I don’t want to talk about other ads you think are just as bad or worse. I want to talk about how much I hate this one. Last night Gene Demby made me realize I am not alone in this.
You’ve seen it, right? They won’t stop playing it on Hulu, so I’ve seen it at this point roughly 30 times. Here it is, if you haven’t suffered already:
My thoughts, in no particular order:
– Why is it called “More Than Brains”? The whole point of the commercial seems to be “You’ve underestimated me in assuming I haven’t brains, when in fact I have plenty.” What is the “more than” brains in question? Also, that makes it sound like the song it’s riffing on is “More Than Words.” Which it isn’t!
– That goddamn VOICE. It’s lilting and yet hostile? Syrupy sweet but fucking poison. It’s the little girl in a horror movie who wants you to come play with her…forever. Who are you mad at? Why are you positing the audience as your enemy? I NEVER TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULDN’T GO TO SCHOOL. WHY ARE YOU MAD AT ME, EVIL REGINA SPEKTOR?
– “Life’s short, talk is cheap, I’ll be working while you sleep…[silent for an entire measure, now suddenly spoken word] Still don’t think I’ve got a brain?” THAT DOESN’T SCAN
– NONE OF THESE NEW LYRICS SCAN
– All of the actors keep looking smugly and aggressively at the camera and then smile directly at us, the viewer, who they are presumably trying to recruit, WHILE ALSO SUGGESTING THAT WE ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN KEEPING THEM DOWN
– FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES ARE PREDATORY AND MERCENARY AND THEY GOUGE THEIR STUDENTS AND NOW THEY ARE TRYING TO POSE AS UNDERDOGS? FUCKING NOPE
– One lady is breastfeeding at a diner while also clicking ONE key on her computer with this look on her face like, “Yep, hacked into the mainframe” and I resent this scene because I feel exquisitely played, like a harp
– “I took two bullets in the chest” WHAT? WHEREFORE? WHO? WHAT BULLETS? There is just this throwaway line about being shot in the chest and then we’re off to bragging about she never rests, WHICH IS NOT A GOOD THING
– THIS COMMERCIAL REINFORCES BOOTSTRAPISM
– “GOT THREE KIDS, I NEVER REST…AND I’VE ALSO GOT A BRAIN” DOESN’T SCAN EITHER
– “You think a resume’s enough, who’ll step up when things get rough, don’t you want that kind of brain” WHAT KIND
– “A degree is a degree, you’re gonna want someone like me…but only if YOU have a brain” WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF TAUTOLOGY IS THIS? ALSO NO SCANNING
– That constant switch between yodeling and whisper-spitting makes me feel like the original script for this commercial was just my old roommate who was super into mushrooms telling me I’m sheeple for eight minutes
– Don’t do this. Don’t ever do this. Why is this scene in the commercial? Are we supposed to laud this rude woman’s dismissive-as-shit “ONE SECOND” finger as somehow a sign of her persistence and stick-to-it-iveness? Ma’am, the library is CLOSED. You do not get special library hours just because you go to college. This security guard is doing his JOB and his shift is probably ending and he wants to go home and you can’t even use your words to tell him “I’m just wrapping up, thanks”? You SHUSH him with your FINGER like he’s a child? That’s racist as hell, rude as shit, and bad for people who work in libraries all over this country.
I hate this commercial. This commercial is the poundcake speech and someone telling a high school sophomore her outfits are too distracting and predatory lending policies and your uncle who says that if “he can make it, anyone can” and that’s why food stamps should be illegal, all in three minutes and capped off with an insult to the great Ray Bolger. Someone please register my official complaint with the Bureau of Commercial Dislike. Thank you for your time.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.