Of course you hate the commercials playing during the playoffs this year. You hate them every year. A decade later, there's still a subset of baseball fans who twitch and mumble "zzznnzzxx her father is the district attorney zznnnxxx" in their sleep. When I want to troll people on the baseball-loving Internet, I don't Rick Roll them. Why do that, when you can link to this? You know exactly what link that is. And now it's stuck in your head. My work here is done.
So when your friends, roommates, family members or significant others complain that you watch too much baseball, let them know that you have suffered for your hobby. Lo, how you have suffered. The worst commercials of the postseason, ranked in increasing order of awfulness.
Concept: A montage of people wandering around, mumbling a Chevy jingle from 1975.
The first problem I have with this ad is that you have to be 45 to remember the song. I'm not immune to the wiles of a well-written or catchy jingle. Hell, 25 years later, I still drop "I love Fruity Pebbles in a major way" in the middle of my freestyle battles. But I had no memory of the original Chevy jingle, and I had to look it up. Justin Verlander sure as hell didn't know it before the new ad. The old ad started with people pushing an imported compact car to a mechanic. Will those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders ever learn how to build a car? Better not chance it. Just buy Chevy.
But the biggest problem I have with the ad is the little girl. The music drops a bit for her car-seat solo, and she nails it as much as a three-year-old can nail it, which is to say, it's delightfully perfect in its imperfections. And I hate it. It makes me think of people of suits high-fiving, because that's what happened when they watched the dailies on that. They had a plan to stuff a syringe with cute and drive it through our septums, into our brains, and it worked. High-five. Crushed it.
Although I guess corporate suits high-fiving is like baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and … well, you know. It was probably in the original draft of the song back in the '70s.
Concept: Taco Bell is going to give you gourmet diarrhea now, which is like regular diarrhea, but with crème fraîche drizzled on top in a haphazardly elegant pattern
credit for the proper phonetic spelling goes to SB Nation's own Bill Hanstock:
shunks of awoKAH-do in your walkamoley— Bill Hanstock (@sundownmotel) October 9, 2012
Taco Bell is going legit, folks. They've hired a bizarrely passionate chef with a bit of a Hunter Pence vibe, and she's advising Taco Bell not to hide all of their beautiful ingredients. You have to let that isolated oat product and sodium phosphate just sing, dammit. And one of the big hooks is that there are going to be chunks of avocado in their guacamole. Not just any avocados. Avocados from Mexico. Because we all know that avocados from California taste like licorice and the failed dreams of would-be starlets.
The real news is that for the first time, Taco Bell is going to involve actual avocados in their menu. You know those assholes who make a martini, but only pretend to pour the vermouth in? Like, that's an actual thing. There are people who put the gin or vodka in the shaker, lift up the bottle, unscrew the cap on the vermouth, and pretend to pour it for an extra-dry martini.
That's what Taco Bell has been doing for 30 years with their guacamole. There's one guy at the plant, and his job is to wave a ripe avocado over the green tubs of viscous mystery before they're packaged.
That guy was just laid off.
You're horrible, Taco Bell.
5. One, Two, Kalamazoo (?)
Concept: It's, like, the future or something? People are driving really fast … look, I don't know.
I have no idea what this commercial is advertising. My form of protest is to not look it up. It starts with a futuristic lady voice singing "One, two, Kalamazoo", and then a bunch of Speed Racer crap happens. This commercial has played at least 50 times while I've been in the same room. I have no idea what it's for.
I love it when that happens. It's like the field stormers who elude security guards for a few second before they're gang-tackled. They know they can't win, and their demise is inevitable, but for a few seconds, they're freeeeeee.
So it's awful, and it deserves to be on the list, but I win.
Concept: HOW Y'ALL DOON TONIIT HRMMA PLAY SONGFOAM NEWBLM HRRRR THIS TRAAAAAAAAAIN
And this is the earworm for 2012, Bruce Springsteen playing a song that ends with "This traaaaaain." Some versions of the commercial include the verses leading up to "This traaaaaaain," and there's something about broken hearts in there. But all you know is "This traaaaaain." "This traaaaaaaaain." "This traaaaaaain."
I've actually walked around with this stuck in my head. Not a song. Not a chorus. Just that end part. It's disconcerting to walk around a Trader Joe's humming a three-second snippet of Bruce Springsteen's death rattle, but I've done it.
They play a part of this commercial as the intro and outro to every segment on TBS. If you needed another reason to root against the Yankees* in Game 4, know that if the Tigers win, you won't have to hear this traaaain again. Until I, or someone else, Rick Rolls you with it in six months.
3. Cougar Town (TBS, as read by the broadcasters)
Concept: Uncomfortable broadcasters doing something they don't want to do
This one isn't really an ad, per se, but it's close enough. The actual "Cougar Town" ads are kind of annoying, but they're regular annoying, not scorched-earth annoying. When the TBS broadcast comes back from commercial, the poor play-by-play announcer has to read this copy:
Are you looking for a TV show with a really beautiful cast with a really crappy title? Then "Cougar Town" is the show for you! A new season of this show with a crappy title is coming to TBS soon. Watch "Cougar Town": beautiful show, crappy title.
It makes you want to crawl into a ditch and cover yourself with dirt. It's so unbelievably, irredeemably uncomfortable. Ernie Johnson graduated summa cum laude from Georgia, working his way up the broadcast journalism ranks. His dad was a former broadcaster, so he probably grew up loving the game, listening to his dad, and dreaming of becoming a broadcaster. He's had in-depth discussions with other broadcasters about letting the crowd noise take over in big moments. He cares about his craft.
And in September of 2012, some network joker typed out the "crappy" copy for him to read. Picture Vin Scully reading it. Picture Bob Costas reading it. You can't because they wouldn't. They'd laugh and say, "Not for me, thanks." So every time Johnson has to read about the show with a crappy title, it's a reminder that he's not Scully. He's not Costas. After all these years, he's not such an icon that he can refuse to read horribly uncomfortable copy. He has to take it. You have to take it.
Well, that's it. I've had enough. I'm totally done watching Cougar Town, everybody. I'm boycotting. That's the honest truth, alright. No more "Cougar Town" for this guy.
Concept: Smug twits playing bluegrass after explaining stupid jokes
At the end of a 92-hour week, some poor ad guy working for Geico foolishly decided to check his e-mail one last time:
Subject: Need 600 more ads by Monday
Hey, sporto, can you get us a bunch more ads? The 59,291 we have are getting stale. Was thinking about "happier than a …" and then your genius takes over. Happier than a witch in a broom factory. Happier than Gallagher at a farmer's market. I came up with that last one because I'm actually seeing Gallagher on Saturday night, can't wait. But you can come up with your own. Happier than a water balloon at a water festival. I don't know. Take a minute, then get to work.
You get the idea. Good luck! Also throw some guys playing bluegrass in at the end because none of us care anymore and we all want to die.
Do you realize how many different ads GEICO has? There are talking geckos, Robert Stack wannabes, a guy literally made out of money, bodybuilders directing traffic, pigs squealing, naked pigs reaching for towels, cavemen who are sensitive about caveman rights, Eddie Money looking 83 years old, and anthropomorphic stacks of money with googly eyes. They just want you to like and react to one. That's all they want.
Their next ad is going to be clips of your 8th-grade crush running through a dewey meadow, and a GEICO representative will be dispatched to your house to rub your shoulders and console you about the mistakes you've made. Can't have too many ads, GEICO.
Bonus: The top-rated YouTube comment for the Gallagher ad is "I love this comercial, I HATE "GREEN" PEOPLE FULL OF SMUG!" Yeah, suck it, farmers' markets! This oppression of local produce has raged too long!
Concept: A horrible wife doesn't want to walk around naked in front of her husband or the digital receiver that sings "Daisy Bell" when you unplug it
There's a lot of mock outrage up there about commercials that are annoying but harmless. This commercial is a legitimate blight. It's insulting. I don't even know to whom it's insulting. Me. You. It's a wife who is worried that her low-tech cable receiver is watching her walk around naked in the bathroom. Her husband says, "AT LEAST SOMEBODY GETS TO" before brushing his teeth furiously with a sick-burn look on his face.
The target audience for this ad: undersexed husbands who want to establish some form of control in their joyless, sexless lives, and if they can't, they'll offer their wives' naked bodies to the services of robots and computers for whatever titillation they mechanically crave. Never mind that the guy looks like a Fraggle. It's the woman's fault for being so frigid. And she's complaining about the TV, yet she won't let him upgrade to DIRECTV, which would be the one saving grace in this man's chaste and miserable world?
For shame, you horrible woman. For shame. Now put some clothes on.
* You did not