Thursday, August 26, 2010

Campy, Kooky Commercials Worth Watching: Roaches and Ferrets Gone Wild!



In our modern era of online video downloads, online DVD rentals and digital video recording, I find myself blessed to have so many options to avoid watching commercials (that is, except for when I show up early at the movie theater--who'da thunk that?). Yet in spite of these options, I still find myself catching a commercial here and there on TV and believe it or not, some of them are still worth watching. In particular, I'm talking about this Orkin commercial, as pictured above.

Yes, I know that Orkin has been using human-sized, talking bugs as part of their recent ad campaign, which draws heavy visual influences from the classic movie Them! and David Cronenberg's hallucinatory adaptation of The Naked Lunch (yes, a film about an exterminator who gets high from pesticide chemicals is used as stylistic inspiration for an ad campaign for an extermination service), and that this particular commercial has been on the air for months. Being the big bug movie fan that I am, I think that the special effects in these commercials are amazing and it makes me wonder why we aren't seeing more big bug movies on the big screen these days because they would look so amazing.

What makes this commercial stand out from the other Orkin commercials is how it's edited. The giant roach, complete with a towel wrapped around his, er, waist, approaches a romantic couple in a hot tub and asks if he can join them. That alone is pretty weird and funny. But then the roach drops his towel and the scene cuts away to a reaction shot of the couple as they watch the roach reveal his full, uncovered insect self. In this shot, you only see the roach's feet and falling towel, as if to briefly shield our sensitive eyes from the sudden appearance of full-frontal cockroach nudity. (Completely unclothed, he then asks the couple if they're "dipping skinny".) This always makes me chuckle. It's one of the most creative and ridiculous parodies of nudity on television that I've ever seen, and it's in a pest removal commercial of all things.

Still, as oddball commercial humor goes, I have yet to find one that tops my all-time favorite: a Diet Mountain Dew commercial that features an unusually aggressive ferret. Believe it or not, this commercial is available in both edited and uncut versions(!), just like many modern horror movies, thus making it the perfect 30 second horror movie parody.

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