I’ve been watching TV for roughly a million years, and have seen thousands of commercials about rectum ribbon. But I can’t really recall being disgusted by any of them, until recently. In the old days it seemed to be more about brand recognition, and less about… functionality. Everybody knows what toilet paper is used for, and it’s not pretty. For decades we had a gentleman’s agreement that we’d just gloss over the unsavory details in TV ads, but all that’s apparently out the window now. Good god! Below are three examples of recent TP commercials, some comments, and a classic from a more civilized era.
Does a bear shit in the woods? Of course it does. And that’s clearly why the makers of Charmin chose it to be the modern face of ass-wiping. In a jaw-dropping series of commercials, a family of shitting bears (sometimes blue, sometimes red — who the hell knows?) cavort, wipe, and charm us with their whimsy.
In the episode above, the youngest bear has apparently just left an Easter ham in the yard somewhere, and is concerned about balls of paper and feces sticking to his ass fur. He’s so worried, in fact, he’s using a hand mirror to check things out — and contorting himself, so as to inspect his butthole from every conceivable angle.
Perhaps my parents didn’t do a good job with me, but I don’t understand how that bear got toilet paper all over his ass. My wiping efforts are a much more focused affair. Imagine, if the butt was a map of the United States, and the Mississippi River was the crack: Oregon and South Carolina don’t get much attention. Am I doing it wrong?
Oh, and by the way… thanks Charmin, for delivering an implied bear anus to my family room every evening. It’s much appreciated.
This one is also confusing. The matriarch of shitting’s first family is shown holding up a pair of underwear from the laundry basket, and doing a double-take at something she sees on the back of it. While this is happening a voice over says, “You can always measure the growth of your children, by the way they clean themselves in the bathroom.”
What? Are they saying skidmarks are like the rings of a tree? You can determine a person’s age from them?
Detective Briscoe: We don’t have much to go on here, but we do know the victim was born in the fall of 1989.
Detective Green: How do we know that? We don’t have a body, or even a missing person’s report.
Detective Briscoe: Check out the hashmark in those Hanes by the radiator.
I had no idea forensics had advanced so far. Impressive. And just think… During the days of the Brady Bunch, which wasn’t so long ago, they couldn’t even show a toilet in that weird Jack ‘n’ Jill bathroom; when I was a kid I wondered if Greg and Marcia, and the rest of ’em, just passed around a Folger’s can or something. And now we’re talking about shit stains in underwear, during TV commercials from major corporations? Progress!
“We all go. Why not enjoy the go?” Somebody seriously thought that was a good slogan? What are we supposed to do, sit on the toilet with our hands above our heads, like we’re riding a roller coaster? Whooooo!!
Mr. Whipple is probably somewhere right now, with a single tear running down his cheek.
Finally: someone willing to take a stand! Enough of all this antiquated modesty and self-respect, let’s talk at length about ass-wiping! These women are the Norma Raes of defecation.
Notice how they take a shot at “the cutesy stuff?” They’re talking about our friends, the shitting bears. And while it’s true the bears sometimes make me frown and shake my head, at least they’re cartoons. I’m forced to look these real-life women in the eye, and imagine them tilted to one side on the poop hoop, while troweling away the crack spacklin’. I’ll go with the animated family of crapping animals, on any day of the week.
And I don’t really understand the emphasis on “cleanliness.” The brand doesn’t matter much, does it? You just keep going until there’s nothing left on the paper. It’s not like we’re only allowed six squares per session. This is America, we can use all we want — our forefathers died in wars to make it so.
I like how this TP is extra-strong, to guard against “break throughs.” And if you’re unhappy with its performance, you’ll get your money back. I’m picturing an angry person storming up to the customer service counter at Target, and screaming, “Look at these fingers! I wan’t my $1.89 refund!!”
This is one of the most cringe-worthy commercials of all-time.
Now, this is the way it’s done. They have a memorable, non-disgusting slogan that includes the brand name. And their focus is on something valid: softness. During my life I’ve spent some time in Red Roof Inns and those kinds of places, and it was like wiping my ass with a sheet of notebook paper. Which is why I usually switched to a towel or pillowcase by the second morning… Softness is something I can get behind. Or in front of, to be more precise.
In a Whipple commercial there was no talk of accidentally busting through to Poop City, implications of Rorschach Test underwear, or gangs of high-horse women keeping it real about shit-removal.
I miss the man, his iconic mustache, and gentle approach to butt paper. I’m sorry, I’m getting a little emotional here…
Have a great weekend, my friends! I’ll see you again on Monday.