Saturday, August 1, 2009

Showing Up Julia Stiles

Originally Posted 5-12-08

I'm roughly 20% done with my Friends viewing, and I think it's going well. I've gotten into a routine that makes this work for me.

The story in this commercial for the breakfast cereal is about a young woman unhappy with her social standing. She likes a boy, but the leader of her clique would never approve of her dating him. He belongs to the odd group whobrace yourselfeats Apple Jacks. Alpha Girlwho is played by Julia Stiles, according to the person who posted this video...I'll buy itdoesn't necessarily hate these guys. She just feels like they should be avoided.

One afternoon, Alpha Girl points out Jeff "Apple Jack" Armstrong with a voice heavy with derision. Lost in a swoon, our protagonist let's her feelings slip out.

"He's cool," she says as she watches the temperate spring wind blow through his blond locks.
Alpha Girl knows the only way to control her clique at this point is to put him down in front of his friends, thereby indirectly putting her down. "We'll see!" She storms over to his table and confronts him once and for all. Look at what happens.

Alpha Girl flees Apple Jacks Country with her tail between her legs, and with one less social subordinateprobably heading off to the quiet girl who wears the headgear hoping that she would be able to fill the recent vacancy. She can't have a clique with just one other person, because that will give the appearance that she and Little Miss Unnecessarily Pointing Out Who Is Eating What Cereal are equals. Alpha Girl cannot have that.

So, in the end, our protagonist ends up with breakfast cereal dreamboat Jeff Armstrong.

I remember these commercials when they originally aired. A bunch of friends sitting around eating cereal when some squareusually a parent, but once in a great while, it's Julia Stilesasks for some explanation as to why they like Apple Jacks so much or why they're called Apple Jacks if they don't taste like apples. The latter point, I can see, although I can't really see anyone really making that big of an issue of it. Why a group of people like Apple Jacks? Apple Jacks taste good. This isn't one of those things that people grow out of, like Saved By the Bell. Apple Jacks still taste good in adulthood. Even if you don't like Apple Jacks, taste in foods is subjective. Quit being a dick and respect the fact that someone likes something you don't.

However, that whole thing isn't what stuck with me with those commercials through the years. What haunted me was the part that made absolutely no sense. The last shot is what baffled me. To this day, it still baffles me.

Okay, I can get on board with the idea that one of the Apple Jacks Clique members happened to have brought a Polaroid to school on this particular day, coincidentally the day when Jeff Armstrong's stalker was able to crowbar her way into these people's lives. This kid said, "Hey, let's take a picture." Sometimes, photos are impromptu like that.

I take issue with the fact that this kid went so far as to label the photo "Apple Jacks '94,"

Why, in the hell, would anyone do this?

Are these kids that into Apple Jacks that they wanted to record every Apple Jacks related moment that occurs? If so, you would think that the caption of this photo would be less generic than "Apple Jacks '94," because I imagine that 365-day span was filled with plenty of Apple Jack related events. An example of captions this year would be:
  • Stacy sits with us at lunch (also, Kurt Cobain is dead) - 4/8/94
  • The milk smells funny (Brazil wins World Cup) - 7/17/94
  • Headgear Hilary joins us (Newt Gingrich voted in as Speaker of the House) - 11/8/94
Okay, maybe Apple Jacks isn't as big of a part of these kids' lives that I'm making it out to be. Say this just happens to be a random day when they happened to be eating Apple Jacks. That still doesn't explain why they would label this picture "Apple Jacks '94."

"Why'd you label that picture that way?"
"Because we're all eating Apple Jacks."
"We're all eating drinking orange juice, too. You didn't label it 'Orange Juice '94?'"

This was one of many commercials from this campaign.

The marketing people would have you believe that kids all over the country were taking pictures with their best friends and their favorite cereals.

This fad never lived to see 1995, and that's probably a good thing. There is absolutely no reason to take a Polaroid with your friends and label it with whatever cereal you happen to be eating at the time the picture was taken, followed by the year.

However, at the same time, if all of the kids are doing it, I'd hate to not do it and appear as some hopeless square.


Here I am, rabidly supporting my favorite cereal as of now.

And if Julia Stiles asks me why I continue my allegiance to such a cereal, I'll ask her why she made "Save the Last Dance."

Then she'll tell me how much money she made making that movie, and that would promptly shut me up.

Whatever, I'm the lone member of the highly exclusive "Joe's O's '08" club, so take that, Jeff Armstrong hater.

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