Opinion

A (Not-Exactly) Political Warning To Hollywood This Oscars Weekend

My friend Gretchen always seems to lose at love. I respect her moxie, though: like the Hound of Heaven or, if you prefer, that mutt who chases the chuck wagon in the classic dog food commercial, Gretchen never gives up. This, despite drawing the short straw time and time again with online dating sites. You’d think her outlook would begin to dim, in just the way a 25 Days Since An Accident sign wouldn’t hurt morale at a sawmill but would in an accounting firm men’s room. Still, I hate to see Gretchen suffer, especially going into the Oscars – which she won’t want to watch alone – so I created a matrix to help her remember things aren’t always what they seem online. I share that with you now, because if I can help even two people find lasting love this magical movie weekend, then I’ll be happy:

Euphemistic Online Description – Reality

  • Man of Convictions – Recidivist
  • Cuddle All Afternoon with Me! – Narcoleptic
  • Old Soul – Still Lives with Mother
  • Antiquer – Hoarder
  • Must Love Cats – Must Love Cats (Just No Hiding This)
  • Punctual – OCD
  • Handy In the Kitchen – Will Violate Your Personal Space, Especially in the Kitchen
  • Good Communicator; Loves Locally-Sourced Food – Parolee
  • Spontaneous and Passionate! – Tourette’s
  • One-Woman Man – Stalker
  • Searching For A Mate – Has Designs For Your Crushed Velvet Left Corset Pump

Gretchen goes on fewer dates now, but higher quality ones. But does she stop to thank me? Noooooo. And so like Rainbow Fish, I must find someone else to whom to give freely from my abundance. Since it’s Oscars Weekend, I turn my attention to Hollywood. I would never have thought this warning necessary, but studios have inked so many odd licensing deals in recent years that someone needs to stand up and be counted. Look, I get it, everyone has to pay the mortgage, and who doesn’t like predictable revenue streams? But some of Hollywood and Madison Avenue’s recent tie-ins, well frankly once seen I cannot un-see the campaigns. So please, you Titans of Tinseltown, heed my warning: do not proceed with any of these cinematic re-release marketing strategies:

Bed Bath & Beyond Thunderdome

Same great selection and low prices for towels and bath mats? You bet! Only now it’s a gladiatorial duel to the death to decide which customer gets to enjoy the savings.

Toyota Highlander Highlande

Sure, you get a reliable mid-size SUV at an affordable price. But you spend every minute behind the wheel looking in your rear-view mirror in fear of decapitation by sword, for there can be only one

Brooks Brothers McMullen

The same timeless elegance and best-in-class quality you’ve come to expect. Only change is now the sales force consists entirely of blustery, 230 pound guys named Kevin, Patrick and Sean who follow you around the store, pounding beers, flicking your ear and peppering you with insults

Little Debbie Does Dallas

The challenges that this campaign posed should have been obvious to Mr. Magoo, let alone the Ivy Leaguers who greenlighted it. Literally everyone who had anything to do with the decision – including one guy whose only role was delivering Thai food to Creative – has been sacked. In case you’re thinking of revisiting it, don’t.

Everything But Waterworld

A decent place to buy a swimsuit, but for the in-store drifter who insists the “you are here” mall directory cannot be trusted. Rather, a mysterious back tattoo on the girl with bangs at Sunglass Hut leads the way to a food court and a magical Mrs. Fields with “like, no line, ever.

Charlie and the Cheesecake Factory

Under the restaurant’s signature promotion, finding the Golden Ticket reduces busy Friday evening seating time from three hours to two hours.

Eddie and Jack Bauer

Still the place to go for reasonably priced cold-weather essentials. In-store experience, however, depends entirely on which salesperson you draw. Eddie couldn’t be more honest or patient in his dealings with customers. Utilizing what can only be described as “end justifies the means” sales tactics, Jack invariably insists on moving merchandise within 24 hours of meeting you.

Johnston & Murphy’s Romance

It’s hard to buy a pair of loafers or, indeed, breathe when the curmudgeonly salesman (1) yammers on and on about how much better-made shoes were in the olden days and (2) viciously throat-punches you when you say you didn’t love Sally Field in Places in the Heart.

A Clockwork Orangetheory

The toughest one-hour you will experience all week, especially on Tuesday evening, where your personal trainers are ultra-violent British adolescent males.

So what say you, Paladins of Pacific Palisades? Will you pay heed, and show me more gratitude than Gretchen for saving your bacon here? That remains to be seen.