Friday, November 5, 2010

There's Got To Be An Easier Way

     A short commercial for Yoplait Smoothie mix came on just a moment ago on my Pandora station.  The over arching selling point for this mix is that it makes making smoothies so much easier than the conventional method of making smoothies.  According to the average-consumer woman, her friend claims she loves smoothies, but they are just so hard to make.  They are hard because first, you have to go out and buy fruit.  With smoothie mix, you just add the mix and milk to your blender and viola, you have a smoothie.  And yes, she did actually say "there's got to be an easier way."  Or maybe she said "there must be an easier way" or some other paraphrased version of that statement.  The point is, apparently this smoothie mix is the easier way.  Umm.  You still have to go out and buy the smoothie mix.  The mix doesn't really make the process easier, it makes it dumber.  If you want a really easy way to make smoothies, go to a restaurant that sells smoothies.  Smoothies are not hard to make.  You pretty much put whatever you want in a blender and hit blend.  Or frappe!  Any setting will work, it doesn't really matter.
     I crack up every time I see these commercials.  Usually they're infomercials, but sometimes they are just a 30 second spot.  The stupidly simple is made to look ridiculously difficult in order to convince you that you can't function as a human without this product.  There are a few products that are decent, but I still resent the implication that without them, we can't enjoy things like pasta, or our plants.
     There are several products aimed at making pasta a simpler task.  The pot with the strainer built into the lid.  The microwavable auto-pasta cooker.  I have never had as much trouble making pasta as the people in the commercials.  They end up with third degree burns all over their bodies from dumping boiling hot water and pasta directly on themselves.  I imagine these are very faint-of-heart people whose children frighten them from behind every time they cook pasta.  How else could that happen?  In one of the advertisements, the announcer states "metal pots can get very hot."  Yes.  I hope so- that's how it cooks my food.  However, this is a cautionary tale.  He's probably trying to convince us all we should be cooking our pasta and sauce in one container in the microwave.  It apparently saves on the dish washing, which these people have apparently never ever done, judging from the piles and piles of pots and pans in their sinks. 
    To quote Mitch Hedberg: "Who the fuck would make their plants hard to reach?"  Again, a few of these products are useful and/or decorative.  However, the commercials make it seem as though you are simply a bad person who wishes to kill rain forests if you're not using this to water your plants.  Or grow them, or whatever other use they have.  There's one for some sort of edge trimmer that can perform miracles.  The before edge trimmer is apparently a secret war machine produced by the Nazis in order to perpetuate back problems, killing the old and discouraging the young from dreaming.  The new edge trimmer makes the world a better place. 
     The Magic Bullet?  It's just a blender.  It might be a nice blender.  It may even be pretty convenient.  And if you don't already have a blender, I wouldn't see why this would be a bad choice.  But since I don't buy ingredients already chopped up and separated into ramekins, it's not as time saving as the commercials would have you believe.  There's a comedian out there who does a bit about this very fact.  If I find his routine, I'll come back and link it.  He makes a good point.  Perhaps it blends in under 10 seconds, but the entirety of food preparation is not completed in under 10 seconds.  Its many claims have little to do with the functionality of the product and more to do with your actual choices.  It doesn't make food healthier.  You can make healthy food with it, but you can also make healthy food without it.  
     All of these commercials prey on how helpless we think we are, or on how lazy we actually are.  The products may or may not be useful; the commercials are pretty damn hilarious.    
     My two favorite "infomericals": The Jar Glove and The Tracy Jordan Meat Machine.  

1 comment:

  1. This post is very funny. Especially the bit about the failures of infomercial pasta making people.

    And also - I'd like to mention the absurdness of the people in Snuggie commercials who can't manage to stay under their blankets and answer the phone at the same time. Those things make happy families look like crazy cult members. And they should probably just throw on a sweater. Or turn up their heat.