Wedding is a bunch of formal wear ads intermingled with promos for other wedding shows. The other night, there was one formal wear ad that really caught my eye. It’s a Men’s Wearhouse ad:

Because of its slogan, spoken in a fantastically deep voice by the company’s founder, George Zimmer, Men’s Wearhouse has a unique challenge. The slogan clearly addresses men, so when the company wants to target women, who are way more likely to be picking out the men’s tuxes for a wedding,  it has to get creative.

This ad is talking to the groom….but it’s speaking to the bride: “When everyone’s looking at her, she’ll be looking at you…rent your tux at Men’s Wearhouse and you’ll look almost as good as she does.” The first time I saw this commercial, it hooked me in with that bride-enters-the-room sentimentality, and later it hit me, that’s  exactly what they’re trying to do. Hook me in, while addressing my groom-to-be.

It’s such a clever way to commit to your slogan’s intent and tone, while strategically changing your messaging to fit a new target audience: women who watch amazingly cheesy wedding-planning shows.

Even though I only now stumbled across this ad, it’s actually a few years old. I’m going to do a little research and see just who Men’s Wearhouse is talking to now.


What We’re Doing Here

As a graduate with a lot of time on my hands, I’ve decided to give myself a project that will keep me busy and creative, and hopefully give people something to read, while I continue my job hunt.

Maybe it’s all those AP English classes in high school, but I have a tendency to analyze things. Literature, music, TV shows, and advertisements; I critique them all (probably more than necessary).  Since my family and friends have heard all my editorial comments, I’m going to start posting them here. I’ll write some about my favorite TV shows, but I’d also like to spend time discussing an under-appreciated art form: the commercial.

Why are commercials so impressive? Well, maybe it’s just because I’m a journalism school grad, but I know how hard it can be to come up with a creative piece that sells a product, reaches the target audience and only lasts 30 seconds. I also know that whoever made up that commercial is proud to see it air and, most likely, has a proud mama who brags that her son/daughter put together that piece.

The number of people who appreciate commercials and PSAs is much smaller than the number that fast-forwards through them, but hopefully I can help point you to the commercials that stand out, for what ever reason, good or bad.

So, think of this blog as a night of television: parts on shows, and commercials in between.