Saturday, August 1, 2009

For the Thrill of Being Channel 4

Originally Posted 8-30-08

In the spirit of the Olympics, which have been over now for almost a week, I'm reminded of a commercial that ran during the 1992 Summer Olympics. It's wasn't really a commercial because:
  1. Commercials usually sell a product or a service. This was just a promo for WNBC-4.
  2. Commercials are usually 15, 30, or 60 seconds long. This clocked in at 3:30.
Throughout the Olympics, this played every night, starting exactly three minutes and thirty seconds before the 11 O'Clock news. I imagine they played it other times as well.

Every night! This wouldn't be that big of a problem except the song is exceedingly catchy, and the commercial itself is beyond silly to the point where you can't help but watch.

Imagine a cheesy train wreck set to hypnotic music. Wait, no need to imagine

EVERY NIGHT for two weeks!

After seeing the original for the first time, I have to say that I love to hate it. It's like an episode of NCIS, it's not that great, but I can't stop watching. It's just packed with silliness.

In New York, women put on their best Blossom hats and white jeans and heckle the construction workers. It's role reversal fun!

Why is that woman on the left wrapping her arm around her friend's leg? Do people actually do that? I mean I can think of one reason why a woman would wrap her arm around another woman's leg, but it wouldn't really make sense that she would do so while ogling a guy. Unless, maybe, they were looking for a third.

In New York, you can have a turn of the century-era picnic at Central Park!

Did anyone object to this scene? I mean the production value for this seems pretty moderate. I imagine quite a number of people had their hand in this. No one said anything about this?

"Umm, guys, this one's kind of silly. Why is everyone dressed like it's 1900?"
"Because..." (I'm sure there has got to be a good reason, and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that room.)
"Oh, okay. Well, in that case, we should throw in a body builder in the shot as well."
"What kind of bodybuilder?"
"Ya know, a turn of the century bodybuilder."
"Oh, well, that goes without saying."

This isn't very noteworthy, except if you notice, this girl is wearing a shirt that says "You Got the Right Thing Baby." Yes, this was the summer of Pepsi's "Gotta Have It" slogan with Ray Charles and the Pepsi "Uh-huh" girls. I didn't have a Pepsi Gotta Have It Card in the summer of 1992, and I blame most of my inadequacies as an adult on that one fact.

I remember for a while, almost every commercial had to include a shot of a shirtless man holding a naked baby. It was like porn for women. I could be wrong, but I don't think I see it as much nowadays. Anyway, WNBC hopped on this bandwagon, only put an undershirt on the guy to be more...broadcast television friendly.

This couple was just married, but they appear to have neglected to make transportation arrangements, to they're stuck taking the subway in full wedding regalia. This fact is particularly horrifying since this predates the MetroCard. Newlyweds, forced to use tokens. How horrifying!

There's still something not right with this picture.

Look closer, the sidewalks of Manhattan are empty. Where is everyone? The answer is clear, Armageddon. The newlyweds are running from zombies.

Wait, that makes no sense, why wouldn't the zombies be above ground? Okay, so the newlyweds are clearly running from Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, or C.H.U.D.s as they're better known.

There are two possibilities here. Worst case scenario, the C.H.U.D.s moved above ground, attacked the bride, and as she falls to the ground, the bouquet flies out of her hand.

Or, she's throwing her bouquet to...? Remember, the streets are empty, who's around?

Maybe she's throwing it down the stairs to the subway station, where a group of single lady C.H.U.D.s hope to catch it. I've seen some bouquet throws get out of hand, imagine one where all of the participants are cannibalistic humanoids. You'd have to catch the bouquet, and then run, otherwise someone will catch you and eat you for the bouquet.

I've never seen the movie C.H.U.D., so there are a few details I'm unsure of. Did C.H.U.D.s eat each other, or just non-C.H.U.D. humans? If it's the latter, than they can't really be considered cannibals, can they? I mean humanoids eating a human isn't really cannibalism. For a C.H.U.D. to really earn the 'C' in its name, it would have to eat another C.H.U.D., right? It may prefer to eat humans, but eats other C.H.U.D.s when the humans are scarce or otherwise wily enough to avoid being eaten. I don't know, that makes C.H.U.D.s less threatening.

Zombies are out for one thing, the brains of the living.
Vampires are out for one thing, the blood of the living.
C.H.U.D.s are, by virtue of their very name, cannibalistic, so you shouldn't worry about them unless you, yourself, are a C.H.U.D. You wouldn't worry about a cannibalistic bear, would you? Well, no, unless you were a bear.

I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I put the 1984 film C.H.U.D. on top of my Netflix queue. Questions need to be answered.

In the meantime, let me get back to the business at hand.

Early '90s-era WNBC News roll call!

Len Berman, a pre-Today Show regular Al Roker, Chuck Scarborough, Dawn Fratangello (who, I have to admire, adds an emphatic "You got it!" at around 2:47), Sue Simmons, Ralph Penza (R.I.P.), and I want to say her name is Carol Jenkins.

Speaking of Sue Simmons...

What the eff are we doing?

They didn't let the new weekend anchor take part in any of the "We're 4 New York" fun. That's okay, he probably won't amount to anything. It's just some guy named Matt Lauer.

Okay, we're at the three minute mark. Is this thing ending anytime soon?

Hmm, Jerry doesn't seem to know.

An opera singer? C'mon, this is just getting tiresome.

You know, we just sat through a 3 1/2 minute promo for a TV station. People doing all sorts of things. You know what we haven't seen in that time?

Anyone watching WNBC.

I kind of understand where they're coming from. It's not fun to watch three and a half minutes of people watching TV.

Anyway, as far as I know, WNBC has used a much shortened version of this as their theme song. They brought back another ridiculously long promo in '95, but I can't say I remember this one as much. But they went through the trouble of coming up with new lyrics, so I went through the trouble of watching this one. But I don't analyze it as closely, because it was kind of sad when I did it the first time.

And yes, this one has now-Today Show co-host Matt Lauer with hair and his golfing buddy, who I believe is at-the-time co-anchor Jane Hanson. No idea what she's up to now.

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