Booze hound stars selling liquor on t.v. commercials. Really, guys? How many DUI’s do you have among yourselves? And yet there you are, young girls on your arm, or sitting at the bar exchanging conspiratorial nods with the bartender, as if there’s only a few in this world who understand the deep secret meaning of chilled vodka. (Here’s the real secret: Vomit on your shirt.)
I liked it much better when movie stars and athletes didn’t hop on the bandwagon to add to their fortunes from commercials. Jennifer Garner pours on the same charm and acting chops she used in Alias to sell me frequent flyer miles. Diane Keaton, fashion rebel and offbeat actor, now hawks cosmetics like a cheerleader on ecstasy.
Perhaps that’s where the real rub comes in. We realize, even though of course we know this full well, that it is all an act. Robert deNiro can turn on the same passion for a commercial product as he did for The Godfather. McConaughey looks just as slick in his car ad as he did playing the Lincoln Lawyer.
And I’m not even going to name all of the “mature” actors who are assuring us that we, too, can get a reverse mortgage that will solve our retirement problems, a magical drug for osteoporosis that will send us onstage dancing, the best yogurt on the planet. And my personal favorite, all our gorgeous stars who apparently use boxed, home hair color rather than a personal hairdresser. Who knew?
Somehow I want to cling to the notion that helping companies make more money is not as inspiring to an actor as a great script. That the millions that athletes earn each year might be enough without selling insurance and sodas and three hundred dollar shoes.
But we live in the Land of Never Enough . . . and also, luckily, Home of the Free - to record programs and fast forward commercials, to hit mute when the electronic salesmen barge into our living rooms, to discover that amped up volumes of frantic car commercials do not have to be part of our psyche. What a gentler America at our fingertips. Oops, did I just do a commercial?